“This isn’t a charity. Being a veterinarian is a business.”
Genre: Drama, medical, animals
Starring: Oguri Shun, Inoue Mao, Narimiya Hiroki
Having watched Oguri Shun in Hana Yori Dango and Hana Kimi, I was eager to watch him in another drama. Juui Dolittle caught my eye; I love medical dramas, so would it be such a stretch to imagine I would enjoy a vet drama?
Especially when Inoue Mao stars alongside him again.
Tattori is a blunt but talented veterinarian. Due to his unsocial nature, it seems he cares only for money. He owns his own vet clinic, and gains a reputation for attempting risky surgeries when other vets will not. Underneath the intimidating facade is a man who gives voice to the cries of pets.
Tajima Asuka enters his clinic one day, desperately seeking treatment for her racehorse’s broken leg. To cover the costs, she is forced to work for Tottori in his clinic, where he encourages her to learn the ins and outs of an animal nurse.
Hanabishi Masaru is Tottori’s friend, who gave Tottori the nickname ‘Dolittle’. He’s a very charismatic vet with his own TV show (a vet celebrity of sorts), but while Hanabishi is skillful at making a diagnosis, he has a secret: he cannot operate.
A Brusque Vet
I actually fell a little bit in love with Tottori-sensei. Though he’s such a curt man, he shows such tenderness to animals, and in his own way, he looks after Asuka, too. He honestly tries to get owners to understand their pets, even if his strategy is less than ideal.
And of course, Shun looks all suave with his slicked back hair, his glasses, and that brooding expression. And when he softly whispers “ganbare” to the injured animals… *swoon*
His acting is commendable – though it must be said that I’ve only really ever seen him play characters that don’t show much expression…
A Sincere Heroine
Inoue Mao shines no matter what role she takes. As Asuka, we see her pout quite a bit, and it’s so cute! She plays eager, sincere characters well. Asuka’s character develops over the series, starting to focus on her future. Would’ve loved to see a romance between her and Tottori, but alas, I am doomed to disappointment.
A Charismatic Friend
I’ve never seen Hiroki act before, but after this, I am so looking him up. He plays the charismatic Hanabishi exceedingly well, and looks very adorable. We see him in some sharp suits ^o^
Hanabishi and Tottori seem to be two halves of a whole. While Tottori is a curt yet talented vet, Hanabishi is well-spoken, but unable to operate due to a past incident. If they teamed up, they would create an unbeatable veterinary empire, methinks.
I love Hanabishi’s flaws – moreso because he is painfully aware of them himself. And when he knows his own people can do nothing for someone’s pet, he recommends they go to Tottori. So sweet!
And let’s not forget a very special guest appearance in the second episode. Massu from NewS plays Bando, a bumbling dolphin trainer. Massu is perfect for this role. Although the character is nothing like him, he gives a great performance. Will definitely look out for more Massu dramas in future.
As far as this goes as a vet drama, we get a delightful mix of animals. From horses to ferrets to cute little bunny rabbits, we see it all. The scenes with surgery are done well – I don’t get squeamish while watching them, but they look very real. Shun really seems to know what he’s doing.
Connection Between Owner and Pet
This jdrama isn’t just all fun and games. It actually makes you think.
It makes you wonder what kind of value we place on our pets. At first, it seems like Tottori charges obscene rates to operate on these various animals, but he makes a very valid point. The equipment necessary to operate on animals is typically smaller than for humans, and the procedures conducted on a much smaller scale (or a much larger scale). Add in the fact there are far more species of animals… So naturally it costs more.
But it also gets you thinking: many pets are considered family – so why do people balk at paying a great expense to save the life of their beloved family member? Tottori himself sums it up well in the first episode, when a pet cat falls from an apartment balcony:
“If a human being fell from a place as high as your apartment, would you think one million yen to be expensive for treatment?”
There’s just nothing to dislike about this jdrama – except that it finishes too quickly! I could easily watch another 20 odd episodes of this drama. It’s just so touching. Send the next vet drama my way!