While the first episode of Miss Pilot was amusing and suggested that this series might contain the sort of story and characters I would enjoy watching, it lacked tension. Going in, the viewer probably already knew that the story involved Tezuka Haru (Horikita Maki) becoming a pilot, but there was little else by way of conflict introduced. There doesn’t seem to be anyone opposing her newfound ambition, the character she is most likely to develop a relationship with – Kunikida Konosuke (Saito Takumi) – already seems quite interested in and taken by her. While some of the side characters seem to have troubles of their own, those have been presented as little more than comic relief. So . . . are we just going to watch this drama to find out what it’s like to go through pilot training, or will there be something more to it?
When we check in on Tezuka at the beginning of this episode, she’s lazing in bed and has to be urged to get up by Oda (Aibu Saki). How is she going to manage if she has this much trouble getting up on time?
They live in an ANA dormitory, and Oda has already taken on the role of older sister. In the beginning Oda showed animosity to Tezuka, but any tension between them and potential sense of rivalry has totally melted away. Now, Oda’s ferocity is mainly directed at getting Tezuka to their training on time.
And considering how Tezuka gets sidetracked (for instance, by spending too long at a convenience store), she needs all the help they can get.
Thanks to Tezuka’s detour, they end up five seconds late (according to Kunikida, who just verbally reprimands them – he doesn’t make them do push-ups or anything).
We get an obvious Chekov’s Gun plot device, as Tezuka points out a bus on the tarmac and they take pains to explain what it does. Somehow, that bus is going to be involved in what happens later, or there was no reason for Tezuka to make note of it.
The situation for this episode is that the pilot trainees have to do ground staff work – presumably to get some appreciation of what the ground staff has to go through, but perhaps also to get them to work on their customer service skills. While Kunikida is their lead instructor, his girlfriend(?) Suzuki Noriko (Nanao) is the head of ground staff and will be in charge of them during this episode. As they put it, they’re father and mother to the trainees.
There’s an amusing encounter between Tezuka and an elderly man who’s drunk and needs help. One thing’s for sure – Tezuka is really good at the customer relations stuff.
As for the other pilot trainees . . . not so much. They resent having to do the ground staff work, because they don’t see it as part of the work they had signed up to do.
Fujii Ryusei-kun’s acting is way over-the-top as his character Yamada Kazuo expresses about twice as much emotion as the rest of the trainees combined. Clearly he’s supposed to be comic relief, but it gets out of hand in some scenes.
When it turns out that old drunk is missing . . .
. . . Tezuka heads out to try to find him, actually going into the men’s restrooms calling out his name! You know . . . she could have just asked a nearby male to go into the restroom to do it, or else just shouted the old man’s name at the door to the restroom.
But anyway, the point is that she gets the guy to the flight and it’s all very touching because he’s flying to get to his daughter’s wedding.
Unfortunately, because he was throwing up from having drunk too much, they can’t allow him on the flight since flying would likely make his unease worse.
After some scenes of minimal importance . . .
. . . and a mildly more interesting scene between Tezuka and Kunikida, in which Kunikida gives her a quiz and we see the chemistry building between them . . .
. . . it all starts over again. Yamada Kazuo does his comedy relief at the start of a new day at work as ground staff.
And Tezuka is strangely insistent about getting passengers to a flight within 10 minutes even though everyone else has decided that they couldn’t possibly make the transfer in time and need to be rescheduled to a different flight. I really don’t understand why she should be so adamant about it – I get that she’s a kind-hearted person, but she seems to be weighing the inconvenience to the transferring passengers over the inconvenience to everyone else, and there doesn’t seem to be a logic to it.
Well, except for creating the bare minimum of a conflict, since there was really no other tension in this episode.
So, the question is – will they get the passengers to the flight within 10 minutes?
Oh, and why don’t they just use that bus that Tezuka saw earlier?
In a strange repeat of what happened earlier, Tezuka once again finds herself having to help an elderly person who can’t get to the flight in time and there’s a restroom involved.
In short, we got a rather lame excuse for tension in this episode, and still no sign of any real struggle on Tezuka’s part. While I like Tezuka’s personality, some of her actions are difficult to understand, except in terms of making things easy for the writers.
Except for Kunikida, the supporting cast is right now extremely two-dimensional (at best). Even Kunikida is sort of transparent. There’s no sign that we can expect to find out anything interesting about the backgrounds of characters or their personal struggles. So far, the only significant subplot introduced is between ground staff member Abeno Suzu (Sakuraba Nanami) and her potentially wayward boyfriend, pilot trainee Kishii Yasuji (Mamiya Shotaro), and that one has barely gotten any time at all.
So, while I think there’s potential in this premise and in this cast, so far that potential is largely untapped. Right now, the drama might as well be an ANA recruitment ad.