JDrama Review: Q10

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Drama: Q10
Romaji: Q10
Japanese: Q10
Director: Shunsuke Kariyama, Noriyoshi Sakuma
Writer: Izumi Kizara
Producer: Hidehiro Kawano, Mamoru Koizumi
Network: NTV
Episodes: 9
Release Date: October 16 – December 11, 2010
Runtime: Saturdays 21:00
Genre: Teen / Sci-Fi
TV Ratings: 10.9% (weekly average)
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan
(source)

Japanese dramas are very different in tone and execution from Korean dramas. Though some of the plots are very out there (like Q10), the outlandish material is somehow always wedded to the human experience of living and loving. I could have chosen a lot of dramas to talk about but I chose this one because 1. Sato Takeru. Just kidding. Maybe. Anyway the premise of this one is as follow:

The principal of the school picks up a girl from a rubbish dump when he’s drunk and takes her home because…I don’t know? That sounds pretty creepy but roll with it. When he wakes up in the morning after passing out due to his drunkenness, the girl is where he left her without having moved even once. He freaks out and decides, hey, I’ll take her to school with me. He does  (she’s dressed in a school uniform) and he, another teacher, and the newly hired biology teacher pore over the unconscious (dead?) form of this girl until the biology teacher realizes that she is a remarkably lifelike robot. They leave her in a musty old room with her back to the window and go deal with other things. Fukai Heita (Heita is his first name) stumbles upon this girl and ends up inadvertently switching her on. She imprints on him and demands that he name her in 20 seconds. He flails and then finds her serial number which starts with Q10.. and there you have it. Q10 or Kyuuto, as she is called.

Q10 is a really lovely story about a robot who learns how to be human and teaches people who are become inured to life and cynical to the perambulations of fate to get in touch, once again, with their humanness. The drama does have an overarching plot which is figuring out who Kyuuto is and where she comes from but each episode deals with different aspects of being a teenager. Some things are culturally specific but as a whole, the drama will speak to all young adults. The first few episodes are concerned with a student who may as well be invisible because, as he is too poor to pay the tuition fees, he is no longer called upon when attendance is taken. No one notices until Kyuuto questions why his name is the only one not being called. Heita notices the kid scratching his name out on walls, desks, everywhere he can as though try to engrave himself into the school which refuses to dignify his presence with a name.

When he realizes that he has no choice but to drop out, the entire class comes together to throw him a farewell party and you get the sense of tragedy from his unwilling separation from his childhood. Then there is the girl who has the misfortune to be named something that sounds like “cute” in Japanese when she is not; she has a severe image and the fact that she is a fangirl goes further against the image that has been thrust upon her. The popular guy who loves her but cannot decide whether he wants to sacrifice his reputation for love. There is also a teacher who lives with his mother and takes pictures of power lines because he loves them.

Heita has a bad heart and though he had an operation that mostly fixed him up, the experience of being sick as a child has turned him cynical and cautious. His family tiptoe around him, loving him and being scared to lose him. And Heita, too, is closed off from love until Kyuuto lands in his life and he, despite himself, despite all sanity, falls for what logic tells him is a machine.

I’m not doing justice to this drama but it’s beautifully told: full of introspection, wonder, and hope. I leave you with some gifs like usual.

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