Air Date: April 2, 2016 at 9:00 pm on WOWOW
Erika Toda as Aki Hataeda
Ryo Kase as Hiroshi Makita
Yuko Tanaka as Ayako Takano
Kiyohiko Shibukawa as Satoru Shida
Daisuke Kuroda as Seiji Marokawa
Mami Kumagai as Mayumi Kurahashi
Elisa Yanagi as Seiko Yamamuro
The setting was in the small city of Iyama which is located in Nagano prefecture. Erika plays the character of Aki who works for the city Animal Welfare Center, she's paired up with her old "SPEC' partner Ryo. The center is responsible for taking in stray cats and dogs, also they have to take any animal in that the owner can no longer take care of.
The main focus, least in the first half, was the cruelty that befell the cats and dogs who weren't adopted within a small period of time. On Tuesdays the workers at the center would place any animal who had been with them over five days in 'gas chamber' that they filled with carbon dioxide. It was a very cruel procedure which started to effect the workers who just couldn't bear the though of killing animals any longer but their hands were tied as there were no other options.
Actually there was one option to spare the animals from death and that was to get more of the city's citizens to adopt the animals but all attempts in the past to do that has failed. But the new director of the center eventually made it her #1 priority as the morale of the center was at an all time low, one worker even locked himself in the 'gas chamber'.
They teamed up with the local 'Animal Friend Center' to set up an adoption program, that center were always at odds with the Welfare Center for killing so many animals. Though enemies the two centers worked their differences out and became allies in the goal to save as many animals as possible via means of adoption. The Welfare Center even stopped killing all of the animals, the center became quite crowded with the animals but it didn't seem to bother the workers.
Eventually the adoption rates did go up as there were workshops held to help the new prospective pet owners and there was even an adoption fair that was held every month. The rates did rise quite a bit but they were practically nil to start off with but they did hit double figures every month.
For the most part that's what happened in this 100 minute movie, few side stories happened which mainly dealt with the problems the workers had with killing the animals in such a cruel way. This movie turned out quite different from what I was expecting, it was a very interesting watch but wouldn't call it an enjoyable drama. There never was any kind of statement that said if the story was true or not but have a feeling it was and think what the workers were going through with the killing of animals happened all across Japan.
This movie was sort easy yet difficult to review. Easy because not all that much happened, it was interesting but as mentioned above hard to call it enjoyable. Hard to review because how it's a bit difficult to make a movie about animal cruelty laws sound compelling. However would recommend a watch of this movie as it did hold my interest the whole way through plus you do learn about some things such as animal laws in Japan, that's a topic I would imagine not many people think about.
Didn't mention Erika hardly at all in the review, her role was solid though not the biggest one as she was a bit subdued in it. She did look fantastic in it though as these screenshots will prove, didn't take as many as usual because there's another post of them for the movie and didn't want to have any dupes. Would recommend her "Kiseki no Dobutsuen" aka Miracle Zoo TV movies over this one, there was a total of four of those movies.