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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Erika Toda: "Gakeppuchi Hotel" drama episode three recap

 Also goes by the title Hotel on the Brink

Air Dates: April 15 to June 17, 2018 on NTV 10:30 Sunday nights    Episode rating: 6.5%

Main Cast:

Erika Toda as Sana Sakurai, GM of the struggling hotel
Takanori Iwata as Naoya Ukai, guest who was the GM of a prestigious hotel
Ikkei Watanabe as Masao Tokisada, hotel's deputy GM
Kosuke Suzuki as Akito Tanzawa, hotel auditor
Minami Hamabe as Haru Horai, assistant newbie chef
Tomoya Nakamura as Ryuji Eguchi, gambling hotel chef
Ryo as Kozue Edagawa, hotel's bartender who drinks on the job
Daichi Saeki as Yozo Hattori, hotel employee who doesn't seem to have a position
Mari Nishio as Naomi Yoshimura, hotel roomkeeper
Daisuke Miyagawa as Nagayoshi Abe, hotel roomkeeper
Chad Mullane as Pierre Tanaka, foreigner who is the hotel's bellhop
Cookie as Taishi Otawara, front desk clerk

Special guest star

Rina Kawaei as Yuko Osanai, guest

 So few dramas these days get decent ratings outside of the Asadora shows. For the Spring season just four series averaged higher than a 10% rating so when dramas like this one get around 7% or so it's not as bad as it may seem. Long gone are those days when shows got over 20%, it's true that the quality of shows has gone down but also perhaps there's just too many shows that air these days. Actually it's the prime time dramas that have taken the hit, ones like this which air at 10:30 pm seem to do well and so don't the series that air after midnight.

 The big news for those that read the first two recaps are that there were a pair of demotions handed out by the new deputy GM Naoya. Those two were the head chef Ryuji who is a capable chef though his heart isn't into doing his job as it interferes with his gambling. Taking his place will be the pastry chef Haru who is just eighteen, she doesn't have the most talent in the world but is so passionate about her job and has created many pastries which the customers have loved.
 The other main person to take a fall was Masao who had been the hotel's deputy GM. Though he appears to be quite efficient he's also a bit of a sleazeball who has been siphoning money from the hotel's loans. Not many of the staff seem to enjoy his company, think the main reason for the demotions was that Naoya wanted to let everyone know there's no staff safe in their job.
 In the second episode the hotel had a grand reopening with a three day cake fair that was very successful, a noted hotel critic gave the establishment a huge thumbs up review in his column. Business hasn't increased that much though, we do see guests in every show but never enough of them to pay the bills. As you can above the demoted pair weren't pleased about the decision and have demanded that Naoya give them their old positions back.

 He's not prepared to do that but instead told the two that there will be a contest between them. One reason for the contest is to help draw more guests to the hotel. The winner of the battle will get his old position back while the other will remain in their demoted job. The tiebreaker for the contest will be to see which person can make a guest the most happiest which may ensure future visits by the pleased guest(s), neither Masao or Ryuji are what you would call pleasant people.
 Most of the episode revolves around the two, the cast is so big it means we don't see enough of Erika as the hotel's GM Sana though her role is the biggest. Sana has been agreeing with all of Naoya's decisions but she wasn't pleased with the two demotions. Masao has invited a guest named Tomita who is wealthy man that owns a motor car company.
 Ryuji, with the help of Haru, has created an event where the guest can pick their own food and Ryuji will cook up whatever meal they want with the fresh food. Ryuji does seem like he could be a friendly person and an asset to the hotel though he hasn't been yet, during this episode he turned over a new leaf and has become much more competent at his job. It's the day the contest will begin and first to arrive was Tomita who was greeted by Masao. Tomita seemed like such a down to earth type of person and didn't have any of the airs you would think an extremely wealthy person would have. Also arriving at almost the same time was Ryuji's guest, it was actually two of them who were a father and son named Omaru.

 The plan as you can see above was that the Omaru family were supposed to pick the vegetables but the father begged off as he had too many calls to make for his business which was running a toy store. So his son Yuji went alone with Haru and Ryuji to a local farm to do the picking and on their return an event happened. In the hotel's lobby Yuji ran to his father but tripped over the older man Tomita and spilled his basket of vegetables everywhere and left a huge stain on Tomita's suit.
 Masao was furious at what happened but Tomita laughed it off, as mentioned before for a wealthy man he was really a nice person. Tomita still wore that suit to his business meeting which was a failure as he couldn't seal the deal on a possible large transaction. He brushed the incident aside unlike Masao who was still mad the what Yuji did in the lobby, Masao is not impressing Tomita at all with his high and mighty attitude.
 One other guest was there to do something special with the staff and it was a young woman named Yuko who was played by.... Rina Kawaei! I really like her and she's made such a smooth switch from being an AKB member to an actress. In the episode Yuko had always been impressed with how quickly and efficiently a cleaning crew can set up a room after a guest departs. She was trained by the male cleaning person Nagayoshi which made his partner Naomi quite jealous. Yuko worked so hard and by the end of the show she was almost as fast as the two other cleaners, she can make a perfect bed in seven minutes which I guess is an impressive speed.

 The big question(for me) is will Rina remain in the cast, will answer that in the next post which is the recap for episode four and is right below this one. Back to the contest and Yuji asks Haru and Ryuji if he can prepare the meal alone with his father. Both were shocked at his request but they said go right ahead, but once again it was Yuji being alone as his father was still busy making business calls.
 It's time for the dinner which Yuji made mainly by himself, they were simple dishes but he made them so perfect and his father in the dining room was overcome with tears. So much he broke down even further and admitted to Yuji what a bad father he had been, no more he told his son as after eating the meal prepared by his son the father realized what was really important in life. Observing this heartfelt scene in the dining room was Tomita who had a bigger smile on his face than the father did, on the other hand Masao was scowling the entire time.
 Yuji had still felt bad about what happened in the lobby and brought some of the meal over to Tomita. The older man really had taken a liking towards Yuji and absolutely loved the simple meal he made, much more than the high class meal an outside chef had cooked for him. It's the end of the contest and the question is who won, out of the three guests Tomita was the most pleased though it had nothing to do with what Masao had done for him.
 Sana the GM was the one who would decide the winner and in an easy decision for her chose Ryuji! He was the one who came up with the idea of having a guest pick their own food and his friendly advice to Yuji  rubbed off on Tomita. So now Ryuji can have his head chef position back but in a strange decision told the staff he'll remain an assistant for now and said he thought Haru should remain the head chef for now, that shocked her more than anyone else. Ryuji's attitude really changed in this episode and he's now committed to his work, can't say the same thing about Masao who is furious at the world and this brings us to the end of the episode.

 Perhaps being unable to watch new dramas for three months helped clear my head as I was getting a bit down on Japanese shows. So far I'm enjoying this series immensely, not as quacky as I thought it would be but bet this ends up being my #1 of the year. Post below this one has the recap for the fourth episode, there's ten shows in all but may have to slow down a bit as the final two haven't been subbed yet. As usual I took too many screenshots though they should help you follow the story better.

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