Sunday, September 1, 2013

Recap:// Attention Please Episode 5

Poor Misaki, poor innocent Misaki.  She really gets put through the ringer in this episode.  Not only is she misguided by others, she also falls prey to her own misunderstandings, and has to cope with an internal struggle against her denial.  Does she come out the other side of this crisis a changed woman? One can only hope.

The cabin attendant trainees are learning about applying makeup, taking into consideration the dim lighting conditions in the aircraft.  Instructor Mikami walks around the room making suggestions to brighten up their appearance.

She advises Sekiyama to use a brighter shade of lipstick, Wakamura needs a darker shade of blush.  Hirota should wear more eye shadow.  And of course, Misaki has overdone it.  Mikami lectures her on her messy work area and not polishing her shoes.

Later, the girls gather around a poster advertising the JAL calendar.  It's rumored that a newcomer will be included in the next year's lineup.  Hirota's friend tells her that she should sign up.

Misaki jumps in and says that she can apply too.  Hirota explains that those chosen for the calendar are perfect women who are beautiful, kind and does their job well.  Misaki says that if she puts in some effort, she can become the perfect woman in no time.

The girls say it's impossible.

Misaki and her friends walk out to the lobby and continue to talk about the calendar.  Sekiyama tells Wakamura that she should apply;  she's gotten beautiful recently after falling in love.

Misaki is surprised and wants details, but Wakamura is determined to cover it up.  Nakahara happens to be sitting nearby and comments on their noisiness.

Misaki plops down next to him and informs him that Wakamura is in love with some guy.  Wakamura grabs her, and in the struggle, they drop the calendar brochure.

Nakahara picks it up and Misaki tells him that Wakamura is applying.  Wakamura denies it, but Nakahara tells her she should do it since she's cute.  He also mentions that Misaki could never do it.  Misaki says that she will become a perfect woman that everyone can accept.

Mikami receives an email from Katsuragi Shiho reminding her of her promise and telling her that she will come and get her this time.

Misaki goes home that night and looks at the disarray of her apartment.  She asks herself how to become the perfect woman and decides that it'll happen somehow.

The next day in class, Misaki is diligently applying makeup.  Mikami arrives and says that putting on makeup is like getting dressed.  Doing so in public is the same as changing your clothing in public.  Misaki decides that the road to becoming the perfect woman is harsh.

When Misaki sees Asou and Murayama in the lobby, she begs for advice on becoming the perfect woman. Asou agrees as long as Misaki does everything she tells her to do without question.

Misaki shares the benefit of Asou's advice with her friends.  They subject themselves to painful foot massages and a sweltering sand bath.

So determined are they for self improvement, they even go through with the scary chiropractic adjustment.

As if that wasn't enough suffering, they go to a tea ceremony where they sit painfully for an hour while the ceremony is explained.  That is, until a spider drops into Misaki's kimono and she jumps up dancing around wildly.

In another part of the facility, Mikami meets her old friend, Katsuragi for tea.  They reminisce about the days when they were cabin attendants together.  Katsuragi tells her that she's going to be in charge of the cabin attendant control section of a new airport company and she wants Mikami to come work with her at double her current salaray.  It's something they always promised they'd do.  She asks her if she's really satisfied with who she is right now.  Mikami hesitates and her friend wonders if it's not because of that girl who got crushed.  She assures her that it wasn't her fault.  Mikami can't dwell on the past, she needs to move forward.

Just then, Mikami sees Misaki through the window, running about flailing her arms.  Katsuragi is appalled at the behavior of young people these days, and Mikami gets up to investigate.  Outside, they run into Wakamura and Sekiyama who explain the situation.

After introductions are made, Katsuragi reveals that she and Mikami had a fan club when they were cabin attendants.  Sekiyama asks if they were the invincible MK Girls.  Katsuragi confirms it.  Sekiyama explains to Wakamura that the MK girls were legendary, and because of their abilities, they were a super cabin attendant combination.  Just then Misaki runs up and sheepishly introduces herself.

In class the following day, Wakamura tells Hirota about the MK Girls.  Misaki suggests they become the YY girls for Yayoi and Youko (their first names).  Hirota tells her that it can't be.  Then she compliments Wakamura and Sekiyama on their soft skin from the sand bath.  Misaki asks her to feel how soft her skin is too, but Hirota tells her it feels like a shark.

Misaki decides that Asou was the wrong person to ask for advice.  As she enters the lounge with Wakamura and Sekiyama, they see Tsutsumi calculating when he would be able to buy a mansion.  He tells them he is reconstructing his life plan should another company scout him in the future and double his salary.  At the moment, a new company is scouting his seniors, and he heard that Mikami was approached as well.

After another training session that Misaki bumbles through, the girls discuss Mikami's situation and decide that she is likely to go for the higher salary since her friend, Katsuragi is the one inviting her.  Wakamura and Sekiyama don't want her to go, but Misaki says that training would be easier without her around. Meanwhile, she's looking through a magazine to find the easiest and fastest way to become beautiful.  She asks the girls if they want to do yoga with her, but they immediately reject the idea.

In the office, Director Dazai gets off the phone after a conversation that sounds troubling.  Instructor Kinoshita asks him if everything is okay and he says that it is before leaving.  Then Kinoshita tells Mikami that Director Dazai keeps getting calls from the higher ups regarding Misaki and he keeps trying to appease them so they won't interfere.

Misaki gets lost looking for the yoga class that is supposed to make her beautiful in one hour.  She runs into Katsuragi and has tea with her.  Katsuragi tells her that Mikami probably isn't taking the better position because of her.  She's similar to the girl in Mikami's past who got frustrated and was consequently crushed. Mikami still feels responsible for that incident.

Mikami talks with Captain Sakurada and tells him that Katsuragi had asked her if she's satisfied with who she is.  The captain tells her that she's already done her best and from now on she'll be able to live more freely.

Sekiyama waits with Wakamura on the walkway for Nakahara to pass. When he finally comes by, Wakamura says "Hello" so meekly that he doesn't notice her and walks on by.  Another engineer greets her, but she leaves dejected.

Sekiyama suggests that she talk with Misaki about the situation since she seems to be closer to Nakahara. Wakamura feels that Misaki is rather unreliable, but decides that conferring with her is still the best option.

At the soba shop, Wakamura tries to talk to Misaki, but Misaki is preoccupied and telling herself that she's not interested in Mikami's problems.  Sekiyama impatiently stands up and announces that Wakamura wants to talk to Misaki about love.  Wakamura's father overhears and comes over to investigate.  Misaki signals to Sekiyama to take responsibility, so she finally tells him that it's about her own crush.  Wakamura's father drags her off for a one to one talk.  Wakamura asks Misaki if she can go over to her place the next day, and Misaki tells her that she will take care of her love problems.

In training the next day, Mikami roleplays an uncooperative customer.  She tells Misaki that simply telling a guest that they have to do something because it's a rule is not enough.  She has to take care of each guest's concern or she will regret it.  Misaki asks her if she's not the one regretting about the kouhai (junior) that she reminds her of.

After class, the two have a private conversation.  Misaki tells Mikami that if she wants to take the new job, she should.  She is told that it's not her concern.  Misaki agrees and asks why someone said it has something to do with someone similar to her.  She asks Mikami what happened to her kouhai.  Then she tells her that if she wants to quit, do so, and don't make it look like she's staying because of her.  Mikami agrees and leaves.

That night, Nakahara sees Misaki at the convenience store and asks why she's getting so much to drink.  She tells him that Wakamura is coming over.  They sit outside on the swings and he notices that she's acting different.  He asks what's wrong.  Misaki tells him that she's happy because Mikami is getting recruited. Nakahara says that she's easy to see through, and that she actually cares a lot about Mikami's problems. Wakamura comes along and sees them easily bantering.  She leaves without saying anything.

The following morning, Misaki asks Wakamura what happened to her the night before.  Wakamura just says that something came up.

Later that day, Misaki sees Mikami giving her badge to Director Dazai and thanking him for his help.  She gets so distracted that she walks past Captain Sakurada in the lobby without hearing his greeting.

The captain pulls Misaki aside for a chat.  Misaki says that it's good for Mikami to make a better salary and she shouldn't teach if she doesn't want to be there.  The captain smiles and tells her that he went out for drinks with Mikami the night before.  Mikami told him about a trainee who dressed like a rock star, admired Suzi Quatro, whose favorite food is her hometown curry, and who plays basketball well.  But she has the worst grades.  When kids today encounter difficult situations, they are quick to quit, but this one keeps coming back.  And eventually this trainee started to like her job.  Mikami wanted to see what kind of cabin attendant she would become.

Misaki races out to find Mikami.  She runs until she catches up to her and tells her not to make a random decision;  life isn't just about money.  Mikami had told her that she needed to admit her own failures, and because of that, Misaki has changed.  It was because Mikami was her instructor that she has come this far.

A taxi pulls up and Katsuragi gets out.  Mikami tells her that it's not the time to reform the MK Girls and asks her to return Mikami to her.  Then she tells Mikami that she needs her.

Mikami informs Misaki that she had already turned down the offer and never had any intention of leaving. She explains that Misaki had misunderstood when she gave her broken badge to Director Dazai to repair, and she had thanked him for a previous favor he had done for her.  Misaki grimaces and runs away. Katsuragi says that she understands why Mikami isn't taking the job.  With Misaki around, she'll never get bored.  Mikami says there isn't anything wrong with who she is now.

When Misaki gets home she cleans up her apartment, putting everything in its place, mopping and scrubbing.

In class, Misaki catches Hirota with the calendar flyer.  Hirota denies that she's going to apply.  Mikami comes in and greets the class, and Misaki tells her that she should try out for the calendar.  Mikami says that she can't because you can only be a calendar model once.  She had been featured in May of 1992.  "Miss May??" Misaki says, "I want to see!"

I loved the physical comedy in this episode.  Ueto Aya is such a beauty, but she does awesome facial contortions, unflattering postures and comedic running.  The way she eats, walks, stands and rubs her nose in the "normal" scenes also conveys the maturity level of her character in such a natural manner that you might miss it.  Throughout the series, Misaki has been taking two steps forward, one step back.  Now that Wakamura's love is threatened, Misaki's troubles could be of a more personal nature next time. 

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