Monday, December 2, 2013

Recap:// Attention Please 2007 Special

Misaki visualizes herself in Hawaii.
Misaki has become a confident cabin attendant after much trial and tribulation. Now she'll start training for international flights with a trip to Hawaii! Being from Hawaii, I was especially interested to see what sights and cultural aspects they would include. It turned out to be a mixed bag; while they did a nice job in choosing beautiful scenery and landmarks, the cultural references fell a little flat.

Misaki sits impatiently in a taxi.  Sekiyama and Wakayama are all smiles at the airport.

Misaki has picked the wrong day to take a taxi to work; traffic is at a standstill. Meanwhile, Sekiyama is in a good mood and talking about how busy the schedule will be that day. Wakamura asks her why she's so happy, and Sekiyama tells her that it's the first time "they" are on the same flight. Wakamura is happy for her and wonders how Misaki is doing.

Misaki pays the driver and asks him to open the door so she can get out, or she'll be late for work. (She can't get out on her own, because he has the doors locked - is this normal?) The driver asks why she's so flustered; her workplace won't disappear. She insists that it will. When the driver finally lets her out, misaki points up to a plane flying overhead and tells him that that's her workplace. Then, as usual, she gets to work by running.

Misaki looks stunned as Nagano gives her instructions.

At the end of their shift, Chief Nagano asks Misaki and Sekiyama to report to the training center the following day. Misaki gets flustered, thinking that they're being sent for retraining, but Nagano informs her that they are being advanced to the international line.

Misaki poses dramatically and Sekiyama and Wakamura stare at her.

A very excited Misaki tells Sekiyama and Wakamura that they must all shed their old image. She vows to become one with the sky. Asou and Murayama happen to be passing by and urge Misaki to work hard. To fly internationally, she must have specialized knowledge, skills and abilities. They warn her not to take it lightly.

Hands clasped, Misaki and Wakamura look at Asou with rapture while Sekiyama cringes behind them.

Misaki tells Asou that she heard about her engagement to a young IT CEO. Misaki and Wakamura gush about how wonderful it is, pushing Sekiyama to the rear in their excitement. They wonder aloud about how the couple met and ask to be invited to the wedding.

Murayama is amused at the girls' crestfallen expressions.

Asou storms off and Sekiyama is finally able to tell the girls that the engagement was called off because the groom-to-be started dating an actress. Murayama points out the woman in a magazine and tells them to pray they aren't on the same flight as Asou.

Misaki eats with a smile while Nakamura looks somber.

Misaki and Nakahara have ramen together. He tells her that he's about to take his practical exam to be a first class airport engineer. Misaki teasingly gives him a pep talk.

Tsutsumi looks troubled as the cabin attendant rejects him.

Tsutsumi asks a cabin attendant out to dinner, but she reminds him that Sekiyama is his girlfriend. He insist that they're just friends, but the attendant tells him that isn't what Sekiyama thinks. 

Rejected, Tsutsumi sits down with Misaki who is reading a book on going abroad for the first time. When he asks her if it's really her first time, she puts up a front and says she's already been to many countries. He tells her that in that case, she'll probably take a pocked toilet since there are not as many public toilets abroad as there are in Japan. Misaki falls for it and informs him that she already has three pocket toilets prepared.

Misaki and Tsutsumi are taken aback by the serious expression on Sekiyama's face.

Sekiyama arrives and Misaki tells her that Tsutsumi just asked a girl to go to a French restaurant. Tsutsumi rushes to assure her that it wasn't like that, but Sekiyama gets angry. Misaki, shocked by Sekiyama's glowering countenance, tries to assuage the situation by saying that he was going to invite that girl, but decided to invite Sekiyama instead. Instantly Sekiyama is all smiles again. Misaki shudders as she realizes she has just caught a glimpse of the real Sekiyama.

Misaki again strikes a dramatic pose while her friends look at her in wonder.

The girls reunite with Hirota and their other classmates back in the classroom. They get caught up and ask about boyfriends. Misaki announces that in order to become the representative of the sky, she will not have relationships with men. Hirota remarks that her stupidity level has gotten even higher than before.

Mikami looks stern as Misaki smiles obliviously during training.

Instructor Mikami arrives and gets the class started on learning the differences between domestic and international flights. They go into the model cabin, sample food and practice beverage service. During the break, Misaki remarks that international flights are easy and she's already got the heart of the job. When Mikami assembles the class again, she asks Misaki about her comment. Misaki confirms it, saying she already possesses the heart of the job thanks to Mikami. Mikami tells her that she's disappointed in her.

Ooki cringes while Nakahara seems calm enough.

Engineer Watanabe inquires about how the engineering exam went. Nakahara says he did all he could, and Ooki doesn't feel confident, saying he doesn't think he'll pass again this year. Watanabe encourages him with a reminder that he can always try again the following year.

Misaki questions Instructor Mikami in the hall after class.

Misaki asks Mikami why she's disappointed in her, afterall, she did well in training. Mikami tells her if that's how she feels, she looks forward to watching her in OJT (On the Job Training).

Mikami and Captain Sakurada smile together in the lobby.

When Captain Sakurada sees Mikami in the lobby, he apologizes for not getting a strike in bowling the last time though he had done well in practice. They are supposed to get married after he gets another strike. She tells him to achieve his goal soon.

Then he asks about the trainees and Mikami tells him that one of them has gotten used to the work and is therefore cocky. He guesses that it's Misaki and says he looks forward to the cabin attendants becoming great.

The class stands for the announcement.  Misaki fantasizes about being in Hawaii.

During training, Mikami pays more attention to everyone else than to Misaki. When training is over, Director Dazai comes to give them their flight assignments. Misaki is thrilled to learn she's going to Hawaii.

Ooki clasps Wakamura's hands as Sekiyama and Misaki look on in shock.

Watanabe brings the exam results for Nakahara and Oogi. Misaki sees Nakahara in the lobby and calls out to him, but is intercepted by Ooki who announces to the girls that his dream of five years has finally been achieved. Misaki asks about Nakahara and learns that he didn't pass.

Nakahara and Misaki looking serious on the basketball court.

Misaki searches for Nakahara and finally finds him on the basketball court. He says he's not upset, but she can see that he's sad. She tells him that it's because he always acts so strong that he didn't pass and that there's always next year. He retorts that she's annoying and a genius at pissing people off.

Misaki sits on a swing while speaking with Wakamura and Sekiyama.

After Nakahara storms off, the girls ask Misaki why her conversation turned into an argument. They suggest that she make an apology. Misaki says it's fine, but Wakamura asks her to be more honest and maybe more gentle. This time Misaki gets angry and leaves.

Misaki and Wakamura's father in front of the soba shop.

The next day, Misaki passes the soba shop on her way to work and Wakamura's father comes out to congratulate her on getting to flying internationally. Then he starts crying that his baby has grown up and asks Misaki to take care of her. Misaki continues happily on to work, though as luck would have it, she steps in dog poop on the way.

Misaki arrives at the Narita airport operations office and finds that Asou will once again be her instructor. Then Mikami will be providing training once in Honolulu.

Mikami, Asou and Misaki talk to a sheepish Tsutsumi in the lobby.

Tsutsumi is excited to by on the flight to Hawaii. He looks forward to seeing women in bikinis. Misaki tells him that she'll report him if he cheats on Sekiyama. As the cabin attendants continue down the lobby, Asou asks Misaki why she has so much luggage. The others sent theirs ahead since there's a limit to how many carry-ons are permitted.

Misaki takes the passenger's drink order.

Misaki has a passenger who is very nervous about flying for the first time. He asks for something to calm him, and she offers to bring him alcohol. He orders a double whiskey and water, which she brings to him extra strong as requested.  After helping some trying passengers, Misaki is called upon again by the man who wants another drink. 

Misaki and Mikami in the galley.  Misaki and Asou try to calm the drunk passenger down.

When Misaki goes to the galley and prepares the whiskey, Mikami tells her that she shouldn't let him drink anymore. Misaki explains that he's anxious and Mikami starts to tell her about the air pressure, when the man starts yelling from the cabin. Misaki rushes to calm him down, but he's drunk and shoves her, spilling another passenger's drink onto his papers much to his annoyance.

Misaki and Asou talk while the passenger snoozes on a row of seats.

The cabin attendants get the drunk passenger settled for a nap. Asou explains to Misaki that due to the air pressure, people get drunk more easily. She urges her to be more careful in the future.

Misaki is repentant in the galley.

Mikami tells Misaki that accommodating all a passenger's requests and being gentle are two different things. Misaki apologizes.

Nakahara talks to Watanabe while performing maintenance.

Watanabe asks Nakahara to go to Narita airport for three days and show them a real engineer's ability. Then he tells him that he himself, like Ooki, took five years to get the first class qualifications. If you try your best, but still fail, it doesn't mean that it was for nothing. Failing is the process to succeeding.

An arial view of Oahu.  Misaki is delighted while Asou puts on an unaffected air.

Finally, Hawaii can be seen from the window. After deplaning, the crew reports to the shuttle to take them to the hotel and find that Misaki is missing.

Misaki gestures wildly as the guard dog barks.  Two security officers do sniff tests on Misaki's shoe.

Meanwhile, Misaki has been detained at baggage claim when a security dog started barking at her. She is taken to a room and asked to open her suitcase. She digs through her belongings and brings out the natto, saying she has already declared it. That doesn't seem to be the problem. A security officer takes Misaki's shoe from a bag and smells the dog poo on it. Mystery solved, Misaki is released and rejoins the crew to explain the embarrassing situation.

The crew rides the shuttle to the hotel in Attention Please.

Once in the shuttle, Asou reminds Misaki that they are not there to play. The resting time is longer than usual, so she should use her time effectively. Misaki assures her that she is going to learn Hawaii's history and culture properly.

Hula dancers on Waikiki Beach.  A view of Diamond Head.

The crew sees hula dancers as they drive along Waikiki Beach. Misaki wonders if she could also do the hula. Mikami says it's impossible since to the local Hawaiians, the hula dance is the voice from the heart of Hawaiian culture. She asks Misaki if she knows about the Aloha Spirit and Misaki is confused. Mikami tells her that people don't come to Hawaii for just the beautiful view, they keep coming back due to the gentleness of Aloha. Therefore, people who go around with a tourist book would not be able to dance the hula.

The shuttle in front of the Hawaii Prince Hotel.  The girls talk in the lobby with a view of the marina.

When the shuttle arrives at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, Misaki asks Mikami to introduce her to a hula teacher and they agree to meet in an hour. Misaki checks her watch and notices that it's sunrise in Japan. Meanwhile at that moment, Nakahara is also checking his watch.

Misaki meets Mr Nakata for the first time.

Mikami takes Misaki to the house of Nakata, a third generation Hawaii resident of Japanese descent. His daughter, Lisa, is aiming to be a kumu hula (hula teacher).

Misaki and Lisa practice in front of a mirror.  Lisa tries to correct Misaki's form.

Lisa takes Misaki to the studio and teaches her that the kaholo is the most basic step. Misaki has a hard time grasping the posture and movements. Lisa tells her that in order to learn hula, she must first learn about Hawaiian culture thoroughly.

Tsutsumi sparkles as the human from of Kamapua'a.  Then he looks silly in a goofy pig costume.

Long ago there lived a handsome god in a white castle whose name was Kamapua'a. But once when he was angry and revealed his true self, he transformed into a fearsome pig. He was a half human, half pig god. 

Tsutsumi as Kamapua'a makes off with bikini clad women.  Pele zaps him with her stick and sets his tail on fire.

Kamapua'a was very handsome in his human form and popular with women. He would often kidnap them to his castle. The fire goddess, Pele, saw through this and said, "That is not a human, it's a pig." She set his tail on fire and chased Kamapua'a away. Thus, peace was restored to the beach.

Mikami and Lisa are approached by one of the children on a beautiful beach.

Lisa asks Misaki why she wants to learn hula. She says if Misaki tells a lie on this beach, Pele will come after her. She reminds her of Pele's stick and demands a truthful answer. Misaki is saved when one of the hula students comes tell Lisa that someone is looking for her.

Lisa and the passenger face each other in front of a canal lined with coconut trees.

Misaki watches as Lisa meets up with the one of her passengers; the man whose papers got spilled on in the scuffle. He shows Lisa a letter and asks that they talk it over. She pushes him away and tells him to go back. Later, Misaki asks Lisa if the man is her boyfriend, but she denies it.

The entrance to Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park.  The crew dining at the luau.

That night, the crew goes to Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park to see the fire dancing during dinner. Mikami asks Misaki how the hula is coming along and Misaki assures her that the teacher had to show her only once before she mastered the lesson. Tsutsumi seems distracted and leaves the table before anyone else.

Misaki's grimaces after tasting poi for the first time.

Misaki shows Asou her cup of poi and asks her what it is. Asou explains that it's taro root paste. Mikami adds that it's also said that your knowledge will grow a lot if you eat it. Misaki gives it a try and then grimaces. Mikami tells her that it's not supposed to be eaten alone.

Misaki gets in-between Tsutsumi and the woman he's trying to take on a night flight.

Tsutsumi goes to the bar and is hitting on a woman there, when Misaki comes over and ruins it for him.

Misaki asleep in the back of a truck.  Misaki's shoe is left behind as the truck drives away.

Later, Misaki goes for a walk and takes a rest on the back of a truck. She's so tired, that she leans back and is instantly asleep. She doesn't even wake up once the truck starts moving and her shoe drops off.

The hotel manager helps the crew report Misaki as missing to the police.

Tsutsumi finds Misaki's shoe and identifies it by smell - yes, it still stinks. He goes back to the table and tells the others that Misaki may have been kidnapped. They return to the hotel where the police are called to make a report.

Wakamura is shocked as Sekiyama cries to her.

The next morning, Tsutsumi calls Sekiyama to tell her that Misaki is missing. Sekiyama runs over to where Wakamura is talking to Nakahara (who has explained that he's at Narita to learn) and reports that Misaki has been kidnapped. Wakamura goes into panic mode, tells Nakahara to calm down, and rushes off to place a call to Hawaii.

Misaki watches as a shirtless tattooed man in lavalava and feathered helmet approaches.

Misaki wakes up to find that she has no idea where she is. She sees a native approach and calls out a cautious "Hello." But then he's joined by two more, and Misaki runs off in panic. They give chase, calling for her to stop, but she keeps going until she reaches a parking lot. Then she looks behind her and realizes that she's still at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, and those were dancers who were chasing her. She calls out an apology and runs off.

Misaki bows deeply in apology to Tsutsumi, Mikami and Asou.

Tsutsumi, Asou and Mikami wait in the lobby. Tsutsumi says he'll miss Misaki. Asou regrets that she wasn't nicer to her. Mikami receives a call at the front desk which turns out to be Wakamura inquiring about Misaki. Just then, Misaki comes in wearing one shoe, and explains that she had fallen asleep on a garbage truck. She apologizes, and Mikami reminds her of her hula lesson that she's two hours late for. Mikami rushes off. Meanwhile, Wakamura and Sekiyama are relieved to know Misaki is back and they try to inform Nakahara, but he's already left.

The note from Hiroto to Lisa.  Misaki runs into the studio two hours late.

At the dance studio, Lisa is reading a note from Hiroto that says he will return to Japan the following day. Misaki runs in and assures Lisa that she remembers the steps she learned the day before. Lisa tells her that hula is not something you can do properly just by remembering the steps. First you need to understand the meaning of the song, then you need to feel it and show it in the dance. 

Ueto Aya as Misaki and Harada Natsuki as Lisa, get into a heated argument.

Misaki begins dancing, but Lisa stops her and asks if she's going to do it properly. Misaki defends herself saying that she was doing it naturally, and even if she did it a little wrong, it's fine if she's having fun. Lisa says that she's never had a student like her, Misaki doesn't understand the Aloha Spirit, and she can't believe that Misaki's work is giving service to people. She's definitely the worst cabin attendant.

Misaki wants to know if Lisa understands it. Lisa says that since Misaki doesn't understand anything before doing it, she'll never be able to do anything. Misaki asks if only people who dance there understand. Lisa tells her that she's the worst and Misaki responds in kind, telling Lisa she'll never be a kumu hula. Lisa says she really has the ability to anger people and orders her out.

Mikami and Misaki talk with a backdrop of coconut trees.

As Misaki leaves, she remembers that Nakahara had said the same thing to her. She runs into Mikami who is out training for the Honolulu Marathon and recounts the argument she'd had with Lisa. She says that it always happens that way, where she doesn't mean to pick a fight, and doesn't notice it's headed that way until she's angry. She concedes that maybe she shouldn't be a cabin attendant and asks Mikami if that's also why she's disappointed in her. She's not good at being gentle to people, so she isn't a good fit for the job.

Mikami tells her that the basis of communication in work or with people is the same. First is to understand. Did Misaki understand Lisa? Misaki replies that their ways of thinking are different and Lisa is not Japanese. Mikami counters that by that logic, people of different races, ages and health would not be able to understand each other. Then there are only a small number of passengers that Misaki can understand. Mikami continues her run and Misaki goes back to the dance studio.

Misaki finds Lisa dancing and crying with the emotion of the dance. She apologizes to Lisa, and Lisa tells her that she's stopping practice for the day and leaves.

Hiroto and Misaki have tea.

Misaki spends some time in quiet contemplation at the beach. When she returns to the hotel, she bumps into Hiroto. They apologize to each other for what happened on the plane. Hiroto explains that he was frustrated. He had suddenly gotten a letter in which his fiancee broke up with him.

Misaki admits that she does know Lisa a little. Hiroto tells her that he had met Lisa when he came to Honolulu. He wanted to get married, and she liked him too. But when he asked her why she was breaking up with him, she just said that she hates him. Though he still likes her, she told him to go back, so he's returning to Japan the following day.

Misaki goes to her room and thinks about Lisa who was crying while dancing.

Tsutsumi, played by Koizumi Kotaro, is finally getting close to a woman in Waikiki.

Tsutsumi has finally found a woman who likes him. They walk past the Duke Kahanamoku statue and he tells her that he'll take her on a night flight. He's interrupted by a phone call. It's Misaki accusing him of cheating and having his arms around another woman. She threatens to tell Sekiyama unless he does exactly as she tells him.

Misaki crouches with Hiroto to spy on Tsutsumi and Lisa.

Misaki stops Hiroto from leaving, claiming that something is wrong with Lisa. She brings him to where they can see Tsutsumi and Lisa talking on the beach. Misaki tells him that Tsutsumi is her co-pilot and a notorious playboy; a modern day Kamapua'a.

Tsutsumi asks Lisa to go out with him and she tells him that he's not her type. He tries to think of a way to keep her from leaving and she just wants to know where Misaki is. Finally she gets up to leave and Tsutsumi holds onto her.

Hiroto runs to the rescue with Misaki flailing after him.  Tsutsumi ends up with a bloody nose.

When Hiroto sees Lisa struggling to get away from Tsutsumi, he runs out and punches him. Lisa tells him to leave and that she hates him. Misaki accuses her of lying and reminds her that she will pay the price to Pele if she lies on that beach.

Misaki, Lisa, Hiroto and Tsutsumi on a sunny beach.

Lisa tells Misaki that she doesn't understand, but Misaki insists that she does because she saw Lisa's dance the day before. Her feelings showed in the hula and it was obvious that she really likes Hiroto and can't be without him.

Lisa and Hiroto embrace.  Tsutsumi and Misaki look on.

Lisa admits that she likes Hiroto, but she can't marry him because she can't leave Hawaii. Her dream is to become a kumu hula and she loves Hawaii just as much as she loves Hiroto. He tells her that he never asked her to relocate to Japan. He will move to Hawaii because he always wants to watch Lisa's hula.

Fueki Yuko as Asou, and Maya Miki as Mikami, join Misaki in the hula.

The crew is invited to Lisa and Hiroto's engagement party where the women join the dancing. Lisa apologizes to Misaki and tells her that she has the Aloha Spirit. She explains what the letters stand for in aloha:

A - Akahai - high class and gentleness
L - Lokahi - harmony
O - Olu'olu - being agreeable
H - Ha'aha'a - modesty
A - Ahonui - patience

Together they make "Aloha" which is a way to greet people in Hawaii.

Lisa and Misaki talk at the engagement party.

Misaki thinks it sounds suitable. She's learned all of these qualities before in the training center for cabin attendants, but she forgot them. Lisa says it's okay because Misaki is a gentle, wonderful person and it will be acknowledged by the person she likes.

Nakahara and Misaki stand face to face on the street.

Later, as Misaki is walking along Kalakaua Blvd., a taxi stops and Nakahara gets out. Misaki asks him why he's in Hawaii and he tells her it's because she's there. They apologize to each other. Nakahara explains that he was vexed after failing the exam and apologizes for making her worry. He's determined to pass the following year.

Nakahara and Misaki look at the green sunset from Punchbowl Crater.

They go up to Punchbowl Crater to watch the sunset and Misaki wonders if she should say it; the first thing she heard from the first friend she had made abroad. Can she say it honestly? She starts to speak, but Nakahara is suddenly distracted by a green flash in the sky.

Lisa and Hiroto watch the sunset together.

Elsewhere, Lisa is explaining to Hiroto that the green flash can be seen for just an instant during sunset. A couple who witnesses this together will stay happily together forever.

Nakahara says it must mean something bad will happen. And he's watching it with Misaki. He decides to leave abruptly.

Lisa gets ready to put the lei over Misaki's head.

The next day, Lisa catches up to Misaki at the airport. She gives her a pikake lei and a big hug.

Mikami and Misaki at the airport.

Mikami observes Misaki giving good service to the passengers that night. After the flight, Misaki tells Mikami that she can continue hula in Japan. Then someday she'll enter a competition and get involved with an American/Japanese exchange with Lisa. Mikami says that is a dream she won't be able to fulfill in 100 years.

Misaki says that their job never ends because humans are the other party and there are different forms of service for different people. She had thought she understood Hawaii after reading some books, but she understood nothing. The meaning of aloha, the legends; seems like she'll never be done learning. Mikami is pleased.

Wakamura and Sekiyama confront Misaki.

Misaki reunites with Wakahara and Sekiyama. Sekiyama asks if nothing really happened in Hawaii. Wakamura remarks that they only watched a green sunset together; she was hoping they would have had a kiss. Misaki is shocked. 

The girls all together in uniform.

Hirota and her friends arrive and they all compare their next international destinations. Then Misaki stops and addresses the camera while the other women look around with puzzled expressions, wondering who she's talking to.

Misaki winks and sticks out her tongue while giving the shaka sign.

"Looking good!"

It seems as though Misaki regressed from when we left her at the end of the series. She was back to not taking things seriously, with Mikami not telling her what she's doing wrong again - they were both frustrating. Also, with all the comprehensive training Misaki received, I find it confusing that no one told her about alcohol's effects while flying or about sending her luggage ahead. However, the evolution of Misaki's gentleness gradually left her with a greater understanding of how to relate to others, which was worth watching.

The legend of Kamapua'a was silly and a complete misrepresentation. He did not live in a white castle, nor did he have to kidnap women since he could seduce almost anyone he wanted. He did clash with Pele, though, and in one version of events, threatened to kidnap her. They were evenly matched in divine power and lived for a time as husband and wife, but their relationship was always tumultuous. Eventually after much battling, they divided up the land into separate domains for each of them, and made an oath to keep to their own territories. I've never heard of a beach where people must tell the truth or suffer the wrath of Pele.

Misaki's expressions after eating poi were hilarious and realistic. I've seen many of those expressions first hand. Mikami told her that it isn't supposed to be eaten alone, which isn't true. Though it is used as the carbohydrate in a meal, eating it alone is quite common. It's simply an acquired taste.

Lisa, the future hula teacher, was the character I took the most issue with. She talked about the Aloha Spirit, but it was clear from the way she taught and the way she spoke with Misaki, that she didn't have it. On top of that, she didn't dance well. I'm guessing she had a lesson or two before filming. Then, though a minor issue, was her unnaturally thick, dark makeup that was perhaps designed to make her look tan and more "Hawaiian".

Despite its shortcomings, the 2007 Special was a fun hour and 37 minutes. It aired six months after the series ended, with the second special coming out a year and four months later. Next stop, Australia!

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