|Image courtesy of http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/katyu09_3302/15716020.html|
"Miss Pilot" revolves around the life of plucky, young high school graduate (portrayed by the incredibly cute and likable star
|The stellar cast of "Miss Pilot" - Image courtesy of http://www.fujitv.co.jp/misspilot/index.html|
|Image courtesy of http://geinou.lovesoku.jp/53779|
|L-R - Iwaki Koichi, Sakuraba Nanami, Aibu Saki, Horikita Maki, Saito Takumi and Nanao|
|Miss Maki - Image courtesy of http://www.karacure.com/pub/FA595ABB-42BC-47A7-86F2-777B170AC464|
|Aibu Saki - Image courtesy of http://www.tv-ranking.com/en/detail/?id=416|
|L-R - Sakuraba Nanami; Nanao|
The scenes shot in America weren't all that bad and the actors hired for the various supporting parts were surprisingly decent, thanks mainly to the hiring of actual minor actors like Brett Gillen (who portrayed one of the pilot instructors) as opposed to amateur, part-time actors as had been used in the past. Even guest star kickboxer/wrestler and "Gaikokujin" talent Bob Sapp's (as dorm cook Roy) acting wasn't all that offensive or off-putting.
|L-R - Shounozaki Ken, Fujii Ryusei, Horikita Maki, Bob Sapp, Aibu Saki, Koyanagi Yu and Mamiya Shotaro - Image courtesy of http://m.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/news/2013/11/11/kiji/K20131111006990710.html|
|Image courtesy of http://youshikibi.com/kaho-every-hero-stand-alone-2013-11-27/|
Even more so than others, Kaho's background is eerily similar to Utada. As with Utada, Kaho is a second-generation singer, the daughter of 80s J-Pop idol 河合 奈保子/Kawai Naoko (whom she bears an uncanny resemblance). Naoko had a string of hits including 「THROUGH THE WINDOW〜月に降る雪〜」/"Through The Window - Tsuki Ni Furuyuki" (1985), 「エスカレーション」/"Escalation" (1983) ,
「スマイル・フォー・ミー」/"Smile For Me" (1981), 「夏のヒロイン」/"Natsu No Heroine" (1982) and 「けんかをやめて」/"Kenka O Yamete" (1982) among others.
The family moved from Japan to settle in Australia where Kaho was primarily raised. Naoko groomed Kaho as a musician and singer early on and nurtured her natural musical talents. From the age of 12, Kaho began to compose her own songs and at age 13, she recorded her first demo CD. With the help of Naoko, Kaho was able to circulate her demo CD to music companies in Japan and she was eagerly signed up by prolific Sony Music producer Miyake Akira, who had also helped Utada with her debut album "First Love".
"Every Hero" was released on 11/27/13 amid some fanfare (it was teased via short PV clips on YouTube as well as via the "Miss Pilot" drama series for a good month prior to its release date). However when it did debut it didn't quite achieve the type of sales numbers that Utada had generated with her debut singles "Automatic", "Moving On Without You" and the massive hit "First Love" - "Every Hero" topped at No. 34 on the Oricon charts. However it was a respectable debut for the young fledgling singer and a good test run of her ability to crack the Japanese Music scene. J-Canuck briefly referenced the song in his article for Kawai Naoko's 「ハーフムーン・セレナーデ」/"Half-Moon Serenade" last October.
While Kaho's music is a bit more rock inspired than Utada, they do share not only a similar vocal style and proficiency in English but could also pass as sisters as they bear a very strikingly similar look and appearance.
|L-R - Kawai Naoko, Kaho and Utada Hikaru|
"Miss Pilot" was one of the better Japanese dramas that showed this past Fall and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was moving, inspirational and sometimes overly emotional but was very much a "cinderella" type of story where one woman's dream of becoming a pilot becomes a reality. Kaho's powerful theme song is a perfect fit for the drama and definitely sets the tone and mood. While "Stewardess Monogatari" still is my sentimental favorite airport-themed drama, "Miss Pilot" certainly ranks as a close second.
The NGN/Japan TV satellite cable network will begin broadcasting "Miss Pilot" beginning tomorrow (1/13/14) in select cities. Definitely check it out!