Hanzaki Naoki was released in 2013 and I watched it in 2016. It was the best drama in 2013 in ratings by far and there was almost a 50% viewership rating in Japan. Which is crazy. Half of Japan (probably more) would get references to the show Hanzawa Naoki.
The show is about a guy who wants to climb up the corporate ladder at a bank in Japan. The first episode shows him at the interview saying how the bank helped saved his family business with a loan and he wants to join the bank in order to help other people yadda yadda yadda.
The first point I wanna write is OMFG. Aya Ueto is now playing a house waifu. Deng yo. I feel so old. My idols are now jdrama waifu role/age. +_+. It’s like the xkcd.
The protagonists in the show are Kanzaki Naoki who is the main character. And his friends who joined in the same year who I don’t remember the names of. There’s this smart looking guy and this retarded guy. The retarded guy is named Kando… cause I really disliked him I actually remembered his name. I guess it’s true what they say… you do remember people who are polarizing.
Naoki is the loan department chief at the bank. He basically verifies if a candidate/company can pay back the loan and does due diligence etc. The branch manager wants his bank to become the #1 branch of the year and so he speeds up a major loan within 3 days of the year ending. He tells Naoki that he’ll accept full responsibility and then coerces him to approve the loan. There are two main arcs to the story that’s shown in the jdrama. The first one is that the big loan of course is a scam and cannot be paid back… and Naoki gets blamed for the loan.
There are a few famous quotes in the movie. The first one is the manager gets all the credit while the subordinates get all the blame. I think that actually happens in Japan a lot and in most companies too. In a way the drama is just a reflection of the harsh truth of reality. I think the reason that this jdrama does so well is that everyone has experienced this working in Japan. Even when you become the manager / CEO. You had to climb up the ladder and during the climb you probably had to eat shit and stuff. Of course I’m sure the darma overexaggerates stuff. Like when the boss literally grabs and squeezes the balls of his subordinates. I think that’s one thing that’s way different in Silicon Valley / The States. While I think it does happen… it happens to a lesser degree. And the other thing is… in regards to both Japan/US. When your boss gets promoted and you helped them usually you get pulled up as well? I dunno. The corporate ladder is hard everywhere so I guess that’s why this drama has universal appeal.
Ni bai kaese. Naoki has this saying where however you treat him he’ll return it back to you… twofold. So basically… when his manager screwed him over with the shitty loan. He’s like I’ll make you pay. Twice. This being a drama and stuff… Naoki obviously eventually wins. Cause you know. Justice prevails in the end. I think in a way that’s also why this show was so good. Of course everyone roots for Naoki because everyone likes the small guy and the underdog. I gues it’s really impressive how he can maintain his attitude of if you fuck me over I’ll fuck you over back 10x. Even when everything looks like shit. My own personal opinion is that it’s like survivorship bias. Since this is a drama of course everything falls into place and he makes it out alive giri giri safe. But in reality… if Naoki existed he’d probably have a really low survival rate. I think that in Japan… having ability doesn’t really protect you as much as connections and stuff. I guess that’s why America is better. But even in America or anywhere… there’s no such thing as a true meritocracy. At any point in time.. there’s someone dumber than you making more than you. And there’s someone smarter than you making less. That’s just the way the world is.
Kando. My most hated character in the show. He’s just so… useless. It’s kinda depressing. He was traumatized and got what’s the world. Shellshocked? Basically his boss yelled at him and he got a mental breakdown / panic attack. And then since then he’s just been broken. I guess coming from a very Ayn Rand belief that you are the master of your own destiny. I think it’s gross that he would let himself get uh… bullied into trauma. The other thing that I didn’t like about the character is that his crazy retarded bounces. He basically goes from shit -> badass -> shit -> badass -> shit -> shit. I feel that one doesn’t really go from shit -> badass overnight. But maybe that’s just my limiting belief. I think you can go from badass -> shit pretty easily though. Just slip on a banana peel. But if you were previously a badass and you turn to shit. It’s not too hard to become a badass again. I dunno… I guess his character is interesting in a sense that he’s just so weak. How can a person be so mentally weak? Maybe I’ve just adopted better beliefs now.
The other thing that made this drama weird is how the groups walk in the show. It is a drama so everything is overdramatized. Like how you know in the movies you have a swat team drive up to arrest a blue collar criminal from his home. Seriously? You need a swat team to arrest a money launderer with his family? There’s like the Japanese version of the IRS that audits the bank. And they walk around like the swat team. With the leader at the front and a group of people marching in formation. I wonder if people actually walk in formation like that in Japan? I find that really hard to believe…The other thing is all the crazy crazy coincidences that happen. It’s like… everything is always giri giri safe. Like… when they are missing a crucial piece of information… that piece of information will magically get delievered at the last moment from some random character deus ex style. Well… it’s not totally retarded…. but the way that it happens makes it really hard to buy into for me.
You know what else is weird. It’s that the banker does his own investigation for tracking down the guy who frauded the bank. Like he doesn’t hire a private investigator or use the police. He becomes Sherlock Holmes. O.o. He can just get up and leave his office and become sherlock holmes in his spare time. That’s pretty random. I guess that’s the same thing as Hero. When the lawyer becomes the detective to solve crimes. I just think it’s kinda weird that the office worker can spend like so many days outside the office essentially being free to do whatever he wants. I guess that comes with the stability of the Japanese salaryman. You won’t ever get fired… you only get shipped off to do jobs that nobody wants.
What I did really enjoy about this anime was the pacing. Like… it was really enjoyable in a way because each episode added more information while keeping everything under wraps and stuff. I previously said how everything being giri giri safe makes it hard to believe… but at the same time it makes for a really exciting drama. The cliche of villains saying it’s over when it’s not. For some reason I just… laugh whenever I see it happen. Like with Kurenai says to Itachi it’s over I genjutsu’d your ass. Only to get reversal’d. I don’t get how people can be so blindly confident when it’s legitimately not a done deal. 99% safe is not done. I guess that’s just a villain trope where you gotta always gloat you know. Similar to how when the good guy wins… he always gotta gloat back. I don’t get what’s with the gloating. Action speaks louder than words… unless it’s words following actions I guess.
tl;dr - Hanzawa Naoki is an entertaining jdrama about the Japanese salaryman working at a bank. If you screw me I’ll screw you back 2x. Kando is a useless retard. Aya Ueto is a house waifu. Watch this cause it’s japanese culture. 50%+ ratings yo