26 December 2014

ファースト クラス2 First Class 2

Title: ファースト クラス2 Fāsuto Kurasu (First Class) 2 
English Title: First Class 2
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2014
Episode: 10
  • 沢尻エリカ Sawajiri Erika
  • 木村佳乃 Kimura Yoshino
  • 倉科カナ Kurashina Kana
  • 中村倫也 Nakamura Tomoya
  • 岡本圭人 Okamoto Keito
  • ともさかりえ Tomosaka Rie
  • 小島聖 Kojima Hijiri
  • 市川実和子 Ichikawa Miwako
  • 篠原ともえ Shinohara Tomoe
  • 鈴木ちなみ Suzuki Chinami
  • 夏木マリ Natsuki Mari
  • 余貴美子 Yo Kimiko
  • 青柳翔 Aoyagi Sho
  • シシド・カフカ Shishido Kafuka
  • 淵上泰史 Fushigami Yasushi
  • 山谷花純 Yamaya Kazumi
  • 麿赤兒 Maro Sekiji

The fashion magazine First Class published its supposed final issue six months ago, but it has resumed its publication. Unfortunately, Yoshinari Chinami has moved on to achieve her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

Hiroki Rika is hired as the new creative director of the fashion house Tatsuko Yano, which is undergoing a management crisis. Rika organizes a competition between the in-house fashion designers to determine the chief designer of the brand's next collection. Rika has also assigned Chinami to participate in the competition.

First Class 2 is an interesting drama about the fashion industry. ファースト クラス First Class is set in a fashion magazine company, but this sequel is set in a fashion house. I think it's a must-watch drama for people who aspire to work in fashion.

This is not really a sequel in the strictest sense because only the heroine Yoshinari Chinami is cast in First Class 2. Chinami is now working in a company in a completely different segment of the fashion industry, and she's now dealing with another set of vicious women who will do anything to get ahead of others.

I don't think it is really possible for Chinami to change professions so easily, especially since she doesn't really have any special connections or relevant experience or necessary educational background. But it wasn't really realistic that she managed to become the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine from being a newbie intern within a few months, as what happened in the prequel.

I love how the drama uses voice overs so that we can hear what the characters are actually thinking and feeling in a given situation. The discrepancy between the actual thoughts behind the polite words is funny to see, particularly because I think everyone does it to a certain extent.

I don't like how the drama portrays women as calculating at best, and vicious at worst. It's like women can't have a successful career if they are not selfish and cruel, and that's just a sad way of looking at the world.

First Class 2 talks about how women evaluate other women at work in terms of relationships, career, money, assets, etc. The drama also talks about how women constantly compare themselves to other women, and how they are willing to do whatever it takes to at least measure up to other women's level, but preferably to rank higher than them on an arbitrary baseless scale whenever possible.

Narrator: Mounting is the ranking of people relative to oneself in terms of relationships, career, money, assets , etc. People rank other people on a baseless arbitrary scale, and consider other people as either ‘above me’ or ‘below me’. It is unclear what you need to win and be on top, but that’s also part of mounting.

I think the fact that I'm resigned about such a phenomenon is very telling, because my reaction validates its relevance in my experience. I wonder though if such a phenomenon occurs only between women, because surely even men are at least conscious of their social standing compared to their peers?!

Anyway, perhaps I'm being terribly naive but even though I acknowledge that it's somewhat normal for people to compare themselves to other people, I don't think it's necessary to bring other people down in order to succeed.

I mean, even though you are vying with your colleagues for a certain project or for a higher position, it's not necessary to compete in an underhanded way. It would be great if you get what you aimed for but if you didn't, it's possible that bigger and better things await you somewhere else.

However, the drama still poses a very interesting question: if everyone who plays the game is cheating, do you try to work as honorably as you could or do you also cheat your way to level the playing field?

ファースト クラス First Class

ファースト クラス2 First Class 2