How much drama can you pack into a 15-minute train ride?
Kinda hard to recommend this one. Basically it's a soap opera, set on public transit in Kobe. A half-dozen or so stories intertwine, and vignettes range from the trite-ish (eg. a girl is ashamed of her last name; a group of obnoxious middle-aged women function as a farcical Greek chorus) to the heartfelt, even heart-rending (in particular, an eight- year-old girl trying to cope with persistent bullying by classmates).
Unfortunately most of what happens strains credulity--particularly considering that the Japanese simply do not inject themselves with any regularity into the lives and problems of total strangers. Nor are they prone to be as emotional in public.
To sum up, Hankyu is a highly uneven soap opera which does shed light on modern Japanese customs and mores, but you have to wade through a lot of melodrama to get to the better bits.
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