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Tsubasa no oreta tenshitachi (2006)
Episode 1 is for Ueto Aya fans
This is a short TV series with four unconnected episodes aired over four straight days 2006/02/27-03/02. They deal with four young women with a secret side. They have left their parents' nest in some provincial town and have moved to Tokyo to seek an independent life. They struggle in a dead-end job, live in their own tiny flat and lead aimless lives. Pay is low and they want more but are still too young to marry. The temptation to sell their bodies in some way is too strong to resist... The title means "Broken-Winged Angels".
In episode 1, young Komine Nanako (Ueto Aya) works as a courier for a parcel delivery company and is dressed in company uniform. Nanako escapes this dreary reality and achieves temporary happiness by frequenting an exclusive women's clothes shop with imported European fashion. The lady owner of this shop, Misa (Sada Mayumi), whom Nanako looks up to, also understands her escapism. Some sacrifices are needed to afford her purchases... Once a week Nanako moonlights as a call girl (probably "enjo kousai" to be correct) and sleeps with some regular in a hotel. She goes to that boutique to dress up before her money-making encounters. She calls herself a "serebu" (from celebrity) on these occasions - and she certainly looks the part.
The moral of the story is that money does not buy happiness. During a delivery round Nanako meets a pre-teenage girl who overhears her making a phone call and telling a lie. The girls tells her that she is a liar. Later they meet again when Nanako notices that the girl has been beaten by a parent. A friendship ensues and by protecting and helping the girl, Nanako learns what is really important in life. That is, good human relationships and not buying clothes and accessories. I think that is an important message to young girls in consumer-oriented Tokyo. In one early scene she hugs and takes a nap with her newly-purchased red dress - sad.
What will be etched in the mind of the viewer in this episode is the main actress, the stunning 21-year old Ueto Aya. We see her as both as an ordinary girl and as the dolled-up mademoiselle. She again demonstrates her versatility and here we do not get to see her effervescent side (as in "Attention Please") but as a lonely woman. Having said that, some of the scenes in this episode contains some of the most beautiful images of a woman ever to grace a television screen. In the scenes in the exclusive boutique and the hotel room Ueto-san is indescribably gorgeous. It really must be seen to be believed.
I was able rent it at my local video rental shop in Japan but the episodes are available separately on DVD in Japan. The series was also broadcast in high-definition TV so hopefully it will be reissued one day on Blu-Ray or HD.