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Japanese AirlineTV Series: Good Luck!  
User currently offlinePlanenutz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3743 times:

A few weeks back I was channel surfing and came across KTSF26, a local channel in the Bay Area that screens shows from Asia (mostly Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino, but on weekends, Farsi and Indian). A show was starting called "Good Luck!", which to my best guess, follows a fictional flight crew through life's problems and travails. The flight crew is from ANA. The broadcast is in Japanese without English subtitles. A quick search on the net revealed that the series ended in 1998. Even though I can't understand a single word of whats being said, I have watched the show each Sunday night for the past 3 weeks.

It's very intereswting because it appears that the show had all access to ANA facilities. The actors wear ANA uniforms, and many scenes are filmed in mainenance hangers amongst 747s in for repear (one of the amin characters is a mechanic). Many scenes are also filmed on the tarmac next to aircaft and ground equipment. Additional filming occurs in what can only be an ANA Flight Ops Center, fully outfitted with computers, staff, and the ANA logo splashed around everywhere (this ops center looks awfully authentic). There are also inflight cabin scenes which are very, very realistic, down to the placement of the galleys and lavatories on a 747, to the appearance of the inflight meals.

Has anyone heard of this TV series and whether or not it was popular in Japan. How long did it air? What kind of commercial agreement did the creators have with ANA?

I'm sure a series like this wouldn't be able to operate in today's security environment with access to planes, hangers, and what would otherwise be secure airport areas.



16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN754pr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3700 times:

This show is on in Hong Kong, as I can't understand much Cantonese I dont watch it but the locations they use are very good, best of all in the hangars!

User currently offlineH. Simpson From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 949 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3679 times:

I just finished seeing the whole series last week (~10 30mins episodes)...it seems they asked ANA a big favor to use their NRT facilities as well as their equipment...also I find the producers had good job on getting those ATC and "japanese accented english" commands right.

But anyhow...it's a TV show, so don't expect much  Smile


User currently offlineN949WP From Hong Kong, joined Feb 2000, 1437 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3666 times:

ANA is the key sponsor of the series. How else do you explain the up-close-&-personal access to many of their facilities for filming? Besides, if you pay close attention, you'll see how conveniently absent are any references or appearances of anything related to arch rival Japan Airlines.

While there might be security considerations, I don't think ANA is THAT paranoid about the issue, and will likely sponsor a sequel should there be demand for it and the terms of the sponsorship deal is attractive enough.


User currently offlinePlanenutz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3552 times:

N949WP: You are correct. Not just JAL, but any other airline are noticeably absent from any scenes. When there are other aircraft around they are obviously obscured so as not to be able to make out which company they belong to. On last nights episode (very dramamtic because the captain was recovering from an injury sustained during safety training) there was a scene where two characters are speaking to eachother and in the background one ANA plane after another taxis by: 747, 767, etc. I'm unsure whether these scens are filmed at Haneda or Narita.



User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3671 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3533 times:

On last nights episode (very dramamtic because the captain was recovering from an injury sustained during safety training) there was a scene where two characters are speaking to eachother and in the background one ANA plane after another taxis by: 747, 767, etc. I'm unsure whether these scens are filmed at Haneda or Narita.

Well, if it was Haneda, it's not at all unusual to see one ANA plane after another taxi by. The main tenants at Haneda are ANA and JAL (smaller companies like AirDo operate there as well, but their fleets are vastly outnumbered by JAL and ANA). ANA is Japan's largest domestic airline and Haneda is Japan's largest domestic airport. So at certain times of day all you will see moving around are ANA planes.

Not saying they didn't purposely keep JAL planes out of the picture (I'm sure they did), just saying it wouldn't be distractingly obvious while watching the show if you've ever seen Haneda in action, and all they would have had to do while filming was wait until a time when they knew the only flights arriving and departing would be ANA flights... which wouldn't be that hard.

Of course, if it's Narita then it's much less realistic, although ANA and JAL are also the two largest tenants there. Still, you'd expect to see some international airlines in the background, at least.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3671 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3492 times:

btw, just a little more info on this show... I asked my wife about it and apparently it ran for the standard Japanese TV drama run, which is about 3 months. It is about a pilot in training, and it apparently stars a guy who is famous in Japan for not being able to sing (sort of their version of William Hung, I guess). It was popular enough for her to have heard of it, but not to actually see it. The 1998 date sounds right.


I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineN228ua From Japan, joined May 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3343 times:

It was probably a marketing gimmick. Here in Japan, if you are on TV, you are pretty much guaranteed success and lots of money. Constant advertising, in any form is the only way to survive here.





User currently offlineANA767 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 138 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3271 times:

One of my Japanese students lent me the videos of this drama last year. If I'm not mistaken, it's more recent than 1998. My guess is that it was filmed in 2002.

Also, another student told me that ANA's popularity "leapfrogged" over JAL's because of this series. I find that easy to believe because the star, Takuya Kimura (or Kimutaku) is one of the most popular "idols" in the country. And as for him being the Japanese William Hung, that's not exactly correct. He's a member of arguably Japan's most famous and successful boyband of the last decade called SMAP which is made up of 5 guys who have mediocre to good voices, but nothing nearly as bad as William Hung's. (Moreover, Kimutaku probably has the best voice in the group.)

Even if you can't understand Japanese, this series is really enlightening because you can really see the difference in working environments between the U.S. and Europe and Japan. If you can get your hands on it, I definitely recommend it.


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3671 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3235 times:

If I'm not mistaken, it's more recent than 1998. My guess is that it was filmed in 2002.

Well, I think you've gotta be mistaken then, because my wife has lived here since 2000 and it was on TV while she still lived in Japan. Early 2000 is the earliest it could have been on, I think.

He's a member of arguably Japan's most famous and successful boyband of the last decade called SMAP which is made up of 5 guys who have mediocre to good voices, but nothing nearly as bad as William Hung's.

Yeah, apparently I was mistaken on this - my wife apparently told me the guy in the show is in a group with the guy who can't sing, because she knows I know that guy, but not the guy in the show. I do know SMAP, but I don't know this guy, I only know the guy who can't sing (and yes, he is as bad as William Hung, I have seen him sing solo!). So that's the way she explained it and I misinterpreted it.

Also, another student told me that ANA's popularity "leapfrogged" over JAL's because of this series. I find that easy to believe

I don't. ANA and JAL have always been Japan's two largest carriers; ANA has clearly better service right now, as is evident by the cabin crew rankings that just came out a couple days ago. There are more relevant reasons towards ANA's "leapfrogging" JAL in popularity than this show. ANA has better IFE, they have a more consistent fleet, and they have better service. Regardless, I doubt the difference between the two airlines in terms of ridership is more than a few percent.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineANA767 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 138 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3200 times:

If it matters, both jdorama.com and tbs.co.jp (the website of the Japanese station that broadcast the program) show "Good Luck" as having been aired from 1/19/2003 through 3/23/2003. Here's a good synopsis of the story from jdorama.com:

Having achieved his life-long dream of being a pilot, Hajime is first officer on an international jetliner and is now working to become a captain. But he can't seem to please Captain Mizushima, who has become an exacting taskmaster since an air incident many years ago. To complicate matters, he begins a relationship with stubborn and straight-talking mechanic, Ayumi, whose parents died many years ago in the plane crash for which Captain Mizushima feels he is responsible. What follows is a story of 21st century love, dreams and passion.

As for the popularity of ANA v. JAL, I only reported what I heard from my student. According to her - and corroborated by another student - this drama was such a hit that many of the show's fans wanted to try flying ANA because of its new "cooler" image. (I guess some people thought Kimutaku would be piloting their next flight.)  Big grin

Lastly, I think you're probably referring to Nakai, the member of SMAP that has the worst voice. It's true that it's not that great, but I never think of William Hung when I see him. I guess it's because he has other talents such as TV show hosting and acting that William doesn't seem to have. Plus there are so many Japanese idols that have little to no singing talent, that he doesn't stick out that much.


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3671 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3187 times:

Looks like you're right about the dates - I probably misinterpreted again (I may have just assumed my wife knew the show from when she still lived in Japan, she usually doesn't keep up on things there now).

As for what you heard from your students, I am sure the show was a hit and I am sure some young people wanted to fly ANA because of it. But that's a lot different than saying ANA is now more popular among the general population because of a TV show starring a teen idol. I mean Britney Spears sells Pepsi in this country and I'm sure a lot of kids want to drink Pepsi because of that too, but nevertheless, Coke remains more popular because young people aren't the only people that buy soda.

I just have a much easier time believing whatever increase in popularity ANA has had is the result of better service and an overall better experience. They also generally have lower fares than JAL; they seem to purposely undercut JAL's fares by 5-10% in my experience. I'm sure this TV show didn't hurt but I wouldn't be surprised if ANA had already eclipsed JAL even before this show aired (especially now that I know it was on in 2003).



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineUSAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3167 times:

Having lived in Japan when the series first aired from January - March 2003, I heard that after the drama series came out employment applications to both ANA and JAL groups went up about 10-15% compared to the year before... So I suppose it raised awareness of the Japanese commercial airline industry in general while it aired...

Incidentally, my next experience with Japanese aviation in 2003 after the ANA-Good Luck series was being interviewed for a flight operations job at JAL at SFO in October 2003 (shortly after return from Japan). Basically the job description involved supporting the cockpit crews with respect to preparing weather and flight operations data. The competition was fierce for that position - but I learned a lot of interview skills from it.

If you live near a Japanese video rental store, you can rent the Good Luck video series - I believe there are three episodes to a tape, and the usual Japanese drama runs about 11-12 episodes. No subtitles in English, however the videos would be good practice for aviation fans trying to learn Japanese!


User currently offlineLImamura From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3082 times:

ANA for the longest time was the domestic airline of Japan, so it catered towards the Japanese only, and JAL catered to the International travellers. It is just recently that ANA has begun to expand Internationally, so the operating concept is still very Japanese, which is one reason why ANA may have superior service over JAL. JAL operating concept is less Japanese and more targeted for passenger of all countries and not just the Japanese, so on some of the inflight service they are more relaxed than ANA, which in turn sometimes makes the service on JAL not as attentive.

As far as popularity of ANA due to "Good Luck" airing in Japan. ANA gained a lot of passengers due to this show because in Japan people are influenced very easily through advertising and media. Also, not mentioned is that the Japanese boyband "SMAP" advertises for ANA so ANA gains a lot of the girls/women passengers in Japan. It is like the group N'Sync or Backstreet Boys advertising for an airline you will have all those fans wanting to fly on whatever airline they advertise for.



User currently offlinePlanenutz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3016 times:

Here's a link to the show's website. I really wish I could read Japanese!

http://www.tbs.co.jp/goodluck/contents.html


User currently offlineANA767 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 138 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2979 times:

I forgot to mention before that I was reading an article about ANA in a Japanese airline magazine that talked about "Good Luck". Especially interesting was the flight attendant interview section in which some actual ANA cabin attendants detailed some of their real-life awkward/difficult situations and kind of compared them to the somewhat contrived "emergencies" in the drama.

Anyway, I was kind of intrigued by one flight attendant's response. Her most embarrassing situation involved a golf bag that had been left behind. When she realized it had been forgotten, she accidentally blurted out in Japanese the English equivalent of "Whose is this?" instead of the polite phrase (which is hard to translate into English because it has so many honorifics that we don't have). I guess this shows why Japanese carriers, and probably most Asian airlines, are preferred to American ones. If a flight attendant is ashamed of making a small mistake like that, she must have a lot of pride in her job.

Just compare that to the United gate agent in Chicago who snapped at me "you're lucky just to get a seat," when I asked her if there was a first class seat on my new flight after I had missed my original one due to a late connecting flight. I had a first class ticket, so I thought this was pretty rude.


User currently offlineAlexchao From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 688 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 2907 times:

Good luck was definitely aired in 2003, not 1998.

You can hear many references to 2003 in the series: 2003 Crew Training, Operation Iraqi Freedom, etc.

ANA definitely sponsored the series, and it has paid off for ANA. After the series, there was a jump in number of job applications and passengers carried. The series was made to be as realistic as possible with actual crew members and employees of ANA pitching in for the making.

Hmm, the synopsis that ANA767 described is slightly off. The Captain that First Office Hajime Shinkai cannot please is Captain Koda. Captain Mizushima was Shinkai's mentor.


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