...And I think I like this version, too. It's really not the same thing as the manga, which is a good thing, considering that I just read the manga right before watching the drama.
I feel like I should write more, though. So, spoilers for the drama, of course, and spoilers for the manga also (sorry, I did want to separate the drama from the manga, but before I know, I've written most of them together. I'm too tired to take this apart now).
I didn't make note so I can't remember a lot. Anyway, there are seven kids (ten in the manga) in the Yamada family and Taro is the big brother. (His younger siblings call him "An-chan" which I find way too cute. :) Yamada is the one who is working to support his family, because his mother likes to shop for useless stuff with the money she doesn't have (kinda disappointed that this isn't really shown in the drama). He has a special ability to hear (and subsequently locate) a presence of money from a one kilometer radius, a useful ability for a poor person, to be sure, but again, I'm rather disappointed that this is totally underused in the drama.
Things switched around a bit. Unlike in the manga, where his friend Mimura already knew Taro (and his need to support his family), the drama start with Mimura getting curious about Yamada (well, technically, this is also in the manga, but more as a side-story in the last volume).
I enjoyed the maid story (episode 2) in the drama better than the one in the manga. Unlike in the drama, manga!Taro doesn't even put on a wig; I was so surprised no one saw through the charade in five minutes. However, he seems to be a little more cunning (i.e. using theatrical feminine wiles) about not getting caught, so maybe people only see what they are told to see.
And, drama!Ikegami mama is an improvement. (Love her teaching Taro how to buy groceries super-cheap in episode 3.) In fact, character-wise, everyone is an improvement (especially Ikegami herself), except for the guy I'm really fond of in the manga. I'm very disappointed that his crush on Yamada is almost dropped entirely. It got picked up somewhat starting from episode 6, so I got my hope up a little bit, but have to say in the end, the writers should just let it stay dropped. True, it drives the story in episode 8 (the one where they all follow Yamada home), and I actually find it realistic, for the amount of time involved since Sugiura is probably still in denial about his liking Yamada, but he comes across as spiteful (in the manga, a woman fills this role of exposing Yamada as a poor person). Ah...I'm probably biased, but Sugiura fangirling Yamada was one of the real highlights I was really looking forward to in the drama and to see half-hearted attempts made me feel like they should just not bother. (He was a senpai, too, in the manga, which make the whole thing all the more cute there instead of creepy, which was the kind of impressions I got from the drama.)
Anyway, as I said, episode 3 is the adventure in supermarket shopping (Taro looks so out of place among all the women, ha ha). I think it's also the one (or maybe it's episode 2, but I imagine being a maid is all tiring for Taro for that whole episode) where Ikegami volunteered to work in the principal's garden because Taro did, since someone (Mimura?) told him he could have taken the produces home. Anyway, I kind of pity Ikegami at the end of this episode. She found out Yamada was poor and that he worshiped her mother in one big swoop.
Episode 4 is the one Yamada papa returns. This looks to be a mixture of a few manga chapters. Ikegami, having her dream crushed because Yamada is poor as dirt, found Kasuo and immediately fell in love because of his facial similarity to Yamada (ah, it's because he's Yamada's father, but Ikegami didn't know that). And, of course, Ikegami doesn't get abused of her notion of Kasuo being rich (he was talking to someone in a limousine when she first spied on him) until almost the end of the episode.
There seem to be something about bears and dancing as well. This is picked up from episode 2, where there was a sort of explanation of why Mimura would make Taro wear a maid costume. It's better than the manga where there is absolutely no attempt to explain Mimura's motivation of doing the same thing, or spending time on Taro in general (and laughing at the fallout) other than to find him "interesting."
(As an aside, I think he and Nagahara-sensei should really get along well, since they both like to regard people close to them as toys (Taro (and Ikegami) in Mimura's case and Torii-sensei (and possibly Taro) in Nagahara's case).)
Late in the manga (volume 13), there is a snotty kid Kasuo picked up from his latest travel to an Arab country. Alan reminds me of him. Though the manga kid become fond of Itsuko after fighting with her for a while. This makes little sense to me. Or maybe not. Love is an emotion not too far from hate, after all, and kids being kids probably don't recognize their feelings. (Actually, she reminds him of his beloved-but-dead pet...) I think Itsuko is pretty much whatever about it, but the kid's family is going to give her money (and she can be useful to her An-chan, for a change), so she goes along.
(And they seem to re-write the backstory of Kasuo and Ayako in the drama. Not that it's very important to the overall story, but it's another difference from the manga.)
Anyway, back to the drama, Alan is generally being a brat and hating everything in the Yamada house, including its occupants. Taro snaps when it is one too many times that Alan is being totally rude. So he challenges Alan. And that brings the story to the bear costume. I admit, I got totally fooled on this one. I really thought Taro has gotten so good at being a dancing bear in so short a time. Nah, it's Mimura's butler
(whose name sounds like "busy" in Japanese, but I'm sure I've misheard)
, Isogai, in the bear costume. And Alan laughed when the butler fell down and his bear head came off. I think Taro cheated, but he did get the boy to laugh, even if he (Taro) wasn't the one to fall down himself.
Okay, I have a rusty recollection of episode 5 (and it has been only a little over a week since I watched it). Well, I'm pretty sure it vaguely has something to do with Ikegami giving her kimono(?) to Taro to give to Yoshiko and them all going to some kind of a festival (tanabata, I think, where they write wishes on little cards tied on a tree) at a temple. (Personally, Ikegami is a selfish character who doesn't exactly bother me. But of course I'm glad to see her thinking of someone else instead of herself once in a while.) And I hope it's the episode Taro makes a biiiiiiiig (okay, wrote this before seeing the fanficrants
thing, but I'm not going to revert it to a plain boring 'big') list on things needed to be done. (Pan for Itsuko, roof repair, etc.) As an attempt to rationalize my poor memory, I kind of think 5 is the episode with the least plot, just the characters going through their daily lives or chores, like a vignette more than a story. Still, that didn't make me like the episode any less.
Episode 6 is mostly a remake of chapter 20 of the manga, with a little of another chapter. However, Kotani-senpai is still in school in the manga, not a graduate. And there is a little in the beginning of the drama where Taro feels strangely nervous and excited in front of a beautiful woman. Mimura, helpful friend he is, says Taro is in love, no question about it. Which leads to Taro being confused and more nervous that he has the same reaction to another woman (a maid) also. Turns out (I don't remember how this is revealed) Taro is sensitive to pleasant food smell (well, he's poor, and good food for his family is mostly all he thinks about), and these women have been cooking a lot (one is teaching the other one at Mimura's house). (In the manga, turns out the women are employees of the bank Mimura patronizes. So, as far as I understand, Taro was sensitive to the smell (or something) of the large presence of money these women handle.)
(I forgot about the dorayaki (that pancake-like thing Doraemon loves to eat) reference in the manga. The manga-ka drew Yamada's hand as Doraemon's hand in one scene as he's holding the dorayaki.
And I begin to wonder if I'm the only person who knows Doraemon.
Anyway, back to the main story, Kotani-senpai is looking for a student to act in her movie. She spies Taro, in love with his image, and wants him in her movie. And what Kotani wants, she gets (though she did work hard in the manga--took her 10 attempts to entice Taro--who, after finding out who Kotani's family was, took the first initiative and bargained to the best of his ability).
I think drama!Taro asks for too little. His performance is certainly worthed more than one box of New Kotani pancake mix (which is only 700 yens--500 in the manga) and free passes to the hotel pool.
I'm meh that the drama put the romance in the movie (though I sort of see why), but I'm glad the drama ending itself remains mostly romance-free. Having Taro act so badly in a romantic role is a nice touch, compared to his better performance in the poor person role (because he's essentially playing himself; not that anyone--other than Ikegami and Mimura--really realizes that).
I very vaguely recall reading a review (from two years ago, if I'm not mistaken) of a real Hollywood(?) movie "Letters from..." (this is as far as I can remember with the title), or more accurately, a review of Taro's actor's performance in it. What Kotani said to Taro about the Hollywood movie she planned to make immediately brought to mind this war movie. I know it's probably not even worth pointing out, but I must be the only person who didn't come into YTM drama through Arashi, so, in actuality, I should have remained clueless about this movie's existence. (Yeah, I'll look up the movie name, because I was curious about it even then, but more so now.)
And Ikegami? I don't think it's so surprising that you'll lose to a hamburger. :P (Manga!Ikegami realized pretty early on that the easiest way to get Taro to do anything is to feed him and his family.)
Don't remember which episode(s) specifically, but I only noticed the siblings' names start with numbers (from three at least) when I saw their names at the plants they grew.
Episode 7 is my favorite for the shallow reason that Yamada made another poor soul fall for him (and he was so charmingly oblivious to that fact). Man, I complained already that drama!Sugiura isn't exactly what I expected, but I love this plotline so much I'll take any scrap of it I get. (Yeah, forget I ever said, "they should just not bother.")
Okay, so Ikegami was giving up on Yamada, but her best friend (whose name I'm blanking on) thought she shouldn't, so she (the friend) hatched up a plan to get Ikegami and Yamada together. Which was to have a study session at a temple. Ikegami was protesting, so her friend mention broaching the idea to Mimura instead and have him invite Yamada to come along. But, surprisingly (to me), Yamada agreed easily. I mean, Mimura gave another one of his pep talks (which, I think, are mostly nonexistent in the manga), but I didn't think Yamada could, even for a day, resist thinking about his family. Guess I should have more faith in him (drama!Taro, at least).
Before this, the Yamada siblings want to give their An-chan a holiday (awww, how sweet), but Taro is reluctant, which is a very understandable reaction. Their well-meaning helping might cause more trouble in the long-run (or even in the short-run). (Examples in the manga, though it's not the siblings who made problem.) But that's just me being cynical. Taro probably has a pure-hearted no-other-motive love for his family and doesn't wish to see them work or being tired.
The teacher who always follows Torii around is a priest. This surprised me, for a minute. And then I begin to hope there would be something funny coming out of this. I guess I'm not really disappointed.
And I cried. Man I cried at the end. Everyone was just so sweet. Even Torii-sensei, who at first looked as if she wanted to be elsewhere.
...I seem to have lost my train of thoughts somewhere, so hopefully another post sometimes after I post about other things. (Or maybe not. I think I have virtually no audience for this. Not that I'd advertise such a disconnected, stream-of-consciousness post elsewhere. When this could possibly be graded, maybe.)