Based (very loosely) on the life of manga-ka Reiko Saibara and her essay Kono Yo de Ichiban Daiji na ‘Kane’ no Hanashi
Eri’s life hasn’t been the easiest. Her mother and birth father separated when she was younger, only to have him come back into her life the day he’s found dead in a ditch. A second father entered her life, a flashy businessman who goes bankrupt when a cousin runs off with all the money, leaving the family dead poor. Kaa-san worked on the docks hauling fish and doing other odd jobs to support the family while her step father gambled it all away – including Eri’s lunch money, making her the target of ridicule in class. Eri retreats to what she loves best in order to cope: drawing.
Eventually, the head of the Aihara family just couldn’t cope anymore. He rounds up the family with the intention of driving them to salvation in death. A plan which backfires when the car crashes and explodes with him trapped inside. Her stepfather’s death brings out everyone he owed money to, soon striping their family home bare when they come calling in his debts. All but the saving her mother hid in a pickling jar behind the floorboards of their small home. Shoving the money into Eri’s hands, her mother tells her to take the money and follow her dream of using her drawings to make money and not be poor any longer.
And thus Eri’s adventures in Tokyo to make lots of money from her drawings begin. Living in the cheapest apartment ever, living on bean sprouts and scavenging for art supplies in the campus garbage, our unlikely heroine’s journey to no longer be poor provides many highs and lows. Through it all, she never once sacrifices her pride, butting heads with the arrogant and letting no one keep her down. Gakeppuchi no Eri (Eri on the Brink) chronicles her amazing journey from poor starving artist to one of the most controversial manga-ka in Japan.
Once you finish watching the drama, you may want to check out the anime version of Saibara-sensei’s Mainichi Kaa-san serialized comic. You can find it streaming with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.
Starring: Yamada Yu, Koizumi Kotaro, Tsukaji Muga, Osugi Ren
TV Station: TV Asahi
Air Dates: July 9, 2010 – Sept 3, 2010