Beautiful Life: Episode 1
The story opens with a woman in a red car and a guy on a motocycle driving along. They both stop at a light and end up having a small argument. He follows the car until it gets to the library and they have another slight argument. When she gets out of the car he sees that she is in a wheelchair.
Kyoko, the girl in the wheelchair, works at the library. She lives with a younger brother and has no boyfriend.
The next day the other girl working at the library is critical of her hair style. A guy named Miyama asks Kyoko out for a date but she is rather nasty to him. Shuji is at the library and they again have a disagreement. He is critical of how she treated Miyama and says that she is feeling sorry for herself.
An older woman is trying to fix Kyoko's brother up with a bride. She and her brother talk and she tells him that Shuji seems to have no "barrier in his heart" about her handicap.
The next day she looks up the book Shuji borrowed to learn his name. The other girl teases her because the book is due that day and she seems to be waiting for Shuji to show up but he doesn't. He ends up returning the book at night, after the library is closed.
Shuji is trying to develop a perm that won't hurt hair, hence his research. He' sort of anti-social in a lot of ways; he's even told he doesn't pay attention to what his customers want. He says he can't go out with his boss and the others drinking, etc.
(Cultural note: In Japan going out after hours with the boss, potential clients, co-workers, etc, is basically part of the job and many working people don't get home until quite late, but this type of socializing is, for all practical purposes, required.)
At the salon where Shuji works there is another stylist who is sort of his rival.
Shuji goes to the library and talks to Kyoko, telling her that there is going to be a magazine shoot at his salon and he'd like her to be the one he works on. She finally agrees and she ends up loving the style he gives her.
She can't understand, though, why anyone would want pictures of her since she is in a wheelchair but the magazine people do and take lots and lots of photos of her.
Kyoko and Shuji enjoy the sunset and then try to get something to eat, but the restaurants are not accessible to people in wheelchairs (or just don't want them), and they end up having to eat from a side-of-the-road ramen stand. When she is ready to go home they end up having a lot of trouble finding a taxi that will stop to pick up a person in a wheelchair.
They both have fun and agree to get together and celebrate if she makes the magazine. She does, but it's in a form that is a major put-down. Even at the salon, Shjui's rival accuses him of using a girl in a wheelchair on purpose to get more space in the magazine than him.
Kyoko runs into the same type of thing at the library where one of the other girls that works there said Kyoko was used by the magazine only because she's in a wheelchair.
He goes to the library to meet her but she isn't there and a co-worker asks Shuji if he used Kyoko. Kyoko and Shuji talk on the phone and he admits he might have used her. He wants to meet her and talk but she is angry and won't meet him.
He still ends up waiting for her in the pouring rain and she later ends up joining him.