Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Buzzer Beat - ブザー・ビート

This is one of my absolute favourite dramas now (if something like "absolute favourite" exists=P) and this is not just because I adore Yamashita Tomohisa (a tiny little bit) but also because it's a beautiful composed dorama. I really like the idea of bringing a sensitive musician together with a professional athlete. The title Buzzer Beat can be explained by being the very last shot that goes into the goal just as the buzzer announces the end of a game.

Plot:
Kamyia Naoki (Yamashita Tomohisa) is a professional basketball player of "JC ARCS". Although he's not as tall as his team mates, they all work together really well and Naoki is one of the best players among them. Strangely he always gets nervous in the important games and does not play as well as he did during training.He's getting along well with his current girlfriend Nanami Natsuki (Aibu Saki) who happens to be in the chearleeding squad too. Just before an important game Naoki proposes to her and she accepts under the condition that his team has to win.
Shirakawa Riko (Kitakawa Keiko) is a true -hearted college graduate who wants to become a professional violinist really badly. Together with her best friend Ebina Mai (Kanjiya Shihori) who plays the flute she moves into a small flat. Although Riko plays the violin beautifully she doesn't get hired for the orchestra she auditioned; still she doesn't want to give up and practices every single day. Mai gets accepted but because one person can't afford the flat they're living in with making music, they both have to work at a book shop.
One day it happens to be the same bus Naoki and his friend and Riko and Mai are taking and as the story has to develop, Naoki accidentally leaves his mobile phone in the bus. Mai notices the guy running next to the bus like crazy and then discovers the mobile phone next to them. They talk to somebody on the phone and they set up a meeting to return the phone.
At the meeting place Riko and Mai meet Naoki's head coach Kawasaki Tomoya (Ito Hideaki) for the first time who receives the phone instead of Naoki himself. As he sees Riko for the first time he falls for her straightaway. The two start to meet each other but it's not dating yet. Riko doesn't know how to feel about him and takes her time in sorting them out. Meanwhile someone visits the park Riko is living next to very often, doing some sport. Riko has extremely sensitive ears and is always listening to some kind of sound she can't really classify. After some time she looks out of the window wondering who the person responsible for the noise is. This is how Naoki and Riko meet for the first time. They develop a close friendship and Naoki is coming to the park to practice very often. As time goes by, Riko is dating the head coach of JC ARCS and kind of sure of her feelings but when Kawasaki tells his parents that she's going to be his future wife she starts to waver again. It's somehow obvious that she already develops feelings for Naoki who is still with Natsuki.
As the team is in great dispair because the management doesn't have enough money to pay all the players, they take in the famous player Yoyogi Ren (Kaneko Nobuaki) who is no team player at all. As if his attitude (especially against Naoki) wouldn't be enough, he also flirts with Natsuki who falls for the more adventurous guy. On the other hand she doesn't want to leave Naoki because he's the more sensitive and caring one. Desoite the fact that Naoki hasn't descovered her affair yet, Naoki seems to like Riko more that a usual friend too but because of his loyalty he can't let those feelings rule him.
When Kawasaki takes Riko to a JC ARCS festival it' revealed that he only wanted to win a bet with her and although he swears that his feelings are real, Riko runs away. At the festival she discovers that the key chains of the players are all sold out exept for number 8 (Naoki) and so she decides to buy one. Some days later Riko confesses to Naoki by kissing him in the park but unfortunately he turns her down. The mood between the two of them gets strange and they don't meet as often as they did before. In addition to that Naoki and Natsuki break up because of Yoyogi. When the whole team goes on a training camp, Riko learns of Naoki's and Natsuki's break-up and decides to pay him a visit. Naoki is still struggeling with everything that happend over the last few weeks when suddenly Riko stands next to him in the early morning. She trys to give him some strenght by hugging him but he still doesn't react to her feelings, he just sends her off again.
Meanwhile a little "love and hate" love story develops between Mai and Shuji (another player from Naoki's team). Shuji really likes Mai but he's really shy but despite her outgoing attitude she can't accept her feelings for Shuji that easily. In the end Shuji moves into the flat of Mai and Riko (at that point Mai and Shuji are not dating yet).
When Riko turns 20 the three roommates celebrate it together. All of a sudden they realize that they had nothing to drink anymore and Shuji and Mai decide to go and buy something. Just as the two are gone Riko recognizes the strange sound again and opens the door. Of course it's Naoki playing basketball all alone. When he looks up to her window she shouts down to him (crying - of course) that she will stop liking him and that that she won't come near him anymore. Luckily Naoki doesn't turn her down this time but runs up to her and kisses her. When Shuji and Mai come home Riko quickly hides Naoki in her room where he discovers the key chain, secured on Riko's violin case.
The two of theme are dating but Riko suddenly gets the possibilty to improve her musical skills far away and without any possibility to be reached by phone for a year. Finally she agrees to take the chance to fulfill her dream. It's hard for Naoki to let her go but he knows how important playing the violin is to Riko and finally lets sends her off. During Riko's stay they don't have any contact and Naoki's try to visit her doesn't turn out well because they don't even meet. But he leaves a sunflower for her and Riko now realizes how much she missed Naoki. For their next big game Riko comes to the bowl to see him play and cheer him on. When Riko enters the bowl just before Naoki's important shot, she shouts at him (like she did once before) that he has to win and that he's a 'baka' (idiot).He does the shot perfectly and in addition to that he also manages to do the buzzer beat in the end.

Main Characters:

Kamyia Naoki
Naoki is an energetic and true-hearted guy who earns his living by playing basketball professionally. He is totally in love with his girlfriend Natsuki and even wants to marry her but she's worried about his great inferiority complex. Because of that complex Naoki can't cope with stress situations that well and therefore cracks under the pressure of important games. He becomes friends with Riko after they met at the park / basketball court in front of Riko's flat. As Riko is starting to develop feelings for him he only can think of basketball and Natsuki. The realtionship between Naoki and Natsuki begins to break down as a result of Naoki's complex. Natsuki wants more of the relationship and therefore cheats on Naoki with the new team member Yoyogi. Naoki somehow seems to sense the attitude of Natsuki towards him and develops feelings for Riko too but he doesn't want to admit them yet. When Riko turns 20, Naoki has already broken up with Natsuki and is able to show his true feelings.

Shirakawa Riko
Riko is a true-hearted and sesitive music college graduate who aims for becoming a great professional violinist. She moves in together with her best friend Mai, who is the complete opposite of Riko, an open hearted, outgoing and noisy girl who always supports Riko. When Riko starts top meet the head coach of JC ARCS, Kawasaki, she starts falling for him because he seemed sophisticated and nice but when his bet is revealed, Riko runs away from him. Meanwhile Riko already developed feelings for her new friend Naoki with who she can talk for hours without getting bored. When she confesses to him she gets turned down but luckily Naoki realizes what he feels for her and so the two of them can be happy together. Riko's dream to become a professional violinist hasn't ended yet and because of that she accepts the chance to go on a training camp for a year. Half a year later Naoki leaves a sun flower for her and she realizes that she has to see him and hurries to his big game. This is how they can finally be together.

Personal Rating:
I really liked the story line of the drama, although it's just some love story. Assuming that the two main characters are two totally different characters and then realizing that they aren't that different at all is a really good way to let develop a relationship. Also Naoki's girlfriend, Natsuki, is a great thought-out character as she's smoking and the pushing and outgoing one of the relationship. The best thing about the development of the love story between Naoki and Riko is the billboard in the park, which says "Love is what makes me strong", because Naoki is a very weak person actually and these words describe the story pretty well. Natsuki didn't make him stronger, she only told him to learn how to be stronger by himself and Riko gave him strenght with her presence and support. I was also disappointed up until now, that japanese doramas seemed "ancient" somehow. They never gave you the feeling that they were produced in the last few years. This dorama however showed me that it's not like I thought. =P

Have fun watching =)

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