Buzzer Beat

“Love makes me strong.”

Buzzer Beat

Hero on Edge
Episodes: 11
Genre: Romance, sports
Year: 2009
Starring: Yamashita Tomohisa, Kitagawa Keiko, Ito Kideaki, Aibu Saki, Oomasa Aya, Komatsu Ayaka

Rating: 9.5/10

I started watching this drama for Yamapi (of course!), but once I found out Keiko played the lead female, I was all over it 😀 Having loved her as Sailor Mars in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, I was excited to see her in a different role.

This jdrama is full of “aww” moments—cuteness galore!

Kamiya Naoki (Yamashita) is a professional basketball player who always cracks under pressure. It seems his dreams are slipping further away. To make matters worse, his girlfriend Natsuki (Aibu) tires of Naoki, and jumps his new teammate.

In comes Shirakawa Riko (Kitagawa), an aspiring violinist. Like Naoki, she’s at a crossroad in her dreams, and is fast losing hope. Through a series of random occurrences, our leads meet, and instantly become friends. It is through their bond that they finally start to work towards their dreams.

But will Naoki’s kind nature and Riko’s blooming relationship with the JC Arcs coach Kawasaki (Ito) get in the way of their happily ever after?

Pros:
This is a must-watch drama for any Yamapi fan. Naoki is just so adorable *squee!* His sad moments are like a dagger to the heart, but allow Yamapi to show a range of emotions he didn’t really get in Kurosagi.

Keiko is awesome. She made me LOL so often, and her chemistry with Yamapi is powerful. No fake or staged kisses for these two—they went right at it! >.< It’s nice to watch their love blossom over time, as they get to know one another. There’s so much cuddling going on!

It seems the creators of this show know just what to do for their fangirls. The basketball players spend a good half of this drama with their shirts off—seriously. No complaints here! A memorable scene happens early on in the locker room, where four of the players take off their shirts and compare their muscles in a mirror O.O Priceless!

My hat goes off to the secondary characters. Aibu does a brilliant job playing head cheerleader Natsuki; she portrays her good-girl side to a tee, and she acts like a bitch so well I really hate Natsuki! Head coach Kawasaki is pleasantly not quite a cardboard cut-out, though there are times when he irritates me. The secondary couple of a player and Keiko’s friend are cute.

I also really love seeing Komatsu Ayaka again. She played Sailor Venus in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, and it’s fun watching her as a ditzy cheerleader. Such a change from Mina! It almost seems like a PGSM reunion here…

The storyline is riveting. Probably should’ve mentioned that earlier ^ ^; The basketball games are interesting and suitably fast-paced. I particularly like the scene where Riko calls Naoki a baka in the middle of a game! Too funny.

There are so many small things that tie the story together. Like the billboard in the park with its message “Love makes me strong”. Naoki’s and Riko’s signature goodbye salute. The metaphoric use of the titular buzzer beat.

Cons
Well, Oomasa Aya (playing Yamapi’s sister) ranks up there as a con. Not as an actress; having seen her in several dramas after Buzzer Beat, I know she is a great actress. But she is just so unpleasant to look at in this jdrama. I know, I know, it sounds harsh, but she really needs some better make-up to make her look pretty—I know she’s capable of it!

I’m aware that I said Kawasaki isn’t a cardboard cut-out character, but sometimes his character just frustrates me. I mean, when he finds out Riko and Naoki like each other, he pretty much just backs off. Where’s your conviction of love? Heck, even your pride as a man? Fight, dammit! (Even though I don’t want him to win Riko, he could at least put up some resistance…)

Opinion
This jdrama is just so cute, and sweet, and sad, and… And you should just watch it.

 

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