It’s been awhile since I watched this Jdrama, but since I’ve been mulling over some recent Jdramas (and their complete lack of credible romance stories), I’ve been thinking more and more about Buzzer Beat, and its extremely capable and compelling love story. Yes, you heard it right. This drama brings out all the stops – or at least most of them – with romance, hugging, kissing, cuddling, and a million other “awww”-worthy moments. Also, there’s some basketball. I actually like basketball, so this drama is pretty well set in my books. Minus a few irritations, side characters, and cliché plot holes, Buzzer Beat’s 11 episodes are a fun watch, and well worth the time.
Want proof about its watchability factor? On the few nights where I couldn’t access my real computer, I savored this drama (meaning, I totally marathoned it) on youtube with Spanish subs. Note to self: my freshman high school Spanish is completely not up to scraps. I needed a dictionary to translate the Spanish subs of a Japanese language drama. Now that’s obsessed.
Buzzer Beat stars Yamapi, or Yamashita Tomohisa, as Kamiya Naoki, a less than stellar pro-basketball player with a low salary and no fans. Kitagawa Keiko is our other lead star Shirakawa Riko, a bummed, single violinist without a job. Both are struggling to stay confident about their sport/art when circumstances throw them together. What follows is a halfway original story of personal growth as the two develop a sincere friendship with one another, and perhaps the chance of something more.
Up even past the halfway mark, both the story and the romance (aka ‘Total Cuteness-ity’) are riveting. Unfortunately, the show’s failings lay in the last few episodes, where the writers throw on heavy doses of angst and lost almost all of my attention. I mean, I figured there would be a nice sweet ending, but must it really be necessary to suffer so much to get there? It’s a little sad that a perfectly wonderful show was ruined by Kdrama-esque plot holes and noble idiots pandering about in circles, but overall the strength of the earlier episodes (at least 82% of the drama) were fine and dandy. Buzzer Beat even does a good job at not turning every side character into an exact stereotype, a feat for which I am I always grateful.
|If only this show was perfect. Our characters were already |
great. I guess that'll make up for most of it.
My vote is that you watch it for the leads, and turn your brain off by episode 9. That should make things all better. Read more for a not totally spoilery episode-by-episode account, and some of my favorite Buzzer Beat drama quotes.
Episode 1Hot Pink Uniforms, Niiice! To be honest, I started this because of Yamapi. I’ve been a fan of his ever since watching Nobuta wo Produce. Here's to hoping this drama becomes a favorite for more reasons than that one alone. ;)
So far, so good. The first episode is a quick, crisp intro to the plotline and our characters. Our heroes’ first meeting is absolutely lovely. I don't know about their chemistry yet, but they definitely have some good rapport onscreen.
“Riko, you went out without makeup?""Yes...Moreover, I have talked to a man with no makeup on his face."
Question: Did the show's casting managers hire actors who could play basketball, or basketball players who can act? I would probably fail as shot-hitting extra, assuming I made it past the height requirement.
"You're strong! You can play well! Please play seriously, BAKA!"
|Don't worry. Even I am curious how many times |
we can metaphorically use the phrase 'Buzzer Beat'
"Did I explode my illusion alone again?"
- Said by main girl's friend, after fantasizing about a perfect posse of good-looking. I'm thinking something was lost in the translation...
Episode 4Finally some dirty secrets are unearthed, and they are so obviously falling for each other it's making my head hurt, that's how cute they are. Yamapi's still not really delivering in the acting department, but I can't tell yet if that's just him or the story/script so far…
"We're friends! Just ordinary, neighborhood friends. A friend of destiny!"
Episode 5.Hugs for all! Sad, cute, heartbreaking, and more cute! Riko takes pictures of Kamiya sleeping, and plays violin over the phone. Seeing Yamapi being sad is a dagger to the heart. Good thing we have Riko! And her methods of cheering up sad cute boys. :)
“Were you taking pictures?""Eh? No! Uhm.. A butterfly! It was a butterfly! One I'd never seen before!"
Episode 6Jerks Reign Supreme! As Usual. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate second lead men who play a sly, underhanded game? !!!! Don't you realize you were cast second, and you'll never get the girl! Not too much going on in this episode between our leads. That's sad.
"I pushed [Kamiya] down so I could get the chance to kiss him. What am I going to do? I'm scary."
Episode 7Game Over? I think not! YES! Progress! Who cares that the coach is away in stupid Boston. Ehh, we'll deal with that later. I'm actually kind of sad for Natsuki, though she may still have something up her sleeves...
"You won't give me a birthday present then? I'd like to hear the tap-tap sound of your basketball once more" (Rosies goes, “Awwwwww”)
|This song is so great... and your hair is so fluffy... and your eyes are so bright... |
and your hair is so... Oh, I said that before. Gomennasai!
*side characters hugging*"Stop! You're still a free-loader!""Eh?""I meant I love you…"
Episode 92 Steps Forward, 10 Steps Back. A lame halting of our before sizzling romance. All isn't actually lost in this plot-device ridden episode, but at no point was it fun to watch.
"In front of everyone she pretends to be honorable, but she's a bitch inside."
Episode 10Another snoozer. Hopefully the last? It’s a step up from episode 9, but I this has some of the lamest symptoms if the Noble Idiot Syndrome I've ever seen. Full of "We should still follow our dreams to the end" and "I'm still your biggest fan" rhetoric, yet nothing seems to happen except that our leads aren't actually happy, but aren't quite depressed yet.
Here's a thought: Maybe they could both pursue their dreams separately but add a little more gusto into their hopes of a relationship? I blame the writers on this one. As much as I hate angst when it's overdone, this is almost too melo.
Episode 11I wonder if he’ll made the buzzer beat?!?
Cute ending, and we see the reprisal of the fabulous BAKA!! scream, but I wished more of this episode could have been around them being together, instead of tying up all the loose ends. A little too cheesy and cliché, but at least it ended nicely.
|So what if the whole world's watching. This is what they want anyways, right?|