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Buzzer Beat – A Short Review

Before I watched Otomen, I was actually pining every week over the next episode of Buzzer Beat, a Japanese drama starring Yamapi (or Tomohisa Yamashita, as his full name is) and Keiko Kitagawa (the violinist in the show), so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about it, especially about what happened in the last episode. (Okay, yes, I know, yet another shoujo drama when I professed to not particularly like shoujo dramas and the such! But, really, it was Yamapi. How could I have resisted?!)

Official Promotional Picture

Official Promotional Picture

I admit I started watching it only for Yamapi, but by the end of the first episode, the whole cast had managed to grow on me. The production team managed to pull together quite a tight cast, with solid acting chops except…well…except Yamapi and the bad guy, Kaneko Nobuaki (金子ノブアキ) as Yoyogi Ren. I admit wishing that Kame or Ikuta Toma, both of whom I really like and think can act really well, could be just as lucky. They don’t let Ikuta debut, and Kame always gets stuck with some annoying actress in his dramas that somehow prevent me from reaching the end! Even though I thought he acted really well in Kami no Shizuku…pity…I think I only got to the 4th episode before the lead actress really just made me want to tear my hair out…

Back to Buzzer Beat. As much as I love Yamapi, I honestly wish they could take him out of the brooding stereotype (he’s done that for the past… what, 3 or 4 dramas?) since I think he could do so much better if he wasn’t trying to be frowning all the time (even though he looks really hot when he’s frowning but STILL). Kaneko looks kind of stiff when he’s acting as well, but other than the two of them, I have no complaints about the acting for the rest of the cast (a rare thing when it comes to me; I’m very particular about acting, must come from my theatre background). In fact, I love Keiko and Kanjiya Shihori, who acts as Ebina Mai (the flutist), because they have such good onscreen chemistry. (Actually most of the cast have really good online chemistry, except Kaneko…and Yamapi at moments. Lucky Yamapi’s moments don’t last!)

Keiko i.e. Riko looks really gorgeous (although here she just looks really surprised - probably because she just walked in on Mai & Shuji about to kiss lol)

Keiko i.e. Riko looks really gorgeous (although here she just looks really surprised - probably because she just walked in on Mai & Shuji about to kiss lol)

Mizobata Junpei as Hatano Shuji & Kanjiya Shihori as Ebina Mai - they make such a CUTE couple, I can't help rooting for them

Mizobata Junpei as Hatano Shuji & Kanjiya Shihori as Ebina Mai - they make such a CUTE couple, I can't help rooting for them

There are quite a few sites with detailed episode guides for Eps 1 – 7 so I don’t think I’ll go too much into detail, but so far the storyline has been quite believable and quite sweet. The cinematographic style is reminiscent of Jdoramas like Engine, Hero, and Pride (okay, I believe you note a similarity = Takuya Kimura dramas…) rather than the recent spate of crack idol dramas like HanaKimi, Yukan Club, and Otomen, so it follows a more realistic line of filming (which I am all for). Great lighting, and I have no arguments with the dialogue (especially whoever wrote Mai…she is hilarious, one of my favourite characters. Followed closely by Shuji). All in all, I highly recommend this drama if you’re looking for some great romance to follow (plus that hot kiss in Episode 7 is purely mind-blowing).

I’m still waiting for Episode 8 to finish downloading…Yes, I’m odd like that. I know the English subs for Ep 8 are out, but insist on waiting for my Chinese subbed version to finish downloading before I watch it, simply because. Anyway it promises to be good (since they ended on the kiss), but I really hope (again) that this drama doesn’t go the way of other shoujo dramas where they decide to end things on an open note (what is it with Japanese and open-ended endings??? Do they not understand the word “closure”?? I always end up stewing over their damn dramas for weeks trying to write my own ending!)

Storyline: 4/5

Acting: 4/5

Recommended: Watch for the great acting, and good chemistry between the onscreen characters. There’s plenty of comic relief, and Shuji and Mai are addictive. The love story between Riko and Naoki is also layered (and I like my stories layered) so it makes it so much more meaningful, and they’re both very likeable protagonists, so well-worth supporting in my opinion.

The drama airs every Monday 21:00 on Fuji TV and the drama theme song is called Ichibutozenbu by B’z. Unfortunately, my Chinese subs only come out Tuesday night (if I’m lucky) or Wednesday night (which is more usually the case; the subtitlers have been unusually fast this week, which I can only attribute to the power of the kiss; must have made them want to find out what happened faster and then made them want to disseminate the information for fans to agonise over and analyse). Well, when I finish my Ep 8 downloads, I’ll be sure to share whatever insights I might have. (Speaking of which, I do actually intend to support these dramas I write about, and buy their original DVDs; downloading is just a way for me get the episodes right away…after which I promise to delete them and buy the originals, so please everyone support these dramas by doing the same okay? I don’t want them to run out of money and stop producing Jodramas. I hear some of the entertainment industries in Asia are in the red.)  

P.S. Episode 8 aired with a rating of 17.5 percent in Kanto, so it must mean something…………….


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