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Buzzer Beat 11

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This is coming a little late, since the (raw) last episode of Buzzer Beat has been out since last Tuesday, but I really loved the ending of this drama (and yes, apparently the scriptwriters here understand the meaning of closure!) and felt I needed to mull over it a little.

I thought there might be a special episode after this, that would run for 75 mins long, but according to honeydew, this is the last of it, which I must say, wouldn’t be a bad thing since everything’s been very nicely finished, and I’m not keen to open up anything else to continue the story. (Although I felt a little cheated since the actual episode length was about 60 minutes as opposed to the advertised 75 mins long, so I was like…does that mean 15 minutes went to advertisements??).

Back to the drama – the only flaw, I felt, marring the ending is that, somehow, in this particular episode, there seemed to be an overplay of symbology – it felt like the scriptwriters weren’t quite sure we were getting it at the end, and decided to throw in plenty of hints. Nonetheless, it’s a small price to pay, to see everything wrap up so nicely – and I was right about deciding that Natsuki, despite the fact that she seemed like a bitch from the start, was really only human. Her worst vice is her pride – ah, hubris, there is a saying that goes, “But a man’s pride cometh before the fall”.

The last episode is kicked off with Coach Kanzaki gathering the team, to ready them for the new season.

The last episode is kicked off with Coach Kanzaki gathering the team, to ready them for the new season.

Naoki in therapy, working his ankle.

In the meantime, Naoki goes for therapy, working his ankle, followed by Natsuki, who tells him not to strain himself.

Since dramas all work within the premise of coincidences, coincidentally, on Riko’s last day at the bookstore, she meets her boss’s wife (he’s a remarried man), who just happens to be – Naoki’s older sister. (I wanted to say that these things don’t happen in real life, but forget that – I know too many people who know other people who know people I know. It’s all very bizarre, so let’s just put it this way: I’m just not surprised things turned out this way!)

When Naoki's older sister saw her, she recognised Riko as the violinist to whom her brother had wanted to give a sunflower to during her very first recital at a place near the station, but when Coach Kanzaki had turned up bearing a bouquet of roses, Naoki decided to give the sunflower to a little boy instead (who passed it on Riko unintentionally, so she still managed to get the flower anyway, since we must all have our little coincidences here).

When Naoki's older sister saw her, she recognised Riko as the violinist to whom her brother had wanted to give a sunflower to during her very first recital at a place near the station, but when Coach Kanzaki had turned up bearing a bouquet of roses, Naoki decided to give the sunflower to a little boy instead (who passed it on Riko unintentionally, so she still managed to get the flower anyway, since we must all have our little coincidences here).

When Riko hears this, she immediately rushes out of the shop, only to remember that she’s abandoned her phone and doesn’t have Naoki’s number any longer. Just as Mai follows her out and is about to ask Shuji for Naoki’s number, Riko stops her and tells her that if the sunflower was really given to her by Naoki, then she has to work even harder to accomplish her dream for him, since he was the one who supported her even from then, and had given her the courage to pursue her dreams.

Later that night, we see Riko packing up to go to Karuizawa, and Mai and Shuji helping her. As they finish off the packing and prepare to spend their last night together, Mai fetches out a time-line that she’s drawn, detailing their history together – from university days, to moving in together, and most especially, falling in love over this summer. As they reminisce over the good old days, Mai figured out that everything that happened, happened after the two of them moved in together into the apartment they were renting now.

Riko muses that all that blank time they've had in the past 2 years seems to have exploded this summer - everything that could have possibly happened did happen. Mai, in turn, gives Riko a bear hug, half-joking (although I do think the sentiment she expressed was genuine) as she tells Riko not to go, while Riko admits that she almost can't bear to.

Shuji's unbearably comic here when he asked why Naoki's name is at the end Riko's line and drawn with a heart, while Coach Kanzaki was further in the front. I laughed when Mai shot him her trademark exasperated look and said, "I'll explain everything to you later." Classic. I absolutely love the way they've made Shuji so clueless about everything important, even though he makes up for it with his sweetness.

Despite the fact that it’s only been half a year (of summer??…well, I suppose that’s possible in some places, but I never realised summer was so long in Japan), the two girls have bonded and grown even closer, what with all they’ve had to go through. Riko muses that all that blank time they’ve had in the past 2 years seems to have exploded this summer – everything that could have possibly happened did happen. Mai, in turn, gives Riko a bear hug, half-joking (although I do think the sentiment she expressed was genuine) as she tells Riko not to go, while Riko admits that she almost can’t bear to. Shuji brings over a box of tissue, and I died when he was the first one to draw from it as he wiped tears away (he’s so adorable!!) – the three spend a few moments blowing their respective noses and wiping their eyes.

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Naoki returns home, to find that Natsuki has dropped by his house and left some vitamins and supplements to help with his recovery.

Naoki’s mother and sister don’t understand why they broke up (since the boy didn’t tell them Natsuki cheated on him), and Naoki’s mother even tells him that she hopes they’d get back together, whereupon Naoki lets out this sigh and goes all broody asking, “What’s love?” (I burst out at that; it’s very 问世间情为何物,直教人生死相许 if you understand Mandarin – or “What is this thing called love, that compels people to promise their lives to each other til death do them part?”…it’s very Romeo and Juliet, if you ask me.) He reflects that once upon a time, his mother must have loved his father, and yet, they still broke up. (His mother looked a little confused and amused at the same time while she tried her best to parry the conversational sword by telling him she never regretted a single moment in any of her relationships since she threw herself whole-heartedly into it – a point of view I have never quite managed to wholly comprehend either.)

After that, Naoki tells his mother, “…I’ve found it. The girl that Mother described long ago – someone who makes my heart feel at peace. (Both his mother and sister look delighted at this) But she has a dream. I want to be her pillar of strength, but I don’t want to be separated from her, and yet I can’t expect her to abandon her dreams to follow me.” Just as he sinks back into gloominess, his mother plonks a cup of water in front of him and answers, “She’s an important person isn’t she? …Well then, just trust your heart, and follow it. It’s easy to give up and say that love is tiring, but for those who manage to hold on to it in the face of adversity, I think only they (the persistent) will be able to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (that’s my own translation. Literally she says something like they will see something sparkling and shining). Hasn’t Naoki always believed that you should never give up until after the very last second?” (I think it’s hilarious how the writers are trying to dish out important advice to the audiences via the mouthpiece of their characters)

The camera then pans to Naoki at South Park basketball court again, and he gazes longingly at Riko’s window (I thought it was funny that it was Mai’s silhouette that appeared first).

Happier moments with Riko replay in his head, and he turns to look at the signboard that says, "Love Makes Me Strong" (and of course, we immediately suspect something is up, right?).

Happier moments with Riko replay in his head, and he turns to look at the signboard that says, "Love Makes Me Strong" (and of course, we immediately suspect something is up, right?).

And we would be right, because when Riko wakes up the next morning and opens the window for fresh air, the first thing she sees are the words on the signboard, which says, "Work hard towards achieving your dreams. By your number 1 fan." Even as she smiles at the sweetness of it all, tears fall down Riko's cheeks.

And we would be right, because when Riko wakes up the next morning and opens the window for fresh air, the first thing she sees are the words on the signboard, which says, "Work hard towards achieving your dreams. By your number 1 fan." Even as she smiles at the sweetness of it all, tears fall down Riko's cheeks. Just before she leaves for good, Riko takes a picture of the board, and the message Naoki's left for her on it.

The drama then moves in, finally, on some proper basketball action scenes, when the basketball season officially begins. Commentators raise the heat by pondering on the kind of performance that JCArcs would give this season, considering that Naoki’s being put out of action, and they have a new member on the team.

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Will JCArcs finally shake off their losing streak and make it all the way to the Nationals? Or will they, like last season, break and falter during a crucial game and lose the championship again?

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Beginning of Summer 2010: Riko is hard at practice in her new environment.

Her new do looks fineeee to me.

I reckon she looks really pretty with the waves in her long hair (but then again, Keiko's always pretty anyway). Reminders that she still remembers Naoki? She's eating the French toast that he "taught" her how to make, while she sits in the basketball court watching the kids throw some hoops.

More action scenes of Naoki and the rest of the JCArcs on court. After the game, we see Naoki and Natsuki walking alongside each other as they make their way to the traditional celebratory party after the hard fought win to get to the finals. As they are on their way, Natsuki comments that it feels like as though nothing has changed from last year (replay memories of Naoki proposing to her and all their happy moments together) and yet…Naoki smiles ruefully, since he’s actually thinking of Riko, and he halts when he hears the tune that Riko always used to play. Meantime, at the bar/eatery where the party’s being held, rumours are flying around that they will reconcile, since Natsuki has been faithfully following Naoki around everywhere. Shuji, who hears this, immediately thinks of reporting this to Mai (so cute!).

After this, Mai receives a call from Riko, who is calling from a train station, telling Mai that she’ll be back in Tokyo for a short while to help her senior with something, and wanted to stay with Mai for a few days. Mai immediately agrees, but adds that it’s unfortunate that Shuji (and therefore, by implication, Naoki?) would be away for a game. When Riko hangs up and is walking up the stairs with her senior (the guy eating her French toast in the picture above), she hears a familiar voice talking about basketball, and turns around. She catches a glimpse of Naoki and Shuji as they leave the train station (Shuji talking about Mai’s curry again! The boy either loves his curry, or Mai cooks nothing else LOL.) and immediately dashes out after them.

The two boys get on a bus and are happily yammering away, whilst poor Riko chases the bus and yells out Naoki's name.

The two boys get on a bus and are happily yammering away, whilst poor Riko chases the bus and yells out Naoki's name. They don't hear her, unfortunately, and Riko can't keep up with the bus, so she watches them leave reluctantly.

Obvious replay of the first episode where Naoki and Riko meet, really. (Like I said, lots of mirroring and symbolism going on in this episode) Back at the apartment with Mai, Riko finds out that Shuji finally gets to play in a game (for about 5 minutes; Mai manages a delicate balance between being proud of Shuji while knowing he still has far to go) and that the team has done very well this season, especially Naoki, after he recovered from his ankle injury. Riko seems comforted upon knowing that Naoki is working hard at achieving his dream as well, and Mai hands her the schedule for the team’s (final) game. Unfortunately, Riko’s orchestra has an upcoming concert they have to practise for, and she can’t take the time off to go for the game, but wishes aloud that she could cheer alongside Mai.

After the short talk with Mai, Riko visits the South Park basketball court, with the “Love Makes Me Strong” sign that still has Naoki’s message on it. As she stares at the message, good memories of happy times with Naoki wash over her (again with the replay thing! It feels like about 10 minutes in this drama is being taken up by replays, in my opinion).

As Riko leaves the park, she brushes past a familiar shoulder – Coach Kanzaki. The two halt abruptly and turn back to look at each other in belated recognition, and off they go for another chat, where Riko admits to Coach Kanzaki that Naoki’s support has meant a lot to her, because she originally thought she could give up the violin for him (that was how much she liked him) but after she’s been to Karuizawa, she realised all over again exactly how much she loves the violin. The fact that Naoki was able to let her go to pursue her own dreams was something she really appreciated, and Coach Kanzaki confesses as well that he would never have been able to do that; instead he would have asked her to give up her violin and stay by his side.

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Riko wonders aloud if Naoki's forgotten her, and Coach Kanzaki teases her by saying that the chance of ending up together forever, even though they seem like a destined couple, was even lower than that of a "buzzer beat".

In response to Riko’s bewilderment, he explains that a buzzer beat is a shot that is made just as the bell buzzes (thus the coined term). HAHA. So cheesy to stick this at the end of the drama, as if audiences would never have figured this out by now. Anyway, I thought Naoki explained what a buzzer beat was to Riko before, but it could just be my memory failing me, which is entirely possible. At the end of their conversation, just as Coach Kanzaki turns away after thanking her for a most delightful catching up session, he comes to a sudden stop (as if an afterthought) and turns back to add, “Since we promised not to lie, I’ll tell you one last thing. Naoki still remembers you.” Riko is left with a mix of emotions – yearning, gladness, sadness? (Keiko does this really well, I have to say. She’s going up on my list of Class A actors/actresses.)

Of course, since the story needs to tie up the plot between Naoki and Natsuki, we see them next, with Natsuki watching Naoki practising his hoops. It’s here that I would like to applaud Saki for doing such a fabulous job, and let me explain why:

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Natsuki tells Naoki that, after watching him for the past half a year, she has finally come to understand his dream, and she believes in it from the bottom of her heart. "I like Naoki. Can't you be happy, with me?"

Naoki: “Natsuki, you’ll be happy. But the person who will make you happy isn’t me.” Ouch. He goes on to tell her she’s a good girl (double whammy), and that he hopes his image in her heart will always be that of a cool guy, and that it was basically his fault because he was so insistent on acting cool all the time that he lost touch with what she was really looking for – when Natsuki cuts in with a “tsk”-ing sound (it’s meant to show your annoyance, and it does, here).

Natsuki then seemingly reverts back to her “bad girl” side where she tells him, “You’re being overly kind again. It’s because you’re always like that, that you’re always being cheated on. Oh well. She (referring to Riko) won’t do that to you. I was told off by her. She told me that your dream was definitely achievable. So go. Go to her.” When Naoki nods his head, Natsuki adds with a throwaway smile, “Next time, please teach me how to make French toast.”

She turns her back here, and you can see the sorrow in her eyes. “That’s the one thing that, no matter how hard I try, I can never get right.” (What, so now the French toast is becoming a symbol too?) I thought it was really touching because you could tell she really does love him, from this particular scene. When she hears Naoki say, “Okay, if it’s Natsuki, you can definitely do it (referring to the French toast).” a bittersweet smile appears on her face and she replies, “That goes without saying. Ah yes, I was lying just now, when I said I liked you. I don’t think about you anymore.” (This line is killer! Her eyes! Her eyes are totally denying everything she’s telling Naoki! She’s letting him go…at last. About time, girl.)

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She tears up a little, but holds it back in and puts on a brave smile, as she turns around and tells Naoki, "You must win. If for no one else, then for that last shred of pride you have."

You can tell where Natsuki’s thoughts deviate from Naoki’s and Riko’s. The latter two think of love as their strength, while Natsuki holds on for pride. Like I said, ah…hubris…she’s holding on right now to it too, denying her last feelings for her ex-boyfriend. As Naoki nods and walks out of the room (I thought it was hilarious how he leaves so abruptly while she stays in the room, but it has to be directed that way), Natsuki finally lets her tears flow.

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I adore the way Saki manages to make Natsuki look simultaneously angry (at herself?), disgusted (again with herself? for being so weak? and losing Naoki?) and yet so grieved at her loss.

The tears overwhelms her and she slumps to the floor in distress. As she is crying her heart out, a shadow falls over her, and a familiar voice calls out, “Natsuki. What’s wrong?” LOL and this would be our dearest Toru, of course, since he’s been watching over Natsuki for…oh…I don’t know…3 years now?

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Natsuki: "Why are you here?" Toru: "Practise." Natsuki (as she wipes her tears away): "Basketball, basketball, it's no wonder people think you're gay." Toru: "...Then, why don't you go out with me?" WIN! Very, very win. Totally great pick up line, there, dude.

I laughed like a hyena at Natsuki’s taken aback expression as she went, “Eh??” At her shocked look, Toru quickly tacks on at the end, “To eat cake together.” ARGH! Great opportunity lost here, Toru! No! I do think they make a sweet couple though, mostly because I think Natsuki is at her most real when she’s together with Toru – she doesn’t feel like she needs to put on a mask, either to be overtly good/bad like she did with Naoki/Yoyogi respectively. In a sense, Toru’s her fulcrum. Since he knows the ‘real’ her, and is still in love with her, I really wish she’d give him a chance. I think she’d find herself surprisingly blissful if she did, since Toru’s a great catch (team captain and star shooter and all that).

There’s a really cute moment after this whole emotionally draining scene for Natsuki, with Shuji and Mai. Mai’s cooking her Katsu-don (fried pork with rice) for Shuji, so that their team will win the game (since “Katsu” sounds very similar to win in Japanese). Shuji watches her and at the same time is practising his speech – he wants to propose to Mai that if they win the game, she’d marry him (similar to Naoki and Natsuki in Ep1) but at the same time, he’s afraid to jinx it since Naoki did so badly with Natsuki last year! This moment was soooo cute. As they eat, Mai tells him, “If you win…I’ll marry you.” Shuji almost chokes on his food, and his wide-eyed look was supremely mirth-inducing. I probably almost fell off my bed laughing at this point.

I have to fast-forward things a little, since I’m running out of space and time. Coach Kanzaki and Naoki are on their daily run, and Kanzaki tells Naoki not to push it too much since the final match was approaching. Naoki tells Kanzaki, in turn, that he was going to Karuizawa to fetch Riko, which Kanzaki approves of. Naoki leaves the train station holding a sunflower, and makes his way to Riko’s dorm, only to be told that she wasn’t in since she was in practice for the upcoming concert. The landlady praises Riko for being so capable, at such a young age, to participate in such a large-scale concert, thus making Naoki feel guilty for coming all the way out here to bring her to watch him play when she needed to be focused on her concert practices. He leaves the sunflower with her landlady, instructing her to give it to Riko, only telling her that it was from “a fan”.

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Riko arrives at her dorm just as Naoki leaves (again with the coincidental leaving/arriving thing!) and when she gets the message from the landlady she immediately dashes out the door (again!) but is left high and dry since Naoki's gone back.

There’s a man to man bonding session at South Park basketball court where Naoki and Shuji start shooting hoops and exchanging words of worry and encouragement (Naoki will continue to strive to achieve his dream), and then the scene cuts to and fro between the JCArcs’ match and Riko’s violin practice. There’s a really funny bit before the match starts, where a row of school girls, along with Naoki’s sister, file in behind Mai, and recognise her as that older woman who was ragging Shuji out for his date with the school girls the other time. Then Naoki’s older sister, and her husband (the bookstore owner) arrives, and he immediately picks out Mai as well. The poor girl’s just like, “…All the people you don’t want to meet…”, which was a super laugh out loud moment. Then the match starts, and Riko’s still in practice so audiences agonise over that…for about 10 seconds. Until Riko blanks out, thinking about Naoki’s upcoming game, during rehearsal.

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As she falters completely, the conductor brings rehearsal to a halt and calls out her name sharply. Riko looks up and is all like, "I can't do this. It's an important time for an important person in my life and I have to be there for him."

Mr Conductor asks, “Do you love him?” and Riko replies, “Yes. I do.” and Mr Conductor states firmly. “It’s alright. Love makes one strong.” (HOW DO THEY COME UP WITH CHEESY LINES LIKE THIS?! On the other hand, it’s actually strangely comforting…even if it’s a line they throw at you about 10,000 times in this last episode.) Riko thanks Mr Conductor and immediately sets off for Tokyo at a run.

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I love this shot of her running towards the sky - it's like, freedom to pursue her love too? (I don't know, I could be making too much out of it)

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Meanwhile, at the match, JCArcs are behind by 5 points, with only 2:43 minutes left on the scoreboard - can you spell CRITICAL MOMENT here?

Naoki manages to throw in a shot while a player from the opposing team fouls him – which means he has an extra chance to gain points by throwing in a foul shot.

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The entire crowd waits with bated breath for his shot, and he braces himself for it when...

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...who else would come running in, but Riko? She yells at them to, "Wait! Number 8 over there! I'm here! Your number 1 fan is here to cheer for you. You have to win for me, idiot!" (Mai's reaction here is hilarious - she murmured to herself, "I'm so glad you're here...but it's also a good thing basketball isn't aired on TV...")

Her nod of support gives Naoki strength, and he mutters to himself, “I’m strong, I’m strong.” (which, frankly, looks a little psychotic to me, but I talk to myself all the time so I shouldn’t complain really) before he throws the ball – and makes a perfect shot. Everyone, including Mai and Naoki’s entire family, squeal, jump up and down delightedly and hug each other fervently. With seconds left on the clock, Yoyogi intercepts an opponent’s pass, and throws it towards Naoki, who…

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...performs that miracle of all miracles - yep, if you guessed buzzer beat you were right. I'm a little amused at how, er, subtle things are.

The whole team goes insane, cheering, and the crowd goes wild. As they exchange sweaty hugs, and manly grunts of victory, throwing Coach Kanzaki and Naoki in the air, Naoki looks over to Riko, and leaves the team as soon as he can, to run up to her.

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The first thing he says to her is, "After having not met for so long, is there anyone who first greets someone 'idiot' like you do?...but it's fortunate that you were here, because you made me stronger..."

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And he pulls her into a hug.

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"Let's never separate again." AND THEY KISS.

At the end, as they pull apart, they lean their foreheads against each other and smile blissfully. Finito.

I thought the ending was sweet, if a tad overly so. I’m a little bereft now that it’s finally all over, even though I pretty much expected the ending. There are some people who may find this drama a little boring, since…well…nothing terribly antagonistic ever happens, but for a Japanese drama, this is actually pretty unusual. Japanese people are big on open endings. I’m not sure if they’ll ever do a special, but if they do, I don’t know what avenue they’ll explore, since they’ve pretty much tied everything up – Toru with Natsuki (I hope!), Shuji and Mai, and Naoki and Riko.

…I have a big problem. Now what am I going to watch?!

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17 responses

  1. honeydew

    Lol, I was surprised when you mentioned my name in your review. XD But yeah, I thought they were going to make a special ending for the drama too, but I knew they wouldn’t because Keiko has moved on to her next project and Yamapi is busy with things as well. Btw, did you know that Yamapi will soon be releasing his 2nd solo single in November, and along with a solo concert following his solo release as well? Wow, I’ve always knew that someday Yamapi would be big enough to hold his own solo concert, but I didn’t expect this day to come so soon! lol.

    Anyway, back to the drama. I was really amazed with Aibu Saki’s acting in that scene where she cries by herself in the basketball court too. And I agree that she’d probably make a good couple with Toru, since he accepted her for who she is, even after knowing all the bad things she did. I think they did eventually get together in the drama, although they didn’t really emphasize much about it in the drama, but they did show a scene of Toru holding Natsuki up on his shoulder when their team won in the finals.

    Lastly, I know what you can watch next! Are you familiar with child actress Shida Mirai? (She starred in her famous drama, “14 Sai no Haha) 14 year-old mother. She’s one amazing actress for her age by the way. She will be starring in an autumn drama for the next season in which she plays a princess…? I can’t really recall her specific role now that I read about the news awhile back in the summer.

    Oh, you can actually find out more about the drama here on this blog….

    http://floatingstars.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/shida-mirai-becomes-a-little-princess/

    You can check it out since the story plot sounds pretty interesting. But I’d recommend anything with Shida Mirai because she’s just awesome, haha. =)

    September 30, 2009 at 1:05 am

    • rainerust

      LOL yes I am an absolute fan of Toma and have been ever since I saw him in HanaKimi (which was a ridiculous drama…the only reason I even continued watching it was for him. He was so awesome he made me like a character I actually detested!) and I do wish he’d land better acting roles (since the only other major role I remember him starring in was Honey & Clover and I never finished that drama since I don’t like the storyline). He’s underrated, imo. Kame as well. (I don’t know if you think so, but I reckon Kame’s actually quite a fabulous actor.)

      I think it’s great Yamapi’s going to hold a solo concert – I didn’t quite expect it (and I don’t keep up with Japanese entertainment news, so yes, this came as a surprise to me) but it’s about time the boy got a break. I do think his popularity has more to do with his acting than singing though, so I don’t know if I’m expecting much from his concert. We’ll see how it goes, and what people say of it!

      Speaking of which, yes I do know Shida Mirai; she’s one of my favourite child actresses (she did Tantei Gakuen Q too, if I recall right) – just went to the link you provided and saw she’s doing a drama on A Little Princess – I used to really love that novel when I was a kid, so I’m looking forward to her portrayal! She’s quite spunky, so I think she’d be an excellent Sara. Thanks for giving me a heads-up! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for this drama now. Is there anything else that you’re watching that’s particularly interesting?

      September 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm

      • honeydew

        OMG YES! Hanakimi was RIDICULOUSLY lame (it had no story plot in the drama whatsoever) but the main reason why I continued through watching all of it was because of Toma’s character in there. Nakatsu for the win! =D I never actually got to watch Honey & Clover. I think I wanted to but I was busy at the time when it was aired and I never got around to download it later on. Toma is underrated, no doubt. I’m not familiar with Kame’s acting, as I’ve only see him in 2-3 dramas, but from what I’ve seen of him so far, he’s not bad. But he’s wayyy better than Jin from what I can see, lol.

        Haha, really? I guess his popularity did rise by a lot after he starred in Nobuta wo Produce and Kurosagi. But to be honest, I never really quite liked Kurosagi because his acting was rather quite “stiff” in there (well, he’s pretty much still stiff in any drama after Nobuta anyway, lol) And I never really liked the story plot in Kurosagi much either. That’s why I never got to finish watching the movie even though I have it downloaded for almost a year now? LOL. I didn’t even think the drama needed a movie to begin with. XD Well, I’m pretty sure those people aren’t watching for his singing….they probably just all want to watch him dance and strip for their own sexual pleasure. lol! I’m just rather more interested in if he’d invite guests or not.

        Yes! She did Tantei Gakuen Q and I LOVED her in there. She did an amazing job! I haven’t been watching much dramas lately due to my busy schedule for school, so I don’t have much recommendations for you if you’re asking about the newer (current) dramas that’s airing. I do have a few favourites that I’ve seen from before, but I’m not sure what dramas you have seen already.

        October 1, 2009 at 3:27 am

      • rainerust

        Haha, Kame’s MUCH better than Jin – you really can’t compare them. I liked him best in One Pound Gospel, although a lot of my other friends loved him in Nobuta and Sappuri. I think they’re both underrated, Kame and Toma, and I really wish someone would give them a good script like Buzzer Beat. They deserve leading roles, and a good supporting cast!

        I actually liked Kurosagi a lot – it was that drama, more than Nobuta, that got me started on liking Yamapi – although I admit to being shallow, and liking him more for the way he looks than his actual acting skills. I never did catch the movie though – I heard it wasn’t worth the while, so I didn’t bother. And no, I don’t think people are going to go for the singing, so I think you’re pretty on the mark there.

        Ah, well, I guess I can take a break from watching Jdramas then, since I’m doing a bit of catching up on the Korean side of things anyway. Well, do drop by more often if you hear of any other interesting news and share! 🙂

        October 1, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      • honeydew

        I think the one thing that I didn’t like much about Kurosagi was the script! lol. I didn’t like the tactics the producer used in the drama at all…it wasn’t really something I expected from the drama. I expectd it to be more full of action, suspense, and excitment, but there weren’t enough of those elements in there. Well, for most part of the drama, you could already guess what would happen next and it was sort of predictable in a way. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the way Japanese make their dramas or something, but I’ve seen far better dramas like Kurosagi where it’s filled with much more suspense and action. Although I have to agree that Yamapi did amazingly well on the last scene where he gets arrested. Haha, the boy is indeed very loveable for his looks, but I also do like his very down-to-earth personality as well. 😛

        Ah, Korean dramas….that’s something I don’t watch much of. I remember seeing a few good ones in the past but never have I got around to watching any of the newer (well maybe not so new anymore, but the popular ones, I guess XD) such as Goong, Full House, and etc) But yup, will definitely share if I happen to find anything interesting! 🙂

        October 1, 2009 at 11:17 pm

      • rainerust

        LOL I’m a great fan of dramas in general, no matter what language they happen to be in, so I’m still more or less in touch with the Korean dramas, although I think they’re also going on a bit of a break atm i.e. the good ones are finishing and the rest are sort of…not so good. There’ll be better ones that will be debuting later though, so I’m holding out for those.

        Strangely enough I thought Kurosagi was a bit of an unusual script for a Japanese drama, which made me like it quite a bit. I thought the character changes were clever, but then again I do have a specific bias towards Yamapi, so…oh well! I’ve heard through the grapevine about a couple of potentially interesting dramas that may come out, but nothing’s been confirmed yet, so I’m hesitant to comment. I’m definitely looking forward to the next season’s dramas though LOL

        October 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

      • Keep a look out for Ikuta Toma’s 2 movies next year!! I’m excited for these!!

        October 5, 2009 at 12:45 pm

  2. rainerust ~ hi-hi!

    I haven’t been around lately. I guess this (being absent) will continue longer than I would have expected 😦 so I’m just dropping by to say hi (*tehee*). Won’t be updating my blog anytime soon either ~ although I’m itching to shout out about Otomen! The English sub is finally out!

    October 2, 2009 at 6:45 am

    • rainerust

      Hullo! I was wondering where you disappeared to, since you didn’t mention the last episode of Buzzer Beat. Oh well, when you’re more free do comment on Otomen! I have to update my blog on the last few episodes, since I fell behind in reviewing and updating my blog. Was a bit caught up elsewhere LOL. Anyway it’s great that English subs are finally out!! I expect to hear a great deal about Otomen from you later!

      October 2, 2009 at 10:30 am

  3. I’m on the look-out for these doramas next season:

    1) Tokyo Dogs
    2) Untouchables
    3) My Girl
    4) Samurai High School

    1) & 2) Seems to have an interesting plot and good line of actors/actresses. So I have high hopes for these two. As for 3) I’ll admit it now, I’m into this solely because of Aiba Masaki 🙂 It’ll be interesting to see whether his acting has improved.
    and 4) read the plot and couldn’t help but snickered (yeah, sorry for being too judge mental). So I’m watching this in hopes that I would prove myself wrong. I should give it some merits really since Haruma Miura is in it.

    October 4, 2009 at 6:29 am

    • rainerust

      Haven’t heard of 2. on your list, so not too sure what it’s about, but yeah I am soooo looking forward to Tokyo Dogs (also because I am, unashamedly, an Oguri Shun fan; the boy can act and needs more roles to expand his repertoire rather than always being stuck in that brooding mode he’s so good at portraying ie Gokusen & HanaKimi). LOL I thought 3 sounded interesting when I read it, and to be honest, I completely bypassed 4 because I don’t think it’s the kind I’d be interested in, but oh well, there’s also that Shida Mirai drama that’s supposed to be coming up soon that honeydew was introducing to me. I think that one sounds promising too. By the way, am I the only one who’s heard of Hidarime Tantei EYE? (I only am curious about it mostly because one of my cute JE boys, Ryousuke, is starring in it LOL I adored him in Tantei Q and continued doing so in Scrap Teacher) I don’t know what it’s about (except, obviously, it has to be a story about some detective and his left eye) so if you do, let me know!

      October 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm

      • OMG i am so heart -ing oguri shun as well! That guy can really act!! Crow Zero was like my favorite of his work! Oh, still IS in fact. And he was so such a bad ass in Smile (MatsuJun drama last season) I sorta miss his brooding mode watching that drama. But it only proves that he can bring diverse characters! You should watch him in the JMovie Kisaragi! The movie had me laughing all the way through. I’m so eager for the dvd release of his recent movie Tajomaru. From the preview, he totally looks so manly in it. *Tehee* Excuse me for being in my absolute 8fan girl mode* can’t help it really – it’s OGURI SHUN we’re talking about anyway! *giggles*!!

        Shida Mirai? Hhhm, maybe I’ll look that one up. And about Ryousuke, isn;t he one of NYC Boys? I think I saw him in an SP with Nishikido Ryo ~ Niini no Koto Wasurenaide (correct me if I’m wrong). If I got the right person, he has got potential!

        October 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

      • Ooh, just checked on Hidarime Tantei Eye and it’s an SP ~ one shot drama. Looks pretty interesting to me. I think the LQ is out! Wait for a few more days and I’m sure the HQ will be out soon and Eng subs may probably be out in weeks??

        October 5, 2009 at 12:44 pm

  4. wesley

    I love this drama and I love your recaps.

    How did you interpret the ending when Naoki says to Riko “let’s never separate again”? Does that imply that Naoki wants Riko to give up her dream and stay by his side? I think that such an interpretation would betray the drama’s underlying theme of pursuing one’s dreams.

    I interpreted the ending to mean that Naoki and Riko would make their relationship work while at the same time continuing to pursue their dreams.

    March 14, 2010 at 3:28 am

    • rainerust

      Thank you! I’m pleased you liked the recaps. I didn’t start from the start unfortunately as I didn’t have the time for that, but hopefully other people have.

      I think when Naoki says to Riko “Let’s never separate again”, it’s actually a nod to reality in the sense that in the months where they were focused on their dreams alone, it was both what they wanted and yet not really because their other half wasn’t sharing it with them – since their ‘dreams’ now include being together i.e. succeeding together. So I do think you’re right in the sense that they will try to make their relationship work in the context of pursuing their dreams, obviously based on some form of compromise…perhaps will Naoki switch teams? Perhaps Riko will look for an orchestra closer to home? Perhaps in between practices they will endeavour to meet? And so…but the ending’s been left open for a good reason and I rather hope they don’t close it because I like to imagine it all worked out for Naoki and Riko, no matter what path(s) they have chosen.

      March 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm

  5. Great review. I love Buzzer Beat, and it’s one of my favorite J-Dramas. The simple yet sweet story, likable leads and their excellent chemistry, and all of the intimate scenes make it a joy to watch. This was also the drama that instantly made me a Keiko Kitagawa fan. As far as the lack of antagonism, I think it works perfectly well in Buzzer Beat. Like you said it’s refreshing to see a lack of antagonism after seeing quite a few J-dramas that get over-antagonistic. Besides, the times it does get antagonistic (like with Natsuki playing mind games with Riko) it gets annoying. Also, Naoki & Riko are such a likable couple that you want things to go as smoothly as it did.

    As far as a special is concerned, I wish they did make one. The one loose string they could have touched was Riko’s violin concert that was suppose to happen the following week. It also would have been nice to see Naoki and Riko together for one more episode.

    October 2, 2011 at 5:42 am

    • rainerust

      Thanks for commenting! To date, Buzzer Beat remains one of my favorite Japanese rom-coms with its simplicity and yet layered storytelling. While I agree about Riko’s concert, I remain glad that they did not do a special. So often specials end up opening whole new cans of worms that the original story did not mean to go into. Not to mention how some specials just don’t add anything to the story. I’m glad this drama made you a Keiko Kitagawa fan because it certainly made me one!

      October 3, 2011 at 12:29 am

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