Beating the Buzzer

Drama Review: Buzzer Beat

Naoki (played by Yamashita Tomohisa “Yama-Pi”) is a pro basketball player for the JC Arcs, trying to work his way up to play for Japan in the Olympics. He’s a gentle guy who is eager to settle down and have kids. Riko, on the other hand, is an aspiring violinist who works part-time at a bookstore while auditioning for violin gigs. Both are struggling to work their way up in their professions. Naoki is a brilliant basketball player, but when it comes to playing he either lets the pressure of the match get to him or he becomes overconfident and messes the match up. Similar things happen to Riko when she has a violin audition.

So, one day they both meet and fall madly in love with each other, right? Well, not quite…

Naoki is dating a cheerleader named Natsuki who also works in admin for the basketball team. He wants to marry her, but his self-doubt and failure to perform well on the court stop him from actually proposing properly. While Natsuki comes off as a good girl to her friends and people around her, when nobody is looking, she rebels by smoking (ooh! so rebellious!!). Before long, Natsuki tires of Naoki’s nice guy attitude and starts looking for someone cooler and exciting. This comes in the form of a new player, Yoyogi Ren, who is a certified bad ass. It’s not long before Natsuki starts cheating on Naoki with Ren.

Meanwhile, Riko starts dating Naoki’s basketball team’s manager, Kawasaki Tomoya. This complicates the story later when Riko and Naoki, who are actually neighbours become friends, but gradually start to develop feelings for each other.

This drama is REALLY cheesy, but in the best way. I have heard guys complain about the amount of fan service there is aimed at a female audience. In a 50-minute episode, about 25 minutes features the basketball team shirtless. I personally don’t see any problem with that. The thing that strikes me about this drama is that it is a lot less serious than a lot of the dramas Yamashita has been in recently. I first saw him in Nobuta wo produce, in which he played an eccentric high school student. His dramas since haven’t really grabbed me, as they’ve all been a bit too serious and emo. But it’s nice to see him playing a more light-hearted role, even if it has some emo undertones.

For the guys: There is some basketball played. I’m not sure of the quality of the basketball played, but there is some. They dunk and stuff, and the cheerleaders wear skimpy-ish uniforms. For the ladies: Two words…fan service.

I’m really enjoying this drama at the moment and I think it will continue to be rather good. The storyline is working for me so far and the acting is probably about as good as Japanese TV gets. It’s a romcom drama with some really funny side stories. The character relationships look like they will have some entertaining developments too.

I give it an 8/10 (though the fan girl in me gives it 10/10). Also, the theme tune is Ichifutozenbu by B’z and it’s ace.

Buzzer Beat is on at 9 pm on Mondays on Fuji TV. I watch it subbed on and I think you can download it from there too.

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