Buzzer Beat - Hero on the Edge

D/L Theme Song: B'z - Ichibu to Zenbu [Megaupload]
D/L Ichibu to Zenbu Ballad Version [Megaupload]
Watch Ichibu to Zenbu Music video at Youtube

An exciting summer series revolving around the world of basketball starring Yamashita Tomohisa a.k.a Yamapi (Proposal Daisakusen), Aibu Saki (Zettai Kareshi), Kitagawa Keiko (Pretty Guardian Sailormoon), and Ito Hideaki (First Kiss). Yamapi played a young professional basketball player named Kamiya Naoki for the team JC ARCS. Through the drama, I found out that Buzzer Beat refers to the instant when a player scored a basket at the final moment, which can turn a losing into a winning. The message is that to never give up till the very end. Besides basketball, this drama also shows the struggle of becoming a professional musician, specifically a violinist through the character Shirakawa Riko played by Kitagawa Keiko.

Kamiya Naoki is a very talented basketballer who received many awards and recognition during his school days. However, he seems to have lost his touch as he officially enters the professional world. He always fails to deliver at the moment that matters, both in basketball, as well as in love thus doesn't seem very reliable despite his good character. This has created a tension between him and his girlfriend, Nanami Natsuki (Aibu Saki), who works at the company who formed ARCS and is the cheerleading squad captain. Natsuki is  not only beautiful, but also very capable at work and is a really nice girl. At least, that's what most people think. But the truth is she sort of has this dual personality. She has this b*tchy side that only some people know, and Naoki is not one of them. In front of Naoki, she is very sweet, understanding, and supportive, but turns a 180 degrees behind his back. Naoki dreams of becoming a national player and go to Olympics, but Natsuki personally finds his dream unrealistic and is annoyed whenever he talks about it (even though she puts on a smiling face). For her, she just wants to live a realistic life with Naoki. Naoki, in all honesty, is having some kind of inferiority complex having a very capable Natsuki as his girlfriend. For him, the current person he is at the moment is not able to make Natsuki happy, and that hurt his male pride. Thus, their own priorities and perceptions of what happiness is clash.

I like the character Shirakawa Riko, an aspiring violinist, who has an honest and straight-forward character. She knows what she wants and she takes action. Most importantly, she and Naoki are just the perfect match. I actually like Natsuki, and I think she's awesome, but Naoki is just not the kind of man for her and vice-versa. Therefore, Riko coming into the picture is most welcome. Riko and Naoki has a very fateful 'meeting' on a bus one day, though at the time they barely consider each other. Riko at least notices him for being such a gentleman, but he hardly notices her. But that 'meeting' marks the moment when their fates intertwine and a new chapter in their lives begins.

I have a new-found respect for idol Yamapi for his great acting in this series. He's definitely come a long way to be who he is. I feel that he has put a lot of subtleties in his acting this time, which really work. He's fast getting into my list of favorite J-actors besides Kimura Takuya and Hiroshi Abe. He doesn't go overboard with his facial expression (which KimuTaku, admittedly, does sometimes, and always looks 'angry', if you know what I mean. Nevertheless they both exude different kind of charm onscreen) but rather expresses his emotions through his eyes.

I also find Aibu Saki has stepped up another level as an actress. She always played a nice character before, and she actually looked fake doing that, but in here she played her b*tchy role far more convincingly than any other. Maybe she should take a more provocative role next time? Because I think that would work for her. Regardless, I look forward to her next drama. Till then.

Overall, I really love this drama. And as usual, J-drama really knows how to spice up their side stories. All supporting characters have got something to offer and their stories or appearances are just as entertaining as the main characters'. Also not to forget the awesome theme song "Ichibu to Zenbu" by the rock duo B'z. It's been a while since I last got a Japanese song on my winamp playlist, but lately this song and it's variations are being on repeat mode, playing even as we speak.

One more thing...
I just found a new interest in the form of a basketball player Igarashi Kei ^o^ . He made guest appearance in the drama series. I didn't know he was a real professional player. All I thought when he first came into picture was, "KAWAIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! >_<" hahaha. I'm talking about the player in white below.


Now, why don't we all go watch Buzzer Beat?

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