Aogeba Toutoshi is one of Summer 2016 lineup of Japanese dramas. Shown on TBS, it aired once every week from between July 17 to September 11, having 8 episodes all in all. It is based on novels “BURABAN” by Ishikawa Takako. It tells of a story about the lives of the select students of Misaki High School in Kanagawa Prefecture as they pursue their passion for music.
Despite being a series centered on music, there are only three main pieces played: Pilgrimage, Alfred Reed’s El Camino Real, and Aogeba Toutoshi. The theme song is entitled Aria, performed by BUMP OF CHICKEN. I liked it for the vocals and the melody. However, it isn’t something which made me want to search for it to listen to it repeatedly and to download it. Anyway, the cinematography of this drama is good. There are a lot of shots which I liked.
The story started with the introduction of a retired saxophone player, Hikuma Koichi (Terao Akira). He was headhunted by the principal of Misaki High School, known for having problematic students. Hikuma ended up being the adviser of the brass band, slowly affecting the way the students play their instruments and live their own lives.
At first, I was kind of turned off by the way that the teacher’s character was like Yankumi or Onizuka, only weaker and older. I thought, ‘Ah, it’s this formula again’. As I watched the series, though, I realized that it was not so bad. Yes, he did get involved with some of their personal affairs, but I guess what made the difference was that the “delinquent” students which he was dealing with were not that much of a delinquent as the ones in Gokusen or Great Teacher Onizuka. Also, not all of the students he helped were problematic students. Some were only inspired by him as the main focus were the five guys and the president of the band.
I enjoyed seeing how each of them changed and, most of all, how they interacted with each other. The friendship shown in the series is not that type of clingy friendship where you’ll be together forever; it’s the friendship that you know will support and help you, one you are assured of is there when you need them. It’s clear with the friendship among the five guys: Hiroto (Murakami Nijiro), Ren (Mackenyu), Keita (Kitamura Takumi), Takamoku (Taiga), and Kuwata (Sano Gaku). I loved the times when it was shown how each of them differs in certain opinions and how they accepted and respected one another. They also have strong bond.
Hiroto and Ren’s friendship dates back from primary school so they are closer. And they share a close friendship with Nagisa (Ishii Anna), the president of the brass band. On the first episode, it was already implied that she have a close relationship with them because she called them on their first names. It made me giddy when it was shown that they also call her by her first name. There is no romance implied (because Japan knows how to not put unnecessary stuff in their plot), so I just enjoyed their friendship (and envied Nagisa for having those two as her close friends!). Based on how they interacted, it seems that Hiroto and Ren’s friendship with Nagisa wasn’t affected much even when they changed after some unfortunate incident. It’s just that they have different circles of friends, so the guys had little time to catch up with her.
Now, Hikuma had a daughter, Natsuki (Tabe Mikako), who was a music student. She was made the band’s coach sometime after the band had its goal. She was a likeable character. I can’t believe that Tabe Mikako played a teacher here when it seems just yesterday when I first watched her as Sawako in the live action of Kimi ni Todoke. Ah, time flies fast.
Anyway, there are other notable characters, too. There is Igawa Kotatsu (Kentaro), the vice president of the brass band. He played the sax and was a year younger than the guys and Nagisa. Kentaro is improving his acting skills and I’m so proud of him. So excited to see him on his future movies! I hope he gets casted on another drama, too.
I happen to like Kibe (Fujiwara Kaoru), too, though he did not have much screen time. (I thought I’ve seen him before, but I checked his dramas and I haven’t watched any of those.) I liked his red hair. Haha. Oh, and his interactions with Mukai (Minakami Kyoka). Those were only brief, but I was touched.
Izumisawa Yuuki had a cameo role on the fourth and fifth episode and his character was horrible, but I’m glad to see him. He looked so much thinner as compared to when he was in Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu!, though. In any case, I hope to see him more in dramas or movies.
Overall, it is an enjoyable watch. The characters are great and the interactions among the characters give a warm feeling. It also made me appreciate Murakami and love Mackenyu more. Kentaro’s a plus, too! Maybe I’ll just write a separate post about them another time.