On this post, I talked about my thoughts regarding YowaPeda’s anime series. Now, I will take the liberty of writing about the drama series. Before even having the interest of watching the anime, I already knew about the drama because of Kimura Tatsunari (Engeki Haikyuu!!’s Kageyama Tobio), so I wanted to watch it, but none of the people I follow for uploads of drama series uploaded a copy of the drama. I just searched for it after watching the anime and good thing that there’s some wonderful angels who shared it and subbed it.
Now, the drama mainly followed the plot of the series. It covers the story from the start when Onoda raced with Imaizumi to make him join the anime club until the end of their 4-day training camp before the Inter-High. It has 7 almost-1 hour episodes.
The main cast is comprised of guys who are mostly acting more on theatre productions and are actually on YowaPeda‘s stageplays. Ogoe, Kujirai, and Yashima are actually on the recent ~ Sohoku’s New Generation Begins ~ which ran its performances March this year.
Onoda Sakamichi is played by Ogoe Yuuki. He is known for playing Echizen Ryoma for the 6th generation Seigaku of Tenimyu. I’ve liked his voice from when I first heard it on Tenimyu’s Hyotei Nationals. I thought Ogoe was able to portray Onoda’s character well. He managed to look weak and innocent and pure. (I’ve always thought that he looks too nice for Ryoma, though.) He has that sweet smile that captures Onoda’s joy of riding. His voice is, as always, sweet and it was nice to hear him sing bits of Koi Hime Hime Pettanko. His acting is good, too, as he managed to make his actions look natural. I don’t mind seeing him on another TV drama sometime in the future, though, I’d love for him to star in another stage play.
Imaizumi Shunsuke is played here by Kimura Tatsunari, my initial motivation for watching it. This is his first drama appearance and I have to admit that he still has lots to improve. He sometimes have these exaggerated expressions which are more for theatre not for TV screens, especially that Yowapeda drama isn’t really slapstick comedy. (But wow. I just realized that I think Tacchu will be able to pull off slapstick comedy well, what with his facial expressions.) I loved his serious expressions, though, because I thought they captured Imaizumi’s serious attitude toward winning.
Naruko Shoukichi, on the other hand, is played by Fukuzawa Taiga. With my limited knowledge of how their accents sound, I think he is able to deliver his lines well. I actually thought that he sounded like Naruko’s seiyuu. Anyway, just as in the anime and manga, I found him as loveable as ever. I liked his smile, too! It’s good that the three main actors actually do not look awkward together.
Now, there is also the third years. I think these three look too mature to act as high schoolers. (Though I really thought that even in the anime, Kinjou and Tadokoro looked old for the characters.)
Kinjou Shingo is played by Gomoto Naoya. I haven’t seen him in any productions yet, but I thought he got the aura of a captain. His built was good for him as well. He acted well, but there’s still room for improvement.
Tadokoro Jin is played by Tomotsune Yuuki. I thought he was fine, but he did not have that overbearing presence and intensity that his character should have.
Meanwhile, Ryoma Baba, known for his role as Tezuka Kunimitsu on the 5th generation of Tenimyu, played as Makishima Yuusuke. I thought he did well, but I guess I just have so much expectations because I love Makishima, so I was not satisfied. Ryoma doesn’t have that evil smirk, so this version is lot more kinder to me.
Of course, there’s also the second years plus Sugimoto and the other supporting characters.
Kujirai Kosuke played Teshima Junta. Personally, I think he’s past the age to play second year high school students because, well, the first time I watched him was in Tenimyu. He was part of the second generation (back in 2005!) Seigaku cast, and played Kaidoh Kaoru, who’s a 2nd year middle school student. In any case, his acting was good and wasn’t bad nor awkward to see on screen.
Yashima Ryo played Aoyagi Hajime. I guess he’s passable for a high schooler and I think he’s the closest to the
Hirai Hiroki acted as Sugimoto Terufumi. I think he captured the role. He did not have as much exposure as the character from the anime, though. Kanzaki Tōji is played by Asato Yuuya (who was fine though he looks much younger than the third years when he’s actually the senpai) while Kanzaki Miki by Sakurai Minami (who is apparently on Nazo no Tenkousei but I can’t remember because I was only able to skim through its first episode).
As for the sound and music, they are good. They managed to induce excitement and tug at hearts at times. I especially loved the opening theme, “Skill Flower” by MAGIC OF LIFE. I never skipped it. There are two ending themes, “The DAY” sang by the Sohoku High School Road Racing Club cast and “Winner Tracker” sang by the Hakone Academy Road Racing Club cast. I liked the first one better because I loved the harmony of their voices more than the ones from the Hakone cast. And it is more upbeat than the second. (Plus my heart leaps whenever I recognize Ogoe’s and Fukuzawa’s voices.)
Overall, I had fun watching it despite all the facepalms. I can’t easily recommend it to drama watchers, though. More so to the anime/manga fans who have high expectations. Surely, those who follow one or some of the actors here should at least check this out, though.