Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ganbatte Ikimasshoi (Give It All)

Ganbatte Ikimasshoi
Suzuki Anne as Shinomura Etsuko
Nishikido Ryo as Sekino Hiroyuki
Uchi Hiroki as Nakata Saburo (ep1-2)
Taguchi Junnosuke as Nakata Saburo (ep4~)
Aibu Saki as Yano Rie
Iwasa Mayuko as Kikuchi Taeko
Satsukawa Aimi as Nakazaki Atsuko
Fujimoto Shizuka as Nakaura Mayumi
Ishida Yuriko as Oono Hitomi
Ikeuchi Hiroyuki as Oono Ken
Aijima Kazuyuki as Fukuda Shouichirou

"Someday, Somewhere, By chance."

Suzuki Anne plays Etsuko Shinomura, a girl who wants to start a girl's crew team at her school. However, in order to do so she needs to find at least 4 other members. She is met with many challenges during each episode - ie. finding enough members, bearing the weight of being captain, going through training, and experiencing some setbacks. However, with the help of her coach, childhood friend (Nishikido Ryo), and the rest of the boy's rowing team, she and the rest of her team are able to overcome those obstacles. A sports drama about hope, hard work, and perseverance

Etsuko Shinomura, at first glance, seems to be a courageous and active girl. Actually, she has low self-esteem but hides it by acting boldly. She's a typical teenager who is interested in boys. Etsuko lives with her family: her always cheerful mother, her father who runs a dry cleaning shop, and her lighthearted grandmother. Four years ago, her older sister entered the prestigious Kyoto University. Since childhood, Etsuko hated being compared with her smart sister. Although she successfully entered the famous Matsuyama High School this spring, she soon falls behind the others. One day, she happens to see four boys from the school's boat team rowing in unison. This sight lights a fire in Etsuko's heart, and she is determined to establish a girl's boating club. The problem is, not only does she hate sports, she also has anemia. Despite her difficulties, she actively takes part in forming a new club.

Hiroyuki Sekino is Etsuko's neighbor and a member of the boy's boat team. He used to be overweight when he was younger, but now, he's turned into a tall handsome young man. He has a lot of friends because of his friendly personality. Hiroyuki is always in a good mood. What his friends don't know is that when he was a member of his middle school's soccer club, the pressure caused him to have a breakdown. At home, his parents' attention always went to his smart young brother. Etsuko has an uneasy feeling when she finds out how much girls at school like Hiroyuki. When they were kids, Hiroyuki and Etsuko never got along. Always fighting and quarreling, Hiroyuki once pushed Etsuko off a jungle gym. What Etsuko doesn't know is that Hiroyuki always has had a crush on her.

Saburo Nakata belongs to the Rugby club. His tall figure and handsome looks capture the girls' attention at school. Contrary to his idol-like looks, Saburo is actually a serious and dedicated guy. Brought up in an all-female family, he's seen plenty of the negative side of women. That's why Saburo is a bit timid when it comes to romance. He's not only brilliant, he's also a great athlete and is hoping to enter the prestigious Tokyo University. His dream is to get a job that will touch people's hearts. Saburo's "never give up" attitude is a positive influence on Etsuko and the girls who tend to give up easily.

Rie Yano is the typical honor student. She shoulders the burden of her parents' expectations and is aiming to enter a national university and go to medical school. Rie is moved when she sees how dedicated and passionate Etsuko is when it comes to the girl's boat club, and decides to join the club herself. She has a tough time balancing her studies and club activities, but with her rich knowledge of Science, Rie makes a big contribution as a member of the maintenance crew. As the expert mechanic, she makes her presence on the team felt by all.

Taeko Kikuchi stands out in the boat team with her bright-colored hair and pierced ears. Before joining the team, her strong personality gave the false impression that Taeko was the leader of a group of juvenile delinquents. But when she became friends with Etsuko and was moved by her passion for boats, Taeko joins the team. Soon, she becomes an essential member of the team. Her only weak point is that she's short-tempered.

Hitomi Ohno was the star member of the award-winning girl's squad when Matsuyama High School previously had a girl's boat team. When Etsuko asks Hitomi to coach her team, she happily accepts, and teaches the girls the excitement of rowing. Hitomi's husband Ken, is the coach of the boy's boat club and still active in boat rowing. They've been married for four years, but Ken's worries about continuing the sport has created a gap between the couple.

Yukio Shinomura is Etsuko's father and the owner of a dry cleaning store. He takes pride in what he does and refuses to buy computers and other new equipment for his store. Yukio likes to do it the old-fashioned way. While Yukio is always displaying his love and affection for Etsuko's elder sister, he seems strict when it comes to Etsuko. He often calls her a good-for-nothing, but Etsuko doesn't know that her father says these things to hide his true feelings. Yukio actually loves Etsuko more than anybody and cares for her greatly. He soon becomes the leader of the group cheering for Etsuko's boat club. ~~FujiTV

This story was strong and inspiring. Nothing like the previous dramas I've seen. Not long, drawn out, until you can't stand it no more, that you have to fast forward to the last episode to put yourself out of your misery, type drama. It was enjoyable for every second of it. It would have been nice to see another season.

What happened to Shinamuro Etsuko and Sekino Hiroyuki? That was left to our imaginations. Ugh.

This story will leave you with a happy feeling but yet sad at the same time. You'll relive your high school days (if your as old as me) and wish to go back to those joyous years of springtime youth. *sigh*

Nishikido Ryo
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Ryo-kun is a member of the Japanese boy band, NEWS and KATANI8. He is also a co-member with Yamashita Tomohisa. I was pleasantly surprised with Ryo-kun. He is not only pleasant to look at but evidently a wonderful actor. He had me believing in him. Great job. I've seen him in other dramas and am proud to say that I can't wait to see more of him. *kiss, kiss, kiss, hug, kiss*

Taguchi Junnosuke
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Junnosuke-kun is another member of the popular Japanese boy band, KAT-TUN! Not as popular as Kame or Jin, he is special in his own way. Junno-kun is more wholesome in a sense. He has more of the pretty face and has the best smile of them all, IMO. I have yet to see him in a sort of bad boy image but yet I can't see him in that way and I'm assuming the roles he is given are in the same agreement.

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