Title (Romaji): Yamada Taro Monogatari
Also known as: The Story of Yamada Taro
Broadcast period: 2007-Jul-6 to 2007-Sept
Air time: Friday 22:00
Theme song: “Happiness” by Arashi
Arashi members Ninomiya Kazunari and Sakurai Sho star in this comedy series based on “Yamada Taro Monogatari” by mangaka Ai Morinaga. Ninomiya plays the title character, Taro Yamada, whose family lives in extreme poverty. But because of his looks, intelligence, and athleticism, others mistakenly believe that Taro comes from a prosperous family. In contrast, Sakurai plays Taro’s best friend Takuya, who really is from a successful family and who often helps out Taro in various ways.
We start off with a hungry Tarou seeing a croquette as a cloud to start off the mood of the drama, along with the atmosphere of how extremely poor he is with the help of his “barely-a-home” home. We’re introduced to his many siblings, 6 to be exact. I, personally, don’t like children in dramas. Call me a young hag but they disturb me to the very core and we can usually do without them but I actually really like these kids in the drama. Maybe it’s ’cause they’re more mature than other children in other dramas. Maybe ’cause the kids are actually necessary and endearing here. Who knows.
Ah the wonderful Ichinomiya High School. An extremely rich and elite school. Even their uniform is amazing and in Japan, the uniform highly reflects the school’s status. The female lead, Takako, is a commoner. She’s not all that wealthy like most of the kids at the school but she’s sure wealthier than Tarou. She attends this school for a highly noble reason. Knowledge? Nope. To find a rich guy and marry him. I mean, who wouldn’t. That is MY sole goal in life. I would dream nothing more than to find a rich guy and be a sloth for the rest of my life, leeching off of his money. Sadly, my pride and lack of attractive-ness prevents me from doing so. I guess I’ll just work hard like the rest of us. Damn it.
Takako is happy that she made it! Into the special honors class! Number 18: Ikegami Takako. Why is she so excited to be in an honors class? She has proven that she’s intelligent to those who have put her down before! Psych. She gets to be with the best of the best! That means, she’ll get the best guys! The richest and brightest guys! Pretty smart, eh?
She’s so excited. She’s just gonna show it. And her hand raising thing. Get used to it. She doesn’t seem like she’ll be stopping.
Now the princely Takuya has arrived. And Tarou arrives as well. The two walk down this red carpet as the crowd separates down the middle. They’re like Moses and the crowd is the Red Sea. They didn’t even need God to help them. Pretty nifty. These two are Yamada Tarou and Mimura Takuya, the number one boys in the honors class. As if that wasn’t enough to boost their cool factor, they’re also great at sports and extremely wealthy! Oh wait, only Takuya is. But, other people don’t know that Tarou is as poor as a rock. And Tarou doesn’t realize that people don’t know that. We also find out how dirt-poor Tarou is able to go to this school. He’s a scholarship student and is exempt from paying the 3,000,000yen tuition fee.
This guy? Hate him. Just do it. I did it. Just conform. Seriously.
Takako is off day-dreaming again. Thinking about how Tarou and Takuya are like European Aristocrats and so sophisticated and rich and what-not.
So, Tarou’s being stared at. What does he automatically think? People are staring ’cause his uniform is ripped! Even though he’s already patched it up. =). What a cute naive little Tarou.
Tarou introduces himself to Takuya who coldly shrugs him off. Understandable. I shrug people off all the time. Not because I’m rich, elite, intelligent, good-looking, or any reason that Takuya has. I’m just a big brat.
Tarou has a keen sense of smell. He smells.. dried fish. Guess who had dried fish for breakfast? That’s right, our heroine Takako. She thinks he’s noticing her. He’s really noticing the fact that she has dried fish. Yummy. So Takako now decides that Tarou is her prince. The one she wants! Woot! Oh, the irony.
Now introducing, the extremely nervous introverted teacher. I love her. I really do. She’s hilarious and I think she plays this character well. And she’s gorgeous.
The principal goes and gives his welcoming speech now. I don’t find it amazing but I like the guy. He’s a kind principal. I wish I had him for a principal. I don’t even know who my principal is. They keep changing them. Like my counselors. They just don’t want me to get used to the school. I swear.
Tarou is now going to conduct a symphony.. cause he’s that amazing. And Takuya, who is equally amazing, will play the piano. I admit, I kept staring at the watch Takuya took off to see if they made any goofs for this scene. They didn’t. Darn. Takako compares to Tarou to a graceful ballerina. No comment except Tarou in tights. HAH!
One of my favorite scenes. All the females faint from the wonderfulness of Tarou and Takuya while the guys in the audience freak out a bit. Probably cursing in their headds, wondering why they aren’t as beautiful and talented as Tarou and Takuya. I’m a female and I’m doing the same thing as well. Makes me wish that I didn’t give up on flute, guitar, and violin.
Apparently, Tarou and Takuya are SO cool that they’ve even got the teacher in a frenzy.
Love the teacher freaking out.
Our bright Takuya then notices something slightly… off about Tarou. If Tarou was so rich, why would be using a chocolate box to hold his pencils and erasers? Pencils that look absolutely worn out no less. Remember when you were so poor that you had to sharpen both ends of a pencil to make the most out of it? No? I guess Tarou and I are alone in this world. If you’re so rich. Why are you reading this? Go get a fake tan or something. Takuya is now intrigued. I’m more intrigued at the cute look he made when he noticed. Just that..”wtf” and sneakily double-taking on the pencil box. Then he’s more suspicious when he hears Tarou’s tummy rumbling.
Takuya then decides to follow Tarou out of curiosity and there’s this whole cat-chasing-mouse type of deal. Tarou isn’t purposely avoiding Takuya [he doesn’t even realize Takuya is following him], Tarou’s just naturally slippery. Hah. So, Tarou’s secret is.. safe.. for now. Still. Even though Tarou doesn’t care whether people know he’s poor or not.
Now we know just why this family is so poor. The mom’s a stupid spend-thrift. Seriously, if there was anyone to dislike in this drama. It would be the idiotic irresponsible mother. And maybe the wandering artist father who is equally irresponsible. I seriously dislike the mother. All her kids are so mature and Tarou has to be a construction worker to make money while she spends all their money.
I felt extremely sad when the scene of the family eating rolled along. They’re so poor they have to imagine themselves eating delicious food with the rice. I’ve never seen something like that before. One of his sister’s birthday is coming up and for her birthday.. she would like to eat cheap croquettes. Aw.
To make money. Tarou has to go and work while his siblings are sleeping. Working in construction. What a harsh job.
The girls are so in love with Tarou that they all decide to give him bentos [lunchboxes]. Tarou then has to go -try- to beat the supermarket rush to get his sister some croquettes. He fails.. thanks to Takako’s frugal mother. Gosh. I really don’t like her. What a stingy hag. Her family is like royalty compared to Tarou’s. Ugh.
Takako spots Tarou working in construction and he tries to explain that he’s poor but she constantly interrupts him. Making up the reason that his [King] father is making him work so he’ll appreciate the value of a dollar more. Okay.. I mean.. I naturally would come up with that reason before thinking of the logically “he’s poor” reason.
Tarou finally does get his croquettes! Thanks to Takako getting left-overs in her bento.
And I told you right? To hate this guy? See his jealous face? Yeah. Hate hate hate!
Tarou steals toilet paper from the school ’cause his family desperately needs toilet paper.
Sadly, it’s foiled accidentally by the nervous train wreck of a teacher.
And the guy you should hate by now has to add more oil to the fire. No worries. Sho saves the day.
Evil face again. He decides to steal Takako’s bento from Tarou to throw it away and make Tarou look bad. BUT Tarou really needs those croquettes for his sister! So a chase is on! Following the two is Takako and Takuya.
And Tarou catches the jerk and gives a speech about how important the bento is to him. Takako mistakely thinks it means that Tarou likes her a lot. The jerk throws the bento and Tarou catches it… almost. Actually, Takuya caught it and wonders why Tarou is so desperate over such a bento.
This is the scene that’ll make you cry. It made me cry! Tarou brings home the croquettes and the sister fake eats it and tells Tarou the only reason she wanted it was for him to taste it since he didn’t get to last time he bought it for them. So amazingly touching. Nino [Tarou]’s acting here is amazing. He’s really teary-eyed and touched and really does show the emotional state that Tarou would be feeling, that any human being would be feeling, if the situation was real.
And Sho finally realizes what’s going on with Tarou. And just a little add-on. The mom bought an extremely expensive dress for the little girl’s birthday. That’s a nice thought and all but she isn’t the one making the money. Hard-working Tarou is. Pisses me off a bit.
About Characters and Actors
Ninomiya Kazunari as Yamada Tarou – I was always a fan of Nino. He’s a great actor in my opinion and I think he played Tarou wonderfully so far. Nino doesn’t quite fit the character [popular, good-looking, athletic] but I can see why they chose him as the lead. He’s a good actor and he pulls it off well. He doesn’t exactly have the “shining” smile that Tarou is supposed to have but he’s cute enough. Besides, I think he matches the more emotional Tarou better than the cold Takuya.
Sakurai Sho as Mimura Takuya – Sho playing Takuya was a job well done for me. He matches the personality and the looks of the character. He has great chemistry with Nino [as expected from them being together for like a decade now thanks to Arashi] and even though his role didn’t require much right now. I expect great things from him later on. This will be my first time seeing Sho act and I’m not unimpressed as of now.
Tabe Mikako as Ikegami Takako – I don’t like her character much but I think she plays it well. She hasn’t done anything overly exaggerate that gets to the annoying side so that’s a plus. I hope her character gets better later on. Perhaps changed by the charming Tarou?
Fukiishi Kazue as Torii Kyoko – She’s the nervous teacher. I’ve never seen her act but I find her vaguely familiar. I like her role as well. Even though she’s not technically a main character. She’s already one of my favorite characters. Her nervous role is funny and the little touches she adds to it makes it believable. Also, it seems like they’re heading towards a romance with her and the other teacher who is her senpai, I hope it happens. They’ll be a cute “opposites attract” type of couple.
Overall – This episode was funny, charming, and extremely meaningful. It was touching and it made me laugh in the beginning and gradually made me tear up toward the end in a non-demanding way. I liked it and I look forward to the rest of this series.