Pride (2004)

  • Title: プライド
  • Title (English): Pride
  • Genre: Sports, Human drama
  • Episodes: 11
  • Viewership ratings: 25.1
  • Broadcast network: Fuji TV
  • Broadcast period: 2004-Jan-12 to 2004-Mar-22
  • Air time: Monday 21:00
  • Theme song: I Was Born To Love You by Queen

Synopsis

Halu is the captain and star player of an ice hockey team, who is greatly respected by his teammates. For him, hockey is serious business that fully occupies his mind, while he treats romance as if it were a game.

Aki is a typical OL (office lady), and is waiting for her boyfriend to return from studying architecture abroad. At this point in time however, he shows no sign of coming back. One day, Aki’s friends who are determined to find her a new boyfriend, invite her to watch an ice hockey game. There she sees Halu for the first time.

After the game, Aki and her friends join the players for a party celebrating their victory. Aki, however, is not so excited to be there. When she leaves the party, she bumps into Halu, who was slightly injured from a fight. They exchange e-mail addresses and part.

The sparks of mutual attraction are ignited in a second encounter between Aki and Halu, arranged with the help of her friends shortly after a party.

Hyodo has come as a replacement for the team’s coach who has been hospitalized. Halu has a lot of respect for the hospitalized coach. Unfortunately, he can’t stand Hyodo’s way of doing things. Bringing with him a lot of coaching experience from overseas, Hyodo criticizes the former coach’s strategies. Whenever Halu and Hyodo see each other, they get into a quarrel; consequently influencing Halu’s behavior during games.

Seeing that his game ended in a brawl, Aki visits Halu to comfort him. But he tells her that she is being too friendly with him.

Aki is hurt, Halu is irritated, and his teammate Hotta can’t stand seeing Halu like this…

Cast

Kimura Takuya as Satonaka Haru :: Satonaka Haru is the popular ice hockey player on the Scorpions, who has as much game with the ladies off the ice as he does on it. Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, he is not exactly a player. He never has steady relationships, instead he selects a girl and offers her a type of dating game. In this case, Murase Aki is waiting for her boyfriend to come back and it has been two years, no contact. He offers to be her new “boyfriend” until he returns and, after much thought, she agrees. I really like Kimura Takuya’s portrayal of Haru. Haru is a man who hides his emotions, especially matters of the heart, and does not like to show his vulnerable side to anyone. KimuTaku showed us just that with a touch of tenderness that shows there’s more to Haru than just hockey and masculinity. What I loved about Haru is how much he cares for his teammates/friends. When a friend is in need, he knows what to do and how to act with each of them that will give them a push in the right direction. Overall, A+++ for KimuTaku. One of my favorite roles for him.

Takeuchi Yuko as Murase Aki :: Takeuchi Yuko is just as talented as she is incredibly beautiful.  As Murase Aki, she carries a lovely grace as a woman who’s longing for her boyfriend even after 2 years of no contact. Haru likes to describe Aki as “a woman from the last century” and this holds true in every way. Aki is old fashioned compared to her friends/coworkers, who date men that have a lot of money or just like to have fun. In the beginning, she hesitates when she finds herself getting closer and is afraid to take that step, considering she has attached herself to waiting for her boyfriend. Frankly, I’m amazed she has so much patience to wait that long. Throughout the first half, she misunderstands Haru quite a lot but soon discovers the many hidden and sensitive sides of Haru. Aki falls for Haru and things get very confusing once her boyfriend returns out of the blue. This is just one of the many characters I love because of Takeuchi Yuko. Murase Aki could have been an annoyance; however, Yuko portrays the character in a way that won’t annoy you to death and shows the struggles of opening yourself up to someone you’re dangerously attracted to. Can’t imagine another actress to play Aki, never~~!

Storyline &* Relationships

In light of KimuTaku’s latest drama (Tsuki no Koibito) and the lack of the romance/pairing/character-development in it; also the latest news of Takeuchi Yuko’s new summer drama with Matsujun (Arashi), I decided to write a review on one of my favorite KimuTaku/romance jdramas. Knowing that most jdramas lack the romance (well what I consider good romance), Pride does an excellent job with it. At frist, you may think that it’s just another sports drama; however, this is a sports and romance drama .. so double the awesomeness. If you’re wondering “what happened to the rest of the cast above,” I decided not to include them since the drama focuses on Satonaka Har and Murase Aki for the most part.

Now .. where to begin? Aki starts off as a timid woman who is scared of getting into another relationship because she’s staying true to her boyfriend she hasn’t seen or heard from in 2 years. Most would think to move on, but not her. She waits everyday, after work, on a bridge he designed. Oh yeah, her boyfriend is an architect .. boring, isn’t he? Her close friends from work take her to their company hockey game, where she notices Haru for the first time. Actually, it’s not like he catches her eye immediately. In fact, she only noticed him because he’s the team’s star and has the most fans in the crowd. After the game, Aki is the one that catches the eyes of Haru and he pursues her. His plan: get into a fight right in front of her with the help of your teammates in hopes of having her help you out. Great plan! And it actually works, too LOL.  After a few times of “bumping into each other,” they get themselves into a relationship. Haru is Aki’s temporary boyfriend and Aki won’t be lonely in her boyfriend’s absence. In actuality, two lonely souls are keeping each other company.

As their relationship progresses into something more than just keeping each other company, the two seek comfort in each other and begin to understand each other more. Aki’s impression of Haru changes drastically and Haru learns to let her in more. Their relationship is finally set after Haru’s mother comes to find him. Aki learns that she’s only there to borrow money and tries to protect Haru from the emotional heartbreak by giving her the money. Haru finds out and apologizes to Aki, leading the two back to his place. And she’s the first girl to enter his apartment! Congrats to Aki!! They end up sleeping together and everything just seems fine and dandy. That is until her boyfriend comes back out of the blue. When he finds out about the relationship Aki has/had with Haru, he turns jealous and violent. Because she simply can’t leave him and she blames herself, she agrees to his proposal. However, it takes Haru’s close friend (Ikegawa Tomonori) to get some sense into her boyfriend’s head. He breaks off their engagement and goes back to Europe to his girlfriend. See! Two years of no contact should mean something AKI! He was cheating from day one, no need to blame yourself for the crap he put you through -_-;;  I guess sometimes loyalty will eventually lead to naive stupidity xD

You’d think everything would be perfectly fine after the engagement is broken off and the two will be together. NOPE! C’mon you’ve seen how these dramas go. There has to be a time lapse first, then the two can be together. Instead of running to each other’s arms, Haru concentrates on hockey and gets into the NHL. So .. he goes to the NHL and there’s a time lapse. How long is the time? I don’t remember so watch it if you want to know. However, I don’t think they say how long the time lapse is. The point of view is focused on Aki and she turns off a tv interview starring Haru. She heads out with her bag and ends up at the outdoor rink where she has one of her first dates with Haru. What’s she doing there? Practicing, of course! She’s been learning how to skate properly, good going! She’s surrounded by couples (go figure -_-) and all of a sudden, fireworks go off. When the fireworks are finished, all the couples are gone. A hockey puck hits her skate and out comes .. HARU! Not really a mystery, we all knew it was coming. She thinks it’s a coincidence, but we all know that’s not the case. The whole team pops out, including her friends. He asks her to go back with him and she agrees. THE END! Well, it was more romantic and cuter than the way I described it. I’m too lazy to write it all in detail. Just imagine fireworks, a lit up ferris wheel, and everyone surrounding them.

Overall, cute romance-centered jdrama. There’s just one thing I was a bit annoyed with and it’s how many times Aki says “Haru” at crucial moments. There is no need to repeat it so damn much. We all know his name, damn it! Other than that, this is a drama I don’t mind rewatching ^.^

Rating: 9.5 out of 10


One thought on “Pride (2004)

  1. This is my favorite Takuya Kimura Jdrama series. I’ve watched it over and over..around 5 times already!!! He is sooooo talented and he really looks good.

    Like

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