Stand Up!! – Episode 1

Hi everyone, Kumatan here!

With the help of my friend Haejin, I decided to write my first drama review on Stand Up!!, a comedy starring Ninomiya Kazunari. It’s a drama from 2003, so it’s not a recent drama review.

The reason why I decided to do “Stand Up!!” was because of these reasons:

  • It’s summer.
  • Nino is one of my favorite idols and actors.
  • It’s a memorable drama even after years of watching the series.

The story goes like this… (according to Japanese Wikipedia)

“Shohei (Ninomiya Kazunari) and his best buddies Kengo (Yamashita Tomohisa), Hayato (Narimiya Hiroki), and Koji (Oguri Shun) are second year high school students wishing to graduate from being virgins. One day, Shohei finds female underwear at the library and later finds out his classmate Tanaka was having sex with his girlfriend. This incident reveals the fact that he and his buddies are the last 4 virgins in school. Also, Chie (Suzuki Anne), who the four of them adored, came back after moving away 11 years ago and has a situation.”

Since it’s been years since I’ve seen the show, this will be a good opportunity to look back at this series. So let’s start!

The drama starts with Shohei’s words, talking about how this story is not connected to this video of Uwarukwanbaru crashing into the earth. Already, what the hell is an Uwarukwanbaru? But then again, as we continue watching, the Uwarukwanbaru does observe a Japanese high school classroom through a pipe hole…

uwarukwanba has arrived.

In that classroom, a horrible English class is taking place. He tells his students to stand up and we see our Shohei not following his orders. He sounds confused, mentioning how his English teacher still does not know how to say bow in English. And…ends up saying that in Japanese haha. Shows how the English education system is in Japan.

the dilemma.

When he tells his students to ‘sit down’, Shohei is the only one standing this time around. He is still in his “should I say or should I not say” stage and gathers the eyes of all his classmates. His teacher also notices and asks, ‘What’s wrong?’ Well with that cute Shohei face, I would be asking too.

We get to find out what has been troubling our Shohei by going back to the day he was assigned trash pickup duty.

holy mother…

He picked up trash at the library and oh no…a lonely piece of pink underwear is on one of the book section labels! His face is…I guess horrified but for a horny teen, I would imagine it being otherwise. He thought that he wanted to pretend he didn’t see the underwear but…it turns out, he does tell the teacher and they go investigate.

you go get them boy.

The teacher asks for the mike as they are taking videos and bluntly states that the offender should turn themselves in or he’ll kill them. It does seem like it could have been an assault case, so Shohei’s decision was not a bad one.

The teacher questions Shohei as he is the first witness. The teacher comes off strong but it is the average, did you find any clues and anyone suspicious. Shohei says no out of fear and thinks to himself that he shouldn’t have said anything.

YamaPi, you were so cute.

Kengo, Shohei’s best friend comes around and starts analyzing the situation. He mentions why people have sex in these types of places and Shohei looks surprised at his friend’s words. Then his other two best buddies, Hayato and Koji come and take them away.

i would love to join in.

The four of them are now together and for some reason as one of them mentioned, they cover themselves with a banner for…no reason. Hayato is more excited about the fact that his friend is the gossip of the school.

you go girl.

Then Tanaka, a guy that they all know is suddenly in front of them with his girlfriend. Tanaka suddenly starts saying an apology and heads to the library and all of them follow Tanaka. His girlfriend speaks up in the library, saying she will say something.

wtf??

They both do decide to say that they made love here at the library and each of the gang’s faces reveal a different level of acceptance towards that declaration (Shohei is in utter shock, Kengo seems to not care, Koji gives a ‘you serious?’ look, and Hayato has a look of no way). The girl admits that is her underwear…and the teacher drop it out of his hand haha.

kids could care less.

The school holds a meeting saying how adultery and juvenile sex is prohibited but…the students could care less. The poor man repeats himself adding that people will be severely punished. Shohei is the only one who seems to pay attention to his speech, while the others continue to care less. The student’s conversations give an insight to different perception towards sex.

One of them asks his friend if he just had sex and ran off, which shows how sex is taken quite casually. Another one is a girl talking about her delayed period, which shows the lack of care towards contraception. Her friend counts, saying how it’s ok.

flawless lady it seems.

The teachers are definitely annoyed and mentions how they are brats and won’t listen. The poor man continues to speak, bringing up Awaji Keiko sensei in the background but the students continue to care less. The only thing they cared of was when Tanaka came out, resulting in everyone running towards outside.

walk of shame.

Tanaka and his girlfriend are so happy, but you can totally see that the parents are shamed and embarrassed. Shohei remarks how Tanaka is glowing and Kengo is like congrats for his happiness. But Koji states but it means…and Hayato finishes his sentence with…he graduated from his virginity. The four of them are not too pleased with that reality.

the awesome four excuse me.

And reality is not so nice towards them when a leader like girl from a group calls them the last four. Hayato exclaims in a very meek tone, what do you mean? And the girl takes it up a notch and kicks up in the air, making Hayato exclaim childishly that he saw her underwear. And she kicks poor Shohei.

aw ill hug you.

The girls talk about how they are mad that Shohei tattled and mentions how everyone has sex in campus and that they don’t have money so be considerate of that fact. Shohei apologizes very weakly and gets commented that these are the reasons why they are the last four.

the most attractive virgins, the V4.

Hayato still acts confused on why they are called the last four and the girls spell it out for them. And that they are virgins. And they just have that ‘no way’ look on point. Fortunately, the teachers pull them back but the girls continue to their damage. They mention that they are the only four in their grade who hasn’t had sex yet. And the poor boys look at their classmates, resulting in them having ‘experienced’ stamps on their faces haha.

the stamp of approval…in their eyes.

The girls walk away and they remarked how they are taking it seriously. But now, we get to hear Shohei explaining each of his best buddies.

YamaPi’s golden years.

First off is Kengo, aka Ken Ken. He has always been a cute looking boy, with neighborhood moms and wives fawning over him. While they were fawning over him, his mother divorced his father, took the divorce money, and made a love hotel. And with her love hotel, they have a place to hang out.

they dead.

The boys are intensely listening to people having sex and Kengo reads books to explain the sex sounds being made. They also measure the time and Shohei asks if it’s short or long. Kengo says he’ll go get his book. But they’re like nah, let’s go.

gf you so uptight.

Another fact is revealed: Kengo has a girlfriend. But…they never get anywhere sexually because she promised herself she won’t do anything until she gets into Dokkyou University. And she conveniently brings up trains, which deter him away from doing anything. So he is also a train freak.

Rock that guitar boy.

Next is about Hayato aka Udayan, who idolizes a guitarist named Hatake, who is from a band called Sharan Q (Sharan Q’s vocalist Tsunku is the producer of Morning Musume). Shohei comments that he wouldn’t be bad…as long as he were more confident. He is a pervert since he was a kid but the type that hides behind trees while saying perverted things to girls. But he lost it even more after he got kicked by those girls that appeared earlier. And this is the reason why Udayan’s still a virgin.

Yeah, him.

And the last one out of his buddies is Koji aka Ko-kun, which Shohei calls a mystery. He’s the soccer captain and, usually, they are really popular with girls. But the problem with Koji is that…he tends to show off too much towards the girl. So for example, a girl and her friend are talking to him and the friend mentions how much the girl likes him. And since he doesn’t have a girlfriend, it would be great. But he mentions, he does have a girlfriend.

yup my one and only.

The girl gets visibly upset and asks who. And he says her…and it’s the soccer ball. Shohei finds Koji in a corner eventually and calls him and asks, what’s wrong? Koji says…he can’t speak well. This concludes the reason why he’s a virgin.

Nino with trashcan, I like ;D.

Now we get to our main guy, Shohei and his reasons. Shohei is at the trash can and two girls come up to him and they tell him to throw trash away as he is the member of the cleaning committee. We get to learn more about his family background as well. His family is a pharmacy and he introduced his father and mother, who seem like average parents and his older sister who waked up quite late due to graveyard shift.

she’s so pretty.

Shohei also talks about how he likes someone…and that someone is Mochizuki sensei. She is a beautiful young teacher who shows understanding towards Shohei regarding the incident today. She told him that if he told her, it would have not been as big as the other sensei made it as. Shohei is nervous but she also states that at least, they should not have sex on campus. Shohei is a bit bothered as it does show she’s not concerned with the fact that the students have sex. But regardless, she’s a teacher and she tells him to show up for supplementary classes from tomorrow and that she will be waiting.

mmm vice principal<3.

That word of her waiting for him makes him really happy and gives him another thought. He also has a thought of since it’s his seventeenth summer, he should do something adventurous. He decides to close his eyes and pray that the first person he opens his eyes to, he will lose his virginity to…and sees vice principal in front of his eyes haha. He retries again and he opens his eyes to…

oro?

Chie!

He retries again and Chie keeps on calling him Sho-chan, asking him if he is Sho-chan, and if he’s okay. He doesn’t recognize her so he asks her what she wants. She asks him if he ate breakfast and he answers back. Then she brightens up and hugs him hard, while he still doesn’t recognize her.

drawing~.

Now the scene moves on with her drawing in the middle of a busy local shopping district. The boys are gathered up in a local restaurant, discussing about Chie. The restaurant owner talks about their simple minds, getting excited easily and ordering food in result. Hayato asks what does he mean and Terumi, the girl who helps out the restaurant tells them that Chie is their first love. She remembers Chie and how she transferred in first grade. So the owner mentions how they were all childhood friends and Kengo asks Terumi that they were close. Terumi says not at all and that she was a princess.

aw they were so cute.

Now we will get to know more about Chie. She had the attention of all four of them and it pissed Terumi off a lot at the time. Terumi also says how they are excited because they think they can get some action with Chie, which isn’t too far off, seeing their reaction. Terumi exclaims how she doesn’t like her and how she doesn’t want to see her at all…but Chie is right behind her.

ohh drama!

Hayato doesn’t recognize who it is but Chie is nice enough to simply apologize for making Terumi feel that way but even Terumi doesn’t recognize her. But you could tell they are disappointed and request the owner Hiromi to scratch their order but ends up pissed saying that it’s already done.

gathering of the bosses.

It seems there is a heated discussion and it looks like a police report investigation with arrests and all…but as the young lady brings up, it’s a neighborhood meeting. They were discussing about how high school students (involving one of the girls that called the boys virgins) were using the love motel that Kengo’s mom owns and it’s not a first time case.

Me wants to be her.

We go back to Shohei and Chie and Chie is excited about a festival and asks Sho-chan to go with her. He’s still not used to having her back and her calling him Sho chan. She decides to barge in the pharmacy.

The neighborhood meeting is going on still and it’s about the festival that Chie talked about. Neighborhood president mentions how adulterous acts often happen in these festivals every year, which makes it a fun event but also very dangerous. He describes some of the adulterous acts that happened in the previous years, one of them a high school student flirting with a 60 year old man. They also mention how this festival competes with larger businesses and wish for good health.

daddy working hard.

Neighborhood vice president (Shohei’s dad) decides to set up a committee but they criticize his choosing of wrong Chinese character and making the reading complicated than it should be. Then Tomoko (Shohei’s mom) says it’s a bit too strict as everyone looks forward to the festival, that they are still kids, and she’s sure they don’t always think of sex.

Cue to Kengo, Hayato, and Koji…

the trio being together more than Shohei.

They are doing quizzes where they guess the adult actress in the clip. Hayato is getting the actresses quite quickly it seems. Koji is just really impressed while Kengo just keeps playing the clips.

same hands.

Hayato calls himself Togoshi’s erotic prince and we go back to the neighborhood meeting, where Hayato’s dad is doing the same hand gesture as him. He agrees with Shohei’s mom and says they should believe in the children more. Kengo’s mom has a more effective approach, saying that they need to teach proper condom usage and birth control. Shohei’s mom agrees as well and young lady mentions that it seems like a good idea to have a local sex education shopping district.

Shohei’s dad is quite the strict and traditional one and questions why it has all come to this. And well…he’s making it sound like a politician speech now with the ‘I will protect this country’! He then asks the neighborhood members on their participation for his committee.

yup, keep creeping.

Now it’s the scene with the teachers. Mochizuki sensei seems unaware really of Shohei’s teacher creeping up on her but also suggests if she wants to participate with him in doing security for the summer festival. When he makes racier comments, the vice principal is looking at them from the corner.

i feel like there is a romance here too.

Vice principal’s name seems to be Sasaki and Mochizuki sensei brightly says hi to her. Sasaki sensei mentions how hot it is and Mochizuki sensei goes for a drink…and Sasaki sensei stares at how big her breasts are. Then she warns that Kimura sensei (Shohei’s teacher) has a problem with drinking and with women so to be careful. Sasaki sensei mentions he hits on girls when drunk and forgets about them the next day. Mochizuki sensei says that the lady in the story is also at fault, which makes it seem that it was probably about Sasaki sensei.

shohei be waiting.

Sasaki sensei asks if Mochizuki sensei is single and she mentions she is and currently looking for a younger man.

so much…gundam.

We now go back to Shohei and Chie, where Chie is observing his room. Shohei finds his ero collections and quickly hids it from Chie and asks her why she came suddenly.

daddy is a curious man.

Chie says that she has something she needed to do here and wanted to say hi to everyone cause its summer. Shohei finds more of his stuff and quickly hides it from her vision. While she’s on his back, his parents are back and ask him who is this girl and the dad looks horrified and blatantly asks how far they have gone, with letters.

They now find out who it is and the parents are happy to see her again. Shohei doesn’t want to keep her around too long but his parents make it difficult to send her off. Shohei keeps implying that she has to go to the hotel for dinner but the parents encourage her to eat dinner here and to stay over as long as needed. Chie seems delighted but Shohei exclaims there is no room or space.

my my….

His sister is back as well so he decides to use her as an excuse. Chie is more interested in what the sister does and the mother mentions she’s a nurse. Chie suddenly stands up and expresses her feelings of respect to the sister. The sister is confused on who it is…

It turns out that Chie’s mother has been ill for a while and received a lot of care from nurses, now called caregivers. So she wanted to express her gratitude to Shohei’s sister. Now, Chie will be the family favorite that Shohei cannot send away.

needs to check whose banging tonight.

At Shohei’s room, it seems he can hear people buying condoms…and this one customer is buying multiple. Shohei heads to the window…and it’s Tanaka and his girlfriend. It makes him want to lose his virginity even more and every time he closes his eyes…Chie appears.

again…this is a signnn.

He suddenly receives an email from Mochizuki sensei, which makes him happy. It’s an email regarding the people who received a zero on their English exams. It mentioned that she will be not going on her travels and it makes Shohei remind himself of the day he met her for the first time.

she makes even this shirt sexy.

She was dressing in one of the rooms when Shohei came in and she wore a shirt that says Taiwan, which she received from a friend in LA. She explained to Shohei how she traveled in over 20 countries and decided to work not as a full time at a high school due to being broke.

holy…

And well…sensei is a bit of a weird English teacher. But Shohei still likes her and wants to be with her. He also ends up fantasizing her removing her shirt and asking for him to sleep with her. With his fantasies…he is the last student remaining.

boys in swim wear mmm.

We now go to the trio…who are swimming at the school pool. They look like they are dying and Kimura sensei says to do 300…laps. The boys gasp in horror because they thought it was meters, not laps. Hayato just sinks in the water.

We continue with Mochizuki sensei and Shohei and we find out that the friend from LA was someone she liked. She was thinking of taking him to Roppongi Hills and many other places as well as the summer festival. She asks if Shohei’s going to the festival and he says he wants to go, with her.

I would be too.

But since the context is unclear, she asks with who. He prays and throws that with her and she easily accepts. He thought he was rejected but immediately reels back to process the result. The teacher is excited to go out with her student, calling it her first date with Shohei.

Shohei is inexperienced in a sense that he never been on a date, well a movie but Sadako (The Ring) was scary. But Mochizuki sensei is more experienced so she tells him to meet him at the designated place at 7pm.

so pretty.

Chie is at the local neighborhood, drawing with a serious face. Then a yukata catches her attention. Shohei, while being excited, gets a call from his friends, who look dead at the pool side. Kengo starts explaining after Shohei asks what’s wrong.

The trio was observing the supplementary class for PE as it was only girls who couldn’t participate previous due to their period. Hayato was going to take a picture of the girls but they were busted by other girls and received punishment. Kimura sensei tells them that if they can’t swim, they have to clean the pool side.

why the hell?

The girls bash on them calling them perverts and virgins. Even the grandpas join in on the insults, calling them virgins. This motivated Hayato. Kengo is just on the side talking about the train. Shohei speaks up, talking about how people get rid of their virginity on their seventeenth summer in movies and such. Then he says that they should have a race to see who loses it first. Hayato smacks him, calling him old fashioned. Kengo continues his train rambling and Hayato exclaims that they should form a club that saves virginity. Shohei gives a look that I would give to Hayato as well. Hayato insists it’s now much cooler to save their virginity. Now he wants to save it for the one he loves for marriage. Kengo insists it’s a similar movement that is happening in the US and how he read it on Newsweek. Hayato makes membership numbers for the club and Koji asks why the member numbers are double digits. Shohei says he doesn’t want to be a part of it at all.

Koji also says that all of them want to get rid of his virginity as soon as possible. Kengo agrees and Hayato seems like the minority. He exclaims how could they be Japanese men and says the rules for the new found members.

impossiburu.

Rules are that they remain virgins until graduating high school and they are all in it together.  He also banned masturbation as well and Shohei responds that’s not possible. Koji says his cries every night. Hayato says rub it with sat but regardless, it’s an unpopular opinion.

boy, dont make it hard on yoself.

Then Hayato says something that makes it difficult for Shohei. He insists that they all go to the festival together, just with guys. The trio seems okay with it and Koji suggests fireworks. Hayato is all fired up with various ideas on what to do together with the guys.

hm to choose sexy sensei or his home boys.

This puts Shohei in a double booking dilemma. Choose sensei or the guys? But he chooses the ‘well it’ll be ok’ path, not making a proper decision. On the other room, Shohei’s mom lets Chie wear the sister’s yukata.

The young lady, Shiho, visits Hayato’s dad. His dad owns a vegetable store and he keeps on making these lame puns with her choices of vegetables. And well, her charms are really strong…he ends up giving the vegetables for free. And she winks, calling that her ‘service’ haha. Like father, like son.

And the neighborhood guys end up watching some inappropriate videos and Hayato’s dad notices one of the videos…and the girl on the video cover looks like Shiho. He wonders.

Shohei’s dad is running late and he complains about the neighborhood president. Shohei’s mom tells him to quit already but it turns out that the dad has more planned. He wants to be the neighborhood president. So dad is a pretty ambitious guy…but his wife could care less and calls it stupid.

daddy has a beast within him.

But suddenly, Shohei’s dad is turned on by his wife and suggests they get some action before he goes. She swiftly avoids him, which shows that it is a common occurrence in the family.

We see Kimura sensei and the sister and the sister wonders why adults try to control their kids so much. The committee is getting heated and Shiho passes the receivers to the male members. They still wonder if she is the girl on that video.

they go strict.

The neighborhood president makes the announcement and tells them that if anything happens, let the headquarters know.

Shohei’s sister speaks a point about how sex is treated in two opposing ideas. One, they say it’s a beautiful way of growing love and something that they share together. But on the other hand, they teach that it’s something dirty and adulterous and it should never be done.

she is really pretty.

Kimura sensei also says that Japanese sexual education system is a lot of contradictions. But Shohei’s sister then says how she wonders why someone who completed sex ed and very much prepared and beautiful is sitting her all alone. Kimura sensei is not sure and asks if it’s directed towards him or not.

so cute.

Then Chie appears and Shohei’s sister comments how it was her yukata and it looks really good on her. She also does not have her glasses and tried on some disposable contacts. Chie is looking for Shohei but it turns out…

its more torture now.

He’s stuck with the crew on a lecture about preserving virginity. And Kengo is lending Hayato his newsweek, which adds to his preserving virginity ideas. He even made stickers for his group.

hey babe.

While they are being reluctant (Kengo is more accepting), a new guy comes around named Kume Naoya. He’s the class president and soccer ace striker of a private school. He also models for a magazine called ‘Men’s Egg’ (which did really exist).

scramble for those condoms!

Shohei whispers to Hayato that he’s a celebrity regarding romance and Hayato mentions that he’s rumored to have relationships/slept with 100 people. Naoya corrects him by saying that it’s actually 91. Still it’s quite a large number. He also claims he works as a monitor for a condom company and throws them the condoms by saying use these when you need to. The boys scramble for it haha. It pretty much shows they are not fully committed to preserving their virginity.

Naoya has a speech on how having sex without love is sad and he is also tired of just receiving love. He says if he could go back to being a virgin, he rather would. I think his statement, although a bit of a joke, gives a good message to these guys.

kengo, you go boy.

The summer festival is getting busy and Chie is looking for Shohei. The four is at the corner, observing Terumi and the girl that confessed to Koji. Shohei gets the courage and tells them that he needs to go. Kengo is all, what about the firecrackers?

Shohei says how he has a promise and Hayato is like what promise? It doesn’t help that Chie came to them, saying she was looking for Sho chan. Kengo is all okay, I see. Koji is all like, when did this happen? Shohei tries to defend himself but it’s not happening. Hayato is the only upset one here, calling him a traitor. When talks of Shohei’s virginity came up, Chie’s face hardened as if it were an uncomfortable topic to talk about. But Shohei does not notice her cues and keeps saying how he didn’t do it with her and how he has someone else he likes.

do not mess with the girl’s heart.

The loose conversation towards virginity has greatly made Chie upset. It upsets her to think that that’s all they could think about and storms off.

all alone.

It goes well into the night and Chie is sitting alone on the steps. Kengo comes up to her with food and apologizes for their behavior earlier. He actually enjoys seeing her eat well but it came at the wrong timing…his girlfriend was there to watch them.

The girlfriend is upset, asking if that’s the way of him showing her and if he’s upset because she doesn’t let him go to the next step. He claims it isn’t and that he loves her. He offers to walk around with her but before he could, she grabs him and kisses him.

Kengo…work on your kissing, but then again…he couldn’t haha.

oops.

Shohei is waiting for sensei to come…and Kengo and his girlfriend are still at it, now he’s taking the lead and she’s becoming more forward…then they get caught.

sensei, you got caught.

Shohei gets the call that Kengo is being yelled at and around that timing, sensei comes…with another guy. Shohei is shocked and sensei remembers now that she had a date with him. He asks her about the guy in LA and supposedly the guy she was with today, is a friend. That confuses Shohei even more.

He asks if she sleeps with her friend and then a sudden change of attitude appears. She brings out her cigarettes and asks him what he thought of her. He then thinks in his mind of the compliments he has towards her, such as pretty, kind, a bit ditzy, but smart and how she’s his ideal woman.

She says how she’s actually more normal and he is like, ‘you can hear me??’ She says she plays around a bit but also falls in love as well and apologizes to him.

Kengo mommy is very honest.

Shohei is still a bit confused but walks towards Kengo’s mom’s love hotel. Kengo’s mom sees him and mentions about her son how the neighborhood committee is annoying and should be a bit looser. Kengo’s mom also talks about how her love hotel is a full house right now and summer is the season for sex.

The festival is busy and Shohei’s dad is looking at his wife and smacked him when he tried to hug her. Shohei is at the park on the swings and sees another couple.

Chie is already back at home and Shohei came home, all depressed. Chie knocks on his door, asking him what’s wrong. Shohei finally admits…that he wants to have sex, but it’s something much heavier. Falling in love, caring for them, falling in love…it shows that he views sex as something valuable, nothing to easily throw away. And he also mentions it has to be with someone he loves.

Chie asks if he remembers the day when she moved. Shohei came running on the day and waved until his hands could tear off. She shows a drawing she did of him and mentions how she cannot catch up with everyone talking about sex. She mentions her faults and then says about how it’s been 11 years since she last saw Shohei and that he would have grown to have changed. But…he’s still the same Sho chan. Those thoughts made her glad she came back to Tokyo and met him. Shohei tells her that the yukata looks good on her.

It turns out for Kengo; the family of his girlfriend is telling her to break up with him and to end the relationship. Kengo apologizes to his mom, who’s not upset with him but upset with the girlfriend’s family. Koji’s dad tells him to be careful too. Hayato’s dad is like…well you’ll be fine.

Review…

If you were able to finish reading my recap, thank you so much! It was my first time to really sit myself down and write a review but I got some ideas in terms of reviewing from wonderful recappers.

In terms of reviewing for the first episode, I am really happy that I decided to watch this drama again. Stand Up!! It is still a rare gem in Japanese dramas because it deals with teens and their desires for sex. Even now, a lot of dramas rarely mention anything about sex or anything related to safe sex as this drama casually mentions. Especially for a drama with Johnnys Entertainment idols…sex is really out of the question. Their image is supposed to be pristine and have everything in what a girl looks for in a guy. Even SMAP never really give off the image that they do have relationships and even Kimura Takuya does not mention much about his wife or children even though when the drama aired, they were still in their late 20s-30s.

Now that I think about it, the time period when Ninomiya and Yamashita were in this show was when Arashi was not as popular (It was before Hana Yori Dango, where all of Arashi got popular) and NewS just debuted in 2003 for Yamashita (Although he was somewhat of a popular Jr. already at the time). They both did not carry the star power that they have or had. Oguri and Narimiya tended to play rough high school kids at the time (They both were in Gokusen in the previous year) so their castings were expected more than Ninomiya or Yamashita.

Well outside of the whole casting, I really like how this drama is not just about boys losing their virginity. From the synopsis, it sounds like mindless boys only caring about sex. But as you learn more about the characters, each of them have different perceptions of sex and who they want to devote themselves to. Shohei has his sexual urges but likes Mochizuki sensei for her personality as well. He does voice his opinion at the end of the episode that shows that he wants to have a mutual committing relationship when it comes to losing his virginity. I feel Shohei’s repressed feelings come from his father, who is quite traditional and has trouble expressing himself. And seeing how his wife rejects him all the time…yeah these may be one of the reasons why. So having Chie around will be great to express himself more and not be too afraid of himself. I really like Chie as a character because I related to her quirky and dorky self. I end up rooting for her and she is winning the battle in getting Shohei’s heart.

Kengo is a respectable character in that he apologized when he and his friends went a bit far and hurt Chie’s feelings. He also never forces his girlfriend to advance to the next level, until she was ready and initiated the contact. I also like how he respects Hayato’s thoughts even though he may not have agreed in everything Hayato said. It’s also endearing that he likes trains and loves to read, which shows his vast knowledge on certain subjects…and stops him from doing anything further haha.

I feel that Ninomiya’s and Yamashita’s characters were crafted in a way to not offend the viewers (as they are still idols) but still really match their acting style. Ninomiya is really good with the timid on the outside but genuine inside type of role. There’s this kind of relaxed way with his acting, which is maybe why I tend to like and relate with his roles the most. While with Yamashita, he’s not a great actor but really works the dry but endearing character. Kengo as a character is awkward but caring, so Yamashita worked well with the character.

In terms of Hayato and Koji, their characters are interesting and complex compared to the other two. Hayato has an endearing quality about him, where he really is genuine in everything he does. He lost confidence because he genuinely feared for the wrath but he tries to redeem himself and gain confidence by making a club to preserve virginity. It sounds ridiculous but I find it as Hayato’s way of regaining confidence and to be fine with whom he is. There’s nothing wrong with being a virgin and no one should decide if it’s wrong or right. Hayato’s dad seems like a good guy too and I feel his easy going nature came from his dad. It was sweet when his dad was all let’s trust the children. I’m sure if he didn’t trust Hayato, he wouldn’t be able to say those words.

Koji is adorable in that he’s just wants to look cool…but fails so terribly at it. But the good thing is, it’s not something terrible but something he can fix. If he finds the right person that tells him that it’s okay you look dumb but you are still awesome! He will be fine. But since he has the least development…so far, I can’t really talk about him too much.

With the other characters, I like how there is a variety of characters that has different values. Shohei’s mom agrees with Kengo’s mom about contraceptives but seeing how Shohei’s family is, it is a bit more traditional. I also liked how Kengo’s mom accepts all of them and doesn’t ridicule Kengo when he and his girlfriend are forced to break up at the end of the episode. Shohei’s dad is interesting a sense that he’s very strict and traditional, but he’s not afraid to be friendly with Chie and try to sneak in some action with his wife. Shohei’s sister is an interesting character as she represents the growing population of strong and independent woman who want to have relationships but unable to due to circumstances.

This show has a lot of great elements that it works with and really makes it a great drama to watch, even though it’s more than ten years old. Although my review turned out a bit longer than expected, I hope to continue recapping and reviewing this drama.

Thank you for staying on board!

 


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