Buzzer Beat

Featuring Yamashita Tomohisa

26 November, 2009 by

With the exception of Voice, Mei-chan no Shitsuji and to some extent Shiroi Haru, dramas for 2009 have been a string of disappointments.  I was really skeptical when my colleagues started discussing about how Buzzer Beat was. After much persuasion, I eventually got around to watching this season’s most popular drama.

If I were to sum up the entire series, Buzzer Beat is basically Long Vacation with two Takuyas. Yamashita Tomohisa (Proposal Daisakusen) plays the male Takuya, while the female Takuya is played by Kitagawa Keiko (Sailor Mars). Supporting the main cast are the credible Ito Hideaki (Umizaru) and Aibu Saki (Zettai Kareshi).

Doesn't this...

...look familiar.

Buzzer Beat’s premise is incredibly familiar to the point of being cliché. However, it does not pretend to be anything more than a mainstream love story. Yamashita is a professional basketball player and Kitagawa a music graduate. As neighbors, both of them meet by chance and eventually build up a friendship based around their close proximity to one another. Both of them seem to be having difficulty in their careers and much like Long Vacation, the drama spends most of its length focusing on how their characters motivate each other to pursue their dreams.

With all the basic ingredients down for a successful love story, it is difficult for a drama like Buzzer Beat to fail. Yet watching the drama left me rather unsatisfied. Perhaps my biggest gripe with the entire show was that I felt myself unable to relate to any of the characters. For once, this isn’t even the fault of Yamashita’s acting ability (or lack of) but rather the lack of believable characters in the story’s script.

After the first 6 minutes, you won't see anyone playing basketball again seriously for 10 episodes.

Yamashita plays a highly talented professional basketball player. On a base level, this is already an incredibly difficult character to relate to since not many viewers fall under the category of perfectly likeable professional athlete. Perhaps we could come to understand the feelings of such a character better if we could watch him in action. However, this never happens. How are viewers to believe that Yamashita is a basketball player when never once, are we shown a full basketball match.

But of course, as a struggling music graduate, Kitagawa’s character should be much easier to relate to then? But despite having played the Violin myself I find it difficult to relate to her either. Apparently she has great talent, but is having great difficulty getting any related jobs. I wouldn’t be surprised though, since she never spends more than 5 minutes practicing. Just like Yamashita, she is never given any real moments to shine. Having at least one scene like Glamorous Sky scene from NANA would have done wonders for this drama. 

What you spend most of the show watching.

Buzzer Beat is not completely without merit though. Both Ito Hideaki and Aibu Saki are perhaps the strongest talents in Buzzer Beat. They both play their roles perfectly in the drama despite their small roles. While not necessarily likeable they come across as the most believable characters in the show. Overall, it seems that their characters were simply thought out better. 

Despite its flaws, it is still a decent drama, just not a great one. Try not to think too much about the show, and you will still enjoy it. Just don’t expect it to be this year’s Proposal Daisakusen.


Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.