Nimwe (nimwe) wrote,

Review: Yowakutemo Katemasu episode 1

Meet Tamo-sensei, the reluctant teacher.

Yowakutemo Katemasu is mostly known as the Ninomiya Kazunari's new drama. It airs on Saturdays at 21:00 on NTV and it is currently subbed by bunnyandclover.

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The episode opens with a baseball match. With his narration we see how the protagonist is a hopeless catcher, and with his narration he tells the viewer that his theory on sports: even the weak can win. It's a bold statement considering that his team is brutally beaten by the opponent. Still, even though he let's almost every batting player pass the home base, he tries to take out one of them by tagging him after he has finally retrieved the ball. He doesn't succeed, because he drops the ball. His opponent looks down on him, both literally and figuratively, and I can't help but feel sorry for the cather.

Now we properly meet Tamo Aoshi, a biologist working in a university laboratorium that is shut down for probably a year as the professor is accused of fraud. One year of unemployment is long, so Tamo searches for a temporary job and ends up at his old high school, Odawara Jotoku. This high school is known for having intelligent students that enter university, not for the athletic students. A good example of this image is the baseball club, which doesn't have enough people to form a team and only practices three hours a week.
When Tamo first arrives at school he sees the baseball club practice and sees that they are not with enough people. He seems to be still reluctant to do baseball, as he doesn't even try to throw the ball back. It must have been quite a trauma.
The principal asks him to be the baseball coach, but Tamo refuses. He is introduced to the whole school and make it perfectly clear that: he is 12 years older, thus smarter, and that he will be gone as soon as the lab has opened again.
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This was the moment that I thought: yes, I like this character. He's quirky, off beat, not your average teacher, but still, I like him and I like how Ninomiya portrays him. His character could be a charicature, but it isn't. It's someone you think you could meet one day, but the chances are slim, because it's not an average person.

In his first lesson biology to the third years, where a large part of the baseball club is, Tamo makes it clear that he prefers all problems, big and small, to be solved, so it won't distract his teachings. As irrelevant baseball is to his lesson, he still wants the baseball problem (not having enough members for a team and the fact that Akaiwa has quit) to be solved.
At the next baseball practice Tamo meets the official coach Masumoto, but he is actually more a symbolic coach than a functional coach. He tells Tamo that the annual friendly match against Doutou Academy is cancelled, which shocks Tamo. It's actually quite logical as there are only six members and a team needs nine in a match. Then the coach pushes Tamo to give some advice as a former member of the baseball club. Tamo tells the players to have some communication, such as "Don't mind" to feel at ease, because it is too quiet. I hope this will be some sort of a running gag, because I love it.
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We meet Akaiwa's father, and Tamo's landlady, who also runs the cafe the pupils frequently visit for the curry, and we discover that the landlady is the mother of the manager of the baseball club. When he was still in high school Tamo used to throw a ball with her, but he doesn't recognise her after all these years. She does, so be prepared for unformal language, such as Aoshi-kun. Tarumi Yuzu, as she is called, has a direct personality and she isn't afraid to call people out. She even has a stalker that she smartly uses to complete the baseball team. Because she is like this, she can come across as a know-it-all, maybe even unpleasant, but I hope that the writer can balance this, especially, because she seems to be one of the main students.
Yuzu tells the story of Akaiwa; how every ball hit came his way in a match and how we failed to catch every single one of them. He was humiliated in that match (only he was targeted and only his uniform was dirty) and he decided to quit.
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Well, this sounds familiar, doesn't it, Tamo-sensei? Tamo finds Akaiwa, who has run away from home, and they talk about baseball. Akaiwa shares his vision on baseball, and declares baseball is a strong point, because he doesn't consider it weak. But it's subjective. But as Tamo says, if it is his strong point then he should develop it.

A journalist, Tone Riko, will cover the upcoming high school baseball competition, and Tamo is introduced as the coach, though he still denies it. Shirao Tsuyoshi is aiming to be a professional baseball player and when Tone asks why he came to a school, he answers that if he comes through this, he will be able to overcome anything in the future. Though I admire his attitude, I have to say that it is not a smart attitude. It's okay to not choose the easy way, but you can't become a professional baseball player on talent alone. That talent has to be developed and that can only be done in an environment that knows how to do that. At this school nobody has the know-how and they can't help him. I doubt Tamo can even help him enough to be recruited.
Tamo visits the playground of Doutou Acadamy, which does have the facilities to train a baseball team aiming for the top. He meets the coach and offends him by sharing another offbeat theory: "Baseball is a waste, but even if it's a waste I want to win".

Tamo decides that the friendly match will happen, so he tells the baseball club to recruit people. Not necessarily the best people, but the people that can be missed from their clubs. This baseball club will be an odd bunch, because they recruit: an aspiring conductor, that grabs his chance to stand in the spotlight as a batter, a runner who is fast, but loses speed too soon, so he isn't even a sprinter, and as said earlier, Yuzu's stalker. The only one left is Akaiwa, so Tamo chases him and tries to persuade him with playing catch.
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Who could say no to this?

It's the day of the match and while the opposing team is impressive with just the warming-up, Jotoku's coach's behaviour is less impressive:Afbeelding 17
So is Jotoku's conducting pitcher, because pitch to save his life. None of the balls come even near the batter. Tamo, who has come to watch, not to coach, walks onto the ground and demands the pitcher to be changed. However, nobody wants to pitch, and because Tamo is desperate he begins to call for Akaiwa, who hadn't turned up for the match. Akaiwa hears it and after a very long time (the match has resumed with the same pitcher) he finally enters the field in his baseball uniform, which still bears the dirt from the last match. Irrationally I thought: yes, now there will be a change. Rationally, I knew it would still be hard to get three out.
It was. Even if the pitching is going well now, the field still has troubling catching the ball. The team is nowhere near a chance to take the batting position. Tamo even begs the opposing coach to change without the three outs, because it is supposed to be a friendly match, but the coach refuses. Maybe Tamo should not have pissed him off when he said baseball is a waste.
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This happens when you walk onto the field twice.

The team begins to play better and finally, finally they get three out. Akaiwa even caught a ball. Everyone is happy and they want to recover the game, but because of the sunset the game is terminated.
The team is disappointed, but Tamo promises that he will help them win. Even if they are weak, they can win, they just have to think of a smart way to make that happen. He will be their coach and together they will win, even when weak.
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Tags: ninomiya kazunari, review, yowakutemo katemasu

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