Tag Archive: Ninomiya Kazunari


Recent episodes of Yowakutemo Katemasu (弱くても勝てます) have been iffy, but largely because there was a lack of focus and the sloppy plotting also led to questionable characterizations. At the end of episode four, though, we found out that the Joutoku team would be facing their first match since their game against Dougaku. Hopefully, that will serve as a focal point for the episode and we’ll finally get to see whether the team is actually improving.

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Tarumi (Arimura Kasumi) brings the team some word about their opponent, Takemiya High School, but it sounds like she’s reading from a promotional pamphlet about the place and doesn’t include much information about the school’s baseball team.

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It’s not a formidable team, but every team is better than Joutoku. Reporter Riko (Aso Kumiko) has some more pertinent information: Takemiya recently got significant funding from Akaiwa (Fukushi Sota)’s father, who got angry at Joutoku because they abandoned his gifts to them. That money was used to hire a manager who has taken a team to the Koshien – the high school baseball championships.

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Yowakutemo Katemasu (弱くても勝てます) has so far been part amusing, part befuddling, and one of the more difficult aspects of the drama is the character of Tone Riko (Aso Kumiko), the journalists who follows around the weakest team in baseball history as if they were the best thing to ever happen to the game. She begins this episode by recording a lamentation about how barren the practice field is, since club activities are forbidden during the testing weeks at Joutoku.

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She literally chases anyone involved with the team when she sees them, and they all run away. Ultimately, team director Masumoto (Arakawa Yoshiyoshi) has to drag her away from school premises.

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Even with club activities on hold, Shirao (Nakajima Yuto) insists on wearing his uniform and practicing.

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Since this episode of Yowakutemo Katemasu (弱くても勝てます) begins with a flashback of Aoshi (Ninomiya Kazunari) playing catch with the younger Tarumi (Arimura Kasumi), my guess is that the centerpiece of this episode will be about Tarumi. However, the writers of this series have made a good effort to have multiple plot lines going at the same time in each episode, so I’ll be looking to see what else they throw in.

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In the present, it’s the anniversary of the death of Tarumi’s father – Kaede (Yakushimaru Hiroko)’s husband. He died shortly after watching the baseball game that has haunted Aoshi’s memories for so long, so Kaede tells Aoshi that even if the Joutoku team loses, they should play a game worth watching because it might be the last game someone sees.

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Aoshi doesn’t take that contrived burden seriously, but it looks like the memory of her father is still a big weight on the younger Tarumi:

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Meanwhile, practice is going how it always seems to go. Are they getting better? Maybe. At least they’re approaching the ball, even if they aren’t making contact.

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I enjoyed the first episode of Yowakutemo Katemasu (弱くても勝てます), mainly because I like the cleverness of the main character – Tamo Aoshi (Ninomiya Kazunari) – and the breadth of the supporting cast. However, the first episode did leave me wondering what the show could possibly do from here. The good thing with having a sharp main character is that he or she is capable of doing things – make intuitive leaps, for example – that the viewer might not expect. The downside is that to keep the character consistent, the writers have to be clever, as well. So, this episode will be somewhat of a test to see if they can keep up the good work.

So, now that Aoshi has the team under his management, what’s he going to do with them?

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As a teacher, he’s necessarily an early riser, but one of his students is even quicker off the mark than he is – Shirao Tsuyoshi (Nakajima Yuto), the best player on the team. They encounter each other and while Shirao is clearly practicing, he wonders what Aoshi is doing out so early. Aoshi explains that since humans are social creatures, the best way to wake up is to be in the presence of other people. That struck me as quite brilliant, so we’re off to a good start.

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Tarumi Yuzu (Arimura Kasumi) can see Shirao practicing every day, since he’s quite visible on that rooftop, and insists that he never takes a day off from it. He sure seems determined.

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But Aoshi is frustrated with the rest of the club, which seems horrible beyond all probability – possibly even worse than he first thought they were. Unfortunately, his current tactic seems to be to just shout at them, and that’s getting nowhere.

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So it turns out that I just got done looking up all the Japanese words I didn’t know in the first episode of Yowakutemo Katemasu (弱くても勝てます), and just today, we got English subtitles! Well, at least I don’t have to rely on my shaky knowledge of Japanese grammar to bring you the start of this fine new drama.

Yowakutemo Katemasu features Ninomiya Kazunari-kun as Tamo Aoshi, who ends up back at this old school as a temporary teacher. The private school is top-notch in terms of academics, but it’s a disgrace when it comes to Aoshi’s real passion – baseball:

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The cast is quite an illustrious assembly of young male actors to stock the hapless baseball team that Aoshi will become the manager of. Hongo Kanata-kun has worked with Ninomiya-kun before, in Gantz. Nakajima Yuto-kun is fresh off of a huge boost to his career in Hanzawa Naoki. Fukushi Sota-kun is the student-lead, and he’s best known from Kamen Rider. Last time I saw Yamazaki Kento-kun in a drama, it was Kuro no Onna Kyoshi. Aside from a brief guest appearance on Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou , I haven’t seen Sakurada Dori-kun recently, but his name pops up pretty frequently. Anyway, you get the picture. With such a cast, I guess the only question is how the plot will shape up.

The story begins with Aoshi working at a research lab, where the lead professor’s research has come under suspicion for plagiarism (or is it falsifying data?). As a result, the lab’s grant has been frozen and the place has to basically close its doors.

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So, Aoshi has to find something else to do, which is what leads him back to his alma mater. Once there, he walks by the baseball field and picks up a ball that is rolling toward him. He’s unwilling to toss it back, though, and instead walks to the team members to hand it to them.

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