[2014 Summer] Water Polo Yankees

Only two episodes of this drama have aired, and so far its promising. Like most I had a large gaping hole after the finish of Tumbling, that needed some sports-drama to fill it. And over the years since 2010 there have been a few – but nothing has come close. Maybe this time Water Polo Yankees will succeed where those failed.

Plus this is water polo. No way I would give that miss. Boys in boomerangs.

[2014 SUMMER DRAMA] Suikyu Yankees

Airing Date : Saturday, start from 12th July 2014 at 23:10

TV Station : Fuji TV

Soundtrack : Ashita eno YELL by Hey!Say!JUMP

Cast : Nakajima Yuto, Yamazaki Kento, Takagi Yuya, Ohara Sakurako, Chiba Yudai, Mamiya Shotaro, Nakagawa Taishi, Yoshizawa Ryo, Yamoto Yuma, Shinkawa Yua, Kakei Miwako, Suzuki Nobuyuki, Omasa Aya, Sano Hinako, Ikezu Shoko, Minagawa Sarutoki, Kurashina Kana (guest star), Kitamura Yukiya, Morimoto Leo

Official Website : suikyu

THE STORYLINE

*I'll add more information when it becomes available.

Naoya Inaba (Nakajima Yuto) recently arrived in Japan to spend one year at Kasu High School. His ambition to become banchou of the school. Naoya admires the school because a yankee, who he admired as a child, went there, but he soon realizes that there are no real yankee like hero figures and his beloved school is about be closed down. But Naoya has never given up anything in his life without a fight. As a means to stop the closure Naoya forms the Kasu High Water Polo Club with one goal in mind – to win against rival team Suiran High, a prestigious school that is chasing a third time championship and their captain Kitajima Torao (Takaki Yuya). But before he can even play a game Naoya has to recruit members and convince Ryuji (Yamazaki Kento) the Ace to get back in the water one more time.

Meet the Students

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Nakajima Yuto as Naoya Inaba. Naoya is the main protagonist of the story. Having grown up abroad, his father a famous photographer, Naoya returns to Japan to attended high school for one year. His choice Kasumino (a.k.a Kasu) High, a school he admires because the Yankee that saved him in his childhood was a previous student. Naoya even wears the schools badge with pride. Naoya is influenced by Yankee subculture and their stereotypical appearance of dyed blonde hair. He is someone who believes in never giving up, and its this strength in character that makes him obstinate. Before coming to Kasu High he had one ambition which was to become banchou of the school. And on his first day challenged Ryuji, believing he was the current Banchou. However, after learning about the closure of the school, Naoya’s ambition changed to saving the school. He has no previous experience with water polo – initially reading the kanji as “water ball”. However, as a means to save the school started the Kasu High Water Ball Club, after having a one-on-one battle with Kitajima –  the aim to win against Suiran High.

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Yamazaki Kento as Ryuji Mifune. Ryuji is a student at Kasu High in the same class as Naoya and friends with the bakatrio (Tomoki, Kohei and Shinsuke). It is said that Ryuji turned down a scholarship at Surian High, having given up water polo before high school. Previously he had been the Ace of his Junior high school team, which consisted of Kitajima as his teammate, and the bakatrio as the cheersquad. After accepting the challenge of a one-on-one battle with the club members, which Ryuji easily wins, the previous Ace thinks about returning to the sport. In the end he joins the team and becomes the assistant coach – since he is the only one with previous experience of gameplay. His ambition to overcome the wall that is Kitajima and beat Suiran High.

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Takaki Yuya as Torao Kitajima. Torao is a student of Suiran High as well as being the captain of the water polo team. He is a tall individual and uses his height against other opponents. Previously he was friends/rivals on the same Junior high team as Ryuji. After becoming jealous of Ryuji, Kitajima challenged the other to a one-on-one shootout. The result Kitajima the winner and Ryuji retiring from the sport. Kitajima still harbours resentment towards Ryuji.

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Yudai Chiba as Kimura Tomoki. Friend and classmate of Ryuji. Member of the bakatrio. Somewhat the leader.

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Nakagawa Taishi as Kohei Shimura. Friend and classmate of Ryuji. Member of the bakatrio. Quietest member. Kohei is the weakest swimmer among the club, having previous health problems that make playing the sport difficult. However he is determined to play as a club member, and even has a one-on-one battle with Ryuji. Its Kohei’s heartfelt words “Ryuji loves Water Polo” that finally breaks the wall around Ryuji.

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Yoshizawa Ryo as Shinsuke Kato. Friend and classmate of Ryuji. Member of the bakatrio. Obsessed with idol Kanna.  He is also the younger brother of Kousuke Kato (Hideyaki Kasahara) a local shop owner. He is arguably the best among the bakatrio at swimming.

Mamiya Shotaro as Ryo Chiaki. Classmate of Ryuji. He has an infatuation with teacher Chiharu and such was the first one to join the water polo team.

THE EPISODES

#1

Having lived overseas for 10 years, Naoya Inaba returns to Japan where he attends Kasumori High (Kasu High for short). Naoya, who has been strongly influenced by Yankees has the ambition to become Kasu Highs banchou. He even has a notebook detailing how to succeed. The biggest step to take down the current banchou. After meeting Ryuji, another student in his class Naoya is convinced the other is the banchou of the school and challenges him a battle on the school roof. Ryuji doesn’t appear and the next day Naoya learns that Kasu High is expected to close within the year.  Naoya’s ambition then changes. His number one goal now to save Kasu. However, whilst out posting up posters, Naoya is scolded by a neighbourhood aunty who tells him that in this town no one cares about Kasu, it’s all about Suiran and their third-time champion water polo team. Naoya has no idea what water polo is, initially reading the kanji as ‘water ball’, but after the bakatrio is attacked by players from Surian, Naoya’s reaction is to storm into Suiran High. He is then challenged to a one-on-one match with Torao, the captain and Ace of the Suiran High Water Polo Team. Naoya’s accepts.

# 2

After revealing his plan to make Kasu High top in anything, as a way to save the school Naoya turns to recruiting members for the  water ball club, with the aim to beat Surian High. He first encounter Chiaki, who responds with a “No” and that a man never goes back on this words. Naoya is moved by his passion. His next target is then the bakatrio.

#3

With a deadline to find seven members for the club, Naoya’s next and last target is Ryuji. With him, Ryuji the Ace and other guys, Naoya’s is convinced he can beat Surian High, the problem is getting Ryuji to play water polo again. Naoya then enlists the help of the bakatrio. Who have yet to tell Ryuji they have joined the team out of angering Ryuji. Ryuji nonetheless is happy but says adamantly that he will never play again – saying water polo is his most, no, second most hated thing in the world. (Naoya being number one).

Previously the Ace of the junior high team, Ryuji was both Torao’s teammate and rival in the pool. Torao becoming ever more jealous and green-eyed with Ryuji’s popularity, so one day he challenged Ryuji to a one-on-one match, which Torao won. The defeat hitting Ryuji’s self-confidence hard, till finally he was forgotten among the team and his presence wasn’t needed. It became a wall that he couldn’t overcome. Ryuji then walked away from water polo.

After hearing about Ryuji’s back story, Naoya and the bakatrio come up with a challenge. Naoya telling Ryuji that he is nothing more than a coward. Ryuji takes up the challenge in the pool. If he can get one shoot pass each of the bakatrio then he wins. First up is Shinsuke, who Ryuji beats easily. Second Tomoki, again Ryuji doesn’t hold back. Then finally Kohei, who can’t even swim. However, to everyone’s surprise Kohei dives into the water and swims over to the goal. He confronts Ryuji. The heartfelt words of Kohei seemingly to break the wall around Ryuji, who throws the last ball and misses the goal on purpose. He then gets out of the water. Whilst leaving the principle tells Ryuji that its good to have such friends.

The next day, the deadline for the water polo club comes around and the team is only with six official members. But just as the club is about to be disallowed, Chiharu rushes in with news. Standing poolside is Ryuji with his club application form.

# 4

The seven members have finally become a team, with Ryuji assistant coach. Nonetheless another problem arises – the club has no funding and no equipment, and the vice-principle is not going to allocate any money. But on the plus side Chiharu has arranged a practice match with Suiran High.

That’s like David taking on Goliath. Meanwhile Chiaki is having problems when the bully, Goda, from Surian High comes around to laugh in his face. Chiaki running away with Naoya chasing him. Left with Goda Ryuji declares they will battle in the pool. The bakatrio then find out that Goda and Chiaki were former classmates and worry about Chiaki deserting them. Nonetheless Chiaki walks into practice the next day with a smile on his face. But just as Ryuji is about he leave he stops the other to ask “How do you throw a strong ball”. Ryuji giving him pointers. Chiaki has decided that playing water polo is a chance to beat Goda.

Practice then continues, with Ryuji calling the shots and arranging the positions of all the players. But what about the money to get the boomerangs, and caps, and water polo game balls? Chiaki has that covered as he soon begins to skip out on practice and school to work a labouring job.

Meanwhile Naoya as a man can’t go back on his promise to date Nagisa. The two going to the aquarium, tailed by the bakatrio that don’t understand how that Yankee can get a girl and not them. But Naoya is more interested in looking at the fish and starring at awe at the tank. He then comes up with a brilliant idea. In exchange for working at the aquarium the team is allowed to train in the deep tank.

A month passes and the day of the practice match comes around. But there is a twist. The Suiran Water Polo Team the boys are playing against is actually the girls’ team.

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