Water Boys


Reviewed by: sukting

April 08, 2004

Rating: four

How long
11 episodes

Foreword
If you have watched ‘The Waterboys’ movie, you will definitely like this sequel by Fuji station. It still packs the same humour and also perseverance that each member has. Although certain parts can be unreasonable or ridiculously similar to the movie, it still offers high entertainment.

Story

The waterboys from Tadono Boys’ High have graduated. Their junior, Kankuro envies their success but during his final year of study, all are concerned about passing the exams to get into a good university. He seems to be the only one interested in forming a synchronized team. His other swim mates are more concerned in gaining personal glory for single or relay events.

He is so disillusioned that he gives a letter to his teacher, Isomua to quit from the club and decides to form a new club. Kankuro interrupts the board meeting and raises the issue of wanting a synchronized team. The directors are so angry that they place a week’s ban on the swimming team from using the pool. The swimming team members are annoyed with him and ignore him.

He suffers from many setbacks. No. 1 – no teacher is willing to be their teacher-in-charge. He finds one finally – the same teacher who was in charge of his seniors – but she doesn’t know that she is pregnant again! No.2 – they don’t have 5 members. Tanaka forces them to change their mind by setting the strict requirement. Kankuro tries to seek help from the waterworld trainer, Kiyosama. However, this man flees because he owes debtors a lot of money, leaving his younger brother, Yoshida to help them.

Only a transfer student, Tatematsu is supportive. He transfers here because he hears of the name. He is unwilling to give up and urges him to find more members. Both are wary and fearful of a repeat student, Takahara. Sakuragi Girls’ High students wish to see how the three perform. They don’t bring their swimming trunks and they force them to wear swimming costumes! That is sure funny! Upon trying out, it turns out that Takahara is a non-swimmer and is afraid of water. Many are shocked to know his weakness.

An overweight classmate, Ishuzura happens to follow them there to take pictures of the high school girls. Others think that Takahara is holding his breath under water but he is the only one to sense that he is in danger. He dives in to save him. All are speechless as he is as agile as a fish in water although he is clumsy on land. Kankuro tries to persuade him to join them but to no avail. The mid-year exams are out. I really laugh uncontrollably at this scene. They rush to look at the name list.

Tanaka is normally the first and he is about to brag to Kyoko when he discovers that he comes in second! Who’s the first – you can never believe it – he is Tatematsu! Kankuro’s jaw nearly drops as he recalls how Tatematsu sleeps through the classes! Kankuro and Ishuzura need to resit for the exam. Tatematsu offers to give them tuition. They pass with 70 marks and above. Ishuzura joins them out of gratitude.

Kankuro approaches Yasuda but his father refuses to let him join them. Kankuro is at his wits’ end when he tries in vain to change Tanaka’s mind. He then arranges the guys and the gals to go for an outing together. Tanaka is at first delighted with the invitation but is later furious that they are making use of him. So he leaves. He finds that the student funds are missing and accuses Kankuro of stealing the money.

The 4 guys deny and find the money in Tanaka’s book. He has been too overjoyed over the date and slips the envelope in it. Tanaka clears the air with the teachers. What an unexpected outcome – he becomes the fifth member and the team is formed! Isomura is touched and agrees to be their teacher in charge. However, it is out of bounds to them under the Education director’s command and they have to practice in the public bath or a private club. One senior, Sato is a swimming instructor there and it is hilarious to see them practicing with a big group of pregnant women!

The boys are speechless to know that Kankuro’s mother works in the Educational Board. That means they are of opposite ground. They wonder why Kankuro has the guts to go against his mother. Kankuro’s father knows that they damage the radio in a public bath so he gets them a waterproof radio to play their CD.

The team wants to promote the sport through a performance. Yoshida tries to sell paint to earn money. It is ruined when Kankuro’s mother is there. Kankuro tries to hide from her. All should not miss this dreadful but hilarious scene. They knock into each other and remove Takahara’s breathing aid under water by mistake. The poor guy coughs in water. Kankuro removes Tanaka’s trunks by mistake. He exposes himself when he appears from water! Ishuzura overturns a few tins of paint, causing the pool to be dirtied!

They have to pay for damages by working at a holiday resort with Yoshida. Kankuro and Tatematsu look for the boys and are stunned to know their home background. No wonder their interests are shaped under influence. Takahara’s parents open a judo school. Ishuzura’s father is a farmer. Tanaka’s parents have a clinic. They marvel – no wonder he wants to get into Tokyo University to be doctors like them.

At first, the boys think they are working at a high class country club. To their dismay, only old women and little girls patronize it. They find it tough to work as Tatematsu doesn’t join them. They can only console themselves that he might join them later and they have a pool to practice. One day, young girls arrive and they want to see their performance as they hear of their name. It is so hilarious that Tanaka is formerly ashamed of their ability but now hurries to tell them he is a member of the team!

Their performance ends in disaster because Takahara nearly drowns again. Tanaka says they should give up. Kankuro is angered after knowing Tatematsu asks for a transfer. The girls know Tatematsu feels remorseful for causing his mother’s sickness. His family owns a Rolls Royce and he is sent to visit her! He is the richest person among them. Kankuro tries to keep the truth from them but Tanaka finds out.

Tanaka is in a bad mood and refuses to talk to others. He ridicules Takahara for only interested in frying noodles to please the guests. He is so angry with Kankuro for deceiving him that he pushes Takahara into the pool. But to all’s surprise, he can float and thread water! Ishuzura realizes that the right way of cooking must have helped him to float and swim. All are excited but Tanaka is still angry with Kankuro.

Kankuro says Tatematsu is coming. So Tanaka has written dance steps to participate in a dancing contest – partly for a warm-up and also hoping to win the top prize to pay off the debt. He is confident that they will win. Asako requests to talk to Kankuro but Tanaka ignores her. He wants to hang up the phone but Asako gets Kyoko to talk to him. (This scene is sure cute when he tries to be a gentleman to her but not to others!)

He later tells them about the news and Tatematsu decides to stay as his mother also encourages him. But he is late and they miss the event. They still practice the steps together on land. The girls find them improving in their timing and look cute. Oji, the swimming team captain is busily practicing with the other members and tells Kankuro to give up when he tries to borrow the pool.

So Kankuro manages to find cleaners’ jobs at a swimming complex so that they can train during breaktime. Tanaka is amused to see Takahara swimming in the backstroke at all times. Everything was okay till Takahara ruins their formation. He can’t stand it when swimmers (they are really very young – at about 5 years old) sneer at him. The lifeguard exclaims that they can’t use the pool at all. They need to pay for it. The four members blame Kankuro for not checking out the details.

Kankuro decides to assist Takahara to train in the school pool at night although he is against the idea. Oji goes there and has a shock upon seeing the two hiding under water. He injures himself and blames them. Takahara feels bad as this affects others to lose their chance to get into prestigious universities. They apologise to the Education director and are relieved that Takahara is not expelled. However, they are to stop their activities indefinitely.

Takahara decides to give up. Kankuro thinks that he isn’t fit to be the captain too. It is the last competition for the swimming team but Oji can’t join in the relay. The other swimmers are very angry with Takahara. They want him to compete with Oji. If he wins by completing 100m swim, he can use the pool. Oji will swim 400m to give him the chance. Surprisingly, Kankuro agrees to the challenge.

They sneak to swim in the workplace and try their best to train Takahara. Suddenly, he knows how to swim! All are overjoyed and later realized that he has learned it from a frog. There is a tank where frogs stay in the swimming complex and he enjoys looking at it when he is working to imitate its movements.

On the day of the competition, the swimming team guys are astonished when Takahara can swim although he does it in a slow and awkward way. (Their reaction is so real – as if they are electrocuted). Isomura will be their judge. Upon seeing that Takahara is slow in the final lap, Kankuro dives in to give him support. Tanaka says that he is idiotic. But when he turns around, he is shocked to see Ishuzura and Tatematsu removing their clothes to join too! He sighs and finally does the same to cheer him too.

The other swimmers are impressed and also touched. The 4 are happy that Takahara completes the race although he loses. Oji wonders why they are still so happy. They reply what matters most is he finally knows how to swim. Isomura announces that the synchronized team has won! They have caused Oji to forget to swim to the end point and he is near the mark!

Oji feels guilty. He has already injured his leg beforehand because he has pushed himself too hard.
When the team comes in third and not first in the race, he blames others for it. He says sorry to everyone but they also say that they rely too much on him. Isomura offers to explain to the board to let the synchronized team resume their activities. Kankuro invites Oji to join them since this is his final year and he may not be able to swim anymore. He declines as he is the captain of the swimming team. He still wants to help his team to get into the nationals. But he has agreed to let them use the pool for 2 days in a week.

The synchronized team is rejected from performing at the school festival. The team doesn’t give up. Kankuo knows that the Education minister is coming soon and wants to perform in front of him. They might be able to change his mind. He has failed to convince his mother to help.

Kankuro knows of Asako’s classmate, Suki who is good in synchronized swimming and is shortlisted to join the Olympics. He wants to know her so that they can be taught to perform. Asako reluctantly introduces her to them. She hesitates to approach her because she is arrogant and proud. The five guys stare in amazement as she does all the stunts beautifully in water. To all surprise, she agrees to coach them.

But she is so different the next day. She is very harsh in the training, demanding them to do every move repeatedly. Tatematsu wonders whether she has a split personality. But they still follow wearily. Kankuro sees a diamond but he drops it back into the pool when Tanaka taps him to continue the training. All bear with the pain when they are given nose stoppers to perform the moves.

Tanaka is overjoyed when Asako and Kyoko visit them. Ishuzura is not allowed to rest until he masters the turning down flip perfectly. Kankuro is patient and shows him. The two girls are impressed that Kankuro is good. Kyoko comments him to be a good leader. Asako agrees and Suki teases her that she must have liked him since her face turns so red.

The guys’ teacher, Ms Onogawa loses the diamond on the engagement ring. But fearing that others will know, she lies that she is not looking for it. The next day, Kyoko visits them in her kimono. The guys lament that she looks so pretty in it. Suki says that the guys should make their feelings known to her.
Tanaka decides to express his feelings, to Kankuro’s dismay. He simply can’t wait too long.

Tatematsu says that Kankuro has no chance. Suki scolds Ishuzura for not taking things seriously. The others defend him and give him encouragement. The guys decide to shadow Tanaka and are surprised to find him in a gift shop – asking for a ring! All are stunned – so too fast to propose to Kyoko?? They make so much noise that Tanaka discovers them.

They see Onogawa in the shop asking on how to fix the diamond back to the ring. To her disappointment, the diamond is an irreplaceable unique item. She leaves unhappily. Kankuro recalls and the five dive into the pool to look for it at night. Onogawa is at first angry with them. They should be studying for their exams but why are they wasting time? Isomura disagrees as they have the right to pursue their dream. The exam determines their future – so does synchronized swimming. She is touched that they care for her.

Suki isn’t chosen as her results are poor. She goes missing and they search in vain for her. The Education minister is there and the team shouts for his attention at the pool. The principal and Education director try to dissuade the minister by saying that the performance is not seen at the festival. Isomura tries his best to persuade him. The minister says that since it can’t be viewed then, he must take a look at it now! Everything goes smoothly till Tatematsu sees the diamond at the bottom of the pool.

He snatches it and gets the whole team to rush to Ms Onogawa’s home because it is her engagement day. It is so hilarious. They even ask the minister to stop and wait for them to return! Isomura, Kyoko, Asako and Suki shake their heads together with Tanaka – why do things always go wrong each time?

Ms Onogawa confesses lying to her in-laws about the diamond. To her shock, the 5 turn up at her home in their swimming trunks. She is about to scold them when they pass her the diamond and rush back to school on their bicycles. Her in-laws say that it is her fortune to have such good students. She agrees too as she is touched. The 5 are shattered when they discover that the minister has left. They have to think of the next plan then. They are surprised to see Suki who claims that she has watched their terrible performance.

She says that they are so horrible for not having any rhythm. They apologise but she says that at least Ishuzura has mastered the flip technique. She then apologises for being too proud. Since they are sincere in their training, they must do well. So does she to try her best too. But they must train to swim 10 laps for now! They guys complain but still do it – after dragging Asako and Suki into the pool with them.

Tanaka reveals her feelings to Kyoto. She rejects him and says that she has someone else in mind. He is down and asks if he knows the person. Asako and he are shocked when she looks at Kankuro in the pool! Tanaka is very upset. He simply can’t concentrate on the training and tells the rest that he has enrolled into a tuition class. His results have dipped and hopefully, the tuition can help to improve his results. The rest protest in vain and Kankuro’s parents are equally displeased with his poor results too.

The guys hear that the mayor is coming to witness a life saving rehearsal on Sunday. But how to tell him in person? They are rejected when they request to see him at his office. The other councilors recognize Tatematsu. His father is a province councilor who is notorious for snoring in parliament. His father will not listen to him. They start missing Tanaka as he has the gift of the gap in persuading others.

Yoshida finds out that the mayor was a lifeguard in the past so he might support them. But they would have to train as lifeguards for the event. But they are chosen to be sharks and all guys are unhappy that they don’t look cool in the diving suits. Moreover, they have to add 30 kg weights to their bodies. They do not do well on the first day but they are better after 2 days. Same as before, Yoshida leaves them again to have fun somewhere. The girls give them support. Kankuro asks Asako why Tanaka acts strangely – has he confessed his feelings to Kyoko? She avoids telling him.

Tanaka is at the crossroad now. To pursue his ambition to get to study medicine in Tokyo University or to be like the rest to choose swimming? He meets them on the beach where the tuition agency is nearby but declines to join them. He asks Kyoko why she likes Kankuro. At first, she thinks he is mad to be so involved in synchronized swimming. Seeing how persistent he is gives her strength. He ponders her words.

The guys study and the girls find it unbelievable. They are concerned over the examination. Asako remembers that Tanaka’s swimming trunks are with her. Kankuro’s father wants her to give to him. Kankuro rushes to the tuition agency. He tells Tanaka that he has missed his chance last year so this is the only chance now. He thanks Tanaka for focusing the importance of studies so he is also doing it.

The guys gather together at the beach, asking each other why they like synchronized swimming. Tatematsu tells them that he leaves home because of it. His father wants him to take over his business but he wants to make his own choice. Ishuzura is curious to try it out. Takahara wants to make more friends. But how are they going to tell the mayor the next day? Tanaka overhears their talking but walks away.

On the day of presentation, the five are doing well at first. But the formation changes again when they see a drowning child from afar and they rush to save him. Yoshida covers his eyes – why does this happen again and again???? Kankuro’s mother and other school teachers are there too. They also look at each other in shock – these guys simply don’t give up any chance. She is more than worried because of the rough waves.

Tanaka has an examination but gives up without completing it. He decides to depend on himself. He goes to the beach and sees what happens. All 5 save the boy. Tanaka asks them whether they have the strategy to tell the mayor. They are tongue-tied and he reprimands them. How can they always depend on him? When the mayor presents the certificates of bravery to them, he does the talking for them and he agrees to consider. The guys are overjoyed. Tanaka tells Kyoko that he will not give up and asks for another chance.

The guys return with the certificates and are shocked to see a crowd surrounding them. The local television station interviews them. Kankuro’s mother smiles upon watching the news. Calls start to flood the sightseeing department and they agree to look into it. Kankuro’s father is working there so he is overjoyed.

The crowd at the eatery praises Tanaka for being able to move the mayor. Now they have to think of concrete solutions. The boys are taken aback when the public swimming club now allows them to use their premises for training. It seems that they change entirely due to favourable opinions. The shop owner even takes a picture of them and tells the boys to autograph on it.

The boys rise in popularity when their faces appear on television or the newspapers. I really laugh when Kankuro’s younger sister cuts only Tatematsu’s picture from the group photo! They return to school and are struck to see girls from Sakuragi High crowd around Tanaka for his autograph and shower him with gifts. Upon seeing them, they run to them. Isuzura jokes that never in his life does he expect to be popular with girls. Other boys envy them for getting attention.

The final school term starts and they are merging with Ishida High School. The whole school talks about the synchronized team. Many sneak into the school to watch their training. At first they feel great. But Tanaka notices that some people are unhappy and reminds the rest to keep in low profile. The Education director is still against the boys although Isomura and Onogawa try their best to persuade him.

His nightmare comes true when people rush into the school and create chaos. They destroy posters that other groups are preparing for the festival. The boys request them to return. One man accidentally knocks down a large mascot board. Tatematsu fractures a rib while trying to save some girls from it. He is hospitalized and the Education director decides to disband their club. What he fears has happened and this is only a minor injury. What can be worse? Isomura is helpless too and advises them to stop for now.

Tatematsu wants the guys not to give up. His parents visit him and his father scolds him again. The boys tell Yoshida to stop the demonstrations as they have to bear responsibility. Other students sneer at them for causing trouble. They feel bad when others need to redo their stuffs again. Kankuro tells Asako the bad news and looks at the swimming pool sadly. He recalls how they have cleared other hurdles.

On the way home, Kankuro sees his father clearing the rubbish that the supporters have caused and apologise to many farmers on their behalf. Kyoko and Asako try to cheer him up but he decides not to implicate others. He knows that there are calls against their performances too. His father is angry for his limited degree of determination and scolds him. He doesn’t feel bad about taking responsibility. Tanaka helps Sakuragi High to design their posters. Kyoko and Asako thank him but notice is so distracted that he has written the word village wrongly. He is reminded of something and decides to go ahead with it.

Tatematsu is still firm of not returning home and taking over the family business. Kyoko brings a file to Kankuro. He finds out that Asako has spent a few nights getting supporters to sign a petition for him. He is touched and returns to school at night. He is touched to see others already there. Tatematsu is discharged too and reminds Kankuro that this is exactly the same thing that happened when Kankuro wanted to give up earlier in the beginning. They must get rid of the inconvenience first. But how?

The four come up with pieces of paper. They have listed their plans. Getting volunteers to help out in neighbourhood crowd control, distribute numbers in entering, forbidding traffic from entering the school and reducing the damage done to the fields but marking another route, etc. This should be reducing trouble caused to others then. They then look at Tanaka and asks him what his suggestion is.

He compliments them for thinking thoroughly and they have voiced out what he has thought. He takes out a proposal that is typewritten to present to the mayor. The four are so impressed and hug him. He jokingly hits Tatematsu on his chest and he yells in pain. All get worried but are amused to get tricked. The boys help others to redo their work.

They distribute flyers to the public to look for help. The swimming team members assist them. Kankuro thanks Asako for giving him confidence to carry on. More than half of the educational committee wants to disband the club. Isomura demands to know why the Education director regards the boys as a thorn in the flesh. Onogawa also sees that they are directed on the right path. But the Education minister still tells the boys to stop as the decision is final.

Kankuro replies that this is their way of being responsible to solve the problem. Their peers cheer for them. Suddenly Isomura appears and tells the boys to go along with the decision. The boys are crushed when he doesn’t support them. At this time, he takes out a letter that Kankuro has given him to quit the swimming club. He inserts it into Kankuro’s pocket.

The boys are puzzled. Isomura says that since he doesn’t accept Kankuro’s letter, he is still a member of the swimming team. The other 4 are also invited to join them. What an unexpected outcome! The boys are so delighted that they hug Isomura for thinking such a brilliant idea to help them out. The Education director is angry but he cannot do anything as the procedure is not against the rule.

The boys are glad to be in the pool again. But another disaster awaits them. The school is under reconstruction and a new block is going to be situated on the pool site. The swimming team comes in first in the relay while the flying trio comes in first in the 50m freestyle event. They are excited to be the first at the same time. The Education director reminds them to focus their mind on the coming final examinations to get into good universities. They oblige him.

Many want to join the synchronized team but Tanaka turns them down. It is already tough to make the 5 member formation so he doesn’t want to start from scratch. Some baseball players lose their matches and want to join them. Tatematsu also rejects them – they have deserted them when they are in dire straits so what is the point of having them? Kankuro thinks differently as they need help and support now.

Tanaka decides to put them through a test. They do badly – all must watch this scene where they do so badly and start to push each other! Kankuro is patient and guides them. He thinks that if more people join them, they can elaborate their formation. Sure enough, the newcomers are diligent to print the posters and crowd control numbers. Tanaka frowns as he needs to do calculation to the 16 people formation.

The others dare not disturb him as he works the analysis busily on the calculator. It then strikes them that they have no time to make the banners. Asako and Kyoko agree to help them. Kankuro’s parents have no heart to tell them about the pool arrangement upon seeing them so enthusiastic. The team is practicing at the pool and notices the 3 bookworms. They laugh upon seeing that they are trying to hide the swimming guide books underneath! Kankuro invites them to join in. Tanaka laments that he has to redo the plan again.

When the bookworms play with the cones and spill water all around, Kankuro has an idea and decides to put it into their moves. The girls are excited that their morale is high while they do posters from them outside the gate. Kyoko sees Asako’s sketches on Kankuro and wonders if she is not her match. Yasuda’s results are impressive and his teacher praises him. Upon knowing the removal of the pool, he informs the others. They are excitedly discussing whether they should include baseball moves then.

They stop the workers from starting work. How can it start before the town council meeting? They still prepare the proposal to the mayor. The other guys do not come for training the next day. Have they given up? The 5 decide as long as they are in there, they will continue. They manage to get 90 volunteers although their target is 200. Yasuda helps them to get 10 more. Since he can’t join them, he helps from other means. The Education director wants them to stop wasting time.

Suddenly the swimming team arrives. They get 100 people for help. They enlist help from the other schools’ swimming teams. Kankuro urges them to join. They are silent. Suddenly they become excited. The flying trio says they enjoy teamwork. Others say that they have wanted to join for a long time. Tanaka tears his hair – now he has to burn the midnight oil for thinking the 31 people formation! How nice if they can get 32! Yasuda keeps quiet although he wishes to join them.

Senior Sato chases away the engineers for them. They count on him to persuade the Education director but he trembles in front of him. He has retaken his examinations twice as he spends too much time on swimming. His worst fear is to enter the staff room but he promises to block the engineers out for them. The team trains at night and he helps them. They try to persuade the Education director again.

The principal stops him too as he gets a tape from Ishida High school. He has gone there to try to persuade the principal and sees his photograph there. These boys are wonderful and he wants to do something for them before his retirement. The Education director had led his school to win the woodwind gold medal. He even dreamed of being a professional. The boys are impressed by the wonderful music. But he says that he was once passionate but regrets it although he understands them.

The Education director sees the promotion posters that they come up with – including road and crowd control signs in public. The boys rush to see the mayor but are rejected. They see the Education director there and beg him for help. Once the agreement is signed, they are done for. Yasuda informs them that his parents agree to help and he is going to be their 32nd member. His parents are touched upon seeing how persistent he is. They turn and are dismayed to see the Education director walking in.

They sit in and make noises when Ishida High school goes through the plan. Now it is time for the Education director to talk and he snaps at them to shut up. Ishida High’s principal is shocked to see the boys’ proposal instead. They have made him realize that teaching is wonderful. Before meeting them, he can’t regret his choice and he has prepared a contingency plan in the case of the lay off.

Kankuro’s parents are happy for them as the boys shout loudly in joy. Kankuro apologises to the girls for worrying them and they start training. Kyoko urges Asako to be open about her feelings. Onogawa is impressed that these kids are capable. They have achieved something beyond their ability. Isomura replies that this troublesome lot will give them noise till the school festival.

Sato talks to them. They remind him of the good memories that his team gave him 2 years ago. He urges Kankuro to give the speech as a leader. He gets shy and states that this is the most thrilling moment of his life. He is glad to have so many teammates to help him. He is not a talented leader so he needs their guidance. All cheer for him.

All the boys are excited over the countdown. It is very funny to see all marking a day less when time goes by. I will leave you to see how they create the jokes. The CCA director smiles the thrilled youths and the principal hands the credit to him. He wonders whether he is right to ask the others to put up with the temporary premises. The principal assures him that all are fine with the arrangement.

The boys are given the tickets to hand out. Tanaka knows that Kankuro intends to give one to Kyoko and will not give in to him. Asako compliments Kankuro over his achievement but he is disillusioned when she says that she is just being courteous. The boys discuss over the 4 level pyramid formation and find it impossible. Their teacher comes back from maternity leave. They are overjoyed to get cakes from her and she forces them to choose an old tune that they dislike. All freeze as they have eaten her cakes and have to give in to her. The poor guys look dismayed as they have cream over their lips and have to agree to it!

Tanaka tells them to form model A and B formation on the ground. They stop when asked too as he times them. They are overjoyed and scream aloud when he says they work well. Tatematsu encourages Kankuro to give the ticket to Kyoko but she has no guts. Kyoko shows him Asako’s sketch of him and supports them together. Asako comes to give him an amulet for good luck and he keeps it.

The group is fascinated by the flying trio’s diving skills. They exclaim that they are great and wonder how they can be like them. Tatematsu’s parents refuse to come to give him support as his decision goes against the council. Kyoko gives Tanaka encouragement and he is shocked upon seeing that she has many tickets when he hands her a ticket. But he is relieved that she will use his ticket for entry.

He chides Kankuro for not trying hard enough when Kankuro gives excuses for not giving his ticket to Kyoko. Doesn’t she matter to him? Takahara’s gangster friends come to visit him. He tries in vain to persuade them to watch the event. They refuse as they feel inferior of his success. They coax him to talk to them again. Kankuro gives his family the tickets and promises to study hard after this. His mother reminds him that it is also important for him to cherish chances with his friends.

Kankuro goes with Tatematsu to talk to his father. He flies into a temper and says that his father escapes from reality. He loves him so he wants them to come. Tatematsu tries to learn his way of survival to carve his own path. But the man still refuses and Kankuro regrets losing his temper to foil things. In the meantime, Isuzura wants to wash all the group’s swimming trunks for good luck. Kankuro wonders what to do with the ticket and returns to school.

He happens to see Asako still painting the banners. She is listening to the radio and dedicates a song to him, wishing him luck for the next day. Kankuro opens the amulet and finds the same note. He is glad to learn that she has fought successfully to persuade her father to give her a chance to get into an arts university. He is about to talk more when the other guys come.

They are just too excited to sleep at home so they decide to have a pre-celebration. So she leaves after wishing them good luck. They play with lighters and all feel lonely as the next day is the end for them. They are going to separate after 6 months after the final exam. Ishuzura tries to find out the guys’ love life and accidentally trips over the line of swimming trunks which is hung to dry over a fire.

Yoshida is excited to regain his freedom when the crowd turns up. The 5 guys are nervous – why the swimming trunks aren’t there yet? Kiyosama wants to clear the debt but the amount isn’t enough so he runs away again. But he is still curious to find out how the guys are doing so he stands outside the fence. The boys are affected when the swimming trunks can’t come on time from Tokyo due to a traffic jam.

Sato comes with gifts but they are not in the mood to get them. He admits sadly that they should wear what they feel comfortable in. Tanaka suddenly finds it strange – what are the gifts? Sato replies moodily that he will take back the swimming trunks then. The next scene of the overwhelming reaction when the guys crowd around him to grab them and thank him is hilarious.

Isuzura gives the ticket to Yuki but she appears with her boyfriend. Tatematsu reminds Kankuro to give his ticket to Kyoko – the person he likes most. He gives it to her and Tanaka also smiles upon seeing Asako smiling. All flock to see the performance. The group thanks the 3 teachers for their help. All get nervous by the claps when they hide backstage. Tatematsu tells Kankuro to relax as he is getting too nervous. Kankuro places the amulet on a water tap to pray before going out with them.

Tatematsu’s parents and Takahara’s friends turn up so they treasure this final chance. They show different styles in water and even use the same tune that the CCA director has played before. He smiles at their effort and is touched. The using of cones to produce the water fountain effect is extraordinary too. They also use the cones to transfer the message to lift Tanaka up.

Ishuzura tells Tanaka to be frank to Kyoko. He shouts in front of the crowd that he can’t get her out of his mind and suggests dating her. She agrees and he is overjoyed. They form the 4 level man pyramid – something that their seniors cannot do. They finally make it and the splendid performance wins approval from all to ask for an encore. They return backstage and Kankuro thanks everyone. It is very touching to see them all crying backstage and they thank him instead for giving them wonderful memories. Isomura tells them to respond to their encore. They appear again to give another round of thanks to the crowd.

Introduction on characters

1. Kankuro
He is the captain who is more interested in synchronized swimming instead of his studies. He wants to pursue his dream in it. Despite facing objection, he learns it secretly. He may look a bit short and also weak to be the leader but he manages to influence all to be like him – never give up.

2. Tatematsu
He has flair in studies although he may look lazy. He can be very rebellious to go against his parents to transfer into another school just to be in the synchronized team. He can be as persistent as Kankuro too.

3. Tanaka
He is a snobbish student union leader who makes others submit to him. He always tries to make life difficult for Kankuro. But he is a very impartial to admit his mistake. To repay Kankuro’s kindness, he joins his team. He turns to like the sport and even creates posters or writes steps to promote it. Actually, I find him more suitable to be the leader as he is a good spokesman.

4. Isuzura
He is overweight because he eats too many tidbits. He is most comical among them. He is also eager to take photographs of beautiful girls so his camera is always with him. But he proves to be a good swimmer.

5. Takahara
I am appalled that this school allows him to wear a black singlet to attend all his classes! His hair is very long till shoulder length. He is the coolest to talk the least but he has lots of shortcomings. He is afraid of worms and also of water! Many are stunned to know that he can’t swim. But he tries hard to learn it.

6. Asako
She is Kankuro’s neighbour and likes Kankuro secretly. She likes drawing but gives it up because her father disallows it. She envies Kanduro for pursuing his dreams so she often gives him support. Under Kankuro’s encouragement, she decides to pursue her dream to be an artist.

7. Kyoko
She is Kanduro – also Kankuro and Tanaka’s dream girl. She is sweet tempered and supports the team. She shows her disapproval whenever Tanaka talks ill about them. Knowing that the boys work very hard, she cooks for them but these insensitive guys can comment on her poor cooking! Kankuro is the first one to say that it is tasteless and scolds Asako – not knowing that Kyoko is the culprit! Many will expect her to like Tanaka since he is the perfect model student. But she falls for Kankuro instead! However, she gives Kankuro and Asako her blessings as she thinks that they are compatible.

8. Kiyosama
He is equally funny here as in ‘Good Luck’. He runs away from his debtors. But he is concerned over their progress and appears to give them support at unexpected moments.

9. Yoshida
He is Kiyosama’s younger brother who is selfish. He deceives the boys many times to repay his debt. But he has a harsh boss who is very alert. To prevent him from escaping, he places a tracking device on him!

10. Isomura
The synchronized team and swimming team teacher. He has wanted to ask the synchronized team to give up but upon seeing how eager and hardworking the members are, he changes his mind. Knowing that they need a teacher in charge, he offers to take up the task. He often finds chances to protect and assist them.

11. Sato
The boys’ senior who supports them in their activity and is another comical character. He is truly their life saver in the end. If not, they can’t carry out the performance.

12. The Education director
He dislikes them to spend time on the interest so he opposes them repeatedly. To him, they should concentrate on their studies. However, they win him over when they remind him of his love for music too.

Most favourite character
Kankuro for being persistent to pursue his dreams. A close second will be Tanaka. He may look like a snob but he is actually displaying his leadership qualities and is a good planner to help the team.

Most disliked character
Tatematsu for trying to be indifferent to screw up things at times. I don’t like his attitude.

Most funny character
Actually the 5 of them have a part to make this serial work so this award has to be shared among them.

Song
It is ‘rainbow’ by Masahau Fukuyama. This song is good with his manly voice to spread the undying persistence which is quite encouraging.

Interesting facts
It was a top high rated drama during summer 2003 in Japan. It had an astounding victory over ‘Stand Up’ by TBS. Both serials focus on the high school happenings and have boy idols to act in it. It reflects truly how high school students feel – studies aren’t that important as hobbies and they should work hard to realize their dream. The first episode has high ratings due to the impact by the movie. It had lower ratings later and rose again due to the word of mouth in the youth audience.

Conclusion
What did I do every episode – laugh all the way!! It is hard not to as all are so hilarious although highly unbelievable and certain arrangements are too deliberate. But when watching, you can feel their enthusiasm to promote the sport to fulfill their dream for the last time. At least, these boys don’t do anything destructive to achieve their goal and use legal means to attain success. They can be turning a deaf ear to their teachers’ warnings but they respect them. I am also doing synchronized rope skipping so I can understand their passion for it.

The cast act very well. I like all the actors, especially the flying trio. They are very cute to unionize together in action although their scenes are limited. The development towards the end is too hasty when so many guys agree to join them all of a sudden. But the synchronized performance as the finale is definitely great. It will be a big loss to miss it. The boys really show the actions beautifully.

Sukting’s Ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : **** (Scale of 5)


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