Reviewed by: sukting

September 22, 2010

Rating: three

It is an adaption of Eto Mori's "Dive" novel. The movie describes how the 3 divers train and change their personalities. They also face the pressures and tension among themselves to outdo one another. Who will be chosen finally to represent their country for 2008 Olympics?

The Mizuki Diving Club (MDC) has lost a lot of money is not dips in popularity. To make sure that it will not be closed down, a new female coach, Kayoko Asaki (Asaka Seto) promises that a diver from MDC will be part of the Olympics 2008 team. She just returns from the US and has high hopes for the club.

Tomoki Sakai (Kento Hayashi) is a high school student. He is attracted by the diving skills of Yoichi Fujitani (Sosuke Ikemaytsu), an elite athlete born into a family of former Olympic divers. Soichi Fujitani (Ken Mitsubishi) is his father and also an experienced coach of MDC.

Kayoko gets a new member, Shibuki Okitsu (Junpei Mizobata), from Tsugaru. His unfriendly personality and fierce nature irritates many members. He looks down on those who learn diving in the pool as he trains near the cliff in Tsugaru.

Yoichi keeps challenging against him and points out that he can't win if he keeps splashing so much water. Kayoko notices that Tomoki possesses a unique ability called '�diamond eyes'� and inspires him to tougher techniques. He can notice what happens around him in a glance. This may not help him in daily life but it helps him a lot in diving to observe everyone's expressions.

Seeing that Yoichi follows a strict diet, he follows suit. The tedious training cause him to break up with his girlfriend when he is often absent for their dates. Thanks to his diamond eyes - he realises that his younger brother goes steady with her instead. Disillusioned, he is about to give up training when Kayoko ncourages him. She has injured her back to give up this sport but hopes that he can continue.

Tomoki is disappointed when one close friend quits the club when he finds that he isn't improving much. He tries in vain to get him to stay. Yoichi tells him to accept this as diving is a lonely sport when winners get lesser friends along the way. Knowing that Yoichi is keen in learning a tough technique, Soichi advises him not to as this is his weakest area.

They come to the audition stage. The three are selected to compete with other clubs. Seeing that Shibuki suppresses his dive, Kayoko tells him to let go. Tomoki's score is lesser than Shibuki but he is surprised that he is chosen besides Yoichi. He is chosen as Shibuki's back injury isn't recovered. Shibuki is so dejected that he returns to his hometown.

The two come to look for him. They cheer him up but can't stay for the night as they need to train. Kayoko sends him a tape that shows how his grandfather enjoys the sport and he realises that diving is not only on winning but the process counts. His girlfriend packs his luggage for him and asks him to return too.

He returns and the final selection list is suddenly out. The council decides to choose Yoichi and another member from another club. Yoichi suddenly loses the inspiration and skips training. Shibuki brings him back to the pool.

Unlike him, Tomoki still continues training. In fact, he makes a blunder as he is too tired but luckily Kayoko and Yoichi save him on time. Yoichi doesn't understand why he trains so hard even though he has lost.

Tomoki loves the sport since young. To him, the diving platform is a cement dinosaur. That is the limit that he has to conquer. Yoichi goes to see the chairman (Emori Toru). Diving becomes meaningless to him now as Soichi isn't his father but the coach. This proves to be a horrible decision as he realises that Soichi is going to lose his job and other members do not understand why he does this.

The chairman then comes up with another idea. He is going to hold another selection - the candidate that scores over 500 points can go. Kayoko is taken aback that the chairman can give in to the request. The chairman is an ex-diver himself. In the past, he and Soichi only follow instructions. This is the first time that he comes across a rejection but he doesn't wish to deprive others a chance.

Their friends and families come to support them. The 3 are plagued with difficulties. Shibuki's back injury isn't recovered yet and has to apply ice constantly. Yoichi is very remorseful over what has happened and trains too hard till he develops a fever. He even requests to learn the challenging technique.

As for Tomoki, he also has spasms on his left leg. However, the first two overcome the problems and get a score of 500.25 and 500.15. Shibuki does his grandfather's swan dive - simple but he manages a score of 10 from every judge.

The two look at Tomoki nervously, who makes his way slowly up the 10m stand. He calms himself and dives into the water. He can see everyone before he hits the water. His score comes - he gets 500.35 - which is ahead of the other two. This signifies the end but his question is unanswered - are the three chosen or only Tomoki is going to Beijing?

It is quite similar to '�Waterboys'. I enjoy watching the movie as it shows many spetacular diving techniques. It also emphasizes how extreme the training can be to affect their personal lives. Yoichi and Soichi do not look like father and son but more like a coach and trainee. He doesn't even ask Yoichi why he skips his training, presuming that he is ill and Yoichi's mother is frustrated with him.

The three divers are eager to challenge themselves to do better - mastering one tough technique after another. Yet, this doesn't affect their friendship to care for one another. Disappointment comes when there is only a winner.

They get dejected but pick up soon after each failure.
This movie is quite realistic to concentrate on the diviing sport. The leads give convincing performances. However, I don't understand how and why Yoichi can be so gullible. Doesn't he know that his wrong decision can jeopardize his father's career. He has once lamented that it is lonely with no rivals but why does he change his mind so fast? I strongly recommend this movie for those involved in sports. Those who are passionate should live for their dreams and overcome any hardship that they might come across.

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