The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Monday, June 14, 2010

ビーチボーイズ / Beach Boys

1997 Fuji TV drama (12 episodes plus a special) that stars Sorimachi Takashi as Sakurai Hiromi and Takenouchi Yutaka as Suzuki Kaito - two opposed opposites who end up meeting at a lazy, seaside 'Ryokan' (though the subbers kept referring to it as 'enmishi'?? or whatever - something to that extent).

There is something mystifying and unique about last-century, the Nippon team, and Japanese actors that can't be beat - not by today's standards anyway.

The stories are genuine and interesting start to finish, the subtitles are entirely flawless, and the guys are - well, they're amazing in the eye-candy department.

Takenouchi must have become an overnight sensation and a multi-billionaire at the height of his game back in the day, eh?

He and his buddy, Sorimachi, are closer in age to me, which is why I tend to gravitate toward guys like them and not the babies of today - but, that doesn't stop me from watching the babies or enjoying their reasons for fame.

I wasn't introduced to the Asian drama until well into the 21st century, so I missed out on these oldies but goodies - which makes me all the more thankful for places like

Anyhow ~

Beach Boys is about the two, young men at a crossroads in their differing lives who meet and end up working together at this beachside resort for the summer.

Hiromi is a seemingly shiftless dude living off his girlfriend, who kicks his lame ass out and he ends up sleeping in his beat-up, old car - which gets towed with him still inside.

Kaito is an 'elite' as they refer to him since he wears a suit and works as a global trader inside a tall, glass building in Tokyo.

Kaito loses a big client and decides he needs a break, so he hops a two-car train for the south and he sees Hiromi driving wildly alongside the tracks, waving his arms outside the rag top of his car and singing aloud to a tune on the radio.

The car is keeping up with the train, but then the train passes him at an intersection, causing Kaito to jump from his seat with excitement and bump his head on the ceiling.

Not long afterward, he looks out the window to see the tiny, white car speeding alongside the train again, and Kaito frowns until the car starts to break down and he can't help but laugh.

Kaito ends up helping Hiromi push the out-of-gas car into town, but then they come to a hill and hop onto the car since its now on its own.

After hitting and knocking over a 'welcome' sign in front of the B&B, the guys end up in the ocean with the car.

After arguing about the situation, the boys say hello to an elderly gentleman with a gray ponytail and his seventeen-year-old granddaughter, Izumi Makoto (Hirosue Ryoko).

They live at and operate the B&B, and after Kaito realizes he's lost his wallet, he ends up having to work there with Hiromi instead of being a 'guest'.

Kaito, a reserved dude with regal bearing and manners, doesn't seem to like Hiromi at the start, and Hiromi has an annoying habit of getting on everyone's nerves since he's loud and has no tact.

He's always happy, too.

Maeda Haruko (Inamori Izumi) runs a nearby bar & karaoke.

She is like a mentor to Makoto (a girl with a boys name), and one night at the bar, a group of teens is getting ready to leave when one of them pays Haruko too much money for what they ate & drank.

As he and his friends are leaving, an ID card falls from his wallet, and Hiromi picks it up - sees that it is Kaito's ID, and he proceeds to chase the boys down, enlisting Kaito's aid on the fly.

Kaito has already phoned his girl, Yamazaki Sakura (Akimoto Yuki), back in Tokyo, asking if she would please wire him some money, so when it arrives, he goes back to being a 'guest' while Hiromi continues to work in the kitchen as a cook, in the dining hall as a servant, and at the door as a bell-hop.

The chemistry between Sorimachi and Takenouchi is amazing as well as it is evident from start to finish.

One gets the feeling they hang out in real life and likely behave the same way off-camera.

Anyway, each episode of Beach Boys introduced a new secret, problem, or issue of one or more of the characters in the story, and always, the two guys said and did things to either lighten the load or make matters worse - it all depended on the situation.

Kaito returned to his job when the boss begged him to, but as soon as the transportation project was complete, he handed in his resignation and returned to the B&B as an 'employee' and not as a 'guest'.

We find out a few episodes in that our dashing and annoying Hiromi isn't the shiftless leech he portrays -

turns out he was an Olympic hopeful in free-style swimming but lost out on the chance to compete due to an injury.

An obnoxious drunk stumbles into the B&B looking for Hiromi, and at the dinner table, he proceeds to call him every name he can think of while accusing him of being the reason for his low self-esteem.

The guy was Hiromi's replacement at the Olympics, but everyone wanted to see Hiromi swim and win a gold medal for the country.

He ended up not qualifying for the finals, which made matters worse.

No one remembers him, but everyone still talks about Hiromi, so he's pissed and wants to go one-on-one with Hiromi to end the matter once and for all.

Hiromi has no intention of swimming against the guy, but Makoto's girlfriend, the town gossip, has already spread the word and now the entire town is at the high school swimming pool with the big-mouth challenger, awaiting Hiromi's arrival.

OH! how I wanted to see Sorimachi in a SPEEDO!!!!

Alas, it wasn't meant to be.


He wore one, and he raced against the guy (losing by less than a second because he hadn't been practicing as much as the other guy) - but no camera angles offered up the chance to gaze slowly from head to toe and back again.


I was actually surprised to realize that it was Sorimachi who attracted me moreso than Takenouchi did, which JUST doesn't happen when I watch Takenouchi in anything - and he's worked with Sorimachi before, too.

This time, it was all about Sorimachi, and I couldn't get enough of him.

and NOT that Takenouchi was a slouch in this, either.

Nice profile, eh?

His story wasn't as interesting as Hiromi's was, but that was beside the point as far as the drama was concerned.

Both guys had issues they needed to deal with in their own way and in their own time, though the grandpa surfer ended up giving them an ultimatum toward the end of the summer that made them have to make that decision sooner than they would have liked.

Yin and Yang had to bounce off one another in order to come to that decision, so it was meant to be regardless of the outcome.

In a Beach Boys Special - Hiromi ends up saving a rich girl from committing suicide in the Pacific and lands a cherry job at her father's hotel/nightclub chain on a Hawaiian island.

Kaito is also in Hawaii, but this time he's the one living off a girlfriend who is a marine biologist more interested in her career than getting to see a guy that fine naked.

Hiromi wears Armani suits and lives in a luxury suite driving an expensive, vintage sports car while Kaito lives in a mobile home with no transportation at all.

Haruko wins a trip to Hawaii and takes Makoto with her, so there is a reunion of sorts.

Makoto is disillusioned by what she sees, and at the start, she had a crush on Kaito when she suddenly decided that Hiromi was the one for her.

In the special, he seems not to recall any of the same, fond memories she still has and it upsets her, so the girls return to Japan less than pleased.

Their showing up in Hawaii has an affect on the fellas, though, and after spending a night in jail, where they discover a cell-mate who looks exactly like the grandpa surfer-they are bailed out of jail and extradited back to Japan.

Hiromi finds his old car at a used lot, he buys it back against Kaito's wishes, and the two friends drive back to the resort town outside Tokyo.

The car runs out of gas, they end up having to push it the rest of the way, it rolls down the same hill and lands in the ocean again - and while Makoto and the others look on, Hiromi and Kaito have it out at the shore before everyone joins in on the fun.


The novelist won an award for this, and it comes as no surprise to me, either.

This was a really good story with a feel-good vibe I recommend highly, and yes, it's now near the top of my top-ten list of awesome dramas.


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