It was recently announced that actor Ryohei Suzuki (40) will play the lead role in the Sunday drama series “Gekkokujo Kyuuji” (every Sunday at 9 p.m.), a TBS hit TV series that will start in October. The drama is based on the original script by Takahiro Kikuchi.
Suzuki will play the role of Osamu Nagumo, a high school teacher at Koshiyama High School in Mie Prefecture, who was a baseball player until college, but retired due to injury and dropped out of college. He re-enrolled in college at the age of 32 to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher while working as a sports trainer. A father of two children who works with his wife, he is an ordinary teacher who is actively involved in his family. However, when the grandson of a local landowner enrolls in school, he takes on the role of advisor for a weak baseball team that is on the verge of being discontinued, and this is the beginning of a dream human entertainment.
The cast was subsequently announced, with Haruka Igawa (47) as Nagumo’s older wife, Hana Kuroki (33) as a fellow teacher who loves baseball who struggles to rebuild the weak baseball team, Fumiyo Kohinata (69) as the ancestral head of a prominent family that supports local industry and whose grandchildren join the baseball team, Katsuhisa Namase (62) as the Koshiyama High School baseball team coach, and Katsuhisa Namase (62) as a member of the school’s baseball team. Katsuhisa Ikuse (62), Kotaro Koizumi (45) as the school’s principal, and Ken Matsudaira (69) as the coach of the baseball team at Hoshiba High School, the most powerful school in Mie Prefecture.
Mr. Suzuki, who has no baseball experience, has played everything from an emergency medical technician to a vicious yakuza with near-perfect acting skills.
This year, baseball has been the focus of attention more than ever, with news and information programs reporting daily on Samurai Japan’s world championship at the WBC and Shohei Ohtani’s success in the MLB since early spring. The production side is surely aiming for high viewer ratings by taking advantage of this “tailwind.
The baseball drama that has been the talk of the town so far is “ROOKIES” (TBS, 2008), starring Ryuta Sato (43), which is a live-action adaptation of a popular comic book and recorded the highest average household rating of 19.5% (Video Research, Kanto area, same below). A film version was also released and became a hit.
Also in 2002, “Weak but Winning” (NTV) starring Kazuya Ninomiya (40) of Arashi fame was broadcast. The original story was based on a nonfiction book that introduced the unique baseball club at Kaisei High School (Tokyo), known as one of the best preparatory schools in Japan, that deviated from the norm. In the same year, “Roosevelt Game” (TBS) starring Toshiaki Karasawa (60), a dramatization of the original story by Jun Ikeido, was also broadcast, but recently, large-scale dramas with a baseball theme have been hard to produce.
The COVID-19 crisis was over, and baseball’s popularity was finally back on a high note.
VIVANT,” currently airing on Sunday Gekijo, is said to have a production budget of 100 million yen per episode, and has a cast that includes Masato Sakai (49), Hiroshi Abe (59), Fumi Nikaido (28), Momori Matsuzaka (34), Koji Yakusho (67), and Ninomiya, etc. The sixth episode, broadcast on April 20, recorded the highest average household viewership rating to date of 14.3%, and remains at the very top of this season. The sixth episode aired on January 20 recorded the highest average household viewer rating so far, 14.3%, maintaining the top spot by far among dramas this season. This must be putting a lot of pressure on the next drama starring Suzuki, but two factors are likely to be key for Suzuki’s next hit, based on previous baseball-themed dramas.
The main character of “ROOKIES” was played by Sato, but the student cast included Hayato Ichihara, Keisuke Koide, Yu Shirota, Kenta Kiritani, and Takeru Sato. Kenta and Takeru Sato, who are all quite gorgeous now that I think about it.
In addition to Sota Fukushi, Kento Yamazaki, and Shotaro Mamiya, Kasumi Arimura plays the manager in “Weak but Winning”; it may be possible to cast a hot beauty in the role of the manager.
Another key is reality.
ROOKIES” is a live-action adaptation of a comic book, so it is not much of a reference, but “Weak but Winning” depicted the reality of the activities of a baseball club at a progressive school, and “Roosevelt Game” showed the workplace environment and human relationships surrounding baseball players in the working world in a very realistic manner.
Private high schools dominate high school baseball today, but I think viewers are very interested in how prefectural high schools are working to become stronger, so if they are portrayed in depth, they will be able to empathize with them”.
The drama will start airing after the high school baseball season, but it will be interesting to see if Suzuki’s strong performance can attract viewers.
PHITO： Yusuke Kondo (1st), Yuri Adachi