Sakamichi Onoda, an otaku at Sōhoku High School. He loves anime and games so much, that he would ride his commuter bicycle to and from Tokyo's Akihabara shopping district in a 90-kilometer (about 60-mile) round trip over steep slopes after school. Onoda's life changes when he encounters his school's cycling team, and he ends up joining the competitive sport of bicycle racing. Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
The story revolves around Onoda Sakamichi, a freshman at Sohoku High School, who in his quest to revive the anime club and make friends realizes the joy of cycling and road racing. The one thing the Japanese excel at is storytelling. What other countries take 16-25+ episodes to tell, the Japanese tell in less than 12. It's no different here. The anime sometimes draws out some of the competition. The drama does not. It is very succinct. Yes, there are things missing, but you really don't need them. The story is very well told. Obviously, and I don't think this is a spoiler, they could not have covered the Inter High in 7 episodes. That's for season 2 (cross fingers).
The cast is good. Many of the characters never looked like high schoolers so it's no surprise that the majority of the actors look like HS is a decade or 2 (maybe 3) behind them. One thing that infuriates me with live actions is when the actors don't look like the characters they're playing. The character's hair is blonde or pink but the actor's hair is jet black. Huh? Not so with Yowapeda. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Makashima even had green hair with highlights. Naruko's hair is really red. Not only did they get the looks right, the voices were eerily like the seiyuu's for many of the characters, especially Naruko. I even compared the cast list to see if any of the actors were the same. That being said the acting itself was solid. No one will win an award but you know who they're playing and they do a good job.
The music is forgettable. I was really saddened that the "Hime" song Onoda sings is not in the live action for some reason. He has a song but it doesn't resonate or embarrass like Hime. If there is a second season, I would probably rewatch this season and go straight into the new one.
Overally the live action of Yowapeda is solid. It's fun to watch and slightly addictive.
The drama follows the story closely and, in its short run of 7 episodes, covers from the very first chapter/episode to the preamble to the InterHigh tournament. If you haven't seen the anime, read the manga or watched the stage shows, you'll grasp the story fine, but you're gonna be left with a pretty considerable cliffhanger in the last episode. I wonder if their intention was for viewers to get interested in YowaPeda in general or if they're interested in making another season. All in all, it's a good way to get into a very good story, if you're unfamiliar with it, a shorter way than the anime, and if you're a fan, you'll enjoy how closely it depicts it. I personally felt some scenes were stronger in live action form, so watching them again offered perspective, whereas it was questionable in other aspects and posed some limitations.
Even though the cast is mostly compromised of actors of the stage play reprising their roles, the aesthetic is less theatrical and meets the characterization half-way between realistic and a close depiction. There's a few obvious wigs but, for the most part, it's considerably toned down, if you've seen the stage characterizations. Some performers do look older for their roles, especially Gomoto Naoya reprising his classic role as Kinjou, but we've got Ogoe Yuuki as Onoda, thankfully, and Baba Ryoma as Makishima, so there's that.
The performances are surprisingly very good. Fukazawa Taiga as Naruko and Kimura Tatsunari as Imaizumi were really good, but you have to be open-minded with some of the cheesiness that results from a sports anime/manga live action. This is not aiming for realism, that's not what you'll find here, but the performances are heart-felt and, towards the end, very emotional. I'm not sure if the actual racing translates as well into live action realism as one would want (considering on stage is mostly choreography, not aiming for realism at all), but we haven't really reached InterHigh, where all the techniques and individual traits shine the most, so I can't really judge as harshly for what I've seen. The effects are kind of cheesy, but again, I wasn't expecting that much from this, so for what it is, it's good enough.
I don't know if people who aren't into anime/manga or who have never seen a live action of this kind (low budget-y, related to the stage shows, not aiming for big distributions, etc.) will be as thrilled with it as a fan would be, because I understand most of my good reaction comes from low expectations from past experiences. Still, I do think it does good in showcasing the great story this anime/manga has, it respects its characters and plot and you can see how the actors have experience playing these people and do it well. So maybe it could catch someone's interest in continuing to explore the world of YowaPeda, if they're open-minded enough. For fans, I think it does a pretty good job.
I enjoyed the music, although Koi no Hime Hime Pettanko was changed (I guess copyright might have something to do with it), I loved the opening and ending, I'm pretty sure the ending is performed by the cast, and I'm really glad for that.
All in all, I really enjoyed it as a fan of YowaPeda, all things considered, it was good (we learned things from that Prince of Tennis movie, I see), and if you haven't seen anything YowaPeda and have an open mind for some cheesiness and theatrical characterizations, maybe this can be your incentive to give the Sohoku team a chance.