Wakaba is a 2nd-grade high school student in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. When Saki was little, she admired the cheerleading club "JETS” from Fukui Chuo High School in Fukui Prefecture. She dreamed of joining the "JETS,” but she thought it was impossible for her to join and enrolled at another high school. One day, a transfer student from Tokyo talks to her and proposes a cheer dance. Together with their friends, they set out to become a top cheer team. (Source: MyDramaList) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
I think at the core of this drama, it's just a story of regular people supporting the people they love — early on, they mentioned the importance of a "cheer spirit" in doing cheer dance, but as the drama progresses you see how many forms this "cheer spirit" can have in real life outside of cheer dance. You can see how the girls came to develop a sense of cheer spirit that was crucial in their cheer dance. (By the way, it's interesting to note that in the final competition towards the end of the drama, the participating cheer dance teams were very courteous to each other and genuine in their support of each other's success. It was a refreshing thing to see, when normally you'd expect some rivals to be jerks. Hooray "cheer spirit"!)
As a fan of Tsuchiya Tao, it may be bias speaking, but I think she did a really great job on this drama. Her character, Fujitani Wakaba, initially doesn't seem very interesting and is often overshadowed by some of the other more eccentric characters in the ensemble. But as the story progresses, you get to peel her personality layer by layer to understand that she is more than just a cheerful simpleton. Another character I like is surprisingly, the Vice Principal (who is a father of a member of the team). His subplots with his daughter are some of my favourite moments in the drama. I also liked the character of Taro-sensei, the teacher in charge of the Cheer Dance club. I liked how his relationship with Wakaba was painted as a relationship of mutual respect, and how genuine he was in supporting the girls' dreams without any hint of lewd intentions. I was initially a bit wary about whether any romantic feelings would sprout between him and Wakaba (it's a genre Japan seems to be fond of lately after all) but I'm relieved that there was none of that kind of bullshit. His relationship with his wife and son was healthy and nice to watch too.
This story really shows off the definition of hard work and dreams, not to mention high school and friendship. This show is really amazing; each member was very strong, talented, and beautiful to watch throughout each episode. I wouldn't call it a slice-of-life drama specifically, but it does fit within that category; to me, this show was more of a "coming of age" story. This story is basically the story of life; hard work, friendships, families, hopes and dreams, loves and heartbreaks, strength and determination... You know, life!
I do believe that this show is a very underrated gem and a definite jumping-off point for anyone's new love of Odagiri Joe, or his current fans, too; I really believe that he really filled out this story and made it (at least) half of what it is.