by cityhunter, February 12, 2018


Last week while waiting for my currently airing shows, I took to the global feeds and asked my fellow MDLers to suggest me a completed drama to watch. I promised to watch and write an article on whichever drama got the most hearts and the winner was the J-drama classic, Pride (2004).

If you've been down the drama rabbit hole for any length of time, you have probably heard of Pride. I was not at all surprised to find it already on my PTW list. 

I don't remember what moved me to mark it as "plan to watch", probably memories of twelve-year-old me rewatching the Mighty Ducks for the 200th time. I am, however, certain of the reasons it mouldered there for years before I let myself be persuaded to give it a try. Sports dramas are not my thing. I find real sports boring. I am no more impressed by games choreographed for the camera.  All that earnestness makes my skin crawl. I know I'm terrible, but I'm also genuinely glad I finally took Pride off the bench and now I will tell you why, as long as I get points for my clumsy sports metaphors. 

1. Reality

There are very few genres of J-drama that go out of their way to look different. The clothing and settings, though a little dated, look pretty much like every other J-drama you've ever seen so you are automatically immersed in this world. The conversations flow so naturally the editors have trouble keeping up in the beginning. You definitely get the feeling you've just walked in off the street. They never lose that feeling even during moments of high slapstick comedy or intense melodrama, that realness never goes away.  

It is this realness that makes what could have been a pretty dull romance incredibly interesting. Haru is pretty dang awkward, Aki finds it intriguing as hell. It's a slow burn but it never felt like the writers were holding back just to keep us on the hook. This is how scared, unsure people behave. 

2. Balance

But this is a sports drama so it's not all fluffy romance. I have watched a handful of sports dramas and I always felt like there was just too much of it. In other dramas, a match can take up half of an hour-long episode. I guess that's great if you're into the sport but if you're not, it makes you want to fast forward.  Pride strikes a great balance. The writers and editors managed to fit everything in, so the story is always moving forward. 

3. Quirkiness 

There are plenty of moments where you know at least one person said: "Don't you think this is a little weird?" Nope, it's not. The hockey team provides the majority of the comic relief but you will also find yourself laughing when you probably aren't supposed to be laughing.  Like when you're pretty sure no one looked up a translation for Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls. As a long time lover of Queen, I was pleasantly surprised to find some of Queen's lesser-known gems on the soundtrack. As a drama lover, I could not help but wonder why they would choose to play them at moments that didn't seem to fit. By the end, though, I totally drank the Kool-Aid and will now consider "I Was Born To Love You" a sports anthem.  

I really enjoyed this show, which I rated 7.5, and recommend it to all drama fans. Sometimes we need to get out of our ruts and try something we don't think is made for us. 

Comment below to tell me what you thought of Pride or if you've ever gone out of your comfort zone for better or worse.