They say every tale has already been told once before. It will not surprise then, that Dream Again continues this tradition. Viewers may recognize the story from western classic Here Comes Mr. Jordan (thanks to my friend for the long-forgotten title!), or one of its various remakes. Of course, Japan adds its own spin in several ways, including a switch from boxing to baseball.
This light fantasy sums up best as a combination of sports and human drama. When main character Ogi Shunsuke rises again as Asahina Takaya, we watch him grapple with attempts to continue his dream (as a pro baseball player) while dealing with issues stemming from both his old life and new. But while Dream Again watches pleasantly as a whole, the script probably suffers most out of any other aspect. One must cling to suspension of disbelief a bit too much (even for a fantasy), with many a coincidence, cop-out, and shrug-off in between. At least when it comes down to the supernatural bit. Dream Again never commits the cardinal sin of being boring. It even does fine with emotional elements, so basically the “human story” portion is much stronger.
You know when something about an actor “just works”? Sorimachi Takashi embodies this idea completely. Blessed with serious star quality and magnetism, he brings up the cast rating on his own. I've long since grown tired of the earnest lead archetype, yet I easily gravitated toward Sorimachi’s character. My only complaint would be that sometimes it became obvious he struggled with failings in the script, though that’s understandable. Other highlights include lovely Kato Ai, a much grown Shida Mirai, and the surprisingly lovable Kodama Kiyoshi as Tanaka, the heavenly guide. He might be the cutest old man ever, seriously.
Most of the music in Dream Again makes its impression during emotional sequences. Softer instances were best, while the suspense theme was so silly it drove me crazy after the third play. The ethereal introductory theme stands out, as does Kobukuro’s yearning Aoku Yasashiku (roughly “Blue and Gentle”). Little else was memorable.