Surprisingly I enjoyed this drama, a lot! But that’s mostly because I like high school dramas.
The start was rather slow and from my point of view they used a lot of useless stuff. Like for example, although the drama’s focus was on water polo, I wished they would’ve make the characters as a whole the focus. Because from what I’ve seen, the drama had a great start with the characters, but the water polo theme kinda pullet my enthusiasm away.
However around episode 6~7, the characters finally become important and the plot started to attract me as it followed the story and the lives of the characters rather than their background stories.
Although I wasn’t a big fan of the theme I liked the complexity of the characters. Yes on the surface they were all pretty plain but as we got deeper into the story, they all started to shine.
It was nice seeing the Tomoki, Kohei and Shinsuke gang around. Even though their existence in the drama may seem pointless, the 3 had their own spark that make the plot go forward. On top of that, these 3 were like a breath of fresh air every time the scenes got somehow gray, they lifted the mood.
The acting was okay but I will never understand why people put down Yuto when it comes to acting. He is indeed awkward but I feel like with a bit of polishing, Yuto can become a decent actor. His crying scene from episode 7 was the best scene from the whole series. Even so, I do think his acting when it comes to the ‘everyday life’ of Nagoya, he was indeed overreacting for most of the parts. However near the end of the drama, Yuto did get a hold of his character and the result was okay. Still there is a lot of work to do with him in terms of acting and understanding the character development.
I liked the way Nagoya was used not as a main character but as a person who changed the lives of those around. Most of the time, he was more like an outside person, someone who could see the rest from afar but at the same time, help them understand themselves thus go further until they got the courage to break away from their worries.
One of the characters that got the most spotlight and probably one of my favorites out of this drama is Ryuji – he was a complex character but that’s thanks to Yamazaki who turned a plain character into one worth following. I liked the background story for Ryuji, but at times I felt like they could’ve done more for this character, after all he is the only male character who got a broken heart two times in the same dramas for different girls – I suppose we have a new (drama) world record with this.
For a good part of the show, Ryuji’s fear was the motive that made the story develop into something more than a mere water polo drama…..yet his fear wasn’t something worth making it big for more than half of the drama.
What I didn’t like about this character was that because of his own fears he drags the others down by telling them that they can never win and so on. It’s his own choice if he doesn’t want to continue because of his fear and inferiority complex but he should let others do what they want and what they wish to obtain. In one of the episode he vented his anger at Nagisa, yet what he said that time was actually meant towards himself, even though he wasn’t aware of it.
Ryuji: “If you can’t do it yourself then don’t push others.”
As a person, while he interacts with others, Ryuji is pretty rude since he keeps telling the others from the team that they are just amateurs and they will never beat the other team, but what right does he have to put a wall between them and what they desire or wish for? None. If he is afraid of his own ability and personal development Ryuji should just focus on himself rather than using his words to disrepute others’ hard work.
The thing with Ryuji’s fear is that in the past he was too used with others acclaiming his natural talent and when one person won over him, he may have questioned his ability thus the wall isn’t Toro but in fact the fear of losing is the actual reason.
Even when they finally become a team, Ryuji forgot they are one since during their first practice game with the other high school team; he just ignored his team mates for his desire to overcome Toro. And because he can’t overcome the wall he fears, Ryuji puts a heavy burden on the other players.
Until a point only Nagoya was aware of the fact that they all relied too much on Ryuji and in return Ryuji didn’t had anyone he could rely on since everyone was excluding their own abilities in favor of Ryuji.
Although, I liked Ryuji, my favorite character has to be Chiaki since he wasn’t afraid of changing himself or to desire to become stronger. Chiaki was probably the only one who from the beginning had his mindset to change for the better; the desire to change and become stronger was deeply imputed in his mind. On top of that he never let himself down by the ‘wall’ (Goro). Chiaki was surely a model others should follow since he took every chance to become stronger for his own sake and for those who meant something for him.
The writing was okay since the writer did a good job without forcing some things, although this kind of plot can easily move towards a more cheesy side, however it wasn’t the case of this drama.
Overall, I enjoyed “Water polo Yankees”; all the episodes were easy to digest moreover the characters had development as they started to understand each other and their own fears. If you are in for a high school drama filled with understanding and characters that desire to overcome personal fears then this drama is a good watch.