Futakotamagawa high school was one victory away from being able to go to Koshien when an unintentional beanball enrages the player at bat who then severely injures the pitcher when he came over to apologize. This sparks off a huge brawl between the two teams and as a result Futakotamagawa is suspended from any tournaments for six months. All the 3rd and 2nd year students quit the team and the baseball clubhouse now becomes the hangout for the delinquent team members who caused the fight.
Enter Kawato Kouichi, a newly hatched teacher of Modern Japanese with a positive outlook at life and a firm belief that any dream can be achieved if one simply puts in the effort. As such, he choose to become a teacher in order to help young people find and achieve their dreams.
He is hired by the principle of Futakotamagawa high school (who has a hidden agenda of his own) after an incident at a former institution made it impossible for Kawato to get a job anywhere as a teacher. He is put in charge of the class the delinquents are in and later also becomes the advisor for the baseball team, which causes major friction. Nevertheless, Kawato is intent on helping the baseball team re-discover their dream of going to Koshien and achieving it.
•ROOKIES is 11 episodes long and was broadcast on TBS from 19-Apr-2008 to 26-Jul-2008. It was fan-subbed by the groups Skewed Studios and TimelesSubs.
•The drama is based on the manga of the same name by Morita Masanori. I saw the drama before reading the manga, but while I found the drama more emotional, the manga was a lot funnier.
•The series spawned a special and I’m 90% sure the final episode of the series also said something about a movie.
The theme song is entitled Kiseki (Miracle) and was written and performed by GReeeeN, which is an awesome group in my opinion. After hearing the song for the first time, it became an instant favourite and to this day, I still listen to it quite often.
The lyrics a quite beautiful and the music and singing is amazing. Hard to believe that the members of GReeeeN are dentists in everyday life, no? XP While the song *does* have an original MV, I chose not to use it because the intro is a bit long-winded :/ However, if you wish to see it though (with karaoke and translated lyrics), just click here.
ROOKIES is, to put it simply, a quite amazing series. I laughed, I cried, and I absolute loved Kawato for his awesomeness. In a sense, he reminded me of a more scholard version of Onizuka Ekichi (in Great Teach Onizuka), but with the same kind of love and care for his students. His tendency of quoting famous quotes from time to time was a detail about his character I found a bit funny, yet oddly admirable since it shows that he actually *does* understand his students.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have both watch the drama and read a few volumes of the manga, ROOKIES. Because the manga is in drawn format, the characters can get a bit more extreme with their facial expressions and the stuff they say which makes it all the more funny, but the drama sticks extremely well to the original storyline (with only minor antithetical changes) up until the conclusion of their first practice match after which it skips all parts that aren’t major events or directly related to baseball and reaching Koshien.
The drama does a great job of drawing out the atmosphere, and while it skips some parts of the manga that deal with character exploration and development, it still manages to give you still get a good feel for the characters and why the act the way they do and the baseball club members’ desire to change their delinquent ways. This may in part also be thanks to their great acting, though I admittedly did feel that the guy playing Shinjo overacted a few times.
All in all, it’s a great drama (and manga) that I warmly recommend that people should watch. If you’re a bit of a mushy, sentimental type (like me), then I recommend having a box of tissues ready or something because while the overall tone is light and humorous, it really has its moments.