Hatsumori Bemars is a drama series aired on TV Tokyo starring Nogizaka46, who also provide the opening and ending themes from their 12th single Taiyou Knock. The series ran from July 10, 2015 to September 25, 2015 for a total of 12 episodes.
This drama starts when a rich land developer arrives at a local park in the Hatsumori neighborhood with a construction crew ready to tear it down. His crew kindly asks the people to go away so they can begin their work. The locals resist and he attempts to placate them with bribes.
When that fails the fate of the park falls in the hands of local high school girl named Nanamaru. (Nishino Nanase) If her softball team can defeat that of landowner’s daughter Kirei (Shiraishi Mai) in the yearly high school tournament the park will be saved. If not, then it will be torn down and replaced with an apartment building.
The problem is that the Hatsumori high school does not have a softball team and Nanamaru scrambles to find some players with the help of her best friend Kote (Takayama Kazumi) and the local delinquent Imadoki. (Wakatsuki Yumi)
They eventually find 6 more players consisting of various outcasts and weirdo’s ranging from nerds to a single teenage mother and a team is barely formed before the deadline of registering for the tournament arrives.
Nanamaru also convinces Marukyu (Hashimoto Nanami), a skilled softball player, to reluctantly join the team to exorcise some personal demons on the field. And lastly, they find a coach in the form of a cross-dressing karaoke bar owner. Who in a previous life was an actual high school softball coach before a training accident with a student cut his career short.
And that is just the beginning of this softball-based drama.
During the its 12 episode run the viewer is taken on journey of the underdog overcoming the odds and along the way lessons in friendship, loyalty and teamwork are also conveyed.
The actual softball on display in this program is not exactly reality based. In fact it’s far from it. The best way is to describe it is think of the type of action you would see in Shaolin Soccer. The practice sessions and games are all special effects enhanced silliness. And for a late night drama starring idols these effects are pretty good. Considering the time slot and material one would expect a lesser budget for that part of the show. Surprising for sure.
Along with the main plot of saving the park there are the two sub-plots that deal with Nanamaru and Kirei’s parental abandonment issues that fuel their skills on the field. Nanamaru’s issues in particular have a profound effect on the (predictable) outcome of the tournament final. The twist at the end leads to the possibility of a second season of this program involving more than just the members of Nogizaka46 as part of the cast. Sorry if I spoiled that for you, but oh well.
So the question is whether this is worth watching? I would say yes. This drama doesn’t take itself seriously at all and the over the top effects actually help enhance the show instead of being a cheesy distraction. The only word of warning I would give to those who want to watch this drama is that you’re not going to get any academy award winning performances here. If you want that type of acting I suggest you look elsewhere.
You also do not necessarily have to be a fan of Nogizaka46 to really enjoy Hatsumori Bemars since there are very few insider references that leave non-fans out in the cold. In that sense it’s much like other sports based TV dramas where you can invest in the team and root them on to victory. With that said Hatsumori Bemars isn’t the greatest work of art but it is entertaining enough to warrant giving a few episodes a chance to see if it grabs your attention.
Hatusmori Bemars (Blu-Ray Box Set)
Hatsumori Bemars (DVD Box Set)