Pride is about a semi-pro hockey team and it’s star player. The first episode sets the stage for the rest of this 11 episode Japanese drama/dorama. The show starts with a great opening theme “I Was Born To Love You” by Queen in arena rock style that is very well suited to a sports themed drama many other Queen songs are played throughout the series including "Bohemian Rhapsody", " We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions", " Radio Ga-Ga", "Too Much Love Will Kill You" and "Let Me Live".
The star center Halu pronounced Haru is portrayed by Takuya Kimura a very popular Japanese drama star and member of the group SMAP. In the first episode, we are introduced to Halu’s coach Anzai, played by Saburo Tokito, who is in the hospital dying, Anzai has always been Halu’s idol and his first coach. Halu has tried to live up to his coach’s hockey career achievements and as we find out in later episodes that he has actually surpassed them. The coach has advised Halu that an iceman should not fall in love while playing hockey because a man who is in love cannot devote everything that is necessary to the game, he can’t play fearlessly if he has a wife and child to support. The coach loves Halu, so much so that instead of spending his last hours with his wife and son, he leaves the hospital with Halu and goalkeeper Hotta portrayed nicely by Kenji Sakaguchi, to train Halu one last time. Halu for his part loves and idolizes the coach and gives his own money to the coach’s wife advising her to tell the coach that it came from the team.
After a winning game the entire team is in a bar their team hangout, Halu, Hotta and Ikegami protrayed by Ichikawa Somegoro, talk about their philosophy of dating, and Halu as his coach advised states that for icemen love must be kept a game. They spot three girls sitting at the bar and a bet is raised to see if Halu can truly keep it just a game. Halu refuses until he sees the Aki Murase, played by Yuko Takeuchi and states “She looks like a woman from the last century” a repeated theme through the series. Old fashioned values are important to Halu we find out why as the series progresses. Halu stages a fight to get Aki’s attention and email address.
Aki has waited for two years for a boyfriend she hasn’t heard from on the strength of a promise that she made. Halu considers her perfect for a game of love so that neither will get too serious and proposes a contract that if Aki’s boyfriend reappears then “Game Over” he will walk away. The theme of waiting is repeated throughout the series in a number of different ways. Halu is waiting for a relationship after hockey, Aki for her boyfriend, the coach’s wife was to wait for a previous lover who is now back as the new coach Yuichiro Hyodo but she tells Halu she didn’t have the strength to wait for Hyodo and then married Anzai. Hydo is waiting for Halu to take his game to the next level.
I’ve seen Takuya Kimura in a Beautiful Life as a hairdresser, Love Generation as an ad man, Hero as a prosecutor, Good Luck as a pilot, his character’s change jobs but his personality remains the same for all of these drama’s, he stars as a strong loner willing to sacrifice for his co-workers and do anything for the woman he loves.
I watched the Fan-subbed version by J-TV. They did a beautiful job on the widescreen Region 2 DVD release converting to a hard subbed XviD file that looks beautiful on my 46” HDTV. Audio is dolby prologic and sounds wonderful. The subs are easy to read and quite good, sometimes extra Japanese cultural information is included in subtitle format across the top of the screen. A great release from in my opinion the best quality fan-sub release group.
The Official Website in JapaneseLink to Post