I've said before that recently, I read book more and rarely watch series. The most recent series that I've watched is Yamada Tarou Monogatari (The storyline of Yamada Taro). Reasons for me to watch it are (1) the manga and (2) Nino (Ninomiya Kazunari). I started this one right after I've finished Gantz 2, so Nino is a reason.
Hence, I'm writing review for this series.
Yamada Tarou is a student in the prominent class of Ichinomiya Private Senior High School. He is handsome, talented, good at sport and every subjects. Overall, he is perfect prince charming. However, his background is a secret. Some ppl say he is prince of a kingdom, some say he is the heir of a big group. Along with Mimura Takuya - his classmate, another prince charming, they make the dream guys in the eyes of every single girl in Ichinomiya. But who is the real Yamada Tarou? He is in fact, deadly poor. He lives with 6 siblings and his mother. His father is a wanderer and rarely goes home. All count on Yamada Tarou. Although Tarou never wants to hide his family's background, all the people misunderstand that he is rich and it leads to many funny events...
The plot of Yamada Tarou is unique and funny. All the ppl think of Yamada family but only few people can see the real Tarou beyond his brighten look. Everything happen crazily but logically. In addition, the series is also a very touching song of the love between the family members, the dreams of young ppl and the optimist behavior. Money can't buy love and happiness, in any situation you still can find your happiness as long as you keep the happiness in your heart - it's what the series brings. However, the good job of the authour is that the message of the series isn't brought out morally but naturally. My heart is totally touched when Yoshiko gives her Korokke to Tarou (although she wants it a lot) or when Tarou ran under the heavy rain to back home and covers for his siblings. The view on money of Ikegami Takako is a funny point but I also find that she is real. Her words: "I only can think of money" is actually realistic. Ikegami Takako always dreams of becoming wife of a rich heir, so she is confused when she finds out that Tarou is deadly poor. Being a material girl, Takako tries to avoid Tarou but in the end, she found that good personality if more precious than being rich.
One reason for me to watch Yamada Tarou is the manga. It's one of my favourite manga. I like it due to its unique storyline and the drawing is good, too. Although it's a comedy, it isn't the "boobs and cups" type like some ecchi (I don't say that among the ecchi there isn't good stuff. I'll review on Elfen Lied soon). To compare with the manga, basically the contents of Yamada Tarou are kept but there are changes. I don't find these changes are bad but I think the manga has some more logic points. However, I highly appreciate some changes likes the relationship of Ikegami Takako's mother and Tarou. The manga is funnier but the series has more touching scenes, therefore, equal points. I know that there is another Taiwanese version of Yamada Tarou ft Vic Zhou but I haven't watched this one so I can't comment.
II. Characters and Acting
- Ninomiya Kazunari as Yamada Taro: Stated that I've watched Gantz and Gantz 2 before I watch Yamada Tarou, therefore I've know Nino before that. In fact, I kinda dislike Nino in Gantz and Gantz 2, mostly because his face isn't suitable for the role Kei in Gantz. However, in Yamada Tarou, he has my vote. In the beginning of the series, when all the girls in Ichinomiya wowed at Tarou (Nino)'s handsomeness, I actually laughed because I think he is only cute. However, as much as I watch, Nino impressed me with his acting. He portrayed a guy that can do everything for his family very well. The expressions he had whenever he is with the family show how caring he is. And his confused face in the part when they suddenly becomes rich is also well done. Plus, he has a very bright smile. In Yamada Tarou, I believe that Nino is the most suitable. Uhm, but Nino's acting in the Mimura family part is not good. I don't know why but Nino seems to be forced in this part, like in some parts of Gantz. I think it's his weakness. He is simply better to the sensitive roles than acting cool. However, I think that the Best actor award for 11th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix of Nino is totally well deserved.
- Sakurai Sho as Mimura Takuya: Sorry Sho fans, I don't find he is handsome. However, I think he is attractive. His character isn't hard to portray so I can't evaluate Sho's acting much. Uhm, I have to comment that I don't like the hairdo Sho has in Yamada Tarou. I like Mimura in the manga more. But when Mimura teases Tarou, I find Sho's acting is natural. His eyes, his smirk, very suitable to the situation. In the same part, I think Nino's acting is forced while Sho shined at this moment.
- Tabe Mikako as Ikegami Takako: I know that many people hate the character Ikegami Takako in the beginning. She is simply a day-dreamer material girl. Lolz, I find it's interesting. Takako can be very material but at the same time, she is naive. I can see her character in many teenagers. Tabe did a quite good job with the role. Although she isn't pretty, I find her future bright as her acting can bring her far. Now I'm waiting to see what Tabe Mikako can do with Liar Game movie 2012.
- Oshinari Shugo as Sugiura Keichi: Along with Nino, Oshinari is definitely suitable for the role Sugiura. Although Sugiura of Oshinari isn't as crazy and pervy as in the manga, Oshinari did a very good job. When Sugiura dreams of Tarou, Oshinari's expressions are so good! His changes of emotions are well done. Oshinari, you've did a great job!
- Yamada kids: The 6 kids did very good job and they are damn cute. I personally like Muranaka Haruna as Yamada Yoshiko the most. She is so adorable.
- Matsuoka Mitsuru as Yamada Kazuo: Nothing much about him but I want to say that he looks like a mouse :D. Really that.
If you want a series to entertain yourself, Yamada Tarou is for you. If you want to watch something touching about the love of family members, Yamada Tarou is also for you. It's cute, light-hearted and meaningful. Although the ending is a bit rushed and few eps are draggy a bit, it's still very nice. A 4.5/5 series.