Sunday, June 8, 2008


Nobuta, Akira and Shuji

Kiritani Shuji (Kamenashi Kazuya – Hatanaka-san in One Pound Gospel) is a popular guy in school and can get along with anybody at least that’s the façade he is putting up. He is actually a chameleon, an expert in putting different faces to different groups of people. There’s only one person he couldn’t stand - Kusano Akira (Yamashita Tomohisa – yup the victim of obsessive fangirling). Shuji is annoyed with Akira and doesn’t want anything to do with the latter. Everyday before going to school, Shuji touches a willow tree which gives him the strength to continue. One day, he finds out the tree is gone. Worse, he meets a weird girl, Kotani Nobuko (Maki Horikita, Hana Kimi). She tells him she would’ve hanged herself from the willow tree but it was gone. Stunned, Shuji runs away. The next day a new girl arrives in school – Nobuko – it surprised Shuji but denied he knows her to his friends. Being different, Kotani is picked on and is often lonely. Unable to bear the harassment to Kotani, Shuji teams up with Akira to make her popular in school and they give her the nickname Nobuta. The duo will try to produce a new Nobuta, thus the name. Unknown to them, a hidden enemy lurks seeking to destroy Kotani.

Nobuta Wo Produce is one of the greatest school dramas I’ve ever seen. It touches raw nerves as any student or student-once could relate to the situations our characters are in. This is not your typical American high school drama where some character is going to make a loser popular with simple make over. No, the Japanese are more realistic. The change substantial (not through looks or clothes) and gradual. The challenges our protagonists face are complex. In fact, the decisions they have to make aren’t to gauge their intellectual prowess but to measure what their hearts are made of – between the easy choice and the right one.

Nobuta Wo Produce answered the age-old question “What is friendship?” Other series also explored this question but this one provided an answer – and the answer required a sacrifice. All episodes of Nobuta Wo Produce are coherent but each one tackles a different issue which the characters resolve. I learned from the series that the word friend shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Am I a good friend? Am I being honest with myself? Should I show my real self to people? These are the queries put forward in the series. The series made me reflect on what I am as a friend and as a person.

Nobuta Wo Produce Extras

No. of Episodes: 10

Average ratings: 16.89

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