Main Cast: real name / character’s name
Ninomiya Kazunari as Shouhei Asai (Shou-chan)
Tomohisa Yamashita as Kengo Iwasaki (Ken Ken)
Anne Suzuki as Chie Ouwada
Hiroki Narimiya as Udagawa Hayato
Oguri Shun as Kouji Enami
Outstanding Minor Character: Becky (Rebecca Eri Ray Vaughan) as Kaga Ellen
Stand Up! is a smartly and tastefully done teen drama about friendship, love, and sex. The story concentrates on 4 good friends (Shouhei, Kengo, Udagawa, and Kouji) and their quest to finally lose their virginity by the end of the summer. Shouhei is the main protagonist who also narrates the movie. The setting is in a small shopping-district called Togoshi where their parents also work at. The show starts off during the last few weeks of school before summer vacation. A heinous discovery of someone’s bra is found in the library and the whole school and town is shocked. The offender is inevitably kick-out of school. In the process, Shouhei (who found the bra) realizes that he and his 3 friends are the ONLY virgins left at school. Before they could collect their thoughts, an old friend suddenly comes back to town. It’s Chie, the girl Shouhei and everyone fell head-over-heel with when they were kids. Unfortunately, the grown Chie is not as attractive as they once thought. Strangely, no one bothers to ask why she is back as all 4 are too busy fonding dirty thoughts in their minds. Here is a great show about the meaning of sex from two very prominent perspectives: teens and their parents. These two groups seem to have always been at wars with each other. Here, their battles are tackled in many humerus ways. Who shall be the winner? Will Shouhei and his buddies finally become a “man?” And why did Chie come back after so many years being out of touched?
This drama can be compared to the movie American Pie as it deals with the same topic, but like I said it is very tastefully done and not as vulgar in my opinion. To a teen, sex is not just the act of making love, it represents many other things. Some think of it as a status symbol, a way to show he/she has grown up, and some just want to know what it’s like. When Shohei and his friends’ luck with the opposite sex just don’t seem to be improving, Udagawa proposes a Purity Club where it’s mandatory to be a virgin. This is just a way to make him feel better of course, and he and the others still jump at any chance they have for a date. While these 4 friends figure out their own definition and the meaning of sex, Chie is constantly with them and reminding anyone who listens that it’s okay if you’re not ready. In fact, Chie is the only person who readily accepts each of them as who they are despite their embarrassing sexual conquest. Chie too has her own definition of sex and the show reaches its climax when it is revealed.
Despite the show’s simple facade of 4 young boys and their search for sex, I believe there is another side to this story that is much more profound. While watching, I can clearly see an allusion to J. D. Salinger’s controversial novel The Catcher in the Rye. It too simply follows a young student name Holden and his travel throughout New York hoping to finally experience sex. However, when given the chance, he instead walks away from it. Both story is portraying how one goes about losing one’s innocence. As a teenager, he/she is between the stages of childhood and adulthood. Sooner or later, one will become an adult but what will happen to the child of years’ past? Most of the time, that child disappears after sexual intercourse. Of course adults who’ve never had sex are still adults. The main point is that innocence is indeed very precious but it is also very fleeting. Therefore, one should chose to lose it in a respectable way. Simply throwing it away is an option but it will have its own consequences.
I actually found this drama while waiting for new episodes of Ryusei no Kizuna. Here, Ninomiya is once again the main lead and he does a good job as well. He has definitely improve a lot since this drama. He definitely plays an awkward character very well which is surprising since he is part of a very popular band. In fact, he is very outgoing and a little mischievous in real life. I guess that just makes him a great actor. Shun Oguri plays a jock with a strong heart and belief in himself. A very funny character. Definitely night and day when compared to his role as Rui Hanazawa in HYD. Hiroki Narimiya was in Honey and Clover and Orange Days so I did recognize him. This will be the 3rd time I’ve seen him played a hyper-active character. He does a great job, but it’ll be nice to see some range too. I am not familiar with the other characters but they all did a great job as well. A character that definitely “stole the show” for me is Becky who has a small role as Kaga Ellen. She plays a strong female who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. Most importantly, her methods are never malicious…just really funny. Very funny. I think all the cast, including the parents, did an excellent job. Overall, it is a great show with great lessons to teach, and ALOT of funny moments that will make anyone laugh.
Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono by Arashi – Opening Song