Yamada Tarou Monogatari – 10 (END)
To address the financial questions that go with studying in America, Nagahara explains that Tarou is getting all costs covered by the university and would receive a research salary in addition to that. Nevertheless, Tarou needs more time to think about, and at home, his mother shows him some writing he did in elementary school where he stated that his dream was to grow big vegetables and eat big hamburgers in America. The next day, Takuya passes the news along to Takako, and she panics when he implies that Tarou is leaving this afternoon. She catches Tarou on his way out, but it turns out that he’s only leaving for his part time job and still hasn’t decided on whether to go to America or not. Despite this, Takako goes home and starts practicing her English. Tarou meanwhile gets an advertisement on the street for an American jumbo hamburger, and he brings it to the school principal and Nagahara to explain that his dream used to be to go to America and eat this. However, his dream now is for everyone in his family to eat their fill of it, and he is thus turning down the offer to go to America because he feels that hamburger isn’t delicious when eaten alone. The principal actually admires him for this because he recognizes Tarou’s true hunger and how Tarou has found what’s most important.
Tarou then goes to Takuya to get his help with the air guitar championship at a festival that has the jumbo hamburger as its prize. Unfortunately, Tarou doesn’t even know what air guitar is, but he’s determined to win, and he recruits Takako as part of the team too. At home, Tarou’s younger siblings are thrilled that he’s not going to America, but Jirou and Saburou feel guilty that they’re the reason why. The siblings privately think that it’s an issue of money, so they break open their piggy bank, but there’s not nearly enough in there. Saburou then notices something that’s written on the advertisement for the hamburger and festival, and it raises everyone’s spirits. Not aware that his siblings are planning something, Tarou continues practicing for the air guitar competition with Takuya and Takako until the day of the festival arrives. When they get there however, they find that they face some stiff competition, including their own school principal who is known as the Red Vegetable. After the principal finishes performing, the huge grand prize hamburger is shown to the crowd, and Tarou sees how impressed his siblings are by it.
Before it’s their turn to take the stage, Tarou and Takuya step outside for a moment, and Tarou thanks Takuya for accompanying him. In response, Takuya thanks Tarou back and admits that this is the first time he’s put his heart into something like this. Even though he had felt uncool, he saw that Tarou was the same way and wanted to become like that, and he is glad that he met Tarou. Takako then joins them for one final cheer before the three get on stage. The performance goes very well, and they end up getting first place, but when Tarou tries to address his family, he notices that they’re no longer in the audience. As it turns out, his parents had noticed that his siblings had disappeared and had gone looking for them. The six kids are actually at the lottery station for the 100,000 yen prize, but they need lottery tickets, so they start looking for ones people have dropped or are willing to give them. Yoshiko and Itsuko end up getting some from Takako’s mother, and they want her to keep it a secret from Tarou, but she calls and tells Takako who passes along the news. When Tarou arrives on the scene, Takako’s mother informs him of how the kids want to money so that he can go to college. Tarou wants to go talk to them, but his father stops him and suggests that they just watch for now.
Jirou, Saburou, Yoshiko, Itsuko, Mutsumi, and Nanami get six tries total to get the lottery ball, so they decide that each of them will try once. Unfortunately, all of them get white balls, and Tarou goes over to comfort them afterwards. They start apologizing because they think that he’s not going to America because of them and their financial situation, but Tarou then tells them that the reason he’s not going is because he wants to be together with them. They then run to him in tears over how he’s going to be staying with them, and he makes them all feel better by suggesting they go home and eat hamburger. A few months later in November, Nagahara and the school principal present Tarou with an offer to be a scholarship student at Jounan University. This will allow him to be exempt from tuition, but he’ll still have to work for his living expenses. In the time afterwards, Takako studies hard to get into the same university, Nagahara marries Torii, and high school ends for Tarou and company. April marks the beginning of the new school term, and Tarou heads off to the university. Takuya of course is attending the same school, and the two walk onto campus surrounded by admirers much like they did in high school, except that Takako is with them now.
I thought much of the premise here bordered on the side of ridiculous, though I can probably chalk it up as part of the charm of this show, particularly since the air guitar stuff was in the opening sequence. If you think about it, they were in an air guitar competition to win a piece of hamburger meat the size of a car tire. Never mind how unappealing such a huge chunk of meat looks, I really just don’t see air guitar as something that’s competition worthy. It’s ironic they used it here though since I had just read a news story last week about a Japanese man who won the Air Guitar World Championship.
As for Tarou, I still think he should have gone to study in the US, but of course things worked out in the end, and he gets to end up with his friends and family. All things considered, this was a fitting conclusion for him, though I think a lot of the working-instead-of-going-to-college stuff from earlier on in the series was unnecessary if Tarou had just done a little more research into options for the future. It’s a happy ending with plenty of closure though, so I can’t complain too much.
Final Thoughts: In the beginning, this series drew me in because of how funny it was, but unfortunately I found a good deal of that humor gone by the end as it gave way to more serious stuff. This won’t go down as one of my favorites of all time (that honor still goes to GTO), however it was still a lot of fun to watch, and since much of it kept me smiling, I felt it was all worth it. I probably won’t have the time in the schedule to cover another weekly drama this upcoming fall season, though I am interested in Dream Again since it stars Sorimachi Takashi.