Asuko March! Episode 1 Recap
Romanized title: Asuko March!
Broadcast station: TV Asahi
Broadcast dates: 24 April – 3 July 2011
Cast: Takei Emi, Matsuzaka Tori, Kaku Kento, Nagayama Kento, Minami Keisuki, Ishida Takuya, Furukawa Yuki, Kanai Yuta, Arai Yusuke, Nishi Yosuke, Gouriki Ayame
Based on the manga Asuko March!~Kenritsu Asuka Kougyou Koukou Koushinkyoku~ by Akiyama Kaori
Theme song: “Soredemo Shinjiteru” by FUNKY MONKEY BABYS
Synopsis: Yoshino Nao fails to get into her top choice high school so she settles for a trade high school instead at her grandfather’s request. Can she adapt to this new school environment and all the guys?
The drama opens with students working in shop class. Two boys complain about the heat and the supervising teacher slams down his ruler telling them to concentrate before they get hurt (probably by the machinery and not the teacher). Yoshino Nao (Takei Emi) is welding and looks over at the commotion. The teacher then scolds her for taking off her mask. She apologizes and quickly gets back to work. After class, she changes in the locker room and goes out to be greeted by guys fighting, guys working out, and just guys everywhere. Why? It is a technical high school made up of almost completely male students.
We then backtrack to the day Nao registered for Asuko. She wanted to go to an all girl high school, but she made a mistake when filling out her entrance exam and wound up at Asuko instead. She is less than thrilled when her homeroom teacher comes and gives her the textbooks and tools needed for the school. Nao has no knowledge of anything technical. She asks the teacher if there are other girls and she is horrified when she learns that there are only two others enrolling besides herself that year. Nao then asks how many students make it to college and is even more horrified to learn only 3% made it the previous year. However, the school has over a 90% placement for employment after graduation. This does little to appease Nao’s strong distaste for the school she hasn’t even officially started yet, but it makes her grandfather happy. The teacher then explains that the school secretly allows part-time work as well by the students (often frowned upon at other high schools). All Nao can think about is the boys fighting and how this was probably the worst stumble of her life to date.
One month later school starts and Nao is observed by all the male students with interest. The boys seem happy to have such a cute girl on campus. When Nao arrives in her homeroom it is, of course, full of boys. Delinquents, geeks, etc. She accidentally bumps into Hirose Satomi (Ishida Takuya) who is covered in cuts and bruises and bandages. When he enters the classroom. Two boys ask why he is there and then go to start a fight. But, luckily, the homeroom teacher arrives and tells the class to sit down before that can happen. He introduces himself as Omukai Toru and annoys the students by writing his name in hiragana versus kanji (as hiragana is simpler and easier to read). Omukai will also be their electrical science teacher. He has just gotten married and tells the students not to cause any problems that will make him late to go home. Nao’s phone then rings. She quickly apologizes and turns it off. Omukai tells her to remember to put it on silent mode while in school Takeuchi Kazuya (Nagayama Kento – Eita’s little brother) asks if Omukai will confiscate it. Omukai says he won’t as if they were so strict, no student would graduate. Takeuchi says as expected of Asuko. Omukai then says that an average of 5 students usually drop out every year. Wow.
During a break, Nao runs out to the back fence where cherry blossoms are in bloom. She complains that the place is the pits when all of a sudden a bag is thrown over a fence, followed soon by it’s owner who is dressed all in white. This shocks Nao and she just stares in wonder. The boy turns and approaches her. He grabs her shoulders and comes within an inch of kissing her. She asks what he is doing and he hushes her. An older woman then runs by yelling for “Sho.” Once she’s gone, the boy steps back and Nao goes to slap him, but he is too quick for her. He grabs his schoolbag and says he will see her later. This leaves Nao mystified and wondering why there is a host in a high school.
Next, Omukai take the students around the school and shows them where they will be doing their practical application. Nao crinkles her nose at the smell of oil and is happily surprised to finally see one of the other girls. Her name is Takada Maiko and they are instantly relieved to both see another girl finally. Takada happily invites Nao to eat lunch with her the next day. At this time, one of the boys on a skid rolls towards the girls (in hopes of looking under their skirts?). Takada and Nao notice this and Nao immediately jumps back, telling the boy to stop. Unfortunately, she slips on a puddle and falls back into a shelf where a container of oil falls on her head and she falls to the ground. Omukai is horrified and the boys in Nao’s class and the ones doing their practical training are shocked and sorry for Nao since oil is so hard to get out. The boy who caused the incident asks if Nao is okay and Nao quickly pulls her skirt down even more and asks him to stop looking.
Nao ends up going home on her first day wearing Omukai’s jersey. She is completely unhappy about her first day. At home, Nao sits in the bathtub and scrubs like crazy trying to get the oil stain and smell off of her. Her grandfather tries to talk about what happened, but Nao sends him away. Afterward, when Nao comes down for dinner her grandfather tells her that makeup remover works wonders with oil stains. Nao then yells at him for not telling her earlier, but she was the one who didn’t want to listen. Nao’s grandfather (who is a chef), puts down a very delicious dinner and Nao apologizes to him saying she may just have to quit that school. Yoshino asks what Nao will do if she quits, but she hasn’t figured that out yet. Nao says she might transfer out. Yoshino tells his granddaughter to think about it carefully and not transfer overseas like her father. Yoshino wants his granddaughter to go to any Japanese high school. Nao breaks in saying she wanted to go to that all-female high school. Yoshino says that school is no different from Asuko, but Nao insists that it is completely different. She then berates herself for listening to Yoshino’s advice on schools. Why did Yoshino recommend Asuko? Yoshino tells her it was the only school with openings. Nao gets up and leaves the table without eating. Yoshino then tells his granddaughter to wait three years and see how attending Asuko benefits her, but that does little to assuage Nao’s temper.
The next day at school it is time to start practical training. The boys, not thinking about the fact there is a girl immediately begin stripping and changing. Nao is horrified to see boys in their skivvies. Omukai notices this and apologizes telling her where the girl’s locker room is. Nao quickly picks up her work overalls and goes all over the school to finally found the hidden away locker room. She looks at the overhauls, not happy at all when another girl comes in. This time it is Aizawa Momo (Gouriko Ayame). Momo then lets Nao know that Takada dropped out that morning. This surprises Nao. What also surprises our leading lady is Momo’s description of girls in technical schools as being “tasty.” Meaning that the boys are all hungry for them. I guess we all know why Momo wanted to go to Asuko. Momo then says that she has her eye on Yokoyama Aruto who is a former child actor. Momo then warns Nao away from having thoughts about Aruto. Nao brushes Momo’s hand away and says that is not the reason she is at Asuko. After she leaves, Momo derisively calls Nao pure. I guess Momo just won’t believe that Nao is boy crazy like she is.
Nao heads to class where the teacher, Okano (Jinbo Satoshi), asks why she isn’t in her uniform. Nao says it isn’t the right size and Okano replies that she can’t participate without it. Tamaki Makoto (Kaku Kento) then asks why Miss Delicate Nao would even be doing the class since she has no interesting in technical training. Tamaki then reveals that he knows Nao really wanted to go to a private all-girls high school. He saw Nao walking home one day with a classmate from middle school where she complained about Asuko and how much she wanted to go to her friend’s school. Takeuchi then asks who would really want to study in Asuko anyways which gets all the boys’ attention (and not in a good way). Tamaki angrily approaches Takeuchi and before you know it, all the boys are fighting and Nao gets pushed over and knocked into a glass beaker, hurting her elbow. Okano asks if she is okay and Nao replies that she isn’t. Nakano then picks up the welder and mask and tells all the boys to stop it or else he’ll weld their noses and mouths shuts. That got the boys to listen and terrified Nao.
Nao goes to the nurse’s office which is empty. She notices a boy lying on one of the beds and sees a silver wing pendant – the same one that the boy in white was wearing. She goes around the curtain and bends in for a closer look. At that moment, the boy (Aruto) grabs her and says he knew she wanted another kiss. Nao says he is wrong and tries to pull away while he keeps pulling her closer. She tells him to stop when the nurse walks in. The nurse just looks away and asks why they don’t do the hanky panky in the gym – although the clinic is more hygienic. Aruto says that is right, but Nao adamantly says that is wrong. The nurse then comes over and breaks the two apart. She tells Aruto to hurry and go back to class since he is just pretending to be sick. She then turns to Nao and asks what is wrong. Nao says she hurt her elbow during practical training and the nurse gets the stuff to patch her up. Nao notices pictures of the nurse with the girls of Asuko and the nurse replies that the clinic is the haven for females. If Nao is having a rough time, then she can come and talk to the nurse Sugisaki (Shiraishi Miho). This makes Nao feel somewhat better.
Later while waiting for her friend, Nao overhears boys from a different school talking about how easy girls from Asuko is. She is then approached by her friend who also brought a girl from her school. The other girl immediately calls Nao cute and says that she wishes she could wear the technical uniform at least once. This does little to comfort Nao after the boys’ comment earlier and her horrifying experiences. Going home afterward, Nao sees Tamaki working. He has three siblings at work with him complaining they are hungry. Tamaki apologies to his siblings for not being able to get any time off to feed them. But he then pulls out two corndogs for the three to share. Tamaki goes to head back inside and notices Nao. He asks why she is there and Nao replies that she was just with her friends before leaving. The two are so awkard with each other.
Tamaki goes home after work and it turns out his father owns and runs a screw factory. His father replies that Tamaki is late and Tamaki says he couldn’t help it, work got out late. His father asks if that will affect Tamaki’s studies and his son replies that he wants to help out with the finances. Mr. Tamaki says that isn’t necessary, but Tamaki replies that it is since the screws his dad makes are sold for so cheap. Is it even worth making them? Mr. Tamaki then asks his son if he should shut the factory down. Tamaki immediately says that isn’t the case. He may complain, but he doesn’t mind his father’s job.
The next day in electrical training, Nao is sitting out class because she was injured in mechanical training the other day, which annoys the other boys who are hard at practice. The bell rings for class to be over and Nao immediately jumps up, knocking over a box (what a klutzy girl, not a good mix for a technical school). Omukai tells her it is okay, it’s just junk anyways that needs to be tossed. Nao picks up all the stuff (including Tamaki’s soldering iron) and puts it all in the box to be thrown out. Oops. Later Tamaki looks for his iron and Nao overhears him describing it. She recalls throwing it out. Uh-oh! Nao goes to a hardware store where she sees a soldering iron for 950 yen. It’s so cheap! So she buys it to replace the one she lost.
Nao goes to meet her friend from middle school again and overhears the other girl telling her friend that it is embarrassing to be seen with a girl from Asuko. Ah, poor Nao. Another reason to hate going to her school. Instead of joining them, the hurt Nao turns and walks away. She slowly heads back home where she runs into Tamaki’s little brother who is unhappy that Tamaki is late getting out of work. Nao excuses herself and goes to leave when the two youngest go up to Seiji saying they are hungry. They don’t have any food from Tamaki this time, so Seiji gives them an air hamburger to eat. The two youngest aren’t happy to be pretending to eat an air hamburger again. Nao witnesses this and decides to do a good deed and take the kids out for some food.
The next day at school the angry Tamaki bawls Nao out for buying his siblings hamburgers. Tamaki didn’t take it as a kindhearted gesture and instead took it as an insult. It’s as if Nao is accusing him of being unable to feed his siblings. He also thinks that since she is rich, she is looking down on him and his family, which isn’t true. Nao denies this and Tamaki gives her back the soldering iron she bought. Again, he took it as insult since he is too poor to afford to buy a measly 950 yen iron. Nao said that isn’t the case – it was a form of apology for accidentally throwing his old one out. This does not assuage Tamaki’s anger. Soon the whole school begins to ridicule Nao for looking down on them. Tamaki then says he hates naïve people the most. Nao asks why she has to explain herself to him. She says she bought the stuff to help, not because she looked down on them. She then jumps up and says that he is putting up a wall just because she is a girl. She then says that if they see themselves as poor and stupid (how they accused her of viewing them), then that is just what they will become. Nao who was doing a good job, then ruins it all by saying that it is annoying and that maybe the students deserved to be looked down on. Needless to say this makes the entire class angry at her and she runs out.
Nao runs through the whole school looking for a place where she belongs, but can’t find one. Not in a stairwell, nor in the library, nor even in the clicni (where Momo is flirting with Aruto who notices Nao running away). Nao finally runs outside in the pouring rain where she notices the sakura blossoms. She then crouches and cries in what looks to be some type of artsy workshop place. A voice then asks if she was jealous. Nao is surprised to find Aruto there. She immediately replies that she wasn’t and goes to run off again when Aruto says that she looks better when she smiles, although she is cute when she cries. Nao says he knows nothing and Aruto says he does – he knows she wants to quit school. Nao then reveals the mistake that caused the biggest stumble in her life. Aruto then says that her stumble may be a good thing. Surprised, Nao turns around, and Aruto walks out into the rain and hands Nao a paper crane saying that the place isn’t all that bad. Nao then asks why such a talented child actor chose to be in such a place. Aruto says, “Maybe because…I don’t want to see the sky anymore” and walks away leaving Nao staring after him.
At Tamaki’s father’s factory, men come to collect money. Mr. Tamaki says he doesn’t have the money as his business is not turning a profit. The collectors don’t want to hear that, but Mr. Tamaki kneels and begs them not to force him to close his factory while Tamaki watches on. As the men leave, Tamaki hears them badmouthing his dad. Tamaki tells his siblings to go back to the house and he goes after the men. Nao, who has just left school gets a call from Seiji saying that the men are killing his brother and he drops the phone as Tamaki keeps getting beaten. The men scold Tamaki’s family for borrowing money when they can’t pay it back. Then up runs Nao and his siblings, surprising Tamaki.
Nao helps get Tamaki back to his place where she treats his wounds. Nao says that they should call the police, but Tamaki refuses since he started the fight anyways. Nao asks why he did that and Tamaki explains that it is because those men made fun of his dad’s work. They are like Nao who looks down on factory work. Nao insists that she doesn’t feel that way. Tamaki then says that his dad’s shop is smelly and dirty and doesn’t turn a profit. He also says that the soldering iron she threw out was his dad’s so one she bought can never replace it. Tamaki then says that his dad’s screws help build many things all around the country and he will inherit it someday. That is why Tamaki entered Asuko and this is why he hates it when people look down on it.
When Nao gets home, she feels bad for complaining about all the girly things she wasn’t getting to enjoy, like cute sailor uniforms, girl friends and pretty things. Nao lies in bed and her grandfather brings her food, but she refuses to eat. Yoshino asks if Nao is having a tough time at school and Nao replies that it is tough because there is a lot she doesn’t know. Yoshino then says if she isn’t sure she wants to study in Asuko or not, then perhaps she can transfer schools after all – he won’t stop her. He pushes transfer papers under her door and Nao is touched by these words until she sees that it is for another technical high school.
Nao meets with her friend from middle school and the other girl who didn’t like that Nao was from Asuko. The girl, Yuzuki, tells Nao that she showed a picture of her to these two guys and they are interested. Nao looks over and there are two older boys in a flashy red car. Yuzuki says that they are in college as business majors. The boys are surprised to learn Nao goes to Asuko. One boy says that he met an Asuko boy once and found him low-bred and vulgar. One of the boys asks if Nao is like that. Poor Nao is very uncomfortable. Before she can answer, the car stops and they have to get it fixed. Somehow they end up outside of Tamaki’s screw factory. Mr. Tamaki says that he only makes screws, but the guys say its okay. Mr. Tamaki starts looking at the car and calls Makoto to bring him tools.
The three younger siblings run out where they are immediately scolded away from touching the shiny car by its owners. Nao quickly ducks out of sight when she spots Tamaki who kneels and ushers his siblings inside out of the way. Nao’s friend asks if the car can be fixed, but Mr. Tamaki doesn’t answer and the two college boys begin insulting the Tamakis an their screw factory. This upsets Nao and Tamaki-kun. The three younger siblings go around the car and spot Nao. They are excited to see the friendly onee-chan. Seiji calls for his brother, but Nao quickly silences him and tells him that it is a secret that she is there.
When Tamaki finally brings his dad the tool box, the college boys ask if he happens to go to Asuko. Tamaki asks what’s it to them. The boys say that it is no surprise and laugh while Tamaki scowls at them. Nao watches on worried, but Tamaki’s siblings assure her that it is okay because Tamaki can’t fight. Nao asks why and the boys tell her that he got into big trouble with his dad for righting last time. Nao looks over and sees his anger held in check and recalled what he said about how his dad’s screws help build the country. The two boys then start causing more trouble. One in a striped sweater asks as a Social Science major, but people who graduate from Asuko do jobs like that, right. Tamaki asks what’s wrong with that and the college boy replies that people who make screws live screwed up lives (horrible pun). The angry Tamaki approaches the boys only to have his baby sister step in front of him and tell the other guys not to say bad things about her brother and father. How sweet!
This catches Nao’s and Mr. Tamaki’s attention. Seiko goes on to say that her father stays up late every night and works hard while her brother works hard at his part-time job. The other boy in a vest then asks wouldn’t Seiko be happier with pretty clothes and yummy food to eat? Not like how she lives now. This really incenses Nao. Just as Tamaki is about to lose his temper, Nao rushes in and slaps the boy, shocking everyone. Nao tells him that he has no right to make fun of people who work hard for a living when he hasn’t earned a single yen himself. Yuzuki then scolds Nao for taking her classmate’s side. Nao says she is at least certain she doesn’t want to hang out with them. The guy in the vest says that Asuko students should be friends with Asuko students since they are better suited for each other. Tamaki goes in to fight once more, but is stopped by the sound of the car hood slamming. Mr. Tamaki calls out that it is fixed. The guy in the vest asks how much and Mr. Tamaki tells him to hurry and get lost because he doesn’t want his money. This surprises the kid and the others hurry in the car to leave. Nao’s middle school friend asks if she will be okay and Nao says she will and then the red car speeds away. Tamaki tells Nao to go home because even though she stood up for him, things still aren’t okay.
Nao slowly walks home and finally realizes what she needs to do as she recalls the things that Tamaki told her about his dad’s factory and the tools. She quickly turns around and runs back to Asuko. She starts going through all of the trashcans and is caught by Omukai who asks what she is doing. Nao says she is looking for something and he takes her out to the garbage dump where all the trash was moved for the pickup tomorrow. Omukai says he thought she had bough a new one. Nao shakes her head and says that one has no meaning and looks at the huge pile of garbage, smiling. Night falls and she is still looking. Omukai reminds her that he is still newly married. Nao tells him to quickly go home since he doesn’t need to lock up. Omukai rushes off and Nao continues digging through the trash, having no luck. She is sweating, dirty, and cuts her hand, but continues looking. Aruto sees this, but his mom asks what is wrong and says they need to go home. Aruto smiles and the two head off together. Omukai comes back and tosses Nao a drink. He says he can’t leave while she is still there. He offers her his jersey, but she refuses to wear it and digs back in.
Morning dawns and Omukai wakes up. He slept on the bench near the garbage all night. He hurries to look for Nao and sees her curled up in his jersey, sleeping in a circle of junk, happily holding the soldering iron. Class starts and Tamaki is surprised to see his soldering iron sitting on his desk. Omukai comes in and announces what they will be working on. He notices Tamaki is holding the soldering iron. Omukai says he didn’t know it was his all along. Tamaki asks why and Omukai says it is nothing, but Tamaki insists on knowing. Class starts and Nao rushes in, late. She is in her practical uniform and apologizes for being late, but the locker room is too far away. Omukai asks if there is any one who will allow Nao to join their group and Tamaki surprisingly pulls up a stool. Nao goes to sit next to him while the others watch on in surprise. The class begins working and Tamaki thanks Nao and tells her she looks good in her uniform. I sense a crush building.
We then cut to the host club where Aruto works. Apparently he is as accident prone in his job as Nao is in the practical classes. There is some creepy young woman who stares at him.
We then go back to where we started . Aruto finally shows up to class and Nao is shocked to learn that they are in the same one. She gets in Takeuchi’s way and when moving, accidentally knocks a container of oil over. Tamaki scolds her for her clumsiness and tells her to hurry and clean it up. Nao gets down and does so with Takeuchi watching on with an ambiguous look. Nao frowns and says she will bear with it for now.