|Written by||Yoshihiro Izumi|
|Directed by||Kazuo Fukuzawa|
|Narrated by||Tomoko Naraoka|
|Theme music composer||Miyuki Nakajima|
|Ending theme||"From the Icy Reaches" by Miyuki Nakajima|
|Country of origin||Japan|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Running time||54 minutes
Episode 1: 2 hours and 5 minutes
Episode 2, 3, 8, 9: 64 minutes
Last Episode: 1 hour and 30 minutes
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||October 16– December 18, 2011|
List of Episodes
1. A Touching Story of Love and Life for the Revival of Post-War Japan/ A Miracle Between Dogs and Mankind that occurred 56 Years Ago, the Story Begins to Rotate
During the era in Japan known as the Showa Period or post-war, the people of Japan were struggling to recover from the destruction of World War II. Determined to prove to the rest of the world that Japan will not be shunned from the rest of the world, the Japanese government decided to launch an expedition and set up a research base on the mysterious continent that few men dared to have the courage and skills to explore it- the frozen continent of Antarctica. An old Japanese war vessel called the Soya, which had survived the war was repaired and redesigned as the first Icebreaker ship for the Japanese Antarctic Expedition, and fifty-three men were chosen for the journey to the continent.
Kuramochi, a mountaineer who lost his wife during the war, and Inuzuka, a young outcast who has little experience of many tasks, were given the task of choosing and handling the team of Japanese sled dogs that was to go with the expedition team to Antarctica. With the help of an elderly professor, his daughter, her two young children, and several dog owners, they succeeded in gathering a total of twenty-two Sakhalin huskies for the Antarctic Expedition, including the woman's children's dog Riki, who had once been the leader of a dog team, and two brother dogs Taro and Jiro that Kuramochi easily tamed. The two men train and run the dogs a number of times before they were finally ready for the upcoming journey.
After several months of agonizing work, the Icebreaker Soya was finally finished and the crew were ready to leave for Antarctica. On November 8, 1956, the Soya, carrying her team of fifty-three Japanese crew members and 22 sled dogs disembarked from the docks of Japan and headed south for the continent of Antarctica.
2. Arrival! Antarctica
The Soya sailed south from Japan for the frozen continent of Antarctica, only to run into difficult obstacles along the way. Though Kuramochi, Inuzuka, and nine other members of the crew who were desperate to prove themselves desired to winter in Antarctica as the First Cross-Winter Antarctic Expedition team, the leader of the crew Shirosaki Suguru disapproved of the suggestions, stating that the first expedition team should set up the base on the mainland of Antarctica and that only the Second Cross-Winter Antarctic Expedition should winter in. Several of the men ended up fighting amongst each other for reasons they either are trying to forget or refuse to bring up in public. To make matters worse, a series of violent hurricanes battered the Icebreaker vessel, inflicting damage on both the crew members and the ship. During one storm, one of the dogs Anko was badly injured, but he slowly recovered after a few days' rest. A second storm resulted in the flooding of several rooms in the ship and several crew members badly injured. The brother dogs, Taro and Jiro got loose, but soon were found and rescued by Kuramochi, Inuzuka, and a few other crew members.
Finally, after several months of stressful sailing, the Icebreaker Soya arrived at the coast of Antarctica. After a brief discussion with the government and also with the ship's crew, Shirosaki finally decided that after setting up the Japanese base, the First Cross-Winter Antarctic Expedition will be permitted to winter in Antarctica. Eleven members of the crew were chosen for the expedition team, including Kuramochi, Inuzuka, and Himuro Haruhiko, a member of the Financial Ministries of Japan.
3. Our Miracle Dogs
After arriving at Antarctica, the Japanese team decide to set up their base on the island of East Ongul. The team members spend the next few weeks building the new Showa Station, but during that time, several tragic events apparently slowed things down and left the men frustrated and stressed. A heavy blizzard forced the team to remain in the Soya for several days, resulting in the destruction of the half-finished buildings. Chunks of ice break apart, carrying some of the fuel and food supplies for the winter team out to sea. To make matters worse, one of the sled dogs, Kuma from Furen (father of Taro and Jiro) unexpectedly attacks the lead dog Riki and overpowers him, forcing him to lose his spirit of running the entire dog team. A few days later, three of the sled dogs (Moku, Tomu, and Mime) end up suffering serious injuries and are forced to return to Japan with the rest of the Soya crew.
With the dog team unable to pull the sled without a leader, Kuramochi and the other crew members fear that their expedition will be a complete disaster. However, on a dark blizzard night, when Kuramochi and Inuzuka try to get the sled going, Kuma from Furen again attacks one of the other dogs. But before the men could lose another one of their sled dogs, Riki unexpectedly gathers his courage and attacks Kuma, defeating the black dog in a quick fight and gaining back his pride of leadership.
With the team finally able to pull the sled under Riki's regained leadership, the dogs were able to help their handlers rescue three members of the expedition team who were stranded in the middle of the blizzard after their snowcat shut down.
4. Farewell, Our Beloved Friend
The Showa Station was finally completed and the Soya set sail for Japan, leaving behind a team of eleven Japanese scientists and nineteen Sakhalin huskies to winter in Antarctica for a year. Though the team members were excited about wintering in for a year and were more than willing to accept any challenges before them, they were forced to confront several major problems of their own. On the first day of their stay at the base, the men discovered that some of the ice near the base had broken apart and carried off half of their fuel and food supplies for the year. To fix this situation, the men started ice-fishing and began catching a good number of gobies to replenish their shrunken food supply. They also decided to rely most of their transportation work on the dogs to save their remaining fuel.
Things went from bad to worse when Bekku, one of the sled dogs suffered from a kidney disease and died a few days later. A few weeks afterwards, Inuzuka accidentally set the radio contact building on fire and was unable to put it out with the fire extinguisher because he had turned it on to test it. At first, the crew scolded and belittled Inuzuka for his carelessness, but after a day or so, the men encouraged him to try to make up for his mishaps and forgave him for what had happened. To make up for his mistakes, Inuzuka decided to accompany Kuramochi and Himuro on their most difficult challenge yet; to journey across the Antarctic wilderness and climb to the top of Botnutten.
5. Death of a Comrade
Kuramochi is on his way to fulfill his mission of climbing Botnnuten with the sled dogs joined by Himuro and Inuzuka. While back home, Shirasaki Suguru is busy preparing for the second Antarctica expedition to replace the 11 members from the first expedition that were left to do preliminary studies. Despite of the heavy blizzard and going off track from their plan route, Kuramochi and company are very glad but surprised that they managed to reach their destination. Kuramochi and Himuro climbed and reached the peak of Botnnuten where Kuramochi fixed a plaque with inscriptions of the achievement made in the name of the First Japanese Antarctica Expedition team as well as his father's Antarctic expedition team photo. Heavy blizzard descended again on their return journey to base camp. The snow-covered ground collapsed, they fell, and Himuro broke his leg. They managed to take shelter at the frozen whale carcass they found earlier near the foot of Botnnuten. With food ration running out Riki, Taro, and Jiro are sent to get help from base camp. Utsumi and Samejima in the snowcat met the dogs sent by Kuramochi while searching for him and his party. The Kuramochi party is rescued. Everyone is overjoyed upon receiving news of the coming of the second expedition team.
Kuma from Pippu broke its chain went missing. Tetsu died of natural causes. Shiroko gave birth to eight puppies. As the ship, Soya, carrying the second Antarctica expedition team approaches, it becomes entrapped by ice due to the changing weather conditions and the ship's lack of power. Shirasaki going against Iwaki's instructions under government order got the assistance from the US icebreaker USS Burton Island to break through the ice. With time constraints and the worsening weather conditions, the Sakhalin huskies are left behind at the Showa station except for Shiroko and her puppies.
Soya following behind USS Burton Island manage to get to open sea. As a result of miscalculation the ship do not have enough reserve fuel to send in the second expedition team or bring back the Sakhalin huskies left behind at the station. The worsening weather conditions prevented even air rescue of the huskies. The huskies are shown struggling to break loose from their chains. A few managed to loosen their collars and break free. Back in Japan, with the news of the huskies being abandoned brought condemnation from the public. The government is deliberating on cancelling the third Antarctic expedition.
8. All eleven members of the First Japanese Cross-Winter Antarctic Expedition team reached back safely to Japan. Most of them went back to their respective jobs before embarking on the Antarctica expedition. Kuramochi quit his university job and went on a mission to Hokkaido to meet with owners of the abandoned Sakhalin huskies to share with them about the contributions made by their dogs in the expedition. Most refused to talk to him. Initially the Furutachi kids who owned Riki also refused to talk to him but later on they responded. In the meantime, Shirasaki take upon himself to persuade the government to proceed with the organizing of a Third Japanese Antarctica Expedition.
After much persuasion, the government decides to proceed with the Third Japanese Antarctica Expedition with the condition that no members of the first and second expedition teams are to be involved except Shirasaki. Now, Shirasaki, with Kuramochi in mind, starts on a quest to get the government to allow another member from the First Cross-Winter Antarctic Expedition team. Finally, everything is settled. Kuramochi is able to join the third expedition. The Third Japanese Antarctic Expedition is launched with as much grandeur as the first.
On this Third Japanese Antarctic Expedition, before the disembarkation of the team members and unloading of the equipment, Kuramochi is flown out by helicopter to check the situation of the station and the abandoned huskies. He found the corpse of seven still chained and the unchained corpse of Riki still warm covered in snow on the slope of a hill approaching the station. He gave the deceased huskies an honourable send off linked via radio communication to people in Soya and Japan. The Third Japanese Cross-Winter Antarctica Expedition team returned to a grand welcome.
- Takuya Kimura - Takeshi Kuramochi
- Kyōhei Shibata (special appearance) - Suguru Shirasaki
- Teruyuki Kagawa - Eitaro Hoshino
- Masato Sakai - Haruhiko Himuro
- Naoto Ogata - Noriaki Utsumi
- Yusuke Yamamoto - Natsuo Inuzuka
- Susumu Terajima - Naohito Samejima
- Hisashi Yoshizawa - Shinkichi Yokomine
- Yoshinori Okada - Ikuzo Funaki
- Yōsuke Kawamura - Hajime Arashiyama
- Ishimoto Doronzu - Manpei Yamazato
- Kōtarō Shiga - Kennosuke Tani
- Haruka Ayase - Miyuki Takaoka
- Yukie Nakama - Yukari Kuramochi (ep1,5)
- Tsunehiko Watase - Kuramochi's father (ep1-2,4-5)
- Gaku Yamamoto - Tomohiro Furutachi (ep1,7-10)
- Tae Kimura - Ayako Furutachi (ep1,6-10)
- Mana Ashida - Haruka Furutachi (ep1,6-10)
- Mizuki Inoue - Ryo Furutachi (ep1,6-10)
- Ito Ōno - Mitsuko Inuzuka (ep1,4,8)
- Takako Katou - Junko Samejima (ep1-2,4,6-7,9)
- Shion Satō - Kenta Samejima (ep1-2,4,6-7,9)
- Sakura - Naomi Yokomine (ep1-4,6-7)
- Kōsuke Yabe - Haruo (ep1-5,7-10)
- Takeo Nakahara - Shinpei Hatano (ep1,5,8-9)
- Susumu Kurobe - Himuro's father (ep1,9-10)
- Takashi Kobayashi - Mifune (ep2-3,6-8,10)
- Shigeru Yazaki - Inuzuka's father (ep4,8)
- Kazufumi Miyazawa - Masataka Iwaki (ep5-8)
- Hirayama Hiroyuki - Kishibe (ep6)
- Ryuta Sato - Michio Ando (ep9-10)
- ustar (2011-10-17). "First episode of Kimura Takuya’s drama pulls in average rating of 22.2%". Tokyohive. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- Official website (Japanese)