Seduced by an incredible drumming performance and a beautiful woman, an MIT math geek heads to a remote Japanese island to try and join the toughest and best taiko group in the world - and is accused of murdering their leader.
Synopsis:Jeremy Branch, a talented math student at MIT, goes with his room-mate Gerard to a taiko drumming concert by one of the top groups from Japan. He is blown away and starts wanting to play taiko himself, encouraged by a beautiful female member of the group who tells him after the concert, “Join us.” Jeremy finds out that the group, Shobu, accepts apprentices, and drops his studies to go and train with them on a remote Japanese island. Jeremy’s affluent parents (lottery winners) are angry and disappointed in him.
The training is intensely physical and many of the apprentices give up because it’s so tough. No sex is allowed during the apprenticeship. One of the apprentices, Akihiro, dislikes Jeremy and wants to make him fail. The woman Jeremy first spoke to, Nobuko, is assigned as his interpreter. Nobuko confides in him that it has always been her dream to play the biggest drum, the odaiko, but the tough group leader, Yoshida, won’t let her because he doesn’t think she’s strong enough. It turns out that Akihiro had a brief fling with Nobuko during the previous year’s apprenticeship, after which Akihiro wasn’t selected as a permanent group member.
Jeremy and Nobuko are attracted to each other and a romance is kindled when they perform at the island’s anti-demon festival. Jeremy encourages Nobuko to try playing odaiko. One night she sneaks out of her room to the dojo and starts playing. Yoshida comes to the dojo and tries to sexually assault her. Nobuko fights him off and kills him by beating him with her drumsticks.
Nobuko tells the police what happened, but they don’t believe that Yoshida would try to attack her or that she would be able to kill him. They think she’s covering for Jeremy. Akihiro tells the police he thinks Jeremy is the killer, and the police arrest Jeremy. Jeremy’s parents come to Japan to try and bribe the police to let him go, but they are sent away. Nobuko talks to another group member who says she was raped by Yoshida. They post the story of this on the internet and finally Nobuko is believed and Jeremy is released.
After the apprentices perform for the selectors, Jeremy is chosen to be a permanent group member and Akihiro is not. Jeremy and Nobuko can now become lovers and they both perform with the group at a big concert, where Nobuko is featured on the odaiko. When the next group of apprentices arrives on the island to train, Jeremy greets them and his former room-mate Gerard is among them.