Sunday, 5 December 2010
Just finished: Shinzanmono
Unlike in the western tradition of murder mysteries, where murderers tend to kill for more selfish reasons, on Japanese TV murders are rarely done for greed or jealousy, or any of the other deadly sins. Often the criminal is trying to right an injustice of their own, or take revenge for a previous crime. Shinzanmono, however, takes this to extremes. It takes ten episodes to finally get to the murderer, and most of that time is taken up by finding out how nice the other suspects are. Their lies that attract the attention of the police turn out to be lies to hide how much they love their family.
This is all very well, but it means the series suffers from a lack of momentum. The worse case is in episode five, which didn’t seem to be about the murder at all. I admit I was stuck on this episode for a long time, before I sat down and forced myself to watch it to the end. Perhaps there was a clever twist in the end to make it worth my while.
And there was. There always is. This is, after all, based on a Keigo Higashino novel - the same writer who created Galileo so you can be sure that the secrets hide a nice little tale, and the overall conclusion to the murder is fairly satisfying, too. The trouble is, it seems like a 90 minute show stretched out to an entire series. It’s more like a series of unconnected short stories, with the murder mystery being brought back in for the final three episodes. It has a certain charm, but not much more than that.