Sunday, 21 August 2011

Recommended: Mr Brain

The two screenwriters behind this high-budget, star-studded crime series have a history that includes Jin, Trick, Puzzle, and Bloody Monday. As such, you can feel fairly sure that this is going to be entertaining.

The story follows an eccentric genius, Tsukumo Ryusuke, who joins an elite police department who solve seemingly unsolvable crimes. Kimura Takuya takes the lead role and his performance certainly holds your attention. He’s a ball of nervous energy and curious outbursts, and is very funny. Ayase Haruka is his assistant, and is effectively the straight man in this double-act but her performance is strong enough that she isn’t acted off the screen. The show also features Mizushima Hiro in one of his last roles before he quit acting to be a writer.

The series does its best to look expensive. The headquarters of the police department have a sleek, futuristic feel, with perspex walls, holographic projections and TV screens everywhere. Especially in tables. No expense has been spared in guest stars, and Gackt seems to have a lot of fun in his role as a deranged killer, and Nakama Yukie is great as the murderer who you hope is innocent.

One strange thing, though. It seems that two of the stories were an odd length, and instead of cutting them down or extending them, there are two stories that last one and a half episodes. I should be happy that they didn't muck about with the story just to fit it into an hour, but having a crime solved and explained when there’s twenty-five minutes to go is fairly confusing at first.

The crimes themselves are fun and the solutions are clever, even if I have no idea how realistic they are. But the dialogue is witty and the cast is strong. Despite its high ratings, no sign of any sequel. I can only hope.

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