Monday, 10 October 2011

Currently watching: Last Money – Ai no Nedan

Recently, I've been thinking that J-drama wasn't as good as it used to be, but suddenly I find myself watching three series that (despite being very formulaic in their stories and settings) I’m enjoying a lot. I’ve already written about Perfect Report, and soon I'll write about Suzuki Sensei but for now I’ll concentrate on this series set in an insurance company.

In Last Money we have a fairly typical set-up: cynical old professional who hides a heart of gold who works with an idealistic young newcomer. Together they investigate potential insurance fraud. Despite the clichés, I’ve found myself drawn into this series. The cases are cleverly written and entertaining and there’s a great sub-plot about a friend who is having an affair with a woman who perhaps is not all that she seems.

But most of all, I like the look of the show. For once, the rather anonymous directing style of most J-dramas actually works. The office has a pretty shitty open-plan layout and it feels cramped and soulless and the people claiming for money look plain and unexceptional. Apart from the private investigator, who is the only flash of colour in the show, the overall feeling is of looking at something very mundane: something that happens every day.

Perhaps the story relies too much on sentimentality at the end. After all, it is often dealing with the last wishes of the deceased, so of course people are going to cry. But I can forgive that. This series has made a good start and I'm already impatient to learn what happens next.

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