Thursday, 6 October 2011

Currently watching: Perfect Report

From a distance, this is just like a number of other J-dramas. A strong female boss who leads a ramshackle group of misfits in a department that no one takes seriously. Also, this boss has a dark secret in her early career that explains her unusual managerial style and her lack of progress in the organisation.

In this case, the setting is a newsroom, and the boss is a no-nonsense, free spirit who ignores the showbiz stories that she is supposed to follow and instead sends her staff out to cover more hard-hitting stuff like politics and crime. However, her bosses tolerate her because she gets results.

Reading back what I've just written, I admit it doesn't seem so great. I've just described a pretty ordinary J-drama, with nothing in particular to make it stand out from the crowd. Also, the ratings were poor and it remained unsubbed for about a year before someone finally picked it up. None of these things inspire confidence.

But instead I find myself enjoying this quite a lot. Matsuyuki Yasuko is good in the lead role, and Koide Keisuke impresses as the new member on the team – a career-centred reporter who works almost as a spy, letting his bosses know what is going on in the team. Kohinata Fumiyo pops up in his usual role as genial elder, but this time he is a little cynical and bitter. But Aibu Saki really makes an impression as the image-obsessed failed TV presenter who's been relegated to the team after an on-screen mistake over a famous politician's name.

The comedy is kept low-key, and the stories are interesting. I'm not sure why this drama has been forgotten. It does itself no favours by looking exactly like a lot of other dramas, but just because it's made according to a formula that doesn't mean it has to be bad. Sometimes when you follow a recipe, you end up cooking something delicious. And I think that's what's happened here.

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