Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Currently watching: Ataru

In this detective story, the crimes are solved by an autistic genius, whose knowledge of the details of trivial things helps lead the police to the criminal. The main issue is how to get him to explain what he's thinking in an understandable way.

The TV show takes considerable liberties, stylistically, in representing the main character's autism. Soap bubbles and tiny black clouds indicate when he's thinking, and shots taken from his point of view are filtered and distorted, as if the director is using a really over-literal way of saying "this guy looks at things in a different way".

However, I'm no expert on autism, so I'll leave that part to one side. Nakai Masahiro is fine in the lead role. Meanwhile, the two police officers are played by Kitamura Kazuki and Kuriyama Chiaki, and very good they are too. But the drama doesn't know if it wants to be funny or not. The script goes from tense drama to knockabout comedy very quickly.

The main point of the story isn't "how clever can the police be in finding the clues", rather "how patient can they be in waiting for the next clue". I'm also wondering how patient can I be. It's an interesting idea, but strangely unsatisfying. Instead of solving the crime itself, they're solving the enigmatic sentences of someone who's already solved the crime. But I'll keep watching for now to see how this develops.


  1. I saw the same issues you had with Ataru... and I honestly stuck around for one episode. I just thought having two policemen and Ataru was way too redundant. It works different in something like Galileo or Keizoku where we have the detective working with the genius.

    I didn't write a review on it because I thought it was unfair that I didn't watch more episodes LOL so I just made a mention of it within my Toshi Densetsu review xD

  2. I really shouldn’t write a review of things after just the first episode. At the start, the writers can hide behind introducing the characters and setting up relationships, which makes things entertaining. But it’s only in episode two that it becomes clear if you want to spend time with these people, and if the story is interesting.

  3. That's the beauty of Japanese drama format, though. xD Whereas you have to watch a good chunk of an American show to decide whether you want to watch it, you can decide if you like the pacing of the series in a Japanese drama with one episode. xD

    That's what I did with Hotaru no Hikari haha and how I ended up gobbling Jin 1 + 2 in one go.