Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Currently watching: Gonzo Densetsu no Keiji

Apologies for the lack of posts, but I'm about to move somewhere new.

Because I'm midway through moving house I've had no internet connection for over a week, except through my phone. So now since I'm surrounded by cardboard boxes, the sofa's gone and utorrent doesn't work any more, I thought I may as well sit down and watch something that I downloaded ages ago and never got around to watching.

This series is about a previously legendary policeman whose fallen back through the ranks down to the equipment stores. Suddenly there's a baffling motive-less murder, and he is requested to join the task force in charge of the investigation.

It's a lot of fun. The main lead (alas, as I write this, I can't go online to check his name) is all macho posturing and self-doubt, which makes for a nice mix. So far, the murder still seems far from solved (it's episode five and they've just found the murder weapon) which is fine, since it's mostly about the interaction of the police force. The old man who has to retire. The rookie who suddenly feels out of his depth.

But mostly it's about the gonzo cop who follows his intuition and finds clues that other people wouldn't. Of course, sometimes the writing is a bit convenient. By chance, he is the one assigned to question the most important suspect. But nevertheless, it's an enjoyable drama about alpha-males and their stressful lives.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Currently watching: Ghost Mama Sousasen

This light hearted drama aims to mix family life and some police work as the ghost of a police officer can only be seen by her young son.

The show runs into problems very early. For a start, the first part of the episode is all about setting up the premise. The main character is introduced and then killed off, and then there's a five minute bit where everyone has to be sad, otherwise they'd just look callous and unfeeling. Then they have to introduce the moment where the son discovers he can see his mother, but no one else can.

Once all that's done, there's hardly any time left for the crime to be solved.

So far, it's a bit bland. The child actor can't really carry off the sad scenes. The rest of the cast work fine. But won't this just fall into the same trap as Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri? When you have a supernatural being able to solve crimes, too much time is spent trying to explain why it's taking so long to solve a crime, and not enough on solving a clever mystery.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Currently watching: Tokkan

After a couple of years of making films and a year-long morning drama, this series marks Inoue Mao's return to prime time TV since 2010. In this, she plays an unremarkable government official who only wants a quiet life and a steady job. But then she is put onto the Special Collection team, whose job it is to recover unpaid tax. This brings her into conflict with her unfeeling boss and also her own past.

As a drama, it's got a little bit of everything. Comedic bits, educational bits (I think I now know more about the Japanese tax system than I do the British one) and sad bits. I enjoyed the performances. Usually, it's not convincing when obviously attractive actresses try to play ugly, but Inoue Mao does an excellent job. Her mumbling and awkward actions make her look anonymous and drab.

Kitamura Yukiya, as her new boss, is great, just on the believable side of caricature. Meanwhile, Iwamatsu Ryo is more or less playing the same role he had in Jikou Keisatsu: that of a loveable but apparently ineffective boss.

After episode one, this shows good promise. Hopefully they can balance the light-hearted and serious parts, as well as keep up the supply of interesting cases.