Since this is a blog (mostly) about Japanese dramas, I make an effort to not compare current J-dramas to British or American series, preferring instead to talk about them on their own merits. This time, however, there’s no escaping my feeling that this is suffering in comparison to Broadchurch, a British crime thriller also being broadcast at this time.
Normally, I’m quite happy to sit through the worst cliches of Japanese cop shows, but Broadchurch is making the failings of Ouroboros seem all the more obvious. Ouroboros has a great cast and a good look and it pushes all the right buttons for a tense murder mystery. Trouble is, it keeps pushing them over and over again. Barely a scene goes past without one of the characters grimacing in a evil sneer. Almost everyone is a cop or a criminal so it’s all very one-dimensional, and those who aren’t tend to be witnesses or victims and are barely given any semblance of a character at all. It’s one-note lazy writing, and it’s a world away from Broadchurch’s cast of distinct individuals.
The cast do their best to prop up the script and they do okay most of the time, but not even Ueno Juri can save what can only be described as the most feeble line of dialogue I’ve seen in any crime drama ever.
I’ll keep watching it, though. I trust the cast, and there is enough of a mean streak through the story to make me believe that once all this nonsense about slowly building up the tension is over, we can get down to the real mystery and things will improve. I’ll give it only a few more episodes, though.