Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big Money eps 1-8

Its nice to see Nagase Tomoyo not have to overact in a dorama. It only works with well written and well cast shows like Mukodono and Tiger & Dragon. With shows that are not paced well, his act can get irritating quickly. I'd always wanted to see what he can do with a more serious role. IMO, Masahiro Matsuoka, the drummer from TOKIO is the better actor based on Heaven Cannot Wait.

Hasegawa Kyoko in another boring role. Her character has the best chance to spice up the series, especially the conflict between job and ethics part but alas....

Big Money starts off as a dorama about stock trading. If you've watched as much jdorama as I have, you'll probably expect that the script will oversimplify everything, and it does. Big Money shows the basic stuff that people do to in stock trading but doesn't get deeper than that. While I am not really disappointed at its simplicity, it does pose a problem for the show.

Yes, this show is worth watching for Maki-Michuru!

The main character for a show needs to be a certain type of character in order to arouse empathy. He either has to be the poor underdog character or a gifted character who has to beat unsurmountable odds to learn the game. Tomoyo Nagase's character Shirato is neither. His characters just lucked into getting chosen to be Kozuka-san's apprentice and the stuff that he is taught is so rudimentary that there is no excitement, no challenge. He just walks around in a daze following Kosaka's orders. He does not go through hellfire and brimstone. In order words, character wise, he has not paid his dues to deserve the audience's support. Its like Tommy Dreamer getting the singapore cane back in ECW. A character has the earn the audience's support.

Okamoto Aya is so underused, its a crime. Loved her in Metro ni Notte.

Like the end of ep 7 where he just walks in and issues an empty challenge to Yamazaki. He comes across as naive and stupid because he does not have a plan and it establishes nothing. Basically he does nothing to fight Matsuba ginko. WTF is the mountain the main protagonist is suppose to climb. Yes, we know his final destination but why hasn't Shirato started his ascent? He has only set up his base camp and is just wandering around.

Finally, I get to see Manabe Kaori in a dorama! She's ok as long as she's in a supporting role. :)

That said, I still enjoy this show, primarily because of the Maki-Michiru side story. The part in ep 7 where he follows her is poor gold. She leaves the house and he's standing on the balcony stoicly like a statue. And the side shot under the bridge as he tails her just stands out so much from the pedestrian camera work of the series, evoking a melancholy Koi ga Shitai feel.

Forgot to mention Shirato basically abondoning Michiru as well. It would OK if he were busy doing something or it was really dangerous for her to be involved. But all the moping around just makes him look like an idiot. The two pitfalls of main characters are too idealistic or not empathic enough. I'm not sure which one I'd rather suffer through.

Feel so tempted to get Samba de Amigo for my DC.....

What makes this show watchable is the rest of the characters. Kozuka has the motivation and Yamazaki is a fun villain. Yamazaki's not exactly operating outside the boundaries of the law and he's not making life difficult or Shirato. Every hero needs a great villain. In Big Money's case, the interesting villain needs a hero. Just because Shirato issued an empty challenge does not make him one.

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