Thursday, February 14, 2008

Koshonin eps 1-4

On the heels of SP comes Koshonin aka The Negotiator. Will there finally be an action jdorama that I can rave about? To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Yonekura Ryoko though I've only seen her in Seiken Bijin and Hatachi no Kekkon. I put her in the same category as Fujiwara Norika; good to look at but devoid of acting skills.

In Koshinon, Ryoko plays Usagi Reiko, a new negotiator who finds herself thrust upon the all male Special Investigations Team (SIT). Add to that her mysterious relationship with a murderer in death row a la Clarice and Hannibal Lecter except the murderer is not scary and their conversations yawn inducing. So basically Usagi is this strong female Jodie Foster character who can't get a break from her colleagues or her superiors. Certainly a good way to see whether Yonekura Ryoko has what it takes to be a main actress.

Except the whole Usagi against the world thing feels so forced and unnatural. I would compare it to those Korean tearjerkers that throw all sorts of misery at a character and the director is shouting at your ear "see how sad it is? Now cry!" Basically it boils down to how the camera presents Usagi. A lot of the shots just scream "Look at Yonekura Ryoko! See how long her legs are! Look at her slim waist and nice ass!" The camera makes her look like a million bucks but its just too freaking blatant. Its like they storyboarded all those cool poses for her to do but everything else is not up to same standard. I don't know whether its a Yonekura Ryoko gravure video or a nitty gritty negotiator dorama.

I'm the last one to complain about fanservice. Its one of the most enjoyable parts of watching jdoramas. But it in a show that is supposed to be dark and serious? Imagine gratuitous shots of policewomen posing in NYPD Blue. It just doesn't fit the real world feel that they are going for? I mean she's supposed to be fighting against discrimination in the police force but its as if she's continuously showing the viewer how sexy she is. A more 'impartial' camera view would help and she should stop posing every time she's in full frame.

And Jinnai Takanori is seriously miscast as her Chief. As much as I enjoy his acting in comedies, his overacting and stupid facial expressions just doesn't work. Even when he slaps Usagi, I couldn't take him seriously, not with his eyes looking like they're going to pop out of their sockets all the time.

I remember reading this interview with one of the makers of Dynasty Warriors game series who said not to judge the games by what they aren't but what they are. Maybe I should judge jdoramas as idol driven, poorly written shows where acting skills are not required. Well, in the scheme of jdorama cop shows, this is probably the first one I've seen that at least tries to be nitty gritty. Its just too bad they didn't get rid of stupid jdorama conventions like the whole SIT team walking in a straight line trying to look cool. It works in a more fantasy dorama like Iryu but not a supposedly dark cop show, especially not when the freaking cops didn't do any noteworthy work.

I feel like Charley Rosen for criticizing the show so much. Its not that I like complaining. Ok, maybe I do. Its just that I perceive several critical flaws that could have made this show a classic. End of the day, its watchable show and kudos to the makers for doing something different. Its still better than most jdorama shows due to the subject matter and budget and I would recommend it over SP, so far.


He said...
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Razgriz said...

Can you say "boobies in black bra"?

Jung said...

Considering how most of the people in this dorama try to solve crimes from behind their desks, SIT is a fitting acronym.

Haha you know, I really didn't notice the type of camera angle you described. Maybe it's because I'm used to it from watching too much AV? lol j/k...

I was gonna stop watching this one after ep 1, but then I saw the ratings have been very high for this show. So I got episode 2, and skimmed through it... and having watched the bra scene, I just couldn't take this show seriously anymore.

Is it me, or do tall J-actresses purposely shrink their heights on their profiles? There is no way Yonekura is only 168cm... Just a random thought.

Akiramike said...

I seriously doubt she's 168 as well. She has to be at least 175 or more. The bra scene completely kills the element of realism. It would be appropriate if it were a midnight dorama though. :)