Friday, July 10, 2009

Majo Saiban eps 1-7

When Majo Saiban first came out, I kinda dismissed it after the first episode. First of all, the Japanese jury system is very weird compared to common law countries, or at least what is portrayed in this show. Of course, civil law systems are less adversarial but there are just some things that boggle my mind. Like lawyers leading witnesses, doing the cross examinations first and juries being allowed to roam freely to and from court. The second reason for my lack of interest was the blue haired villain who did a lot of posturing and laughing at the camera. Why does every villain have to act like they are in a sentai show with the muahaha and trying to act cool in front of their subordinates?

The non-blinking, fake smiling daughter of a Majo is very scary. I hope she's not like that in real life...

Instead of focusing on the plus/minus of such a jury system and the facts of the case, Majo Saiban is more about how juries can the blackmailed. The problem would be easily solved if the Japanese courts adopted the practice of keeping the jury isolated from the outside world during the whole trial. Its the fault of the system itself that it is so open to abuse. Who would want to be in a jury during a trial of a yakuza boss when there is no protection?

Someone please tell me the name of this actress!

Luckily, Majo Saiban turned out better than I expected thanks to its twists and turns. Everytime I thought I had it figured out, the show takes another turn to keep me guessing. The problem is sometimes the characters do stupid stuff in order for the plot to proceed a certain way. Mr Orange is a huge culprit especially with his girlfriend problems. This is a plot dorama as opposed to say Shiroi Haru which is a character driven show and gaps in logic can really kill the audience's mood for the story. Like how Kurokawa actually spoke directly to Izumi/White and the fake box of clothes incident which was just redundant. The only way sneaking White's daughter out of the house would matter is if they hid her somewhere Kurokawa could not find her. The grandmother would always be the first port of call. Did they actually believe Kurokawa would not find out sooner or later?

Suenaga Haruka has come a long way from LIFE.

The cop from Maou is the headstrong main character who comes to conclusions way too quickly. Yes, characters need to go through the motions to advance the plot steadily but they also need to show some mental acumen. Instead of trying to think twice, Orange to learn to think of all possibilities before jumping to conclusions. Not a fan of Kato Ai but she does a good as white. I think she's one of those actresses who get better with age unlike Ueto Aya. Higa Manami does a good job as Kaori. You can tell when she changes by her face without her needing to say or do anything. She somehow manages to make me feel uneasy about her character. Ishida Yuriko does a decent job as the Majou.

If you're a guy and this doesn't convince you to watch this show....

To enjoy Majo Saiban, you just have to not think too hard and not assume that the jury and court system in Japan is the same as common law systems. I need to find time to read up and see if the stuff in Majo Saiban is true. How can they fucking justify a juror meeting with one of the counsels or even the accused herself in private? There has to be a limit to a non-adversarial system. There are groan/yawn inducing moments but there are some pretty cool twists and revelations.

Ishida Yuriko is a true beauty. She look good without makeup.

The important thing is, there are quite a few ways for this show to end and any of them is fun. Mystery doramas do not require the 'you will not see it coming' twist because it might be too far fetched to make sense. As someone said, fiction requires logic but real life doesn't. It is enough to have multiple possible outcomes and have the audience guessing until the end. In summary, I had fun with the 7 episodes despite my complaints and eager to see how its going to end. Decent thrillers are not that common in jdoramas. Just give Majo Saiban a few episodes and see if you get hooked.

1 comment:

Jung said...

"If you're a guy and this doesn't convince you to watch this show...."