Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rinjo eps 2-10

I wanted to write about more aboutRinjo but kept putting it off because of the stand alone nature of the stories and and I felt that it was better to judge the series based on the overall standards of each of the episodes. First off, Rinjo does a good job on procedures. There's no skipping of steps like Boss and there are no major plotholes and wtf situations that make you want to throw your hands up in despair.

Showing the audience the steps in solving the crime is a simple thing that many Japanese cop shows can't even do properly. They are so intent on the twist that no attention is paid to secondary but equally as important details. That's why shows like Law & Order lasted so long. Its all about the procedures and every step the police take to investigate a crime. The absence of detail in so many Japanese shows only serves to make the audience question the big reveal/twist at the end. If the investigation is not solid, the twist no matter how great will come down like a house of card. Actually, red herrings and twists do not matter as much because its just fun watching people trying to solve a puzzle step by step.

Rinjo however isn't about twists and turns. Sometimes, the culprit is very obvious or the pool of suspects is very small. Its less about who did the crime and more about how the crime was commited and why. I love how they leave clues for the audience and Kuraishi's colleagues to figure it out. Kuraishi's lack of confiding in his colleagues only serves to make the audience try to keep up with him. The crime/mystery must be solvable by the audience.

The other interesting thing about Rinjo is that it tries to go for emotional impact. Most of the crimes in Rinjo involve matters which are prevalent in Japanese society today such as bullying and aged care. Yes, Japanese cop shows deal with social issues by default but unlike Hancho, Rinjodoesn't get preachy and doesn't water it down. The raw emotion is there for the audience to see and Rinjo does nor offer black and what answers. Rinjo doesn't milk it and turn it into melodrama. There are some episodes I wish they had but I think that it is the right thing to do in that it reflects the investigations. Crime solved, move on to next one. There is not time to dwell on every case.

Sometimes the emotional impact angle can be a hit or it can miss but I do tip my hat of to the makers of Rinjo for not shooting for mediocrity. For example episode 7 that deals with the burden of taking care of old people. I don't want to spoil that episode but this show dares to go to dark places and I love Rinjo for it. If only more jdorama had balls to do so instead of settling for diluted and family friendly conclusions. Or even episode 9 that deals with Kuraishi's boss. I was thinking why all this build up for his retirement? He hardly did anything in this series and his absence would not be felt by the audience. In the end it was an episode about family ties and the emotional bonds which can never be completely severed and the boss's retirement was just a plot devide to explore that angle.

I love ep 10. I already guessed the twist early but goddamn it was about the emotional cause which blurs the line between right and wrong. And it does to the heart of Kuraishi's motivation and character. The why and the great acting in this show really made it work. I'm just happy to watch a show where you can tell a lot of thought was put into the script. You have a crime, the steps to uncover it and a social issue that will personally affect one of the characters. Rinjo is not for everyone but I enjoyed it a lot. Just don't expect Gonzo, and you'll have fun watching this solid crime show. A big arigatou gozaimsu to jade_frost and Kazuya_ for subbing this show.

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