Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tokyo Dogs eps 1+2

Tokyo Dogs opens with a police operation in New York. Oguri Shun's character, Takara So is suppose to be some super cop with horrible English. One has to wonder whether the American police actually understand his orders. The Japanese audience may find it kakoii everytime a Japanese actor butchers the freaking English language but it only goes to show how useless English is in Japanese education. In all my years of watching Japanese movies and dorama, only two actors have demonstrated proficiency in English pronunciation: Watanabe Ken and Sanada Hiroyuki who are coincidentally two of the best Japanese actors. Even Jacky Chan made better attempt when he started doing American movies.

Sadly, the best reason to watch this show.

Anyway, So is tracking is arch enemy, with two policemen from Tokyo who look and act more like college kids. Why Japan would send Kudo Maruo (Mizushima Hiro) and generic and useless supporting guy to some big police sting is beyond me. Their deer in the headlights act is suppose to be comedy but all it does is make them and the Japanese police look like incompetent fools. Fighting ensues and then they discover Yuki (Yoshitaka Yuriko) who is somehow linked to the mysterious organisation where members wear a badge of a bee. Yes, the face of evil is a bee. Turns out Yuki suffers from amnesia and unlocking her memory is the key to the evil bee organisation. So returns to Japan is partnered up with Maruo and thus begins the main story of Tokyo Dogs.

This is for all the bullying in GTO!

In a nutshell, Tokyo Dogs is a buddy cop movie. So is the very serious 'American-style' police officer while Maruo acts like a college student and is utterly unprofessional. Fortunately, this combi can prove to be pretty funny. There were quite a few parts in ep 1 where I was laughing out loud. Oguri Shun does a pretty good job as So is the source of most of the humour. The Doraemon scene in ep 2 is utterly hilarious if you are familiar with it. Its a shame that with his short hair, he looks like someone in his early 20s and it makes it hard to accept him as an experienced cop.

Nakamura Yuri, the best thing about episode 2 besides the Doraemon scene.

The good thing about Tokyo Dogs is that there are a lot of guns. Usually in Japanese cop shows, they don't carry a gun and near the end of the series everyone will arms themselves from the vault that can only be accessed once per season and then you'll have a scene of 100 policemen storming a house and pointing 100 pistols at the suspect. In Tokyo Dogs, So and Maruo actually carry guns around and are not afraid to use it. So's judicious use of his gun is suppose to be a source of comedy with Maruo referring to him as 'American-yarou' everytime he uses it but to me its just proper police procedure.

Otsuka Nene is completely wasted in an unfunny supporting role.

Actually I'm impressed with some police stuff in this show from So. Before he storms a house, he taps the windows from the outside. He shoots enemies through doors and actually has a plan. After watching so many incompetent Japanese police shows, I have to ask this question: is the only reason why So actually gets police procedures and thinking right because the writers have smartened up or because such behaviour is expected of American police but not Japanese?

At least there's plenty of gun action.

While episode 1 was pretty decent, episode two becomes a lame jdorama cliche. Father who spends too much time working and neglects his son. Boo hoo. Not to mention Maruo chasing an armed gunman and kicking him in the back. Hello? You think he's not going to turn around and shoot? Maybe the Japanese police manual has nothing on shooting feeling armed gunmen after telling them to surrender? How about shooting the leg? If you are close enough to kick him from behind, why not do a takedown into a disarm?

On 2nd glance, they don't look kawaii at all...

The end of ep 2 sees Tokyo Dogs going more of a traditional jdorama sitcom route. I would have been able to accept the faults of Tokyo Dogs if they had kept the humour up and let So do his 'American' police skills but I forsee the series devolving into another typical kiddish cop show. Its still better than Boss but I've had my fill of subpar Japanese police doramas. Its better to save myself more pain and suffering and just rewatch Gonzo and Rinjo.


marspeach said...

Yeah, this show is pretty stupid but not horrible horrible. Ironic that Hiro is actually fluent in English when his character could not speak it.

Akiramike said...

Maybe they should have switched roles. Even Gaijin speaking English in jdoramas can be horrible like the last episode of Buzzer Beat.

Anonymous said...

I actually really like this show, but I find your comments really funny and you point out the flaws well.

Marspeach beat me to pointing out Hiro's actually really good in English.

I want to know why they spend the money to shoot on location in America but decide not to spend any on a fight choreagrapher. I still get annoyed that NOBODY can fight in Japanese dramas (along with that 99% of actors speaking English mangle it).

Anonymous said...

Whatever shortcomings Tokyo Dogs has, I still think that it is a pretty good and entertaining drama.

We cannot expect any drama, to be accurate in its depiction of certain actions, incidents, etc. If so, I am sure it would end up being a boring drama. However, if we were to add in some exageration or a little fantasy, and viola, we have a DRAMA! This is what I see in Tokyo Dogs. It is supposed to entertain and is light hearted enough to make our day a little brighter? Life is stressful enough as it is.

How nice to know that Hiro speaks English.

I am surprised that Gaijins are expected to speak good or English English in Japanese dramas. Have we forgotten that they are not native of an English speaking country? English, I believe is either their 2nd or 3rd language, and being able to speak it in their own native style or pronouciation should be considered good already. Take for example, can we speak an Indian language well, if we are not born or bred there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks For Sharing!