Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Untouchable review

I didn't bother with Untouchable last year because the only Nakama Yukie show I enjoyed was Trick. Every other show that I have seen with her in has been bad. She doesn't have the acting chops to do serious doramas and comes off too flat and she doesn't have the cool factor to make Gokusen work for me. Since its the lull period between seasons, I decided to give it a shot, not expecting anything and assuming that I'd drop it by the 2nd episode.

Imagine my surprise when Untouchable exhibited certain traits to a certain dorama that series that I love. Nakama Yukie playing a very flawed character. Lots of running jokes that don't really make you laugh but are amusing nonetheless. Mysteries and weird cult groups. A bigger mystery lurking in the background. Untouchable is Trick without Abe Hiroshi!

Basically, Nakama Yukie plays Narumi Ryoko, a former employee of the first rate National weekly magazine now working for third rate magazine, Untouchable. She comes of across various mysteries in every episode and solves them but her articles are always changed by her editor to eliminate any mention of a certain dark organisation. She has a one way infatuation with a former colleague Shiro (Kaname Jun) which is a constant source of comedy and a workplace rivalry with the visually pleasing Misuzu (Ashina Sei). Takafuji (Sato Tomohito) is her cameraman partner. Usually when the dorama lead is a female, the main supporting male characters tend to be a lot younger (usually a Johnny) and have no chemistry/acting. I was surprised when Shiro and Takafuji turned out to be interesting characters instead of 2D ones. Maybe having no Johnnys had something to do with it.

The mysteries follow the Trick formula. The first suspicion/explanation is always wrong and there's usually two twists in the story before arriving at the truth. The fun thing is that all the episodic stories are linked to the main story about the dark organisation. The later half of the series is when Untouchable turns into a sort of 20th Century Boys story as everyone is trying to find the identity of this person known as Anonymous who seems to be using the mass media for his own purposess.

I really like how they create plausible reasons to suspect certain key people as Anonymous instead of throwing lame red herrings at the audience that don't make sense after the truth is revealed and exist only as a misdirection. The final revelation makes good sense and ties everything up together. The one flaw that Untouchable has is that every episode has at least one huge logic gap . Its not that huge of a problem since its not that serious as a show but it is grating nonetheless. However, compared to Bloody Monday Untouchable small jumps in logic are easily dismissed.

I wished I had done my awards after watching Untouchable because I would have probably put it as the no.5 show to watch last year. Conspiracy shows aren't common in jdoramas and at the moment I can't think of any that's done it as well as Untouchable. And yes, Untouchable's producer is the same as Tricks's. Thanks to Sars-Heiwa for subbing this and Kudos to the writer for writing a fun mystery thriller that doesn't self destruct in the end.


Anonymous said...

Holy shit. I had dropped it myself just after 1 episode too. But after reading your review, I guess I'll have to give it another shot.

Thanks for the heads up.

Donna said...

Yeah, I gave up after the first episode. Trick with Abe Hiroshi didn't seem worth it. But you've convinced me to give it another try while I waiting for Harorangers to finish up Ningen no Shoumei

Anonymous said...

I don't even know of this drama, I too will give a try.

BTW, just watch the first 2 episodes of Shinzanmono. If you have just watch ep.1, don't feel let down yet as ep.2 is way better (and with Abe reuniting with a special guest from KDO).

Anonymous said...

I thought this was an entertaining show. My wife is a bit tougher critic than me, and she also enjoyed it, so that makes it about a 7 out of 10. I would watch Ashina Sei paint the wall though.