Tuesday, August 24, 2010

JOKER Yurusarezaru Sosakan eps 1-3

Warning: The following review of Joker is pretty spoiler heavy.

Sakai Masato (General Rouge) is Date, a policeman with a gentle personality but not respected by his peers.He is of course a very skilled detective especially compared to his inept colleagues but does not rail against the injustices and bureaucracy of the police organisation. On a side note, why most police officers other than the main characters be always so incompetent in Japanese doramas? Its as if the writers are always trying to make them a source of comedy but all they are are mindless antagonists who do nothing for the main character. 

The synopsis says that at night Date turns into a cruel punisher but its more that he decides to take matters into his own hands when the police are unable to catch people who are clearly guilty. Ep 1 features an overacting villain who belongs in a tokusatsu show who escapes being charged because he is the son of a police bigwig. The whole episode is a clumsy attempt at flaming the audience's anger towards the villain in order to justify what Date does to him later. Unfortunately, the lamely written scenes and overacting villain only serve to bore me because its too fake to arouse any sense of empathy from me. For a perfect example of how to do a revenge/ righteous comeuppance story, watch Takashi Miike's Taiyo no Kizu.

At that point I was almost ready to drop the show but we finally got the Date revenge bit which got me intrigued for the next episode. One aspect of Date's character that befuddles me is how he goes a bit Clark Kent during his job such as pissing himself or twisting his ankle during a simple chase. You don't want to risk screwing up when pursuing suspects just so that people won't suspect you of being this avenging angel of unresolved crimes?

Joker seemed like this pulp hero where every episode, you can tell who the villain is straight away, the clues will be too obvious so that Date can be sure he has the right suspect only for something to fuck it up and he will end up shooting them at the end. It was looking like Joker would be a B grade tv show akin to Walker Texas Ranger until the ending of episode 2 which I didn't expect until late in the series.

Camera is not low enough.

Of course, I had to watch episode 3 and there was something about Joker that made it sort of fun to watch despite the uber predictable bits. I mean usually cop shows are about twists and turns. Its was not until the end that I realised what Joker was. A super hero show. That music everytime he decides to take matters into his own hands is like his super hero theme song. He is like freaking Bruce Wayne, parents gunned down in front of him except that he himself is also a criminal. This one event is he one thing that fuels him in his quest for justice. The bar guy is his Alfred and Kudo is his Robin.

Dammit, I was just about to jump the table..

Date finally accepts Kudo into his confidence when he realises that Kudo has undergone an event similar to his and requires a way to channel his anger. Same with why Batman chose Dick Grayson to be Robin. The overacting villains and predictability all makes sense. Joker is about Batman doing a Clark Kent in the police force, getting his Robin and hopefully Robin will go to far in the end and Bats/Date will have to take him out. Hopefully Kudo is more Jason Todd than Grayson. Can't wait to see 'Arkham Asylum' in ep 4.

Lol, Osugi Ren as Alfred.

I wouldn't call Joker a must watch because the whole arousing the audience's anger bits in ep 1 and 2 completely falls flat on its face but the whole Batman and Robin bit just makes it all the more intriguing.


Anonymous said...

Nice DC Comics superheroes analogy while everyone is comparing this with Dexter.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched Dexter but IMO this is definitely not a super hero show and Osugi Ren is defintely not Alfred (his true identity will be revealed in later episodes, and I've watched 'til ep. 6). Date's MO is to exhaust all legal means before taking matter into his own hands, and there's an interesting twist in ep. 6 that makes the naming of the show 'Joker' even more intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, you just made this show somewhat bareable for me

zooey said...

LMAO. Same thought occurred to me-- you hit the nail in the head when you said that the show is more like Batman after episode 3. I'm actually one of those people who immediately thought of Dexter based on the show's synopsis but once it aired... geh, far from it.

It would be interesting to see Ryo's character turn dark side but I doubt that'll sit well with the kiddies-- it's one of the many limitations of being part of JE. Just saw episode 4 and it kinda took the edge off the vigilante angle of the story. I'm hoping John Doe #2 here is right that there's a twist in episode 6 that would make the show intriguing.