Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Atami no Sousakan eps 4-8
I was thinking about giving up on Atami no Sousakan midway but I just had to know the ending. The strangeness of the show kind of reminded me of Shikaotoko and that show did not take off until the sixth episode. Usually when a show is really weird, there's some sort of motive behind it and I wanted to see what the writer had in store for the end. I still don't know what to make of the ending.
The problem or basis of Atami no Sousakan (depends on how you look at it) is that the truth is implied at the end but nothing really is explained. Supposedly, Odagiri and the girl take the bus into the afterlife. The question becomes who are these people who seem to have access to it? It is implied that people who have died once or faced near death are drawn to the town.
Is Atami a methaphysical town where everyone is in a state of near death or is it a bridge between worlds where the dead and living dead so to speak mix? Was the researcher guy in a coma all along? Is Atami some sort of Matrix for the brain dead? Are Kuriyama Chiaki and the Chief real people? If it is like the matrix then the real people can't be real. The living dead would have to somehow manifest a corporeal body after after entering coma. What if the town merely attracts people who are have lived through dead. Perhaps people who were meant to die but didn't. Then what of the scene of the researcher waking up in this empty room with no police guards? What is this balance that the characters always speak of? Do I actually care enough to watch it a second time and try to make sense of everything? Is there even a sign that I could possibly arrive at the truth?
No, because there are too many red herrings or questions that can never be answered in the show. Like plan 2 and the purpose of the whole religion thing. Why was the girl left in a coma after the incident? Was it by accident or design? What about the maths book and the role of the old man and vodoo mask? Actually I can't really think of too many questionable red herrings. Atami no Sousakan is not Inception where the whole story is like a puzzle and has multiple possibilities. There are a few possible truths but there is are no huge signs pointing in any direction and the details are all murky and hazy.
Its sort of like you're waiting to the build up where the revelations keeps coming climaxing in the truth except in this case, you're given a clue and have to piece together the pieces for yourself except the pieces are just scattered all over floor like a new jigsaw puzzle and you're wishing that they would at least give you a 75% completed puzzle after 8 episodes.
I do applaud the writing for trying something I've never seen before in jdoramas. I think its a brilliant idea though I feel they've erred to the side of making things too vague. I just can't shake this feeling of indifference to the show and the mystery. It doesn't help that the gunfight scene was so laughably shot. Its like the action sequence in Shiroi Haru at the end where they director just gets all the camera angles wrong and just makes contrived. There are so many things that the director could have done to capture the tension of two people with guns in a pitch black room. Or maybe someone in the editing decided to turn the gamma up 200% for fun and forgot to turn it down.
I can't condemn Atami no Sousakan for its ambition and neither can I recommend it because the series never got me excited and I didn't care for the characters. The Tsubasa no Hoshi part made me laugh though.