Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gaiji Keisatsu


 Never could I have imagined a terrorist jdorama like Gaiji Keisatsu. After watching laughable and inept attempts like Bloody Monday and Rondo, I was convinced that Japan lacked the writing and directing talent to do a good terrorist thriller and any attempts will be curtailed by stupid jdorama conventions like the whole team walking in formation in slow motion, villains who have to justify everything with long monologues and a hundred guys in suits following a suspect while pressing into their ears and talking into their wrists.



I did not dare to even hope that one day, someone could actually do a terrorism jdorama that dealt with lots of grey area issues regarding national security, was actually very exciting with lots of twists and turns and did not insult the viewer's intelligence. No inept police officers to serve as antagonists. Very well done scenes of police trailing and staking out suspects. High tension storylines involving police informants. No stupid sterile headquarters and camera work trying to make the show look cool. Everything is gritty and real and I love the use of surveillance camera point of views. Fuck, Gaiji Keisatsu just does everything so well that its a miracle.



Watabe Atsuro plays Sumimoto, head of his own unit of gaiji jeisatsu or foreign affairs police. Sumimoto has trust issues and is someone who will do anything for the cause. Ono Machiko plays Haruna who is the new transferee to the gaiji keisatsu department and she is the eyes from which the audience is introduced to the force. Watabe Atsuro is absolutely perfect in this role because the show is not afraid to go dark. Sumimoto is a character who will always make you question his actions and I love it.


 Gaiji Keisatsu show makes you unsure of Sumimoto motives and methods through Haruna and you can see all parties trying to manipulate each other for their own goals. It is not a dorama about who is right or wrong but what are the actual motives of the players and to what end will they try to achieve it? Gaiji keisatsu are police but because of the nature of their job and limits own their powers, they have to make difficult decisions. What is the maximum price to pay in regards to national security? Can one serve two masters at the same time and are they mutually exclusive? The music is also pretty good. Props to the judicious use of Bolero in the series. I couldn't help thinking of Love Exposure but Gaiji Keisatsu really made it its own.



I was dreading that the show would pull back from the abyss and make things black and white but Gaiji Ketsatsu dared to go places that all other bright and idiotically simple dorama fear to tread. If I have any complaints, it is the final scene after the credits which just felt too tacked on. Its like one of those moral/karma scenes at the end of a softcore film which usually involve a beach, knives and blood. Besides that, Gaiji Keisatsu is absolutely flawless.



A big thank you to jt_erectus for recommending this show. I hereby declare Gaiji Keisatsu my choice for best jdorama of 2009. Yes, better than Rabusha, Jin and Soratobu Taiya. Watabe Atsuro deserves to be best actor. It is a crime against humanity that Gaiji Keisatsu has an average rating of 5.1. I have no idea what the reception for this show was but it deserves to be hailed as the standard for Japanese police/terrorist shows. The makers of the show should be given titles, made national heroes and given charge of all future police jdoramas. Truly one of the best jdoramas I've ever seen. I've been having such a great run of good doramas all of which coincidentally do not feature idols. Hhhmm. Coincidence?

19 comments:

Chuks said...

"Insult the viewer's intelligence."
That's what I always felt whenever I was watching Japanese crime dramas, especially terrorism related.
Joker was the one of the worst in that aspect.
Gaiji Keisatsu was the first terrorism related drama I could ever finish. Well written, well directed, and well acted.
NHK sure knows how to cast. Watabe Atsuro was the perfect fit.

Anonymous said...

I must say that everything about the first 2, maybe 3 episodes were so god damn awesome, it could've been put together and sold off as a movie. Watabe Atsuro is pretty much 10/10 for his acting in this too.

But my personal nitpick would be the final showdown of the terrorists in the last episode not having the same level of "sophistication" as those featured in the other 5 episodes. Cos if not for that, it would've beaten Gonzo as my favorite police drama. It's a tie between them anyway, for me at least.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you finally watch Gaiji Keisatsu. Yes, it is as awesome as you said. And yes, personally it is also the best drama that comes out in 2009.

Now, I can't think of a drama to recommend. But with all these excellent NHK dramas that come out, I think if someone decided to sub them, then, you also better watching them.

jt said...

No problemos hombre..

In the US alone, there are more than 10,000 spy agencies trying to stop terrorism alone. Plus that's government funded. As what Stephen Colbert joked that it even surpassed Starbucks' branches. so in the real world, everyone is trying to capitalize on terrorism.

That's the time where the grey areas starts to build up. and i asked myself, "when is the right time to really get scared? because im really confused if this is part of the BUSINESS or a real threat."

this is a must rewatch show.

jt said...

Snapshots of the ladies. classic! Ono Machiko really knows how to pick great script.

Marks No Yama in less than a month. hopefully someone will sub it.

jadefrost said...

Gaiji Keisatsu was mind blowing. I couldn't believe this came from NHK which is steadily producing dramas that steal the thunder from the other networks. Certainly the best of the year. I don't know when there'll be another one this good.


NHK dramas traditionally register low ratings. Somehow.

Anonymous said...

love shuffle is probably my favorite jdrama of 2009... probably because it reminds me of a special time in my life, though

panda-zedo said...

I couldn't go further than episod one? maby I should give it a second try.

arakira said...

Thanks for the rec! I didn't give it a chance because I am somewhat convinced that Japanese crime shows about terrorism always suck. Also I saw Watabe in a few productions but he never really convinced me acting wise. But now I am curious. Gotta see if it's true and this is the famous exception to the rule ;)

Akiramike said...

Panda-zedo and arakira, Gaiji Keisatsu is not just the exception to the rule, its a bloody miracle.

kc said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Great drama.!

Anonymous said...

I watched based on your recommendation. The earlier episodes were good but it got all political and philosophical at the end.

hotaru said...

Akira-san, thank you very much for introducing me to such a brilliant terrorist jdrama ever. I watched it solely based on your review and it's definitely just like what you said. Simply amazing!! and someone please give an award for Watabe coz he's so much deserve it!

Akiramike said...

You're welcome. Help spread the word about Gaiji Keisatsu. Most of the ppl at d-addicts probably never heard of it.

nomad436 said...

You said it ! The best of jdorama. with all its intricacies , I loved it!!
And that speaks a lot for someone who is crazy about intelligence stuff.

Akiramike said...

Glad to see someone who just discovered Gaiji Keisatsu. If only more jdoramas aimed for this kind of quality instead of Odoru Daisousasen.

Anonymous said...

the first 3 episodes were some of the best episodes i've ever seen in a drama, in my life. but..... :(.. too bad that the show went downhill from there.

Anime/Gaming Newbie said...

Watching it for the 3rd time lol .. Brilliant performances .. No stupid love story addition between characters , no overt national security engagements.. Gripping Intense jdorama , the best I have seen .

Akiramike said...

One post that I've always wanted to is how Gaiji Keisatsu does everything right that every other cop jdorama does wrong.