Friday, February 04, 2011
Akutou ~Juuhanzai Sousahan eps 1+2
Akutou starts off with this guy falling to his death in an alley from the top of a building. Four figures immediately surround his body and searched his notebook and mobile phone, looking for something. It turns out that the four people were police officers and the man who had died was their unit chief, Tokunaga. All 4 members are part of Unit 4, Criminal Investigation Department in Minato who have a reputation of high arrest rates and questionable practices.
Satonaka (Koizomu Koutarou, the son of the former PM) is the idealistic cop assigned to be the new unit Chief and is warned that Unit 4 might have caused their chief's death. In short, Akutou is a story of an idealistic career police officer put in charge of a unit that actually does police work! They have informants in the yakuza and exchange information with them and actually beat up suspects like police all over the world do. More importantly, Akutou is not a dorama about a few able and idealistic cops who work for an organisation where their colleagues and superiors are incompetent!
Takahashi Katsunori starts as Togashi, the leader of the group with who is a single parent and lives with the mother in law. There is a mystery regarding his wife's whereabouts which serves as a nice cliffhanger at the end of the second episode. His acting is basically the same as in Tadano Hitoshi as the nice guy who always acts cool and is willing to bend the rules. I think he's too hard to look cool. It works for Tadano Hitoshi which is a comedy but Akutou is a serious show. I was hoping for something slightly different but he's mostly there for his charisma and to be the violent guy of the group so it doesn't affect the show to much.
Uchiyama Rina who I have not seen in ages is Iinuma Reiko, who is the evidence tamperer and forger of the group. Her story is that she's living with this freeter who frequently abuses her and her team members know about it. I'm intrigued to see what her backstory actually is. The megane dude is in charge of yakuza relations and I'm not sure what the fourth guy's specialty is but his backstory is him always making silent calls to his ex-wife and child.
Awesome premise and the execution is pretty decent but cannot compare with Gaiji Ketsatsu. It probably has 1/5 the budget of Gaikoukan Kuroda Kousaku so I can't really complain.The stories for the first two episodes have been pretty standard though I enjoy the extra elements of violence, torture, concealing evidence and backroom deals. Most importantly, no unfunny sitcom like useless police. Satonaka as the naive and idealistic Chief is close to useless but he's sort of the necessary evil to act as counterpoint. His job is to oppose everything Section 4 wants to do only for them to do it behind his back and for Togashi to tell Satonaka that he is a rabbit and he should let the hyenas fight the hyenas.
What the first two episodes have done are to set up future storylines. Will Satonaka be more of an ally for Unit 4 or will he want to shut them down as he is exposed to their tactics? Did Unit 4 really kill their chief? What happened to Togashi's wife and why would Uchiyama Rina's character let herself be beat up like that and why doesn't the team care? Way to early to say how good Akutou is but its the only show this season that I find is worth watching. I know every season seems to get worse but this season is just full of generic and uninspiring shows. There's this bit towards the end of episode 2 where the show starts to get preachy and moralistic which just made me want to scream at them and tell them to stop sounding like a generic safe for kids show but luckily the episode ended with a nice revelation and set up for the next episode.
I can't call it a must watch yet but considering the other shows this season, Akutou tramples on all of them. Luckily, there are plenty of good jdoramas that are still being subbed. I'm eagerly waiting for subs for episode 2 of the excellent Marks no Yama, Kita no Kuni Kara is excellent, the subs for Gold have reached 5 episodes, Keizoku Spec is still holding my attention and Odagiri Kyoko is near its end. Give Akutou a try, it won't blow you away but its certainly worth your time.