Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ai Kotoba wa Yuki eps 4-11

Ai Kotoba wa Yuki is basically an underdog dorama. Poor ignorant villagers versus evil big corporation and the villagers have placed their hope on a struggling actor pretending to be a lawyer. My big reservation about Ai Kotoba was how long they were going to play the don't let the villagers discover that the lawyer is a fake. There is only so many times he can recover from a slip of the tongue and then act like a lawyer on tv before it gets repetitive, far-fetched and boring.

Probably the best thing in the show is the actor bringing in his writer friend who has good knowledge of the law because he has watched many hours of legal dramas for research. This was awesome because now our underdogs have a brain instead of the actor magically stumbling into safety each episode.

Putting the writer into the story also brings into it a stronger team element. The writer is the brains and the actor is the brawn who has to execute the plans. Shingo is the audience POV and of course Suzuki Kyoka is the hot love interest/de facto representative of the villagers for the audience.

For me, I didn't like that they took so long for the truth to be revealed to Suzuki Kyoka's character. She is a key character and its just wrong to keep her out of the loop for so long and protecting the false identity stopped being funny a few episodes ago. I really wanted the dorama to spend times showing how the underdogs can work together instead of wasting time having the actor make slips of the tongue in front of an oblivious Suzuki Kyoka.

The big climax is of course a trial and there are things that are head scratching though I have no knowledge of Japanese jurisprudence but a lot of things are meant to be feel good and funny rather than legally thrilling. (Can't they issue subpoenas in Japan?) I can't penalize Ai Kotoba for being absolutely warm and fuzzy but I just feel underwhelmed despite Yakusha Koji's awesome acting. His ability to play this actor who is sleazy one minute and then can turn into a hot shot lawyer is just fun to watch.

I think the main reason why its not a must watch in my book is that the script is not tight enough. 2 episodes less would have made it better. I just find it was stuck too long in a holding pattern in the middle of the series. And the final speech while heartfelt was not the attention grabber that the Yakusha Koji's first speech was. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed watching it, its just not as good as I hoped it could be.


maiku said...

Definitely agree on the two episodes too long comment. The ending felt anticlimactic and I started to get annoyed by how the trial kept shifting between serious and zany.

Ending aside, I still thought the writing and acting were solid. I liked how each character had to find the courage to do the right thing. And the introduction of the writer character was slick. For some reason I had trouble watching more than one episode per sitting. It's a dense series with a lot going on.

WITHS2 did a great job on the subbing. I'm hoping they pick up Shinya Shokudo 2 in October!

Akiramike said...

The writer was stuck with the problem of how to get the actor to do the closing argument and he should have done it as a plaintiff instead of making a nonsensical out.

Shinya Shokudo 2??!!!! Gotta have some food ready when watching that!

Anonymous said...

I also find surrealistic, given the context that Kyoka Suzuki's character give up on the knock-off lawyer,just when he had begun to be sincere with her.