Saturday, January 21, 2012
Shokuzai ep 1
When I looked at the doramas that were being subbed this season, there was nothing interesting. Just your generic idoru vehicle crap. Thank the powers that be that Vulcan 300 decided to sub a Wowow dorama, Shokuzai. You can always count one Wowow to put story above pushing talento and to cast people who can actually act.
Shokuzai is about the murder of a primary schoolgirl Emiri and the 4 friends who were with her right before her mother. Emiri's mom, played by Koizumi Kyoko blames the girls because they cannot remember anything about the killer and makes them promise to atone for Emiri's death until the killer can be found. The audience can tell who the actor playing the killer is since he's a pretty recognisable and good actor.
Shokuzai switches to present day and we meet Sae, played Aoi Yu. The first noticeable thing is the muted colours, mirroring Sae's mental state. She avoids contact with men and jumps at shadows, forever haunted by Emiri's death. She runs into Moteki and you could tell there was something wrong with this person just by looking at him. He looks the same but the subtle differences in how he acts and speaks gives alarms bells.
Camera work is awesome. Reminds me a lot of Soredemo Ikite Yuku. Less movement but it doesn't utilise the boring studio set camera angles. Just allowing the acting the breath and carry the viewer. There is this great feeling of some great pressure bearing down on the characters and a very sterile feel to the dorama which sort of mirrors Sae and Moteki's relationship and his hobby.
Gotta mention the great lack of music. I'm just watching it thinking, "This awesome acting doesn't need any music to manipulate the audience". The lack of music also means that the audience notices whenever a the score appears and like the colours, Shokuzai also uses muted background music, like the foreboding cello? sounds when Moteki asks Sae to close her eyes or the low rumble when Moteki places restrictions on Sae's movements.
How good Shokuzai will be depends on the final episode but ep 1 was just awesome in terms of acting, directing and emotion. Kept me glued to the screen and eating up every scene. Just looked up the director Kiyoshi Kurosawa and he did Seance and Tokyo Sonata, two very good movies. Can't remember much about Seance since I saw it long time ago but Koizumi Kyoko was awesome in Tokyo Sonata. Congrates to Wowow for getting a great movie director to do a 5 episode series and big thanks to Vulcan 300 for picking this up.