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.


sevmpe said...

I commented briefly in the thread for ep. 1's sub and couldn't agree more with you. For me, this is a level above TV. The music (or lack of) is so skillfully done with that white noise background... Apart from that the cinematography is excellent. Must watch indeed.

Anonymous said...

dude, Ayumi Ito in upcoming episodes. and miss oppai too although she's just a bonus.

episode 1 for me is amazing. if all the elements didn't worked out, it could've been dragging but bearable because there's Yu Aoi. but everything's just worked out. and i already finished the hour satisfied by not asking for more. there's gotta be a lot of rewatch on this episode in the future. the last part that happened, i said to myself that those things can only happen on cable tv.

this is how 2012 should start. with a wow times two.

Captain Banana said...

Completely forgot about Kiyoshi Kurosawa making a tv show, definitely checking it out!

The use of idols in tv and movies is nothing new, it seems to come in waves.......Hopefully this is the peak.

Antspace said...

Soredemo quality indeed! The use of music is very direct. It gives a clear signal of what's going to happen. You would expect it to feel flat, but it only adds to the tension. It sharpens you're senses so you sit on the edge of your seat at the right moment. Just saw ep 2 and that has a great scene where "Miss Oppai" (LOL) attacks a madman. This was filmed in the most beautiful way and I watched it in awe! Next week Ando Sakura san!!

Sonnaaaaa~ said...

Looking forward to reading the rest of your reviews on this, I find it hard to watch disturbing dramas but don't mind reading about them. :)

dc said...

His films Cure ('97) and Pulse ('01) are also worth watching. Both are incredibly eery and have that inexplicable sense of dread that Shokuzai seems to possess as well. I just can't believe how lucky I am to be witnessing a Kurosawa-directed Jdorama!