Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tokkan ep 8

If there is one word to describe Tokkan, its kuyashii. Frustration because there are moments where its so good but there are moments where its like a stupid morality tale written for the Sesame Street audience. Ep 7 was kick-ass and ep 8 started off with Suzumiya trying to step into Tokkan's shoes which provides great comedy.

The case is interesting whereby inheritance tax must be collected but it does not have to be in proportion of monies received. In order words, the tax office doesn't care who pays the tax as long as someone pays. So we got the story of Cinderealla and her two wicked stepsisters. Stepsisters hate her for getting equal share and don't want to pay the inheritance tax so Tokkan wants to either do an S on Cinderella's new cafe or the family home.

As I mentioned, nothing wrong with some morality plays except it basically ends with Tokkan rushing into the deceased dad's room, magically knowing that there was a drawing by Cinderella of when she was adopted and it somehow melts the hearts of the stepsisters with a long contrived speech. Why fucking talk down to your audience? Where is the subtlety in the message? Why couldn't the threat of their poor mom losing the family home be a catalyst for the stepsisters' change of heart? Let's not forget the mother's silence in the face of Cinderella's bullying.

The frustrating thing is that the Ikari storyline is handled with great subtlely and care. Ikari is what Suzumiya/Guu wants to be. The perfect woman. However, in Ikari's search for perfection she became overly fearful of keeping her job and destroyed her own integrity. Basic superhero 101 writing, the villain is the mirror image of the hero in a what if situation and Ikari is Guu if she were to try too hard to pretend to be what she was not.

The conclusion to the Ikari arc is done with a deft touch. No long debate about right or wrong. The other character acknowledge the seriousness of Ikari's crimes but we are also shown with great humour I might add how effective and useful she was at her job. Ikari basically tells Guu that it was wrong of her not to rely on others which ties into Guu trying to shoulder Tokkan's role by herself. Ikari is basically telling Guu is ok to be herself and not be perfect and require the assistance of others without saying it. Its the bloody opposite of the heavy handedness of the inheritance tax story! The Ikari arc is a prime example of showing the audience and not lecturing us.

You have two story arcs in one episode which are polar opposites in terms of writing quality and intelligence. One completely dumbed down and preachy and the other a lot more subtle and elegent. Let's not forget the lawyer bit. I love the foreshadowing and can't wait to see what happens next. Tokkan could be such an awesome dorama if it could consistently say what it wanted with tact. I can't recall another dorama that is so schizophrenic.


Antspace said...

Grrr! I read your first sentence on ep 8, when I realised I hadn't seen it yet. I immediately checked it to see what was so kuyashii about it... After the first 20 minutes I was wondering what the problem was. It was great : ) Then the obvious collection strategy. Well I didn't mind it too much. I know that happens in most doramas. It is a formula thingy... But hten the speech, and then the happy endy crap! Pffff! Anywayz, I almost missed the simple beauty of the Ikari story since I was so vexed : ( No big moralistic speeches there... I was annoyed that she was getting back together with her scary husband who'd just stabbed some Tokkan : )But then, she was pretty scary herself as well : P All in all, great first half, crappy second. If you consider that the screenwriter has also written Yaoh among other mediocre dorama's, this is quite decent : )

Akiramike said...

Ikari getting back together with her husband doesn't mean its a happy ending. Its just means she's going to try to work things out instead of burying her head in the sand and living a lie. Its basically about her having a mental breakdown and acknowledging the things that lead to it.

Actually the writer's resume doesn't impress me but he is definitely capable of writing good mature stories.