The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ningen no Shoumei / 人間の証明

Proof of the Man



2004 summer mystery from Japan that stars Yutaka Takenouchi as a grizzled detective assigned to a murder case that leads him against his will through the harrowing steps of his past.

The only thing about this awesome story that confused as much as it made me laugh was the fact that they chose to use a Japanese actor as the murder victim - thus imposing 'black face' on the viewer - a shocking and overt concept to an American.

They also didn't try hard enough to hide Japan in their Mississippi scenes, either, which always makes me giggle.

Who knew there were lush, verdant mountains in the south, or that we share our roads with commuter trains that don't, even exist!

Worse, though, is their constant use of unprofessional and therefore ridiculous, foreign 'actors' to portray the white guy.

Again, it's always funny to hear them accentuate the wrong word, speak out of turn, and/or employ the wrong facial expression - further signifying their lack of talent while, in this case, using the wrong accent for the locale.

Same, too, for the Japanese actor covered in unconvincing make-up and forced to portray a half-breed who grew up in Mississippi while somehow acquiring a Japanese accent despite his having grown up in America with a black American father.

Na ni??

This story was rife with stereotypical hatred, and quite possibly written by a man who grew up in the era of American soldiers inundating naval bases scattered throughout that part of the world who behaved less than dignified, thus ruining a shared image for the rest of us, who knows.

~HOWEVER ~

He did, also, try to convey the fact that crime, ignorance, and racism exist on both sides of the Pacific, so kudos for that much honesty at least.


Anyway, y'all already know how much I love Yutaka, and he didn't fail to impress me this time around, either.

The man is phenomenal as an actor, amazing in the eye-candy department, and a treat for the ears because of his sexy, deep voice, too.

He morphs with such ease that it's hard for an outsider like me to gauge his true personality, and sadly, because of his age, there's little about him in the fan-rave-gaga category of websites to be able to learn much about the guy.

He's close to me in age, which makes him all the more appealing, and in Proof ... he made me wish I could give him a big hug, he was that pathetic a character, but with good and valid reason.


There were stories within the story, so for ten episodes I sat glued to my chair and awaited the next turn of events with excitement, as I'm sure you will too if you give this one a chance to impress you as much as it did me.




3 comments:

  1. I share some of the same observations as you do watching the series. But the Japanese viewers, or someone who has never been to Mississippi, would never tell the difference. The American scenes are shot in Canada by the way, and not in Japan. Although someone who're familiar with either places would be able to spot the differences for sure.
    I think the accent is okay, as it kind of goes in and out. Since the victim is half Japanese, the black face wasn't that noticeable to me but I can understand where you are coming from.
    And Takenouchi is great in the role. I completely agree. The supporting casts are great as well. Despite the flaws you have mentioned, I think it is one of the better mystery/crime dramas from Japanese in the past decade or so.

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  2. hi and thanks for the comments! I knew from research that it was Canada, but as an outsider looking in, it's obvious regardless. ^.^
    I agree, too, that this was a terrific mystery and very well written!
    My only gripe (always is) is that they substitute when they shouldn't - or embellish when it isn't necessary.

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  3. I completely see what you mean. But as an average view I think it looked quite good subbing in for America. In fact, the rural and junkyard scenes really give me an impression of Mississippi or the southern states (although I have never been there).
    The substitute issue is odd too I find, but luckily there aren't too many.
    Any I think the score and music is great as well! I love how they used a Place in the Sun for the credits (and there we can hear the accents as well).
    Anyways thank you for reviewing the series. I think it's seriously underrated! Hope more people will get the DVD!

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