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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Joker Yurusarezaru Sosakan

ジョーカー 許されざる捜査官

2010 summer drama from Japan that starred Sakai Masato as Date Kazuyoshi, Anne as Miyagi Asuka, and Nishikido Ryo as Kudo Kenji.

This was good.

This was JDo mystery/suspense good.

This was Sakai at his best, and with Nishikido thrown in the mix for eye candy appeal.
Ryo did a great job acting, too, though. Actually, he usually does, doesn't he?

I like Mr. Smiley Face.

I like Nishikido Ryo and JDo's that concentrate on mystery/suspense/detective stories, and I really like it when they hire Sakai to be the lead.

He received Best Actor award for this drama, and I would have to agree with whoever voted for him to win, too.

Dude has a long list of skills on his resume, and I'm making my way through everything available online the same way I did with Kimura Takuya, Yamashita Tomohisa, Takenouchi Yutaka, and Abe Hiroshi.

The only difference being our Mr. Smiley Face isn't in it for the eye candy appeal. He's the type of guy who grows on you with his personality and charisma, his selfless charm, and an undeniable persona that spell disaster for any woman NOT wanting to fall in love.

Joker is the story of a young boy who suffers through a horrific past and ends up under the disturbing yet strangely compassionate watchful eye of another cop after Date witnesses the gruesome deaths of his debt-ridden parents.

Date (dah-tay) becomes a detective with a keen eye for the not-so-obvious at crime scenes, and because of his laid-back, passive personality in the office, his co-workers aren't, too fond of him and his peculiar way of working on cases.

The story unfolds with a new girl entering the precinct to work alongside Date and his team. She happens to be the younger sister of his former partner, who was murdered - which is yet unsolved - and why she is so determined to bring the bad guys to justice. She wants to learn all she can in order to solve the mystery surrounding aniki's death.

The word JOKER was explained - kind a - during the end of this 10-episode drama, but it didn't help to make any sense, so I can't be of any help in that regard, either. Suffice it to say, though, that JOKER is the name of an underground police 'society' organization that takes matters into its own hands.

All perpetrators who are set free or exonerated due to lack of evidence or political power mysteriously disappear.

Ryo's Kudo Kenji is the precincts forensics specialist. He shows up at every crime scene to gather evidence and then analyze it. He's a playboy with an ego and immediately tries to latch onto the new girl, but she isn't having it.

This, by the way, is the only hint of romance, along with the fact that Date once dated a cop turned investigative reporter who keeps coming around snooping for a scoop. There is no romance involved, and anymore, I don't expect there to be unless the drama or movie is labeled as such. I have yet to see a JDo that does anything 'mixed' and probably never will. If it's about ghosts, then it's about ghosts. If it's about murder, then it's about murder, and if it's about ai, then you'll be guaranteed to see at least three kissing scenes. That's just the way it goes.

Still, even if we aren't able to see our favorite, leading men get it on with the lucky leading lady, at least we're able to stare at them doing other things, which is probably alright with more than just me, eh?

I can remember not liking Nishi when I was first introduced to him years ago. His eyes gave off a sinister vibe that left me quite cold. After watching him act in a few movies and dramas, though, it wasn't hard to change my mind and get on board with his millions of other fans.

He's hot, right? He also tends to show off a decent pocket rod on occasion, and that's always nice and ... unexpected ;-)

I still think that Japan has something over Korea in the story / actor / capture departments, but their use of cheaper film and lower budget sets are a turn-off.

Japan tends to delve deeper into fantasy versus reality, life experience versus make-believe, and true drama over 'what do the fans want' scripts. I appreciate it.

What I don't like is that at least 98% of what they deem as 'live action' is actually manga turned live action. A majority of what we watch is based off of some form of manga, and I'm tired of it already. Are there no more authors over there who write for a genre other than manga and kids? Or, is everyone from 90 down to 9 reading manga and therefore its just to be expected?

The cross-over from cartoon to reality is no longer just blurred but actual-factual, sad to say.

Or maybe there are no script writers? Producers walk into the studio with the manga in their hand and smile at the crew.

"So, who do you think would make a great leading man for this one, eh?"


Back to the show ~~~

Date is plagued by what he saw as a child, and plagued by the cop who supposedly 'saved' him from himself. This man kept convincing Date that he didn't do anything wrong, and that what he did was justified under the circumstances. Date grew up to become this ex-cop's slave of sorts, but his conscience never broke the spell.

He knew, despite his actions, that what he was doing wasn't right, and yet he continued up until the very end doing precisely what he felt was wrong.

It was cool in a bad-ass, tough-guy, you are SO not right for this part kind of way - which is why I keep telling you guys that Sakai-san is someone to watch, to root for, and to learn how to fall in love with. He's awesome.

Then our seemingly bumbling forensics specialist, Kudo, ends up joining the team. He's got his own demons from the past haunting him as well, which is why our Date-san decides he's okay and right as a third wheel in their nightly operation.

Each episode of Joker is a new story about a new crime being committed, and where a new culprit ends up Scot free due to some technicality in the laws.

Date and team work hard to bring the criminal to justice and offer some form of consolation to the victims family, but it never pans out, so the night-time Date (and Kudo) take matters into their own hands.

They don't kill the bad guys, but they do exact a totally cool form of justice.

As we get closer and closer to the end of the 10 episodes, answers start to be revealed in the form of whodunits and no way's that sometimes come unraveled near the end of an episode, putting us right back at square one.

I suppose it is safe for me to be able to say (by now) that the usual suspects with finger pointing in their direction at the very start are NEVER who they seem and NEVER end up being the bad guy.

I can also say that the ending for Joker hinted at another season, but this was 2010 and today is the end of 2013, so who knows if anything will actually result. I, for one, would be happy to watch another, ten episodes of something this interesting.

And ... the 'special' actually went beyond just a silly recap of everything I just watched, but not by much. Specials, to me, are supposed to answer all the unanswered questions, delve deeper into certain characters, and show us what happened AFTER the close of the last episode. Every special I've ever seen thus far has only ever rehashed the previous episodes, making no sense whatsoever.

Joker's special picked up where we left off, but then it showed the older scenes, but with Kudo and the girl cop wondering why this had to happen, why Date chose to behave the way he did, etc. It was better, but not good enough.

Let's just say that Japanese - and perhaps Asian nations in general - still have decency left in their bones if they think the crimes committed in this show were despicable and heinous.

~unforgivable ~

Being an American, I'm able to sit completely unaffected and immune to their sympathetic tears. Sign of the times.

The majority of these crimes were senseless (but, aren't they all?) and cruel, but I can't say it shocked me or made me want to wish evil will on the perpetrators. I just hoped they would die soon is all. Or, maybe the Christian mentality of 'oh well, God will get them when all is said and done' makes me not like the idea of revenge for the sake of revenge. Well, let me rephrase that ... I like the idea of revenge, as long as someone else is pulling all the strings and not me, and I think criminals deserve to be punished, this or that side of the law, but at the end of the day, I don't want to believe or accept that it's just a part of life and the way of the world.

What happened to both Date and Kudo as children upsets me, and child abuse is no joke, of course. Which brings up the question of 'is it any wonder, then, why some people grow up to be useless clowns with zero conscience?'

Yet, in our society, some of these clowns are simply the ill-advised and neglected children of the daycare generation with zero morals or upbringing who end up walking into a crowded mall or movie theater and opening fire.

I don't want to go there, though, because while Joker wanted us to think about such things, I didn't and don't want to. I know it's reality, and I know it's wrong, but unless I become an activist or a cop, I can only hope and pray for a change - not actually do anything to bring about that change.

Date and Kudo had a right, in a manner of speaking, to behave the way they did, but I don't know that we have a right to judge them, their behavior, or that of a killer or a victim. Everything happens for a reason, and I never believed that anyone has a right to judge anyone else.

Joker was a great show if you like mystery, suspense, and the criminal mind.

I liked it because of that and the fact that it starred two of my favorite, JDo actors.



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