**Subtitle available here.
I actually wrote an earlier review right after watching this second episode. Instead of posting that, I decided to sit on it for a bit, let it sink in and reorganize what I like and if any, gripe at all so far. Hence, I hope this provides a better judgment of the show rather than something clouded by emotion. Since the first series is one of my favorite dramas of 2015, I have to admit, I may be biased but nothing is perfect so I’ll approach this from both sides. Sometimes I tend to nitpick when it comes to shows I like ^^;;
I can see that Director Uchikata is still doing what he does best in this genre, giving us enough suspense and thrilling moments. For example, episode 2 has two standout scenes – the bomb sequence and the undercover/chase scene at the end. The sequence leading to the explosion is well done. (The explosion looks fake as hell though, I guess they couldn’t afford a better CGI, what a shame. Tbh, I expected more from WOWOW). That aside, coupled with Morohashi Kuniyuki’s excellent OST, these sequences are further enhanced and keep the adrenaline rushing.
Suspense is a major part of the series that really enables me to enjoy the show, think Sicario (2015) film where shots linger with haunting music or muted silence in the background. Every shot and angle is calculated with well-crafted cinematography. When it comes to WOWOW crime-related dramas, this is to be expected so I’m glad they maintained what I like in Ishi no Mayu. Also just look at those color rendering. The night time scenes look especially aesthetic. They’re not at the MOZU level of pretty but almost there.
The search scenes in Ishi are probably one of the best sequences and it’s going to take more effort and creativity to surpass that. I have a hard time deciding which is better. In the end, I feel the search scenes are still slightly better. That doesn’t necessarily mean episode 2 doesn’t have good moments to bring up.
Besides the usual team meetings, there are more interaction between the members and opportunity for growth. For example, when Toko recommends Birukawa to do the whole technical computer stuffs since he’s more suitable for the role.Would love to see more of these two.
The chemistry between Toko and Takano has always been strong since first series and it’s good to see more. Takano is still pretty much the same dour and indifferent senior but also the only one who notices Toko’s anxiety attacks. I thought it’s nice of him to cover for her during the meeting and afterwards, addresses the issue to her.
We get to see more team work too at the end of the episode. Even though they had a different purpose when they agreed to indulge Toko with her request to proceed with the undercover operation, I still like to see all of them working in the same location together.
As for the cases, they seem to be more complicated than in Ishi (where you pretty much can predict the culprit in the first 2 episodes). The simultaneous cases here involve more people and soon, Public Safety will come in, so a lot more is going on, adding to the confusion. I still don’t really have a clue who to suspect at this moment.
WHERE THE SHOW FALTERS
(hopefully not for long)
Who doesn’t like a strong and confident protagonist? Even I can’t help but love them (think Doctor-X, Hanzawa Naoki or Reiko Himekawa). People looking for these type of protagonists will be disappointed here. It’s a bit of a pity we’re not going to get that here because this particular protagonist is firstly, a timid rookie in series 1 and now a traumatized cop. (Story’s different if you’re looking for a slightly ‘damaged’ lead character). Oh by the way, the screenwriter for this season is actually Yatsu Hiroyuki who wrote Hanzawa Naoki and Shitamachi Rocket. Both featuring very resilient protagonists, I can only hope this screenwriter works his charm in the remaining 3 episodes. Give us a more confident and reliable Toko please!
I understand that character development is one of the major elements of the show and they need to show a weak, fragile and vulnerable Toko before turning for the better. It’s still a bit frustrating having to see those weaknesses amplified in the first two episodes.
One of her biggest weaknesses during first series is being timid. She gains self-confidence towards the end of Ishi. In Suisho, that fear regretfully, takes on another form now as post-traumatic stress disorder. She gets jumpy and anxiety attacks whenever she sees anything related to bomb/explosion.
I really hope she confronts her past and whatever issue she has left with Toremi and get over it. I think this is going to be shown in episode 3, judging from the trailer. Episode 3 in Ishi no Mayu is the turning point where she deals with her inner demons, so I suppose they’re going to duplicate that here. I’m not too fond of her weaknesses since she’s a cop, but if there’s anything better than that, at least she’s not 100% stuck in a ‘damsel in distress’ kind of role yet.
Just some stuffs I wanna mention.
Onto the next episode!