Archive for the ‘J-Dramas’ Category
It’s quite natural to set a teen romance like Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛) in the summer. First of all, there’s summer vacation, which the class celebrates at the start of this episode:
Well, all except for Haruka (Abe Aran), who seems a bit less enthusiastic. He and Mirei (Ishibashi Anna) are both concerned about Ririko (Adachi Rika), who is planning to go back to New York, but hasn’t managed to tell her two-timing boyfriend Tachibana (Nagayama Takashi) that.
The second reason is, of course, the obligatory beach scene (or scenes). Kanata (Kishi Yuta) is the one who proposes the beach party in this series, but it was bound to happen somehow. He also wants to make it a farewell party for Ririko, but it sounds like that’s just a plot from the basketball team to get Ririko to the beach.
This episode of HERO 2014 opens with Kawajiri (Matsushige Yutaka), the head of the prosecutor’s office, getting an offer for a new job that would pay more.
At the same time, the prosecutors have received their health exams (I guess these are required for government work?), and they find out that his cholesterol is double what it was last year. Sounds like he could do with a change of employment – it might be a matter of survival at this rate.
Meanwhile, Asagi (Kitagawa Keiko) is lamenting her own results, which have worsened since the previous year. She blames it on the long hours Kuryu (Kimura Takuya) makes her work. I expect Kawajiri could also blame some of his health issue on Kuryu, given the way his face has been scrunching ever since Kuryu joined the office.
Kawajiri tries very hard to maintain an even keel, keeping his face completely neutral as he begins to face complaints from the prosecutors about the workload. He gradually fails, though.
His face gets fully contorted with Kuryu, of course. I can’t imagine this is good for his blood pressure.
After Mirei (Ishibashi Anna) confessed her love for Haruka (Abe Aran) by kissing him at the end ofthe previous episode of Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛), I’m looking for some follow-through on the relationship in this episode. Will Haruka reject the sentiment, afraid of the implications like Mirei was before Kanata (Kishi Yuta) talked to her? Or will the writers spare us that sort of awkwardness and instead bring us more unexpected sources of conflict?
For now, Haruka is in a pensive mood . . .
. . . and Kanata is horrified that Mirei actually followed his advice. He wanted them to come up with a plan together, but didn’t really communicate that. All this talk from Kanata has Mirei worried. We still don’t know how Haruka actually reacted immediately after the kiss.
We find that out when Mirei tells Kanata. Turns out that Mirei saw Haruka looking troubled after the kiss, and she turned “suki” into “sukiyaki”. Right. As if that’s going to convince anyone.
This episode continues the case introduced in episode three of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Neo (金田一少年の事件簿N). We last left the main characters on an island with a bunch of medical interns, and it didn’t take long for murders to start happening. First, an intern named Morimura was hung in a room that was reputedly haunted. Then, another aspiring medical student – Shiina Makio – was found hanging from a high crossbeam at a chapel.
Some of the interns feel guilty about the fate of Ebisawa Kuniaki, who attempted suicide and remains in a coma at their hospital. Meanwhile, one of them – Shiraishi – hints to Kindaichi (Yamada Ryosuke) that she knows who moved the ladder (and thus would have been able to reach the locations to commit the murders), but she’s unwilling to say who.
Kato was so distraught about the thought of Ebisawa’s revenge that he tried to swim away from the island, but Kindaichi managed to save him from a likely death. That’s some serious guilt Kato’s got, though.
After a somewhat weak episode of HERO 2014, I’m mainly looking for Kuryu (Kimura Takuya) to get a decent case this time – no more contrived PSA lectures allowed. This episode doesn’t begin with Kuryu’s case, though, but with Uno (Hamada Gaku) getting a case about a scam artist which will require him to work with a prosecutor from Kyoto.
The rest of the office is distraught because the temperature was set too low, but they settle down once they get something hot to drink . . .
. . . so they’re in a relatively good mood when the Kyoto prosecutor appears and it turns out to be Nakamura Misuzu (Otsuka Nene), who was in this office in the first series but subsequently transferred.
Nakamura greets all the holdovers from the first series, but also knows the prosecutor who basically plays the same role she did – Baba Reiko (Yoshida Yo).
Of course, she still remembers Kuryu – who could forget him?
Speaking of Kuryu, his case involves a guy who tried to steal a manhole cover. There had better be a good story behind this one, because if Kuryu is going to talk to the guy’s friends and family, find out that he’s an otherwise good guys who went astray, and then lecture him about the ills of stealing manhole covers . . . .
There seems to be an interesting twist already, as Asagi (Kitagawa Keiko) and the thief recognize each other . . .
. . . and we find out that Asagi used to be a hoodlum in her younger days. This should be interesting.
What raises Kuryu’s suspicions, though, is the fact that sixty-two people wrote letters on the guy’s behalf, pleading for clemency. With that many people going to such lengths to help him, you’d think that he wouldn’t need to sell stolen steel to make ends meet.
Nakamura introduces Uno to the case of the scam artist, but they’re sort of distracted because Suetsugu (Kohinata Fumiyo) is still infatuated with Nakamura after all this time and he doesn’t hide the fact.
Asagi resists talking about her wilder days, but Kuryu is absolutely delighted by the revelation of her past, seeing it as explaining the more interesting aspects of her personality now.
Ultimately, she only admits to being a very mild hoodlum.
Uno’s attempt to question the scam artist doesn’t go so well because the suspect is a smooth talker. Suetsugu is still in daydream land.
Outside of his office, Uno sees Kuryu taunting Asagi, and is stunned to find out about the less savory aspect of her past.
Nakamura takes a totally different tact than Uno, and manages to corner the scam artist.
Kuryu and Asagi visit the manhole at issue . . .
. . . and then one of the people who wrote a letter on the thief’s behalf. This first guy seems very shady – he recognizes Asagi and treats her as if she was still part of his gang instead of as a prosecutor’s assistant. It doesn’t seem like he’s moved on and gone legit.
Asagi is not happy with meeting her old acquaintances in this way.
Nakamura reports her success to the boss . . .
. . . and Suetsugu is torn between two stirrer sticks – one representing Nakamura and the other one Reiko. He also faces competition from Nakamura’s assistant.
Kuryu and Asagi visit another person who wrote a letter – another old acquaintance of Asagi’s. This time, though, the woman noted that she was told to write the letter by the first guy they talked to – she didn’t write it out of any concern for the accused. In fact, she doesn’t even know the manhole cover thief well. The plot thickens.
Kuryu ends up questioning everyone who wrote a letter and finds that most of them had simply done it because they were told to (good thing they didn’t bother to lie about it). That’s mighty suspicious, and Kuryu now wonders why the culprit’s real friends – the few who wrote the letter voluntarily – went to all this trouble on his behalf.
Nakamura’s success leaves Uno doubting himself . . .
. . . and he turns to Kuryu, complaining that graduating from Todai and having a pristine record hasn’t helped him at all.
Kuryu’s response when Uno finally storms out is hilarious.
New funny face from Kawajiri (Matsushige Yutaka):
Kuryu finally gets Asagi to open up about her past – it’s about time we learned more about her.
What happens after that gets more exciting and leads directly to the way the episode ends, so I’ll cut off the synopsis here.
I will note that Uno gets the wrong idea about the changes he needs to make:
Thankfully, Kawajiri puts his foot down and insists that Uno change back to his suit. We get another laugh after that, as Kuryu asks Kawajiri if it’s all right for him to show up to work in jeans and tee-shirt.
This was a good episode – not exciting, but still well-paced. It helped that this one had a program time of 46 minutes – the regular hour block – instead of the longer duration of previous episodes.
The case eventually built into something substantial, and there weren’t any sermons. It was pretty easy to guess the true nature of the case once we found out the type of friend that supported the thief.
Kimura-san was especially good in this episode, getting a number of laughs from me. The main comedy was provided by Hamada-san as Uno and Kohinata-san as Suetsugu, and on both of those the acting was good, though there were only two really interesting scenes – one where the guard walks in on Suetsugu sitting in the dark, stunned, and the other with Uno dressed in imitation of Kuryu.
With any luck, the plots will continue to trend in this direction, and I’m hoping to see an even more compelling case next time.
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Neo (金田一少年の事件簿N) begins this time with what seems to be a clear suicide – we actually see the person with the rope and the suicide note. Doesn’t seem like it would be something for Kindaichi (Yamada Ryosuke) to investigate, so there’s more than meets the eye.
The young detective is at the hospital for a stomach exam and his friend Miyuki (Kawaguchi Haruna) is there to keep him company, and is also interested in the possibility of a part-time job. There’s a flyer for a summer training camp for medical interns where the part-timers will help out and have to stay overnight.
The whole summer camp thing sounds a bit familiar, though obviously this one has a medical spin on it and presumably most of the participants won’t get killed this time (the series has so far done a good job of keeping an adequate number of suspects).
The thought of spending a night on an island with Miyuki apparently gets Kindaichi’s interest, so he’s in.
Then, out of nowhere, police detective Kenmochi (Yamaguchi Tomomitsu) shows up, having much the same panicked reaction to medical exams that Kindaichi did, except that he seems to have real reason to worry. It’s all played up for laughs, though.
Things seem to be getting smoother between Haruka (Abe Aran) and his stepsister Ririko (Adachi Rika) in Kinkyori Renai (近キョリ恋愛). Sure, Haruka is still trying his best to keep some distance between them, but he’s smiling around her more often and speaking to her civilly. I guess getting mad at her in the previous episode and then worrying about her sort of broke the ice.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that she’s a good cook, and tasty food smooths social interaction tremendously.
It doesn’t keep Haruka from napping in class, though, and thereby giving Kanata (Kishi Yuta) a chance to sneak up on him and shock him awake. Kanata is such a great character so far – really brightens things up.