Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (JDrama) * * * *

Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (Solve the Mystery after Dinner) is a detective drama. I found it similar to Meitante no Okite in that the endings of the episodes are not very satisfying. If you compare them to Western detective stories, then there the perp is always evil, with evil intentions. Here that's not always the case. Actually, I often found myself sad for the killer, wishing they wouldn't have done it, that they found another way. I even cried at the end a few times.

Another reason why it reminded me of Meitante no Okite was that it's also not a completely serious drama. While at times it's moving, you also get moments of hilarity and utter ridiculousness. In a way those things keep it from becoming too serious.

The episodes all follow a pattern, which does characterise detective dramas as a whole in the world. If you just think about Poirot and his customary reveal, then you realise that having a pattern is not that strange after all.

The drama stars Keiko Kitagawa as Reiko Hosho, a rich heiress that decides to become a detective at her local police. She doesn't tell anyone at work that she's actually very rich. She is quite young, a bit stuck up, and a bit petulant, but still a lovable character. Keiko did a great job of portraying a person who is very serious at her job, but still childish at home. While she likes to think of herself as a good detective, she's not very observant in reality. However, at the end of the episode she always seems to understand the world a bit more than she did before.

Sho Sakurai plays Kageyama, Reiko's new butler. So far I've only seen him act in Yamada Tarou Monogatari. His character speciality seems to be the stoic type. Kageyama is the actual detective in the story. As part of his job he follows Reiko everywhere. In some cases this proves to be important, in other cases his hiding methods are only there for the fun of it. His logic and knowledge of the world is what actually closes the cases. He also has a love of mystery novels, that can account for why he's so good at solving crimes. He is blunt, but also sweet, with a sense of pride. His character doesn't seem to change a lot, even though at the end they sort of claim that it did.

Kippei Shiina as Kyoichiro Kazamatsuri is Reiko's boss at the police force. He's the senior detective, and also an heir, but he lets everyone know that. He is the source of most of the comedy in the story, as his detection skills are actually non-existent. He is important, but still a side character.

Overall, the drama was an enjoyable one. During the episodes I again learned some things about Japanese culture, and even some details about the language. I also had fun, but found myself lamenting the endings. I recommend this drama to anyone that doesn't mind characters behaving a bit strangely and over the top sometimes.

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