Thursday, July 23, 2009



The truth doesn't exist. Just vague collective memories posing as the truth.", Mayama Tooru, "Keizoku"

And as if to mock me, the next detective I watched after writing that last post did involve esotoric mumbo jumbo. And supernatural stuff. Somehow, I should've known things never turn out the way I hope them to be. Beautiful Dreamer.

Culprit: the 1999 Japanese TV-series Keizoku ("Continuing"), in which a career policewoman and top-of-the-class Tokyo University graduate (but oblivious to common sense), Shibata Jun, is assigned to an unit within the force responsible for handling old unsolved cases. As the Rules of Detection dictate, Shibata of course manages to solve cold case after case. Including the infamous 300 million yen robbery (But thinking it's too much trouble to go over the case again, they leave it be.).

The series begins brilliantly with Golden Age detective problems like locked room murders, disappearances and alibi deconstruction stories, all glued together through Tsutsumi Yukihiko's distinctive directing, with strange camera-angles and movement, great rapid-fire dialogue and non-sequitur humor between rookie Shibata and the hardboiled Mayama. Keizoku is an improvement on his older detective drama adaptation of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo ("The Case Files of Young Kindaichi") and a foreboding of Tsutsumi's masterpiece detective-comedy Trick (which is so awesome, it's hard to explain. You really have to see it to understand the bizarre comedy there).

Too bad it all goes down-hill in the second half of Keizoku, where a case involving a strange serial murderer becomes the focus and it ends in a violent extravaganza of betrayal after betrayal, cops hunting cops and the appearence of a mindclouding, mindswapping, body-changing supervillain. Actually, I don't know precisely what that power was of the last criminal and according to the Keizoku: Phantom special, neither does the director, but it sure wasn't realistic. Of course, that was nothing compared to the Opening of the Gates of Hell in the Keizoku: Beautiful Dreamer movie. That was really trippy. I think Tsutsumi tried to do something different with the Japanese (detective) drama, but did it in a way which made it simply incomprehensible. And made a fairly good detective drama into a weird supernatural police series.

And to paraphrase Dr. Fell from The Hollow Man, I have no problems with detectives being improbable, as long as they are not impossible.

Today's song: 大野克夫バンド (Oono Katsuo Band) - 太陽にほえろ!メインテーマ (Taiyou ni Hoero! Main Theme ("'Howl at the Sun!' Main Theme"))

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