Saturday, August 29, 2009



"Even if you solve that problem, no happiness will come from it."

"The Devotion of Suspect X"

I watch Japanese television drama quite often nowadays, and while I had seen some drama before, I really started watching drama series with Galileo, based on the Detective Galileo books by Higashino Keigo (Meitantei no Okite). While certainly not a formal detective, the Galileo series certainly had some interesting points. Most of the stories involved seemingly supernatural phenomena like spontaneous combustion, astral projection and premonitions, usually connected to a crime in some way. Of course, at the end of each story, thanks to the insights of assistant professor Yukawa, nicknamed The Weirdo Galileo, these phenomena turn out to have a perfectly logical explanation to them. Because it's a scientific detective though, most of the mysteries are not really solvable for the normal reader as specific knowledge is needed. But the drama was quite entertaining. Especially the ridiculous over-the-top eureka scenes of Yukawa randomly writing on everything. Correction, ridiculous eureka scenes of Yukawa randomly writing on everything because he can solve everything through mathematics. Everything. Even things that can't.

The books, with Higashino Keigo's dialogue-heavy texts and good sense of kanji-usage, are also very easy to read to and the Detective Galileo books are actually the first books in Japanese I ever read. Certainly different from the It's not in the dictionary! rage I get from Edogawa Rampo's books. So I went through Galileo no Kunou ("The Agony of Galileo") pretty fast, one of the two Galileo books released last year. Two of the five short stories were already adapted as the Galileo Φ TV special, but all in all, a kinda disappointing short story collection. Similar solutions to earlier stories popped up, which is never a good sign. Nor was the suggestion of the supernatural as effective as in earlier stories.

Of course, supernatural phenomena aren't always needed for a good Galileo novel, as proven with the novel Yougisha X no Kenshin ("The Devotion of Suspect X"), which featured 0 supernatural phenomena, but was just a great story. The book was subject to quite some discussion in Japan whether it was a formal detective or not, but for me, it was and heck, I just love the theme of the book. The movie based on the book? Arguably even better. The movie didn't contain ridiculous eureka scenes with random writing though.

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