Tokyo DOGS (2009) – Japanese Drama (J-drama) – Review

tokyo dogs banner

Tokyo DOGS was a decent cop drama. Its like most detective shows where each episode focuses on a case to solve while one big case or mystery (related to a main character) is on-going through the series. In this instance (Oguri Shun) one-half of the crime solving duo has pledged his life and career to finding his father’s killer and is sent from New York to Tokyo on a special investigation. There he teams with another detective (Mizushima Hiro). Together they are mismatched but effective.

Full synopsis

Genre: police, detective, crime, mystery, action

Also starring: Yoshitaka Yuriko (Shiroi Haru)

tokyo dogs

Fuji TV “first true police drama

Viewer Reviews

Explosion scene shot in Brooklyn, NY:

This series has a good balance of action and comedy making it an enjoyable policing-drama. The storyline is suspenseful enough for you to keep watching but not over-the-top to make you lose interest. Plus its got a pretty popular cast.

Ending theme song Futatsu no Kuchibiru by EXILE:

aparoo says 4/5

Stream: MySoju, Dramacrazy

Shiroi Haru [White Spring] (2009) – Japanese Drama (J-drama) – Review

Shiroi Haru [White Spring] is about a former yakuza trying to rebuild an honest life for himself after serving a 9-year sentence. As parts of his past become revealed to him (and the audience) he evidently finds new meaning to his life. Shiroi Haru is still one of my favourite family and human dramas to date for a number of reasons: interesting plot (ex-con looking for both closure and redemption from his past — I know its cliche), interesting characters (their connections and the influences they have on each other) and especially the on-screen portrayals and chemistry between the main character and a baker’s daughter.

Correlation character chart:

Full review (blog)
Reviews by episode (blogger)
Reviews & comments (viewers)

Full synopsis:

“Former yakuza Haruo (Hiroshi Abe) is finally released from prison after completing his sentence. With nine years worth of prison gratuities in hand, he stops at a restaurant to enjoy a good meal, but all of his money ends up being stolen. With nothing left, he spends the night at a net cafe, and he manages to look up his old friend from his yakuza days. When Haruo visits the next day, he learns that his old girlfriend Mariko (Mahiru Konno) was living with another man, but later died of illness. Haruo, who had committed murder 9 years earlier to earn the money for Mariko’s medical treatment, is shocked and angered. He decides to track down that other man (Kenichi Endo), who runs a bakery with his wife (Miho Shiraishi) and daughter Sachi (Nozomi Ohashi). Haruo later runs into Sachi at the park, but he has yet to find out the truth about her.” (Tokyograph)

shiroi haruuu

The series is mostly about the ex-con and baker’s daughter who befriend each other by chance, and how the relationship changes both their lives. Its ultimately a drama about family, relationships and life — and how they all intertwine. It was a popular 2009 drama and one of my favourites from that year; it also won 3 awards at the 61st Television Drama Academy Awards including best actor (Hiroshi Abe) and best scriptwriter (Ozaki Masaya). It goes without saying that Hiroshi is a great actor and is able to pull of a really dynamic role in Shiroi Haru. Plus Yoshitaka Yuriko (Tokyo DOGS) is cute.

aparoo says 5/5 — perfect for any beginner or veteran drama viewer

Stream 1 or 2

A Crowd of Three (2010) – Japanese Movie – Review

a crowd of three cover

A Crowd of Three a.k.a. “Kenta to Jun to Kayo-chan no Kuni” is a bit of a road movie but not in the adventurous kind of way. The characters are trying to breakout from their miserable lives. One has a tendency to literally smash things in times of frustration, one suffers symptoms from stress when reality hits, and one is lonely, unloved and dying for attention. The movie tries to depict a lost and angry youth within free society; violent and hopeless. Similarly, its less about “soul searching” and more about “breaking through” everything (rather than dealing with it). — Like bulldozing ahead without any chance of laying down a proper foundation.

Film review (negative review; but interprets the themes well)

Full trailer

“A lonely girl encounters two dim-witted orphans on the eve of a final attempt to break out of their miserable lives.” (Rotten Tomatoes)

The two-hour+ movie stars Shota Matsuda (Liar Game, Hana Yori Dango), Kengo Kora (Bandage — I’ve been meaning to watch this movie) and Sakura Ando (Love Exposure). I’d say that the electric-guitar background music sequences really set the tone of what’s going on during the movie, and just the tone of the movie in general. The music and long shots put the characters (and their emotions) in perspective and by the end I felt pretty sorry for all of them. Other than that sort of abstract storytelling, the movie kind of falls through. Directed by Tatsushi Omori.

aparoo says 3/5 for the crowd of 3