Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's all very scientific. (めっちゃ科学的なもんや。)

We're taking a break from cell phone talk for the moment, simply because I figure that spamming my readers with pictures of pretty phones while I ramble incessantly about nonsense isn't really helping anybody. We will continue when either I (a) obtain some relevant information about the plans available or (b) come up with some decent e-mails I need to decide between. 

And hey, dramas! Dramas are better than random music groups that may or may not appeal to the masses, yes?

...admittedly, this may be a little dated, but hey. I like what I like.

Also, date does not determine quality; we all know this. Why else would hair metal be so popular?

...ok, bad example.

And this isn't nearly so dated as hair metal.

Really, in those terms, it's brand new!

ガリレオ (Galileo)

Let me start by saying that this is pretty much my favorite drama ever. Yes, ごくせん (Gokusen) is amusing, and 月の恋人 (Tsuki no Koibito, Moon Lovers) is lovely and has Kimutaku, but this... this is a drama I can go back and watch again. And again.

Even though it's basically a crime-detective-mystery type show, which really shouldn't be interesting after you know how it ends.

The series ran from October 2007 to December 2007 (yes, dramas are usually only one season, and very short-lived, but oftentimes the better for it), so I only ever saw the commercials for it while in Japan the first time, studying in Hokkaido. Which, really, is probably better for me, because there's no way I could have watched this without subtitles at that level and understood anything. (Heck, there's so much scientific/police jargon that I wonder if I could even do it now...)

According to the rather bare-bones synopsis presented by DramaWiki,

In "Galileo," Fukuyama Masaharu plays a genius physicist and university associate professor, Yukawa Manabu, who solves difficult mysteries. Affectionately known as Tantei Galileo ("Detective Galileo"), Yukawa is brilliant, an all-round sportsman, tall and handsome but eccentric. Yukawa's partner is a rookie cop, Utsumi Kaoru (Shibasaki Kou), a hot-blooded woman with a strong sense of justice.

Well, sort of. If anything, Manabu is sort of Utsumi's sidekick, as she is the one who really pursues these oddball cases, and asks for his scientific guidance. Just because 福山雅治 (Fukuyama Masaharu, heartthrob extraordinaire) is pretty, it doesn't mean he should be able to bump aside the other star of the series here.

... what's that you say? Verification of heartthrob status? Oh come on now, this isn't that type of blog! We aren't here simply to ogle the pretty faces in Japanese entertainment! This is...

...what's that? Kimutaku? Well, that's different. That's.... well...

Oh, fine.

There, you happy?

There's just no pleasing some people.

Ok, but that's it! Any more, and we're touching on dangerous ground.


In basic terms, this is a detective show: Utsumi is assigned either assigned unsolvable cases, or picks up on random unsolvable cases that the rest of her department thinks are lost causes. When she gets stumped, she bounces ideas off of Manabu, or "変人ガリレオ" (the weirdo Galileo) a fairly asocial physics professor who was classmates with her senpai (senior), who has just transferred to another division, but not before imparting that, hey, I know this super-smart Manabu guy...

...That was sort of a run-on sentence.

Anyway, the series is fairly episodic (which I, personally, quite like), with a new case every episode (except for the two-part finale.) Most everything gets solved through scientific reasoning, which culminates in Manabu going into his "zone" and scribbling physics equations over whatever surface happens to be nearby. I'm not quite sure what is meant to be accomplished by this, as it usually seems that he is "logic-ing" and not calculating the problems through, but one hypothesis (mine) is that it's simply a displacement activity to help him think.

But let's not get too deep into things before you watch it!

Although I do a rather shoddy job of advertising, I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Very well done, and the actors are quite impressive.

Not to mention the fact that it won all of these awards:
13th Asian Television Awards: Best Drama Series
55th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Drama
55th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Actor - Fukuyama Masaharu
55th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress - Shibasaki Kou
55th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Script - Fukuda Yasushi
55th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Director
55th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Theme Song
(Aw, man, she even won Best Supporting Actress... I guess you just can't overshadow the eponymous character.)

Definitely worth a watch at least once through, and if you can get to the special "Episode 00" (which is good) and the movie (which I haven't watched yet...oops), all the better.

And Jonouchi, the medical examiner, is totally my favorite character. Brash, intelligent, good at her job, and not at all squeamish (which is often played to comic effect.) What is it about examining dead bodies on television that makes you such a nifty character?

(Oh, and did anyone get the pun in Manabu's name? Would it help if I told you it was written 「学」? Ok, so it's cheesy, but that doesn't make it any less clever.)

In a final note, apparently the drama was based upon a novel series by Higashino Keigo, who was awarded the Naoki Prize in 2005. I am definitely going to have to check that out.

This is Edo, signing off whilst thinking scientific thoughts.

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