Saturday, April 6, 2013
JDrama Review: Kurosagi
The Gist: Kurosaki (Yamashita Tomohisa) , under the pseudonym Kurosagi, became a swindler of swindlers after his family fell victim. Now, he plays Robin Hood, disguising himself to take back the money of innocent people and returning it to them. A woman in his neighborhood, Yoshikawa Tsurara (Horikita Maki) , takes notice of Kurosagi and can't seem to leave her interest alone. She quickly realizes that he's a con artist, which she can't accept as a burgeoning law student. Rather than try to expose him, she focuses her efforts on trying to help him give up the swindling life and depend on her.
1. The Swindling
As a core theme of this show, it's very entertaining to see how Kurosagi outsmarts people. Things don't always go off without a hitch, but the action is what makes this show enjoyable. It may not be entirely unpredictable, but there's a satisfaction that comes with seeing him take these people down. There's also an irony you really have to appreciate in Kurosagi becoming what he hates to take down who he hates (Batman?).
While there is definitely an overarching plot line, Kurosagi is not a story where you'd be lost jumping in the middle. Each episode has a similar plot of picking a villain, disguising Kurosagi, and taking down the bad guy. The plot with Tsurara does move along, slowly, but the general feel of the show picks a routine and sticks to it pretty closely.
2. No Memorable Side Characters
I guess this point is a little subjective, but having watches this show a few years back now, I really can't remember any characters beside our main pair. I think this show could have been strengthened with a good supporting cast. Still, I understand the choice. Kurosagi needs to be isolated to make Tsurara his only life boat. The strong focus on the two of them really highlights their relationship.
1. The Romance?
Really though, I feel like the show hinted at romance between our main protagonists, but nothing really develops between them. I think that Tsurara and Kurosagi come to understand each other, but there's not a lot of growth in the relationship. On some level, they're just as distant at the end of the show as when they started. Tsurara still can't accept what Kurosagi does and Kurosagi can't give it up. The two of them don't have a visible lasting impact on each other because they're each still alone by the end of the show. On some level, I'd say this show is more about a decent friendship between the two of them than an actual romance.
2. Too Moody
Yes, things lighten up a bit during Kurosagi's endeavors, but overall, the show is just taking itself too seriously. I think it would have benefited from some lighter moments here and there. Kurosagi pushing Tsurara away for too long makes the show seem quite long, when at 11 episodes, it really isn't. Also, I mentioned that there's not a lot of growth by the end of the show, but that also means there's not a catharsis for the audience watching. You spend all this time trying to root for Kurosagi to get some meaning and happiness to his life and the end of it just isn't that satisfying.
Final Grade: C-