Galileo (10 Episodes + Movie)

Movie: Suspect X

((summary taken from wikipedia))

Galileo / ガリレオ

Kaoru Utsumi, a rookie detective who has just been reassigned to the criminal division, finds her investigation of her first murder case stalled by the seemingly supernatural phenomenons surrounding the event. She seeks help from Shunpei Kusanagi, a senior detective at the police headquarter, who introduces her to his college buddy and an associate professor at Teito University, Manabu Yukawa.

Yukawa is a tall, handsome, brilliant but eccentric scientist who is interested in nothing but physics, while Utsumi is a hot-blooded detective with a strong sense of justice. Together, the odd pair solves many difficult and seemingly impossible crimes with their individual talents.

(The drama is based on a novel series by Higashino Keigo, who won the prestigious Naoki Prize in 2006. Fukuyama Masaharu also wrote the music and lyrics for the theme song.)

Cast: Fukuyama Masaharu, Shibasaki Kou, Kitamura Kazuki
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Detective
Theme song: KISS Shite by KOH+

TV RATING: 3.5 stars
MOVIE RATING: 4.5 stars

(Sorry, for some reason the icon I normally use is screwing the template up on this post, so I had to go without.)

I originally watched Galileo because I read on a forum that it was a lot like Trick and Liar Game, two of my favorite Japanese dramas. Well, it was nothing like Liar Game... but I could see some obvious similarities to Trick. However, for me, it just didn't hold the same appeal.

I really liked Yukawa-sensei: A young, handsome, genius physicist who doesn't believe in supernatural phenomenon. Several of his "trademarks" however, seemed a little too contrived. Like, his tendency to work out a huge pointless equation with ridiculous urgency whenever he's made a break through; the way he's very precise in placing a hand over the bridge of his nose, fingers splayed, one he's done; how he ALWAYS has to tell Detective Uehara to do her job (because she's obviously incompetent). He was an interesting enough character on his own -- he didn't need the silly gimmicks.

As for Detective Uehara... I could take her or leave her. I found her a pretty standard character, without anything to really seperate her from the female-cop variety in past dramas. And seriously... she wasn't even much of a cop. I mean, what cop looks at 3 different causes of death, and DOESN'T notice that they were all killed in water?! I wish they had made her semi-intelligent and not so completely reliant on Uehara.

As for the cases, honestly, they were kind of boring and repetitive. Most of them followed a similar pattern (seeing something suspicious before the crime was committed; a witness seeing something they couldn't possibly have seen). The only things different were the ways they proved how the crime was committed. And seriously, most criminals are way too stupid to try such outlandish methods. They'd ALL need to be physicists to pull it off. And not all of them were.

The movie, however was WONDERFUL. Probably because they FINALLY focused on developing the characters . . . especially the villain, who was sympathetic and interesting. Plus, they didn't use a lot of the silly tricks they did in the series (and thankfully) Professor Yukawa was missing all his stupid signature moves, the same ones I complained had bogged down the series. The absence of them in the movie, just seems to reinforce how pointless and unnecessary they truly were!

But even with the absence of the useless gimmicks, I REALLY loved all the twists that went along with the plot, and how they made us care for the suspects. The plot and characters really seemed movie-specific, and didn't come off as some cheap tv-series knock-off. The "trick" was clever and new, and I didn't feel like I was watching something I'd already seen before (which was one of the dramas main faults).

Really, this movie was everything I wish the series had been. Honestly, I don't know if I could recommend this drama to just anyone. But the movie . . . definitely.


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