Galileo – TV Series (2007) #SherylPuthur

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Directed By: Hiroshi Nishitani

Written By: Keigo Higashino; Yasushi Fukuda; Osho Furuya; Otaro Matsumoto

Cast:

Masaharu Fukuyama – Manabu Yukawa

Kou Shibasaki – Kaoru Utsumi

Kazuki Kitamura – Shunpei Kusanagi

Hiroshi Shinagawa –Shiro Yuge

Ikkei Watanabe – Hiromi Kuribayashi

Miki Maya – Sakurako Jonouchi

                               Language: Japanese                                                                   Genre: Mystery-Thriller

Number of Episodes: 10                                                                             Run Time: 58 minutes

 

After reading up on Suspect X, I found that it was actually a movie spin-off of a crime thriller TV series – Galileo. Suddenly, it came as a realisation that the characters I saw take centre stage later, were actually the most important.

So the story revolves around Utusmi (Kou Shibasaki), a rookie cop who is trying to carve a space for herself in a rather patriarchal and chauvinistic police force. She wants to emulate her senior Kusanagi (Kazuki Kitamura), who had created a name for himself by solving tough cases and was now promoted to a higher branch.

The pilot episode is about how Utsumi and her partner Yuge (Hiroshi Shinagawa) are assigned a ‘supernatural’ case – a young man’s head suddenly catches fire. She turns to Kusanagi for help, only to be told that he solved his cases with help from his college friend, a genius physicist from Teito University – Manabu Yukawa (Masaharu Fukuyama).

Enter Yukawa sensei also known as Galileo sensei – who does not believe that there is anything like supernatural and there is and can only be a scientific explanation for everything.

So all the cases start off seeming rather supernatural like a child levitating or a poltergeist rattling houses and so on. Sometimes it is quite obvious who might be the perpetrator but it’s not the suspense so much as how Yukawa sensei scientifically explains it. It’s thus a very Sherlockian story – more about deduction and even Yukawa sensei seems a lot like Sherlock – not very social, highly intelligent and has the strangest skill set (squash, mountain climbing, sculpturing…). Also when he figures out something he randomly starts scribbling out equations with whatever he can find. Utsumi is like Watson – humane. She also believes in the ‘detective’s intuition’ which Yukawa sensei rejects as not very scientific but it does come as very useful. There is however an underlying plotline that seems to talk of the possibility of attraction between them. If the ending song is a narrative then this chemistry is more vocalised then. Interestingly, it is sung by Kou Shibasaki and the music has been composed by Masaharu Fukuyama.

Each episode deals with some interesting supernatural phenomenon which is given a scientific twist – healthy girl dies suddenly – a man murdered in a locked room – a reader of crystal balls called by his soul-mate only to be shot as a stalker – a woman who dies twice – a murdered woman astral projects herself to her sister who is a few kilometres away. The last two episodes are connected and are a brilliant end to an intelligent series. Also I must mention that the episode of the poltergeist is an especial favourite because it is about a house that rattles at night due to an ‘unhappy ghost’.

So just like Yukawa sensei says ‘jitsu ni omoshiroi’ (really interesting) when he is intrigued by something and wants to figure it out. This series is definitely Omoshiroi!

Suspect X (2008) #SherylPuthur

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Directed By: Hiroshi Nishitani

Written By: Keigo Higashino; Yasushi Fukuda

Cast:

Shinichi Tsutsumi – Tetsuya Ishigami

Masaharu Fukuyama – Manabu Yukawa

Kou Shibasaki – Kaoru Utsumi

Yasuko Matsuyuki – Yasuko Hanaoka

Miho Kanazawa – Misato Hanaoka

Kazuki Kitamura – Shunpei Kusanagi

Dankan – Kuniaki Kudo

Keishi Nagatsuka – Shinji Togashi

Language: Japanese                                                   Genre: Mystery-Thriller

After Drishyam released there were many reports of how the film was inspired by the Japanese film Suspect X. Naturally curious, I decided to watch it. There are conceptual similarities but while Drishyam is the story of a family, Suspect X is a love story.

Tetsuya Ishigami (Shinichi Tsutsumi) is a washed out, reclusive high school mathematics teacher who seems to be shuffling in and out of his house feeling like he has made no impression on the world. He seems to have a soft corner for his pretty next-door neighbour, the owner of a bento shop – Yasuko Hanaoka (Yasuko Matsuyuki), a single mother.

There seems to be limited interaction between them till he overhears a violent scuffle in her house after the arrival of her abusive ex-husband Shinji Togashi (Keishi Nagatsuka). He knocks to find a dead body and then starts the cover up.

The cops, Kusanagi (Kazuki Kitamura) and Utsumi (Kou Shibasaki) are stumped because they cannot break the alibis Hanaoka and Misato, her daughter (Miho Kanazawa) have created. So they turn to the genius physicist of Teito University, Yukawa sensei (Masaharu Fukuyama) for help. Yukawa sensei in the beginning of the film is shown solving a rather complex murder case which was masked as a high profile accident.

Yukawa and Ishigami, known as geniuses in their fields, are revealed to be friends from college. But now, they are on the opposite sides. What follows is a mind game between the two – almost eerily reminiscent of the mind games between Light and L in the manga/anime Death Note.

The whole story begins to take on the form of a power play. Suddenly, everything is suspicious. In every corner, something is lurking and the ever-present sense that something is not quite right – is cloying. Even the fact that Ishigami is helping Hanaoka and Misato – why?

The film throws light on the hidden lives that people live. How being non-expressive for cultural reasons does not imply that people do not feel. In the penultimate moment when Ishigami actually shows emotion, it is a gut-wrenching scene that leaves your senses shocked.

Even if you think, as you watch the film that you’ve solved it, the equation isn’t complete because the X factor is still an unknown quality.