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Or: 'Sole really wants to app one character and hopes to get some canonmates this way'
Or: 'I need people to sign up for Yuletide for this'

OTP is OTP

Title: Keizoku 2: SPEC

Genre:
Supernatural Police Procedural

Brief Description:
'She's a taste-deficient hacker genius detective with serious social issues who carries her stuff in a suitcase, he's a former assault team commander under suspicion for a mysterious crime who always carries his stuff in a paper bug (and by 'stuff' we mean 'gun').  Together, they fight crime!'

Formulaic description: Japan!Mulder and Scully + off-beat humour + mutants = why aren't you watching this?

This is a mix of: Think of it as CSI meets Heroes meets WEIRDNESS.

Shining endorsements: This dorama made me spend half an hour trying to read kanji made out of gyoza.

Episodes:
10

Where to get it?
I'd recommend [profile] ourhour, more specifically this. Or online here.

So what is it about anyway? :

Sebumi, that's baldie up there, is the serious, hard-working commander of a SIT unit - that is, police assault team -. In the midst of a normal, regular mission, one of his team mates gets shot. The higher ups are sure it was Sebumi, Sebumi is sure that Shimura was killed by his own bullets. Given that bullets usually don't reverse course just because, nobody believes him.

But they can't prove Sebumi did it, so he just gets sorta-demoted to the Unidentified Crimes Unit. The unit is understaffed and it's clearly a dead-end position. They investigate crimes related to 'SPECs' or 'special abilities'. Cases that can't be prosecuted or even proven. The unit is composed of Chief Nonomura, a old geezer with a taste for younger women and hidden depths, and Touma Saya, our main character.


Touma is the weird oddball made out of annoying quirks described above. However, she's has tons of depth that unveil as the dorama goes on. It's really good to see a complex, weird, off-putting female main character. She's annoying and I like how she fails every time she acts cute.

The relationship between Toma and Sebumi is the main emotional core of the series. They're really at odds at the beginning and as they begin to understand each other, you start to see why they do the things they do and how utterly broken both are. Sebumi is consumed by his desire to save his mate - Failure Knight of the highest calibre - and Touma hides many, many things behind her oddball demeanour.

Rounding up the cast you have the standard dorama large ensemble, with some very mysterious characters, some comic relief cops and other bigger players.

Then there's Shimura's (that's SIT comatose guy) sister, Mirei and Touma's boyfriend Chii.

While some fail to make an impression besides being funny, the Freaks of the Week are, normally, memorable characters. The others cops are just comic relief, but as with many doramas, they do have their own agendas. The most memorable characters are... spoilery as hell, so I won't mention them.

Roughly two thirds of the series are largely case-of-the-week deals, even if we start to see glimpses of something bigger and way more complicated behind. New case, new SPEC holder, some clues. Then the last third is a twisty ride, an astounding mindfuck that actually works. I watched the first episodes for the entertainment and then shit got real around Episode 6.

And that second half starts to ask serious questions and makes its very clear morals seem a little more grey. Themes such as what's justice or memory grow important and I was surprised, because the first half is really, really black vs. white. And the show lets its characters make some really poor decisions, which is always bold. Kase Ryo (the guy playing Sebumi) is amazing and Erika Toda - that is, Touma - is starting to prove she has talent, even if I think it's because she's finally getting less bland parts.

What made this dorama really work for me, however, was the quirky tone of it. It shares directors with Stand Up! and Ryusei no Kizuna, so if you've seen any of those you'll understand what I mean. Incidental characters that are just plain weird, little details that crack you up or just costume choices that make no sense. The weirdness helps the tone, because even when it's funny, it's also unsettling and therefore the tone is a quirky darkness that I really loved.

The direction and the photography are also in the service of making a mindfucky, entertaining, occasionally heartbreaking dorama.

And the opening song - and the fact that there's a special version for each episode, plus slightly different credits - is epic and I adore it. I have twelve versions of the thing. Even the credits are extremely well done and it was the first thing that got me.



And I can't tell you more stuff because really, I'll spoil you.

So really, why should I watch it?

If you like weird women, men who are boiling with anger below the surface, mindfucks, quirkiness, psycho killers, mutants, Japanese pop culture references, ODDBALLNESS, mysteries, OTPs that are all about the nakama bond, slapstick THIS IS THE DORAMA FOR YOU.

PS: Oh look, it's JE Remix Cycle 7 schedule and it totally amuses me that me and Anna made such similar posts so close together.

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Sole Sakuma

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