And this will probably be the last of my Archelogical Finds. Unless I go for another ‘hunt’ at my LJ 😉
I always ment to watch Keizoku 2 – SPEC but somehow never got round to it while it was airing. Then darkeyedwolf‘s post about the SP along with the hq version of the series appearing around the same time reminded me finally to find time to watch it. SPEC is a sort of a remake/reboot of the Keizoku – Unsolved Cases, a drama from 1999, which I happened to get hold of and watch a while back. That was a really strange experience all in all, though the fact that I mainlined the whole series + the SP and concluding (really bizarre) film within a day may have something to do with it. LOL!
These two dramas are more than 10 years apart and even though thematically related still products of their own times and should not be compared but… it’s hard not to. After I’d finished with SPEC I directly re-watched few epis of Keizoku as I needed to refresh my memory to sort of gauge if what I was feeling/thinking was truly valid. I guess it is no surprise that I prefer the original. NOT because it is the original but because imho it’s just better (though I do agree with another reviewer @LJ that the special and especially the movie are not up to par and it’s there that SPEC probably does it better – not that I’ve seen the movie yet). Frankly, the story and also the cases are more interesting and so are the characters. The ‘humas with special abilities’ part of SPEC is where it actually fails for me. The best part of SPEC are the very real human interactions and human feelings. We are quite capable of being monsters or beacons of light without any special fu what so ever.
What Keizoku does with ablomb is portraying just that; humans as we are. Imperfect with the capacity for both good and evil and most of all…. them feelings! The cases are pretty normal cold cases from a broad spectrum and timeframe. The perps did not get caught because of some mystic abilities but rather because they were either smarter than your averige criminal, had luck on their side, the investigations were bungled up or any combination of these. Until Jun Shibata and Toru Mayama team up in a sort of parnership made in heaven, that is. *g* Shibata is highly intelligent in an almost a savant way. Her brain seems to process information like some sort of super computer. She has no sense of direction, is clumsy, naive and rather unworldly, with an almost childlike innocense that she mostly manages to hold onto till the end. She’s both very odd and very normal. Mayama is a seasoned cop and definitely not stupid. He’s disillusioned, cynical and kinda tortured. There’s something slightly off-kilter about him that makes you wary but you also sense a deep sadness within. He can be surprisingly sweet at times too. The rest of the cast are all good, especially Aya Kito who’s the other female in Unsolved Crimes. She kicks ass!
Like it’s ‘offspring’ Keizoku can be quite hilarious and kooky at times but it’s also darker and more raw/real than SPEC. It has it’s own series long mystery arch with shady characters, secret organisations and a bit of mindbending which is all intergrated quite seamlessly. There’s also an undercurrent of weirdness that becomes more and more apparent as you go on with the episodes. The signs are there from the beginning but you may not notice them. I didn’t until I watched the 1st epi again.
The series finale of Keizoku pawns SPEC’s – sorry! 🙂