BORDER (2014)

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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 1,365 users
Reviews: 4 users

Ango Ishikawa is a detective with smarts and a keen sense of observation. He's in a great physical shape and also highly ambitious. Ango also only focuses on his work and his personal life is pretty much non-existent. One day, Ango is shot in the head by the killer who is lurking at the crime scene. Ango hovers between life and death. Since then Ango can see and talk with the dead.

  • Also Known as:

    Border ~ Keishichou Sousa Ikka Satsujinhan Sousa Dai 4-gakkari

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34 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jun 9, 2014
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.5
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
BORDER appears a touch late to the paranormal party popularized last year. We have met many “medium” protagonists since then. There have even been one or two ghost-seeing detectives, such as those depicted in Who Are You and the aptly titled Ghost-Seeing Detective Cheo Yong. But while this drama initially comes across as little more than the last gasp of a dying trend, it’s much better than that. You see, BORDER might read more be the first good paranormal procedural we’ve been treated to in ages.

As viewers are often reminded by the stylish introduction to each episode, Detective Ishikawa Ango walks the “border” between life and death. A mistake on the job lands him with a bullet lodged in his brain and a difficult decision to make: have surgery or leave it? BORDER begins when Ishikawa puts off the decision and returns to work. Each episode covers a different case, complete with a unique death and its matching ghost. Our hero interacts with the spirits and lines up what they have to say with the facts; oftentimes, the victim is even able to tell him who has done what. Though one might worry this takes away from the mystery, enough twists and turns are thrown in to keep things interesting.

Like with most procedurals, not all crimes are created equal. Some episodes are stronger than others, with the most uneven occurring smack dab in the middle. I did like that not every victim was likable or even a particularly good person; it allowed the story to go in different directions than expected. There was also a double-meaning in the word “border,” which factors in as added complexity to the theme.

BORDER struggles most because of its predilection for exposition. Even at the start, we zip right through the “how” of Ishikawa’s powers came to be. Only a few moments pass before he’s tossed into his first case. Case denouements come across as spoon-feeding at times, or like a snippet from a script outline. A good example can be seen in an entire character: our female coroner. She is described rather than developed, tending to speak in sentences full of exposition. When the narrative stands on its own legs with a bit more subtlety (as in the seventh case) this drama watches much better. Plus, the ending simply screams for a sequel which might be good or bad depending on the viewer.

Perhaps the greatest strength of BORDER rests in its solid atmosphere. Cold colors and dark lighting work to build a flawless mood which goes unshaken for the duration of the series. Famous composer Kawai Kenji lends his talents to the soundtrack, resulting in many instances of eeriness and memorability. There are few vocals as expected, but what we get is great (such as the theme evils fall by MAN WITH A MISSION). I particularly enjoyed the creepy choral theme which plays from time to time. However, the scope of music is a touch limited—it might get repetitive for some viewers.

Unfortunately, few cast members are of note. We have Oguri Shun who is gripping as Ishikawa, despite how stoic and lifeless the character ought to be. In one early scene, the character describes his life as waiting for the next big case—with little else worth mentioning. As time goes on and Ishikawa develops more, this talented actor gets more room to stretch his wings. He is particularly impressive in the last few episodes, where more range is necessary. The other performances are forgettable, with the exception of certain guest stars and those strange little hackers (Nomaguchi Toru and Hamano Kenta).
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10 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jun 6, 2014
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
This drama was my introduction to JDrama and I am glad that I ventured outside of KDrama. Oguri Shun and the other cast members portrayed their characters very convincingly and I especially liked the dark undertone of the show. I also appreciated the understated approach of the show; the characters were not overly emotional or reacted to situations in an exaggerated manner. Each episode dealt with different crimes and most of them read more were quite original. I would recommend this drama to anyone who enjoys good crime dramas.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (8)Recommendations

- It looks like a detective drama, but more psychology crime
- Have Haru on both
Recommended by blueribbon
Both are from the same screenwriter Kaneshiro Kazuki and I both are crime doramas. I got from similat feel from them, but I find BORDER a bit darker in execution. Both are interiting watch with great ending.
Recommended by moirain

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Comments (96)

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    blueribbon Aug 11, 2017 - edited

    Well written. Just don't see it as a detective drama, it's more psychology crime tbh. And the best ending ever! I don't think it needs second season, but i'm excited anyway for the SP

  • Reply
    Supermeganerd Jun 21, 2017 - edited

    Holy cow, this is getting another season! I'm so excited to see how this continues considering how shocking the ending was >.<

    • Reply
      dejawufan Aug 3, 2017

      Omg I'm so happy you shared this news! I was worried that they were never going to make a 2nd season.

  • Reply
    Hisato Jan 26, 2017

    Overrated af, everything was average. Struggled to finish it.

  • Reply
    SaraD Nov 22, 2016 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    tatka Sep 30, 2016
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    iambulletproof Sep 7, 2016 - edited

    this definitely needs a second season. this is your not usual detective story. it has little bit of darkside and injustice too. i hate it but love it at the same time. no romance just pure mystery and crime solving

    • Reply
      oumaima Sep 18, 2016

      that's what i like about jdrama,they don't go around mixing every genre with romance

    • Reply
      Neel Jun 15, 2017

      its getting a second season! :)

  • Reply
    ScarletStar Jul 16, 2016

    I have to say the ending was something. It left us thinking about things that we are afraid to admit. I just can't figure out yet whether a second season is good, or what kind of story it should have. Nonetheless, its a good drama.

  • Reply
    zahra Mar 15, 2016

    2nd season... pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase...

  • Reply
    zombiehero Mar 7, 2016

    I agree with others that the end left some things to desire, I basically wanted more - further development especially for the many interesting side characters (the coroner, the hacker duo, the yakuza boss, the "benriya" type man) and further show of Ishikawa's character and how he changes. This really needs a second season!

  • Reply
    Itchan Jan 22, 2016

    If anyone is interested, the first chapter of the manga was scanlated.

  • Reply
    Mica Dec 7, 2015

    This drama was definitely strong, but it's getting a 7.5/10 from me. Loved the psychological warfare throughout the show. However, the ending needed to be packaged a little better. It was like receiving a beautiful, expensive watch as a gift, and it in a plastic bag instead of a sealed gift box.

    The story line could have been a little better as well... some episodes were strong, while others could have not been given away so easily. I wanted him to spend more of the show being the detective rather than having the ghost tell him the answer. Though... I must say, the way the man died in episode 5 was pretty hilarious. I actually laughed when he explained it.

    The show obviously screams for a season 2 or special with the way it ended.

  • Reply
    tropka Nov 25, 2015

    I was impressed with the ending. Many good dramas have terrible endings but I don't have any complaints here

  • Reply
    LotusElan Nov 25, 2015

    What a show! This was so GOOD!

  • Reply
    LotusElan Nov 25, 2015 - edited

    I just realized the two tech buddies were posing as Simon & Garfunkel in their screen saver picture! Anyone else notice this? Haha!
    Edit: I just realized that's what they are called in the cast list.

  • Reply
    WhiteGoldMVs1 Oct 16, 2015 - edited

    I feel like this drama is underrated by the reviews. This was beyond fantastic and I feel like it wasn't just the build of events that made it fantastic but also the build of characters and their relationship with each other.

    • Reply
      Simplifica Oct 30, 2015

      Like I said before, I think 70% of watchers judge this drama as mystery/investigation drama, thats why they disappointed. They overlook the best thing about BORDER, the psychological side ...


  • Country:

  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Apr 10, 2014 to Jun 5, 2014
  • Aired On:

  • Network:

    TV Asahi
  • Duration:

    54 min.


  • Score:

    8.2 (scored by 1,365 users)
  • Ranked:

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