Kamenashi plays Yamaneko the eccentric and mysterious 'Phantom Thief' who steals from the corrupted rich and while exposing their misdeeds. Along for the ride is: Hideo Katsumura a magazine reporter who (at Yamaneko's request) is writing a feature on the 'Phantom Thief', and, Mao Takasugi is a bullied schoolgirl who is secretly a genius hacker.
Cast & Credits
Firstly I've got to say DON'T READ SPOILERS! Don't scroll down to the comments or look for screenshots! You'll thank me later! Some of the best moments come from the crazy twists this drama throws at you. That's partly why the story didn't go in the direction I was expecting.
Episode to episode it's not as over-arching-plot driven as most mysteries. Some may call some KTY episodes 'filler' as it's focus is rarely it's over arching plot. It's focus is instead on it's fantastic characters. You will fall in love with every one of them I guarantee it. No character is cheaply written, every character has real heart behind them and when the mystery does pick up speed in episode 8 you really care about who these people are and what's happening to them.
The acting is phenomenal. Kamenashi really gives it his all and clearly had a blast playing Yamaneko. He goes from goofy comedy, to heat wrenching drama, to back-flippin' action with ease and is supported by a fantastic cast. Narimya perfectly plays the put-upon and abused Katsumura and later in the series really pulls out all the stops. Hirose went way beyond my expectations almost immediately. Sasaki's comic timing is perfect, Otsuka and Nanao also made me love them, and Ikeuchi was perfect. In fact, all these actors and the other supporting/guest actors were so perfectly cast it's astounding!
It's certainly not your average jdrama score. The way the orchestral theme music came in every time, either comically or seriously, was perfect and really sets you up for this slightly bizarre drama. The rest of the music throughout the episode is also brilliantly scored, the composer really outdid himself! UNLOCK by KAT-TUN, apart from being one of their best singles (imo), fits nicely into this drama and is never misplaced only ever coming in at the end and never drowns anything out.
While this drama was coming out I was watching every episode two or three times! It's hilarious, cute, and Kame is a lovely bit of eye-candy when he's not acting like a doofus (and sometimes when he is). However as with any mystery once you know then ending and all the twists - watching it from episode one again is a completely different experience. So it's hard to say this is completely rewatchable but I certainly will come back to it in a month or so as it is quite episodic.
The ending has been a problem for some people and I can see where they are coming from. When I first watched it I was a bit taken aback. It's not that things are left hanging (though there is room for a sequel). As I said, you really end up loving these characters and to see what happens to them... it's not unsatisfying it's just unexpected. Once I had finally digested the events of the last three episodes I actually think I ended up respecting the show more. As with any show that has twists, things don't always go the way you were expecting.
Speaking of expectations - this drama had far more comedy than I was first l thought it would!
This drama really packs a punch. From episode one to ten I was 100% on board loving every second. As a Kame fan I must admit that I sometimes do the very bad thing of skipping every scene Kame is not in. However, with this series I had literally no desire to do that. Every character is well acted and the story is very compelling. I highly recommend this series to anyone be they a Kame fan or not!
Wait, let me try this again.
Absolutely watch this dorama if you're looking for a different kind of crime series.
I am no expert on the matter, but I believe crime series are mostly about heists and police running about trying to catch the bad guys. In here, of course, you will find all that - Yamaneko is a ''criminal'' after all, - but you will also find a bit of mystery, quite a bit of sass, a lot of friendship, and loads of comedy. What you will also find is a variety of amazingly well constructed characters that will make you fall in love with them as the series progresses.
Speaking of the characters... don't fall in love with the characters or you'll get feels and you'll die. Or, as some people may put it, every character is so real and so genuine you will definitely get attached to them and, when time comes to say goodbye, you'll feel like you've lost a dear friend. That's what the characters do to you, and that's, no doubt, thanks to the great performance given by the stellar cast, especially Kamenashi Kazuya and Narimiya Hiroki.
Kamenashi absolutely slays it as Yamaneko, going from comedy to action to drama in a split second and in the most realistic way. I've seen some of his previous work, and I have to say he manages to surprise me more and more with each role he gets. Narimiya was, to put it in Yamaneko's words ''fantastic!'' He can hold his own against Kamenashi, and really goes all out as Katsumura, especially in later episodes.
As for the rest of the cast, each of them was phenomenal in their role. If I have to be completely honest, I would have liked for Rikako-san and Mao's relationship to be explored more, because they were both strong people who needed each other, and I found that beautiful. Maybe in the (probable?) next season, who knows. The police officers were great as well - and I especially appreciated Sakura's clumsiness and awkwardness when it comes to her senpai. lol
I liked the music a lot! The main theme is great, and I keep whistling and mumbling it to myself from time to time. The ending theme, which I believe is from Kame's boyband, is good, but not that memorable, in my opinion. Maybe it's because we never got to actually hear it, but it was always played in the background, so I never really paid attention to it.
The rewatch value is somewhat high because this series is enjoyable even after the ''mystery'' component is gone. The characters and the comedy stay with you and compel you to watch the episodes again, to laugh with them once more, just for a bit...
Overall, I am very pleased with this roller coaster of a dorama. Nya~!