This drama is set in the late 1960s decade of Japan and depicts the rivalry between Manpyo Daisuke, a powerful banker, and his eldest son, Manpyo Teppei, the executive managing director of a steel firm. For reasons not yet entirely clear, Daisuke seems to dislike his own son and when Teppei finds out why, the Manpyo family is turned upside down with fatal consequences.
Cast & Credits
The grandiose nature of this drama can initially feel a tad overblown before you are engaged by the plot; every character is introduced on screen in each episode with text denoting their name and association to other characters or establishments, the music is mostly orchestral, with a good choice in The Eagles' "Desperado" thrown in, and sweeping overtures throughout the series give the whole thing a sense of huge importance. This, combined with the enthusiasm and respect of those who support the central character feels slightly false at first. Only very slightly.
This foundation is well laid, however, as the story that unfolds is so engaging, the enemy so cruel and terrible in the face of such unceasing, hopeless optimism, that anything less is scale would fail to support it through to the final climax.
The story is a sad one, but necessarily so. The characters who give the drama its light alleviate the pain of the circumstances forever falling upon them.
The acting is sublime, Kimura Takuya has not crafted such a reputation out of thin air after all, but for me it is Kitaoji Kinya's Manpyo Daisuke that steals the show, the nuances of his expression so readable whilst retaining the stone-faced airs of a powerful executive.
For me, whilst immediately impressed by the quality of the drama it needed an initial investment of time; I didn't feel compelled to watch episode after episode, although by episode 6 this feeling changed and I was very keen to progress with the story. Like all dramas that feel this way, the investment of time into a few well thought-out starting episodes, that do not spoil us with too much all at once and establish characters and circumstance evenly and with skill, is worth the payoff and more.
What's more, the social setting of 1960's Japan is interesting, a time of great transition for the country.
In regards to my average score for rewatch value, I hasten to add that my PTW is getting so long, it would have to be the most incredible drama for me to watch it again before deciding to watch anything else. Others may enjoy watching the same thing many times, but for me I am keen to try new things, so please don't let that put you off.
What's more, some scenes in this drama were so striking I am certain that they will be very clear in my memory for some time to come.
If I could give it a score out of 10 to recommend you watch it I'd give it a 10; it's good to see the serious and highly professional side of the drama world amongst all the dreamy good stuff that we all enjoy!
I urge you all to give this one a go!