Reiji Mano is a forensic science researcher at the Scientific Research Laboratory in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. He is good at his job, possessing a vast amount of knowledge and having excellent technique. However, he is a lone wolf who does not cooperate with others. When he works on a case, he focuses exclusively on hard facts, ignoring speculation. Reiji Mano hates the media and their thirst for sensational news. When he was a child, Reiji Mano experienced a terrible case. He has looked for the truth in that case ever since. Nonna Sawaguchi is a rookie forensic science researcher who begins to work with Reiji Mano. Because of their work together, Reiji Mano begins to open his mind to others and Nonna Sawaguchi matures as a forensic science researcher.[MyDramaList] Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
I can honestly say that this is one of the most intense, dramatic, surreal shows I have ever watched; Japanese, South Korean, or otherwise! When I heard about this show, I was immediately attracted because of the genre (forensics/police/crime/etc..) but I didn't want to watch it so soon because I wanted to watch this show based on its story and not be biased because of the popularity of its cast since the genre is one of my favorites. I am so glad I waited for the first wave of hype to die down because I was not disappointed at all!
The fact that this show is a police/forensic/medical/crime/etc... show is what drew me in but that was only halfway, of course, the other half was because I had faith in (this may sound hypocritical) the cast selected: Nishikido Ryo, Araki Yuko, Yamazaki Shigenori, Sasai Eisuke, Koyuki, Funakoshi Eiichiro, and the multitude of extremely talented guests. However, do not let the cast fool you! The real gem of this show is, in fact, the story alone!
Yes, everyone involved with this show did an outstanding, superb, exceptional job from work on the set, to directing, to portraying their characters, and so much more. Not one moment of this show is wasted in any way, shape or form. The amount of hard work, respect, talent, and genuine love for the show was so strong that it pulled me to continue watching and I binge-watched the entire show in one day.
To me, this show did seem to be lacking something, but to be honest I could never put my finger on it and once I finished watching I completely forgot what it could have possibly been. Each episode slowly but surely lays the trail of the finale, if you blink you may miss something important. There were episodes where I thought I could predict the outcome, but I was completely wrong; this goes for the final episode, too! I could never have thought of, nor have I ever seen, a drama/tv show/movie/play/book that had this shows genuinely honest and raw intensity.
If you pass on this show just because of a few comments/reviews or because you don't like a certain actor/actress then you are missing out on a once in a life time story.
First of all, I have seen a couple of similar type (crime/detective/mystery etc.) South Korean dramas and movies but had never given a try to a Japanese one before. With that being said, when I found a certain list of someone else's recommended Japanese dramas that included this title I decided to check it out as I have enjoyed the other ones I have watched in the past quite a lot and could call myself somewhat a fan of this specific genre. I might have watched it with no expectations if not for the few familiar actors that I recognized (in main lead Nishikido Ryo from 1 Litre of Tears that is still my favourite Japanese title up to this day, and Koyuki from not as famous Persona Non Grata movie but which I enjoyed quite a lot too and have met the actress live on its premiere). Let me tell you it did not disappoint at all! The drama might have started quite slow but as it progressed it certainly quite quickly grew on me.
Story of this title is definitely put out very well and did not feel too long nor too short, if anything I wouldn't have minded a bit longer one either. Every single episode, maybe with one or few small exceptions here and there, was intriguing and progressed together with the development of characters, their relationships and bonds. Although with no romance that many of the dramas include it was no less emotional (many individual cases and their stories have made me shed a tear). This is certainly not a show that will make you laugh often or feel relaxed though. To the contrary, it is very much tensed as it builds up all the way to the climax of the story. To be honest, I have definitely not expected it to end like that and it left me speechless, impressed and with many thoughts for a while. Now as mentioned, although for the most part amazingly directed some of the episodes does lack a bit of work on the main characters and end up focusing on the case too much or cutting out some parts which are left out or later explained in a narrator voice usually through Mano, Sawaguchi or Toramaru. Also, specifically episode 8 in my opinion did not have a lot of purpose that the other episodes had in neither story, nor character development. To the contrary it kind of left out the main characters whatsoever and felt a bit out of place. Because of that I cannot give it a 10 but its a generous 9.5/10 for the story which is still great.
As mentioned before I was already familiar with some of the actors from cast and was a fan of their work. Especially the main lead male actor Nishikido Ryo who I think did a fantastic job in playing cold loner Mano/Reiji who had experienced so much as a kid and that translates well in his actions and attitude as an adult. But the rest of the crew had me surprised and no less impressed too! Starting with Araki Yuko who played Sawaguchi and Funakoshi Eiichiro who played Toramaru. I had fallen for Sawaguchi since the beginning of her first screen time and actually kind of disliked the cocky attitude of Toramaru at first, but then it shifted pretty fast and I became to like him too. In general, I think he had one of the best character developments together with Mano. The rest of the crew who did support and guests roles did a good job on their end as well. However, the actor that impressed me the most would probably have to be Chihara Junior who played the main antagonist Dan Hiroki. By mostly only appearing in the last few episodes of the drama he had left the biggest impact in such a relatively short screen time and became one of my most hated antagonists ever which alone says a lot about his acting 10/10.
As for the music, surprisingly I had kind of disliked the opening title track at first which is played quite often and extends more in certain episodes. It is a modern, electronic, even club-like beat which I thought didn't really match the genre of this show but eventually it had grew on me and I ended up liking it. Now I think that it represents the tension of this drama pretty well actually. Another great song that I love called "Crystal" which has a pretty uplifting, melo sound to it and is actually sung by Nishikido Ryo himself! 9/10.
My lowest score 7/10 which I gave to the rewatch value is not because it is not worthy rewatching but because I can hardly imagine myself watching it again anytime soon mainly because of it being pretty dark, intense and depressing as I had already mentioned. However, I would more than love a sequel to this, which considering the ending seems quite possible.
Overall Trace: Kasouken no Otoko gets a strong 9 out of 10 from me. It is a great show that I'm sure will move most of people. So if you are unsure whether or not you should watch it, I definitely recommend giving it a try!