Avalanche (2021) poster
8.0
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 564 users
# of Watchers: 1,747
Reviews: 6 users
Ranked #2329
Popularity #5722
Watchers 564

Habu Seiichi is a member of the mysterious outlaw group Avalanche. The group exists at a time when moral hazards run rampant among politicians, bureaucrats, businesses and even among ordinary people. (Source: AsianWiki) Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • עברית / עִבְרִית
  • dansk
  • Country: Japan
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 10
  • Aired: Oct 18, 2021 - Dec 20, 2021
  • Aired On: Monday
  • Original Network: Fuji TV Kansai TV
  • Duration: 54 min.
  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 564 users)
  • Ranked: #2329
  • Popularity: #5722
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Cast & Credits

Photos

Avalanche (2021) photo
Avalanche (2021) photo
Avalanche (2021) photo
Avalanche (2021) photo
Avalanche (2021) photo
Avalanche (2021) photo

Reviews

Completed
WandereR
17 people found this review helpful
Jan 27, 2022
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 7
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 8.0

Poetic Justice

Avalanche truly is an underrated gem and I’m so glad to have come across it right here on MDL. From the J-dramas I’ve seen recently, this one certainly ranks as one of the better productions and is fully deserving of more attention as well as international viewership. In fact, it probably should have its own slot on the major distribution sites such as Netflix or Disney+.

It shares a similarly-themed premise in the mould of Taxi Driver, Leverage, Bad Guys and many others, with a story that focuses on a team of vigilantes taking it upon themselves to deliver justice where the local enforcement and judiciary have failed. In this case, it gets a little more complicated than that. Although based on an episodic format, the separate cases that involve an unhealthy dose of social injustice are inextricably linked to the grand scheme of things - political conspiracy of the highest order where the upper echelons of the Japanese government are mired in corruption amidst the nefarious schemes of a powerful individual. The vigilantes are not merely performing good deeds out of the kindness of their hearts for they truly embody the spirit of Team Avengers, with a hint of subversion. As victims of conspiratorial collateral damage themselves, they are seeking to right the wrongs that had been inflicted upon them.

The drama is a co-production between Kansai Television Co. and reputable production house Tristone Pictures, and was broadcast by both Kansai TV and its affiliate, Fuji TV. It also represents a revival of Kansai TV’s “Monday Night 10pm serial drama” format, being the first drama to be aired on this time slot since 1996.

Avalanche is co-directed the cinematographer-screenwriter-director and multiple award-winning Fujii Michihito (Shinbun Kisha, Fuujinshi, 100-manen no Onna-tachi), the experienced Miyake Yoshishige and the young director Kento Yamaguchi. The story is based on the original screenplay written by Amane Marumo, Masaaki Sakai (Red Eyes: Kanshi Sousa-han), Aya Takei, Natsumi Kakesu, Michihito Fujii, Takeshi Aoshima (dele), and Kazuhisa Kodera (Shinbun Kisha, The Naked Director 2). The contemporary synth-pop rock theme song, also titled Avalanche, is performed by the Japanese 6-member rock band UVERworld.

What I Liked

In terms of the technical execution, this drama looks very much like a premium subscription network production rather than a free-to-air TV offering. The high production values along with the exceptional qualities of cinematic colour grading, direction, acting, art direction and set designs, cinematography, post-production editing, scene transitions, special effects, accompanying music score and action choreography appear very sleek and well rendered indeed.

From the storytelling perspective, this vibes very much like a US production, IMHO. The direct and no-nonsense storytelling approach, the thematic depth of the narrative and characterizations, the balance between slowburn intensity, high-octane action and delicately fragile moments, while even the conceptual visuals of the title sequence are all reminiscent of series like Homeland and The Americans. I was particularly impressed with the multiple plot twists towards the business end of the drama that were totally unexpected.

The cast performances in this production are top-tier. I was particularly impressed with Ayano Go and Kimura Yoshino who portrayed the leads, Habu Seiichi and Yamamori Michiyo respectively. Each character demonstrates a comprehensive gamut of emotional intensity while I also appreciated the subtly measured and nuanced manner of the depiction. You will not find any trace of hysterical over dramatic acting in this show, which is a huge plus point for me. The ever charming and versatile Watabe Atsuro stars as the antagonist this time and he convinces as the charismatic and suave politician, Oyama Kengo. Although credited as a supporting character with limited screen time, he certainly exudes a sufficiently villainous aura to make his presence felt.

Takahashi Maryjun as the ex-special forces operative Akashi Rina, Chiba Yudai playing the genius hacker Makihara Taishi, and Fukushi Sota’s Saijo Eisuke are the other protagonists that intrigued me with their rather significant character arcs in the story. I did find Yamanaka Takashi’s super efficient CIRO investigator Kirishima Yuji to be a very interesting side character as well.

What Fell Short

The conclusion to the story feels rushed and somewhat undercooked, IMHO. The wheels begin turning towards the final arc in episode 8 with a dramatic turn of events but eventually culminating in an unsatisfactory end for nearly everyone involved, including the antagonists.

Additionally, certain aspects of the crucial plot points appear surreal and ridiculous, particularly those involving the Prime Minister and his rather incompetent security detail. The Japanese head of state is in dire need of a qualified entourage of bodyguards if the depiction in this drama is anything to go by.

Final Thoughts

Despite the lacklustre ending, Avalanche remains overall a very well crafted and high quality production. A sequel is highly unlikely and perhaps not quite needed because the closure to the narrative is neatly wrapped up within this single season. As a one time watch, this was well worth the viewing experience indeed.

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Completed
sunflowershine
4 people found this review helpful
Jan 22, 2022
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

Slick and engaging action drama with a stronger second half

Avalanche is one of the autumn 2021 dramas that dominated most of the reviews and polls, and for good reason. It is a smoothly-directed political action series littered with engaging scenes and a tight pacing.

✦ STORY ✦
The plot isn't anything new - a group of outlaws set to expose the wrongdoings of political figures, but the series managed to level it up with tight pacing. The main aim of the group is exposed at the second half as they set to deal with the "big boss" of sorts, and this is the fun part as the series is running on adrenaline due to the chess play of the characters. The first half is the classic one-case-at-a-time, and I was almost set to believe that the procedural format will persist until the end, but episode 5 proved me wrong, to my relief. Avalanche picked up its pace at the second half, and it's even better than the first half in my opinion. The first four episodes dealt with cases that let us see into the lives of some members of Avalanche, giving insight on what made them join the group and how it affected them. As it is though, the action genre usually suffers from lacking character depth, and that's what happened here. While I'm satisfied with the storyline, I was out here wishing for more fleshing out for most of our characters, especially for Watabe Atsuro's Oyama. What I appreciate though, is how they showed the obstacles along the way, how Avalanche were beaten with these, and how they got around to pushing through despite it. The action choreography was also good for a TV drama, and the camerawork during these scenes is done well enough for the audience to follow it smoothly.


✦ ACTING/CAST ✦
The cast did good in their respective roles. Ayano Go definitely suits this genre, and the rest of the Avalanche members held off well on their own. Fukushi Souta surprised me because he actually did well as Saijo Eisuke, so props to Director Michihito Fuji for directing him well. Watabe Atsuro as the big guy opposite Avalanche did well, too, he carried the charisma and composure of Oyama with ease.


✦ MUSIC ✦
The music suit the series, in general. Nothing is too jarring, the tracks complement each scene they play in. Particular favorites are the drumming song (first heard in E01 when Yamamori called the team in) and the main theme, which is played in the opening title scene. And yeah I have to say, Avalanche has probably the most beautiful opening title scene in autumn 2021, I can't stop looping it lol.


✦ REWATCH VALUE ✦
With the revelations in the 2nd half, you're sure to keep a close eye on things upon watching the series a second time around. Nothing beats watching it the first time though, experiencing the thrills for the first time, especially when you get to the 2nd half of the story. Nevertheless, it will be fun to watch again as Avalanche tries to achieve their goal, even with all the odds against them.

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Details

  • Drama: Avalanche
  • Country: Japan
  • Episodes: 10
  • Aired: Oct 18, 2021 - Dec 20, 2021
  • Aired On: Monday
  • Original Network: Fuji TV, Kansai TV
  • Duration: 54 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Statistics

  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 564 users)
  • Ranked: #2329
  • Popularity: #5722
  • Watchers: 1,747

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