Based on the same-titled novel, the drama is set in the year 1964, the year the Olympics were held in Tokyo. A nation trying to rebuild its economy post world war II, Japan was eager to show the world what it had to offer. Amidst all the excitement and enthusiasm, two fires had broken out consecutively; at the private residence of the Chief of Police, Suga Shuichiro, and then at the Nakano Police Academy. However, both incidents were hushed up, and even Detective Ochiai Masao, from Division One MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) had to find out about it from his fellow colleague. Ochiai was puzzled as to why no investigations were being carried out and it soon came to light that prior to the first fire at the Chief's home, a threatening letter had been sent to the MPD. In view of the upcoming Olympics, everyone at the MPD were feeling jittery over the letter and the arson, and thus a team was set up to ensure the safety of the public during the event. Ochiai and his team mates were to carry out the investigation secretly. Information came to Ochiai, that some 25 tubes of dynamite were stolen from a gunpowder factory. While questioning the owner, Ochiai was introduced to Shimazaki Kunio, a poor student from Akita prefecture, attending Tokyo University and working part-time there. Suspecting him of the crime, Ochiai started digging around into Shimazaki's life and was surprised to find out that his own sister, Yumi, was actually dating Shimazaki!
Cast & Credits
While I found the investigation aspect tight and fascinating, palpable suspense falls somewhat low. There was definitely an air of “racing against the clock,” but the actual culprit becomes apparent too soon. Nevertheless, learning about that person’s mindset and motivations retain interest. My attention often caught on the atmosphere built by the depicted time period; the clothing, cars, and social activities truly seemed accurate. And the feeling of a city ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world? That was well presented too, though the viewer’s time is spent primarily with the case. I would note that this SP leaves me with little desire to see it again; enjoying it once seems to be enough. Time will tell.
How about that cast? If one takes a quick peek at the listing, one might be taken aback at the sheer amount of star power contained there. Names such as Amami Yuki, Kuroki Meisa, Sawamura Ikki, and many more represent the supporting cast alone. Of the leads, we have Takenouchi Yutaka and Matsuyama Kenichi, both remarkable whatever the role. Matsuyama-san in particular performs with great energy and depth, though Takenouchi appears fresh-faced and blue-collar heroic. My only complaint would be how crowded the drama feels at times; it’s a little weird to see so many familiar and famous faces at once, even should they perform well.
Incidental music suits each scene nicely. Most offerings add something to the instance they are used in. Unfortunately, none are particularly memorable after the fact. This also accounts for the lack of vocal pieces, which typically add to score memorability.