River’s Edge Ookawabata Tanteisha: Eps 1-3
Everyone, remember my favorite Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi, with the ultimate bromance of Tada (Eita) & Gyoten (Matsuda Ryuhei)? Remember those eccentric stories, the glimpses of random people’s strange lives, the slow smokes & the introspective feel of Mahoro? You might be wondering why I’m even bringing this up when this is not a post about Mahoro. 😛 (
it’s an excuse just to throw in a Tada & Gyoten picture.) Well, the same director & writer of Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi is BACK, this time with a new spring drama River’s Edge. YES!!!!
^MMM does this seem a bit familiar? 😉
I’m glad to say that River’s Edge has met the standards that its predecessor left behind. The two dramas have their similarities–the slow smokes, the characters who are drifting through life, the strange and random stories, the mellow vibes, and of course the awesome cinematography! But they also have their own distinct differences which sets them apart from each other. Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi had a kind of half-baked, lazy feel to it which embodied the town of Mahoro where the main characters lived. It was about two companions who were lazily going through life, living at their own pace, while still making a difference through their seemingly ‘trivial’ line of work. River’s Edge is still about human connections, with the main characters being interconnected with each other & with the clients that they work for. But its atmosphere is less lazy and more classy! Literally, River’s Edge will always bust out with a random AWESOME slow-mo scene with the jazzy music playing in the background, one of the characters coolly walking by, AHHHH. It’s just so much classier than Mahoro! It’s something about the awesome jazz OST for sure! 😉
And of course, River’s Edge has an awesome cast ensemble & very interesting characters. It’s about a small three-person detective agency that consists of: the boss, the secretary, and the detective. The boss’ name is unknown (at least, to the best of my knowledge it hasn’t been mentioned yet). He’s an old-timer who seems to have connections to the underworld, possibly due to a yakuza past. Still, his past is unknown but he has this kind of aura about him that makes him seem like he’s seen it all and done it all. All he has to do is just SIT THERE and he already looks like some cool wise old guru that has the secret to the meaning of life. LOL, ok I’m exaggerating but I am very curious about his life story since I bet you it’s good! At first I thought the boss would not be a very important or interesting character (after all the main buzz has been all about Odagiri Joe..) but it turns out he has a great commanding screen presence. I love his role so far, especially since he has kinda a bromance/mentor relationship with Odagiri Joe’s character.
The secretary is Megumi, a young woman who seems to be a bit out of place at the detective agency considering her 2 coworkers are an old guy and a sorta withdrawn detective, HEH. She has a very straightforward and cheerful personality, and is unafraid to declare that her most memorable asset is…her boobage. Ahaha! The thing I like about her is that she has such an open personality that she can take awkward situations and make them seem natural.
And lastly, the detective is Muraki (Odagiri Joe). He’s the one who mainly does all the investigating/field work, although he occasionally takes Megumi or the boss along with him. Muraki is always either sleeping/napping, smoking, or investigating. He lives a simplistic life in which he mainly focuses on his work and..sleeping. He always has the big picture in mind whenever he takes on a case, as he considers the implications of what solving each case will have for his clients. And the surprising thing is that he has a special ability of seeing premonitions in his dreams! I think that might be part of the reason why he is always sleeping; perhaps he sleeps more to see more of the future in his dreams? Hmm. So far his dreams have not played a huge role in the drama (not sure what genre the original manga was, but I don’t think it will go too deep into the premonitions) but they are a nice touch in the story-telling.
Usually when we think detective stories, we’d probably think about more interesting cases, or an exciting investigation of a cheating spouse, etc. But here we find that this private detective work is not nearly as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be (*cough* Lucky Seven *cough* 😛 ). The three cases we’ve seen so far are all very random and could even seem mundane. There are no exciting chases after the suspect, Sherlock Holmes deductions, etc. Instead it shows us how ordinary Muraki’s detective work really is and how strange the cases can actually be. The great thing about River’s Edge is that it’s not really focused on showing how brilliant the detective is, nor is it intent on always getting to the answer ASAP. Instead it’s more about showing different sides of people through Muraki’s detective work, and how Muraki can only solve his cases by understanding human nature.
River’s Edge is a very enjoyable and quick watch so far. This isn’t the kind of drama that will become super popular and it will probably seem slow and strange to some people. But if you like a more off-the-wall and unique drama with some great story-telling, I’d say you should give it a try. So far we haven’t gotten to know any of the main characters very well, but I’m sure it’ll come with time. I appreciate it a lot that we were not given some life-story narration in the beginning or anything like that. Instead we’re just thrown straight into a random time in the character’s lives, with little knowledge of their pasts or even their present. There’s something kind of refreshing about it..I guess because it feels like we really are outsiders looking in, unable to see much deeper into the characters’ perspectives until we get further into the drama.
I watched episode 1 raw and then rewatched with subs since it was harder to understand, but I’d say that eps 2-3 are easier to watch raw. Note that ep2 does have some more mature scenes. I also think people will inevitably say that they want longer episode lengths, so I’ll say it again..I think the shorter episodes actually do dramas a lot of good. There are a lot of great jdramas that have this same format of approximately 20-minute long episodes. I think the reason they’re so great is that they eliminate all of the unnecessary filler scenes and they just don’t have time for any crappy moments in the drama. It makes the drama succinct and straight to the point.
And you have to listen to River’s Edge’s OST, it’s AWESOME. I just discovered EGO-WRAPPIN’ through it and I love them already!