Jdramas Winter 2015 Sampling: Ourobouros Eps 1-2 [First Impressions]
Hello all! I’m trying out a new post series where I write my first impressions on some dramas that I’m trying out. Writing my first impressions does NOT mean that I will necessarily continue reviewing these dramas. These first impressions are meant to give you a little ‘sampling’ of the current drama season. Think of them as a follow-up to my anticipated jdramas posts. 😉 Let me know what you think of this format!
Ouroboros is about two childhood friends–Ikuo (Ikuta Toma) and Tatsuya (Oguri Shun)–who vow to get revenge for the murder of their foster mom, Yuiko. (not sure exactly if she was a foster mom or an orphanage/group-home supervisor?) The murder was covered up by the higher-ups in the police. Except ironically, the cover up was done so badly that the police didn’t even bother to hide it from Ikuo and Tatsuya? Huh? And get this–the baddies are an elite group of people (in the police, government, etc.) who all wear limited edition gold Rolex watches. The group is called the “Kintokei” which literally means…GOLD WATCH. Not that subtle at all. T_T” So, Ikuo and Tatsuya infiltrate the ranks of the police and the yakuza to track down the baddies. They become vigilantes who go around killing off criminals while looking for the Kintokei.
Already, just from episodes 1-2 alone, we’ve seen tons of:
- Flashbacks to Ikuo and Tatsuya’s childhood memories
- Ikuo and Tatsuya solemnly saying together “We’ll kill them”
- Gold watches
- Ikuo and Tatsuya ‘secretly’ meeting together and having a full-on conversation back to back
- The Ouroboros symbol
I’m not a big fan of the flashbacks at all, already with episode 2 they are starting to feel repetitive. Whenever a flashback starts I feel the urge to just fast forward it. T_T We don’t need tons of flashbacks for the back story about Yuiko. Also the idea that the main characters have such a vivid memory of how Yuiko looked and every single word she said to them doesn’t fly by me. This happened like 15 years ago, there is no way that Ikuo & Tatsuya’s memories are 100% complete.
Ikuo is generally a happy go lucky dork who seems really harmless and innocent. But in fact, he’s an ace detective who is known for quickly solving crimes and apprehending criminals. (note that he does this with the help of Tatsuya, though) Plus he’s a revenge-driven vigilante who has no problem killing criminals. I think Ikuo has the potential to be an interesting character. After all, he is very duplicitous despite his innocent persona. He is pretending to be a law-abiding cop when in fact he has the ulterior motive of murder. The problem is that the only signs of his duplicity is when 1) He keeps on dropping random, obvious hints that something fishy is up with him! TO HIS DETECTIVE PARTNER!! I’m surprised he hasn’t been found out already! 2) He goes on his vigilante missions with Tatsuya. Aside from that, he doesn’t show his internal struggle between his two personas.
In terms of casting, I think Ikuta Toma is a good fit for this role. Yes, it’s hard to see how Ikuo transitions from his ‘good detective’ act to his real, darker self. But in terms of Ikuo’s dorkiness, Toma suits him so well, LOL. Most of us can agree that Oguri Shun is the stronger actor out of the two, but that’s not to say that Toma is a bad actor. I just think that Toma’s acting range is more limited and he tends to go for certain kinds of roles that suit him most.
Sorry Toma, I have to say that I still like Oguri Shun’s character better though. >_> Tatsuya is undoubtedly the more compelling character here. In contrast to Ikuo who’s pretending to be a righteous detective, Tatsuya is not posturing as a ‘bad yakuza’. He IS a yakuza and he is fully immersed in the underworld in order to get his revenge. I think the thing about Tatsuya that makes him more intriguing is that he’s more mysterious? I don’t know what it is! Oguri Shun really looks like the original character in the manga and of course, his voice suits him as well. (Oguri Shun has done voice acting for anime in the past) *W*
So, it’s obvious that I’m really enjoying seeing Oguri Shun & Ikuta Toma collaborating together once again. The downside of the Ouroboros is that for me, these two are the only reason to watch it. I took a peek at episodes 3-4 and they follows the same format of eps1-2 with Ikuo & Tatsuya bringing down a bad guy together at the very end. Already the plot is really predictable. On top of that, I can’t take the Kintokei seriously. HEH. I also think that the story could be told in a better way. As I said before, there is waaay too much use of flashbacks in this drama!!! T_T Lastly, my gripe with the story is that pretty much makes out the vigilantes to be heroes of justice when in fact, they are revenge-driven killers. Just because they bring down criminals doesn’t change the fact that they do it through murder.
Bottom Line: It’s great to see Oguri Shun & Ikuta Toma together, but I’m not sure that they are enough to keep me watching. If you are a fan of Shun & Toma, it may be worth checking this out to see their characters. But don’t expect an amazing plot.
Will I keep watching? Probably not. I have peeked at episodes 3-4 and they don’t seem to improve much from the first couple episodes.
More about Ouroboros:
- The drama is based off of the original manga Ouroboros: Keisatsu wo Sabaku Haware ni Ari.
- The theme song is “Sakura” by Arashi. (See below!)
- Ikuta Toma and Oguri Shun have collaborated 8 years ago in the hit jdrama Hana Kimi and the Hana Kimi SP.
- Popular actress Ueno Juri rounds up the cast as Ikuo’s detective partner. I didn’t have much to say about her character, so I didn’t mention her in my review. I’m pretty sure her dad is a member of the Kintokei.