Friday, March 16, 2012

Mr Brain Review (2009)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Decent

Kimura Takuya is a neuroscientist with the Institute of Police Science (IPS), an organization tasked with aiding the police with their most difficult investigations. His eccentric ways are not initially welcomed by his colleagues but as they see his expertise in action, their opinions slowly begin to change.

*Spoiler warning*

The idea of having what feels like an entire organization at the whim of a particular police case and devoted to an exclusive investigation seems a little over the top to me. I can certainly understand having forensic science departments aiding police but having the entire organization focus on a single case is a bit strange. In any case, whether that is actually the case or not, since the crimes examined in each of the episodes were pretty standard, there wasn't anything exceptionally good or bad to point out. The one minor thing was that they could have spent a little more time and effort elaborating on Tsukumo's background seeing as how they added the short prologue at the beginning but don't really go very far with it.

Its pretty rare for a drama with this caliber of casting to drop to this level (though I suspect it was the choice of the director/screenwriter more so than the actors themselves). Kimura Takuya's performance was passably eccentric with his occasionally bouts of insanity but Ayase Haruka had some trouble acting a little slow on the uptake. Ironically, this would have been an interesting case where Fukada Kyoko might have been better suited! Mizushima Hiro's Hiyashida-san and Kagawa Teruyuki's Tanbara-san really seemed to fall the most off the mark as their character caricatures didn't go over very well as real-life characters. Their extreme overacting and deliberate exaggeration was quite the turn-off in a number of episodes. Its probably also worth noting is that many famous guest stars were invited to participate in the series including Nakama Yukie, Koyuki, Gackt, Hirosue Ryoko, Shingo Katori, Kimura Tae, Kamenashi Kazuya, Aibu Saki etc. While there impact on the drama wasn't as big as the main cast, their acting abilities also ranged somewhat.

In my experience, music for most dramas is often used to enhance the feelings of a particular scene or to help evoke a general atmosphere for the audience. In this particular drama though, the music feels like it takes on a much more active role. From the crisp and clean melodies dotted with the clear tones of the piano, to high pitched electronic sounds to the use of many percussion instruments like cymbals, timpani or xylophones with reverb, the choice of the music is rather unusual for a drama. There is a clear preference for percussive instruments used with the echo of a large room to give off a very hollow sound. I'm not sure what the intent was for this wide range of sounds but I felt it didn't quite fit in with the drama. The music selection wasn't exactly suitable for their respective scenes and was rather intrusive at times, to the point of being a distraction from the story.

Its pretty rare for a drama with a star-studded cast like this to fall below my expectations. It wasn't so much the stories that failed but more so the rendering of the main characters. Given the abilities of the cast, aside from Kimura Takuya's character, I would have expected a lot more than what I believe was a deliberate dumbing down of the characters, especially from Yuri, Hiyashida and Tanbara. Perhaps this might have been an effort to lighten up the drama with some comedy but it pretty much fell flat on its face. Truly a disappointment. And while the stories themselves were decent enough, the music selection accompanying it was too avant garde and didn't really sit well with the story. While it was certainly a highly original and interesting soundtrack, it was quite the distraction in this series, something I did not appreciate.

No comments:

Post a Comment