Monday, April 16, 2012

Galileo Review (2007)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Kaoru Utsumi is a newly transferred detective assigned to investigate criminal cases, replacing the successful Shunpei Kusanagi. Eager to impress and in need of some investigative advice, Kusanagi suggests she try consulting Professor Manabu Yukawa, an somewhat eccentric physics professor at Teito University for help.

*Spoiler warning*

When first watching Galileo, the first drama that came to mind was Trick, however this drama was rather unlike that series both in tone and in substance. The relationship between Professor Yukawa and Utsumi is much more professional with more distance between them than between Ueda and Yamada. Secondly, the physics problems in this series are actually non-trivial, requiring some of the expertise of a physics professional, something I was a little bit surprised with as most series would cut corners and use relatively simple physics phenomena explainable with high school or elementary school physics knowledge. As a result, this series was more genuine in a way but at the same time, more distant and less personable.

Acting by Fukuyama Masaharu as Professor Yukawa Manabu was fairly solid. In comparison with Abe Hiroshi's physics professor from Trick, Yukawa-sensei seems much more believable as a physics professor with his continued emphasis on science although his random equation writing spurts generally don't fit in that well. Shibasaki Kou takes a slightly different approach than her usual dour characters. Utsumi Kaoru is brighter and less moody than the usual characters Kou takes on and she carries this out with moderate success. But somehow the relationship between the two never really spark as there isn't much rapport between them. Shinagawa Hiroshi's performance as Utsumi's partner Yuge Shiro was quite poor and rather forgettable, with his frequently rushed judgements and cookie cutter character. Maya Miki does a decent job as Jonouchi Sakurako and Watanabe Ikkei is mildly humorous as Yukawa's assistant but they don't really add too much to the series.

The soundtrack for this series is rather suitable, with mysterious tunes reminiscent of Harry Potter or Hana Yori Dango giving off a mystical, almost magical feel. But for most of the drama, minimal music and sound effects were used, relying more on actual conversations to fill up the audio. While the OST doesn't detract from the drama, it doesn't do much to enhance it either.

This was an interesting take on the usual physics vs paranormal battle. I certainly appreciated the emphasis on incorporating somewhat more advanced physics into the drama than usual. However, nothing was particularly memorable, from the relationship between Yukawa-sensei and Utsumi to the rather bland supporting cast. So even though each individual case provided a rather intriguing mystery to unravel, the entire drama was a tad disappointing. I certainly had higher expectations for Fukuyama Masaharu and Shibasaki Kou.

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