Saturday, April 7, 2012

Trick Review (2000 / 2002 / 2003)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Yamada Naoko, a mediocre magician who doesn't believe in spiritualists, is constantly being chased by her landlady for her overdue rent. Desperate for some cash, she decides to accept a challenge issued by Assistant Professor Ueda, a physics genius, who offers money to someone who can prove to him that magic exists. Naoko uses a simple magic trick and dupes the professor, uncovering his true purpose - to find someone to help him uncover the tricks used by a cult. Thus, their hilarious partnership begins as they start to root out all magical and spiritual impostors.

*Spoiler warning*

(As a special note, this review pretty much
applies to all 3 seasons of the Trick series as the
general atmosphere, acting, and overall style
of the series remain relatively consistent)

Trick follows the story of Yamada Naoko, an unsuccessful magician, and a physics professor, Ueda Jiro. The storyline for this drama is quite straightforward, offering a number of cases to be solved by our two unassuming leads. Generally, the tricks used in this drama are pretty good, and the screenwriters generally offer plausible explanations to guide the viewer through without making things seem too obvious. I generally appreciated emphasis on the fact that even a single trick could have many different ways in which to execute it. The only reason why this drama would not warrant a higher rating is the lack of real substance both in terms of plot or character development but again, this is never the intent of the show as they strive to keep things simple and straightforward.

Casting Nakama Yukie as Yamada Naoko and Abe Hiroshi as Ueda Jiro was an inspired decision. The pair  are a delightful combination exhibiting very strong chemistry, especially in their back and forth dialogue. Toss in hilarious Namase Katsuhisa, who later successful stars opposite Nakama Yukie again in Gokusen, playing the toupee-wearing police officer Yabe and you've got a real comedy on your hands. While most of the other characters were not spectacular, they served their purpose in showcasing a variety of magic tricks.

The music for this drama was kept to a minimal level with kooky sound effects and noises used to generate a mysteriously odd atmosphere. At the same time though, there is a whimsical feel to the effects that keep it from getting too dark or too serious.

Trick is a captivating mystery series that doesn't overpromise and delivers a comic punch with much humor. The script, music and delivery by Nakama Yukie and Abe Hiroshi all work together to great effect to leave you fully satisfied and asking for more. The drama never gets too weighty and easily shines because of its straightforward scripts and superb delivery.

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