Friday, July 13, 2012

Kagi no Kakatta Heya Review (2012)

Drama Rating: **
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Enomoto Kei works for a security company and takes a strong personal interest in locked rooms. In other words, he is fascinated and obsessed with figuring out how a 'locked' room can be unlocked. His skills come into use when he encounters Serizawa and Aoto, two lawyers he happens to meet one day and who subsequently involve him in a number of 'locked room' cases.

*Spoiler warning*

I'm not sure how this drama locks in mid-teen ratings but it really seems far to high for a drama of this calibre. Although the basic premise is interesting in that it only explores cases with locked rooms, there are presumptions that make it quite hard to swallow. Some fundamental questions that continually plague the series include whether or not Aoto, Sato and Enomoto have any regular job/work to do, why the police never seem to investigate or dig too deeply into some of the cases and how Serizawa, Aoto and Enomoto always seem to have easy, unrestricted access to evidence and witnesses. Although these aren't dealbreakers, they definitely harm the credibility of the storylines.

The casting for this drama was rather abysmal. Besides Ohno Satoshi's questionably robotic performance as Enomoto Kei, Toda Erika as Aoto Junko was passable at best and dumb at worst. And while I'm usually not one for appearances, Toda Erika looked like a rabbit with overgrown front teeth in an awful grey suit. I'm sure they could have done a better job with her highly unsightly appearance. Sato Koichi was horrendous as Serizawa Gou, never once convincing me of his lawyer persona with his serious lack of domain specific terminology and seemingly underdeveloped logical and reasoning skills. Ohno's performance was the least unappealing although his emotionless character did little to ameliorate the drama.

To keep with the mysterious theme, this drama keeps up an energetic tone with the synthesizer and numerous sound effects to make this drama feel more intense and create a more suspenseful atmosphere. As mentioned though, since the drama was rather weak to begin with, it doesn't really help to mask its rather obvious shortcomings.

Although I understand the drama is primarily focused on locked rooms, IMHO, this doesn't excuse the director and screenwriter from doing such a poor job with every other aspect of the drama. While the locked room mysteries were decently set up and posed a fun puzzle to the viewer, everything else, from plot development to character portrayals, were abjectly neglected as detailed above. Perhaps this series is good as some light entertainment but it was barely passable at best as a drama.

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