Tag Archive: Yashima Norito


HERO 2014 Ep 05 Review

This episode of HERO 2014 opens with Kawajiri (Matsushige Yutaka), the head of the prosecutor’s office, getting an offer for a new job that would pay more.

At the same time, the prosecutors have received their health exams (I guess these are required for government work?), and they find out that his cholesterol is double what it was last year. Sounds like he could do with a change of employment – it might be a matter of survival at this rate.

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Meanwhile, Asagi (Kitagawa Keiko) is lamenting her own results, which have worsened since the previous year. She blames it on the long hours Kuryu (Kimura Takuya) makes her work. I expect Kawajiri could also blame some of his health issue on Kuryu, given the way his face has been scrunching ever since Kuryu joined the office.

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Kawajiri tries very hard to maintain an even keel, keeping his face completely neutral as he begins to face complaints from the prosecutors about the workload. He gradually fails, though.

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His face gets fully contorted with Kuryu, of course. I can’t imagine this is good for his blood pressure.

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HERO 2014 Ep 04 Review

After a somewhat weak episode of HERO 2014, I’m mainly looking for Kuryu (Kimura Takuya) to get a decent case this time – no more contrived PSA lectures allowed. This episode doesn’t begin with Kuryu’s case, though, but with Uno (Hamada Gaku) getting a case about a scam artist which will require him to work with a prosecutor from Kyoto.

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The rest of the office is distraught because the temperature was set too low, but they settle down once they get something hot to drink . . .

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. . . so they’re in a relatively good mood when the Kyoto prosecutor appears and it turns out to be Nakamura Misuzu (Otsuka Nene), who was in this office in the first series but subsequently transferred.

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Nakamura greets all the holdovers from the first series, but also knows the prosecutor who basically plays the same role she did – Baba Reiko (Yoshida Yo).

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Of course, she still remembers Kuryu – who could forget him?

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Speaking of Kuryu, his case involves a guy who tried to steal a manhole cover. There had better be a good story behind this one, because if Kuryu is going to talk to the guy’s friends and family, find out that he’s an otherwise good guys who went astray, and then lecture him about the ills of stealing manhole covers . . . .

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There seems to be an interesting twist already, as Asagi (Kitagawa Keiko) and the thief recognize each other . . .

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. . . and we find out that Asagi used to be a hoodlum in her younger days. This should be interesting.

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What raises Kuryu’s suspicions, though, is the fact that sixty-two people wrote letters on the guy’s behalf, pleading for clemency. With that many people going to such lengths to help him, you’d think that he wouldn’t need to sell stolen steel to make ends meet.

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Nakamura introduces Uno to the case of the scam artist, but they’re sort of distracted because Suetsugu (Kohinata Fumiyo) is still infatuated with Nakamura after all this time and he doesn’t hide the fact.

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Asagi resists talking about her wilder days, but Kuryu is absolutely delighted by the revelation of her past, seeing it as explaining the more interesting aspects of her personality now.

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Ultimately, she only admits to being a very mild hoodlum.

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Uno’s attempt to question the scam artist doesn’t go so well because the suspect is a smooth talker. Suetsugu is still in daydream land.

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Outside of his office, Uno sees Kuryu taunting Asagi, and is stunned to find out about the less savory aspect of her past.

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Nakamura takes a totally different tact than Uno, and manages to corner the scam artist.

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Kuryu and Asagi visit the manhole at issue . . .

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. . . and then one of the people who wrote a letter on the thief’s behalf. This first guy seems very shady – he recognizes Asagi and treats her as if she was still part of his gang instead of as a prosecutor’s assistant. It doesn’t seem like he’s moved on and gone legit.

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Asagi is not happy with meeting her old acquaintances in this way.

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Nakamura reports her success to the boss . . .

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. . . and Suetsugu is torn between two stirrer sticks – one representing Nakamura and the other one Reiko. He also faces competition from Nakamura’s assistant.

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Kuryu and Asagi visit another person who wrote a letter – another old acquaintance of Asagi’s. This time, though, the woman noted that she was told to write the letter by the first guy they talked to – she didn’t write it out of any concern for the accused. In fact, she doesn’t even know the manhole cover thief well. The plot thickens.

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Kuryu ends up questioning everyone who wrote a letter and finds that most of them had simply done it because they were told to (good thing they didn’t bother to lie about it). That’s mighty suspicious, and Kuryu now wonders why the culprit’s real friends – the few who wrote the letter voluntarily – went to all this trouble on his behalf.

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Nakamura’s success leaves Uno doubting himself . . .

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. . . and he turns to Kuryu, complaining that graduating from Todai and having a pristine record hasn’t helped him at all.

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Kuryu’s response when Uno finally storms out is hilarious.

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New funny face from Kawajiri (Matsushige Yutaka):

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Kuryu finally gets Asagi to open up about her past – it’s about time we learned more about her.

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What happens after that gets more exciting and leads directly to the way the episode ends, so I’ll cut off the synopsis here.

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I will note that Uno gets the wrong idea about the changes he needs to make:

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Thankfully, Kawajiri puts his foot down and insists that Uno change back to his suit. We get another laugh after that, as Kuryu asks Kawajiri if it’s all right for him to show up to work in jeans and tee-shirt.

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This was a good episode – not exciting, but still well-paced. It helped that this one had a program time of 46 minutes – the regular hour block – instead of the longer duration of previous episodes.

The case eventually built into something substantial, and there weren’t any sermons. It was pretty easy to guess the true nature of the case once we found out the type of friend that supported the thief.

Kimura-san was especially good in this episode, getting a number of laughs from me. The main comedy was provided by Hamada-san as Uno and Kohinata-san as Suetsugu, and on both of those the acting was good, though there were only two really interesting scenes – one where the guard walks in on Suetsugu sitting in the dark, stunned, and the other with Uno dressed in imitation of Kuryu.

With any luck, the plots will continue to trend in this direction, and I’m hoping to see an even more compelling case next time.

HERO 2014 Ep 03 Review

Asagi (Kitagawa Keiko) is not happy with working long hours at the behest of Kuryu (Kimura Takuya), and the latest installment of HERO begins with her getting called by him once again during her off hours.

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A suspect has died in custody and the law requires that a prosecutor should be present during the autopsy, and Kuryu in turn requires Asagi to be present. He probably couldn’t have found a more unpleasant way to force her to work overtime, and it left her feeling sick.

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But the autopsy doesn’t reveal anything suspicious, so everyone just shrugs off the death of the suspect. The victim’s father calls, though, asking when the case will be brought to court, and they have to inform him of the suspect’s death. His reaction is understandably stunned, but also a bit odd.

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HERO 2014 Ep 02 Review

It looks like episodes of HERO 2014 are longer than just the normal hour block. I didn’t make a note of it in the first episode because premieres are often extended beyond the standard time slot, but this second episode is also longer – 57 minutes of program time, so probably an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and a half with commercials. I’m not complaining, though – as long as they can keep the pace up, the more entertainment the better.

This episode begins with the chief (Matsushige Yutaka) valiantly trying to assign cases to each prosecutor. However, they seem to just decide for themselves – all except Kiryuu (Kimura Takuya), who gets the leftover. The last two cases are sexual assaults where the offender gropes the victim, and Baba Reiko (Yoshida Yo) takes the repeat offender, leaving Kiryuu with the rich offender.

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As is often the case in Hero, there’s a focus on how justice differs for people from different classes. Kiryuu takes particular pleasure in making sure the rich guy doesn’t get away with things just because he can afford lawyers. So, how will he ensure this guy pays for his crime?

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Katsumata doesn’t deny that he grabbed a woman named Miyahara from behind, for which he was arrested. Fortunately, Miyahara fought back and was able to disable him until a nearby police officer could help. Katsumata still bears a bruise on his face and a pain in his ribs thanks to Miyahara’s efforts.

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HERO 2014 Ep 01 Review

The original HERO from 2001 was a legendary drama series thanks to its quick-witted dialogue, athletic pacing, and unique characterizations. None of its episodes drew less than a 30% rating, and it pushed many members of its cast into the forefront among Japanese actors, including Kimura Takuya, Abe Hiroshi, Kohinata Fumiyo, and Yashima Norito. How will this new season shape up, thirteen years later?

Most of the original cast is returning. Unfortunately, we will not see Abe Hiroshi-san nor Matsu Takako, who did a great job playing the female lead in 2001, but along with Kimura, Kohinata, and Yashima, Masana Bokuzo, Kadono Takuzo, and the infamous Tanaka Yoji also return. Notable additions to the cast are new female lead Kitagawa Keiko, Sugimoto Tetta, Hamada Gaku, Yoshida Yo, and Matsushige Yutaka. Altogether, a lot of familiar faces in this one.

The show begins much as the original did, with moments of apparent calm suddenly broken by a flurry of action and dialogue that makes it hard to keep up with the subtitles.

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We get a quick taste for the characters by watching them go about their normal business in the Tokyo Public Prosecutor’s Office as Asagi Chika (Kitagawa Keiko) waits to meet the new prosecutor she will be working with as secretary.

While billed as a legal/crime drama, I think it’s better classified as a comedy/mystery, and this introduction phase has a lot of the deadpan comedy that was also typical of the first series, and the exact same music from Hattori Takayuki-san.

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The major difference so far is the character of Asagi, who has her own personality and isn’t a carbon copy of Amamiya. I’m eager to see what kind of chemistry she will have with Kiryuu Kohei (Kimura Takuya), but as in the original, we don’t see Kiryuu for a while, taking in the prevailing culture of the prosecutor’s office first.

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