JIN: Drama ReviewApril 9, 2011
Description: The story follows a brain surgeon named, Minakata Jin (Osawa Takao), who has spent the last two years in anguish, as his fiancee lies in a vegetative state after an operation he performed. One day, he faints at the hospital and awakens to find himself transported back in time to the Edo period. He is soon attacked by a samurai, but he escapes with the help of a man named Kyotaro (Koide Keisuke). Kyotaro suffers a serious injury to the head while trying to protect him, but Jin manages to save his life despite a lack of proper medical equipment. Because of that, Kyotaro’s sister, Saki (Haruka Ayase), begins taking an interest in Jin and becomes his assistant. Meanwhile, Jin is determined to find a way back to the present. (Source: TokyoGraph)
MISIA – 逢いたくていま (“Aitakute Ima”)
JIN is a science fiction, medical, and jidaigeki (period drama, usually in the Edo period) television drama enclosed in 11 episodes. The show is based on a manga that goes by the same title and is by Murakami Motoka. It was broadcasted on TBS from October 11, 2009 to December 20, 2009 and garnered a viewship rating of 18.9% in the Kanto region. JIN stars Osawa Takao as the lead, Minakata Jin, and Haruka Ayase as Tachibana Saki. The show also has a number of familiar faces such as Koide Keisuki, Kohinata Fumiyo, Takeda Tetsuya, and Nakatani Miki.
A major factor that contributes to the show is the outstanding performances by the cast. I’m familiar with Osawa Takao since I watched the movie Ichi (2008) which happens to star Haruka Ayase. These two are quite the dynamic duo and happen to compliment each other well on set, moreover they are both versatile actors. Osawa Takao was able to capture Jin with ease and he was able to let the viewers feel for Jin as he struggled in a different time period. Haruka Ayase definitely made a great impression since I was use to her in Hotaru no Hikari. Ayase attained a role that was a 360 degree difference from the comical Hotaru. It really shows how much range Ayase is capable of. A side note, if you’ve seen movie Cyborg She (2008), Koide Keisuke and Ayase both star in the movie and he happens to be playing Ayase’s older brother!
A great addition to the cast was Uchino Masaaki as Sakamoto Ryoma. Masaaki definitely bought a spark to the drama, highlighting Ryoma’s goofiness and quirks. However, Ryoma was not just comical, he had his serious side. After all, Sakamoto Ryoma is actual an important figure in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate (bakufu or Edo bakufu), which was a feudal regime in Japan. Since I do not know much information about Ryoma’s history and accomplishments, if you are curious go to the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum website for more details. All the cast contributed to the show and each character become realistic as we view his or her struggles and hardships. It gives the viewers a connection with the characters and creates a better understanding for his or her actions.
I will admit, I was not interest from the get go. It was a bit slow, but all the show is doing is setting the background for the viewers. It’s not like a Korean drama and last for a good three to five episodes before the actual plot starts to roll. Thank goodness! Believe me, once Jin travels back (within the first episode) to the Edo period, the viewers become entranced in the new (er, old..) and perplexed world that Jin enters. Throughout JIN, its simple plot is able to compel viewers to reflect upon its themes such as the meaning of life and how much we as humans are willing to sacrifice for others. Many of these themes cause a dilemma in the show and Jin has to make the right choices in order not to affect the present in a negative way. The plot is engaging and leaves viewers wondering what Jin’s next move, I felt that it got a bit slow near the end (or maybe the middle…), but the show picked recovered.
The biggest downfall of the show is the ending. It was such a disappointment. Now I am unsure if JIN, the manga series, was incomplete when the screenwriter, Morishita Yoshiko, wrote the screen play. She had built its plot remarkably but the ending was so flat… so unfinished. I hear that a lot of fans sent complaints to TBS about the ending and eventually they decided on a second season! The second season is premiering on April 17, 2011! Oh, the power fans have is truly amazing! However, no clue on who the screenwriter is.
The music arrangement was orchestrated exquisitely. The composer did a superb job with JIN‘s pieces. Another bonus is from the lovely MISIA! Her song “Aitakute Ima” is used as the theme song and plays at the sentimental parts at the end of each episode. It was my cue to be prepared for cry, get teary eyed, or both.
Overall: JIN has many genres wrapped in a single package. The show has its viewers exploring the history of the Edo period. It also manages to keep the viewers anticipated with its combination of suspense and mystery. All with a hint of romance. However, its primary focus is medicine at the end of the day. The cast is a truly remarkable bunch giving his or her character a realistic feature which enables viewers to connect with the characters. We get a glimpse into each character’s stories, struggles, and ongoing hardships. The show’s plot is a rather simple one, but its simplicity adds to the show’s depth. It explores various themes including the meaning of life, how much we are willing to sacrifice for others, and most important, the limits we have. The plot is immersing as the viewer accompanies Jin in the past and watch as he assist those in need of medical attention. However, with such a great plot, the show has a letdown at the end, but thank goodness that TBS is having JIN 2! I’m crossing my fingers that this time the screenwriter will be able to answer all the question Jin and the audience has! I recommend this show to those who enjoy any of the genres that JIN explores and if you are a fan of the actors! It’s definitely worth the watch!
Loved it? Liked it? Loathed it?