If you’re reading this you probably already know that I released subtitles for Episode 1 of BORDER yesterday, a little over a day after the series started its broadcast on TV Asahi . I’ve been a pretty big fan of Shun Oguri’s dramas(and even his radio show) for some time now so naturally I was pretty excited about him taking on another lead role in this drama. I don’t think that I’ve ever been disappointed by anything that Oguri has ever done, so naturally I wasn’t disappointed by BORDER either but if you haven’t watched Episode 1 yet(or you already have and you’re interested in my opinion for some reason) keep on reading and I’ll tell you more about what I thought of it. If you’re thinking of giving this drama a miss I hope that I can change your mind.
I’ve already talked about BORDER a couple of times on my blog, I also wrote a short post summarising the plot for it a few weeks ago when I first heard about it in a comment from somebody who regularly follows my blog. Basically, Oguri plays a young detective named Ango Ishikawa who has a habit of circling every crime scene he goes to before he enters to investigate. One day a former police officer is shot in the head and killed and Ishikawa gets called to the scene only a few hours after he was sent home from his previous investigation. He decides to do his ritual of checking the perimeter and finds a suspicious person during his patrol, he stops them to try and talk to them and they turn around and shoot him in the head. Ishikawa is rushed to the hospital and doctors attempt furiously to save his life, he is somewhat conscious during this and he ends up dying once and coming back to life again minutes later. When he wakes up 5 days later he is told that (for now) the bullet is lodge in a safe place in his brain and it’s having no effect on him but he is recommended by his doctor to get an operation to take it out. He refuses to on the grounds that he is scared of having his heart stopped again and ‘dying’ one more time.
There are currently(at least during Episode 1) no negative effects from having the bullet stuck in his his head. There is, however, one overwhelming advantage from all of it: he has gained the ability to awaken the souls of the dead and communicate with them. Whether or not this is an illusion is still debatable because only Ishikawa is able to see them during these fleeting periods. The souls also disappear (theoretically) after they have come to peace with whatever incident has occurred. The first incident that Ishikawa has to investigate after gaining this new ability is the vicious slaughtering of a family of 3(two parents and their 4 year old son). Through-out this he uses his ability to communicate with the family, and some back-alley methods, to try and catch their killer. There is also some seemingly unrelated issues with a mysterious religious organisation called “God’s Light” mixed in, but in Episode 1 they are only very briefly touched on. I think that the religious organisation is going to be the main umbrella story and all the murder incidents are slowly going to lead Ishikawa and his fellow detectives to it, the first incident has already started that pattern.
I’ve gotta say that the first episode of this drama was great. The acting by Oguri was, as always, superb and he isn’t the only one that deserves praise either. Haru is playing a police coroner that works together with called Mika and her acting was also top-class. The character that she played also was really well combined with Oguri’s character – watching them talk kind of reminded me of a Japanese Manzai duo performing without the hilarity. Either way their chemistry was great. The drama also features Aoki Munetaka as one of Ishikawa’s partners, Kenichi Endo as his boss and Arata Furuta as a back-alley ‘information trader’ – all of which played their parts commendably. I think BORDER has the second best casting for a drama this season, only losing by a small margin to MOZU(which actually feels more like watching a movie than a drama). To conclude I highly recommend watching BORDER if you haven’t decided on it yet. If you have I hope you enjoy the rest of the journey with me. If you have any of your own comments to make about this new drama feel free to write them below.