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Apr 29 2013

JOKER (Series Review)

JOKER Yurusarezaru Sosakan
Series Review by David Cirone

Drama-MAX-JOKER-series-reviewA

Joker drags along at a snail’s pace, and whenever an opportunity for true tension comes along, it’s diffused, prolonged, and drained by a muddy storyline determined to be as polite as possible about the terrible crime of murder.

After a promising but flawed opening (*see Episode 1 review), the first several episodes are cut-and-dry episodic morality tales, setting us up to cheer on detective Kazuyoshi Date (Masato Sakai) as he serves his inevitable follow-up justice upon murderers who beat the system.

But how credible are these characters when no one in Date’s department seems to be able to put the pieces together about these “mysterious disappearances”? So many facts point the finger at Date, even a copycat vigilante figures things out in a snap, but the combined intelligence of these high-level detectives conveniently turns a blind eye.

In fact, it’s the appearance of the copycat (also, coincidentally, a detective, played by Shugo Oshinari) that brings the only real threat to Date and his plans, but even that storyline goes away much too quickly and neatly.

The series pulls a few final tricks from its sleeve to expand its scope, revealing a decades-old police department conspiracy, a secret prison, and a traitorous supporting character — but it’s too little, too late. Worthy performances by the cast deserve honorable mention, but I’d recommend skipping this series.