I know I haven’t been posting recently, and I must apologize for that. In the time since I last posted, Kamen Rider Ozu was made quite official (rather, it was already official, and I was a tad late to the party…), I came into possession of Astro Fighter Sunred (which is hilarious by the way), and I began watching Macross 7 and an interesting J-Drama whose first episode I will review very quickly like here:
Daimajin Kanon is a retelling of the story of the original Daimajin trilogy of 1966 set in modern-day Japan. The episode opens with the introduction of Kanon Mikazaki, the story’s leading lady, as she wrestles with depression from being unceremoniously dumped by her now ex-boyfriend. A certain song lingers in her mind, dear to her heart, and unfortunately for her, this song is the basis for the new hit single her ex’s band is pushing. To ease the pain and get a fresh start, she moves to a new apartment and begins her life anew…
Meanwhile, Taihei, a woodland priest/monk is reminiscing of a young girl who sang (no surprise) the same Prayer Song to him years ago. This song seems to have the potential to awaken the great Daimajin from its sleep in the side of cliff-face. Soon Taihei is sent in search of this young girl (now a young woman), and mysterious dark spirit action ensues along side angst-ridden drama.
My first reaction to this series was confusion. Is this a drama or a tokusatsu? There are distinct elements of each genre present: a serious, rather dark story and tone with a focus on character and emotion, as well as intense, wire-assisted fight sequences, character’s that henshin into demon-like creatures with Kamen Rider sensibilities, and of course, we can’t forget the giant stone grotto. Usually, when a show can’t decide what it wants to be, there are problems, and the show breaks down upon itself. This doesn’t happen here. I’ve watched the first two episodes, and through both, I’ve only wanted to know more about what is going on. The drama is solid and the toku is a nice aside.
In that respect, Sh15uya (read: Shibuya 15) comes to mind. This series is a J-Drama/tokusatsu hybrid, but truth be told, it plays out more like a dark Showa Rider series with 15-year-olds. Daimajin Kanon plays more like a true drama series that happens to have some special effects shots involved. Regardless, I like it, and so far, it works.
Wrapping things up, the acting is solid throughout, the cast of characters introduced in this first episode are flushed out just enough to make them entertaining and interesting without taking away the desire to want to get to know them more, and the fact that Daimajin is not likely be a major factor in much of the series is a refreshing change of pace for a toku-like show that takes its name from a giant, monster fighting stone soldier. I really enjoy character-driven naratives, and this series is going to win or fail based on the strength of its cast; so, far, I think it’s off to a good start.
Plus, Nao Nagasawa, better known as Nanami Nono/Hurricane Blue of Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, is in it, and in case you didn’t know – she’s super hot… So, you should probably watch just because of that. Just sayin’…