Drama Review: Orthros no Inu / Dog of Orthros (TBS, 2009)

Bad Doggie!

by Ender’s Girl

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The Cast:
Takizawa Hideaki, Nishikido Ryo, Mizukawa Asami, Sasaki Kuranosuke, Takahata Atsuko, Yaotome Hikaru

In a Nutshell:
One death row convict with a healing touch! + One good-hearted teacher man with killah instincts (literally)! + One hawt lady detective! + An assortment of drug-dealing kids, corrupt cops, ruthless politicos, and other stock baddies! + One too many lame-ass allusions to Greek mythology! = A drama whose bark is (sadly) a lot worse than its bite.

(SpoilLert: Very. Lots of… dying and healing and stabbing and more healing and dying, ad infinitum.)

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Gather ’round, children. Once upon a time there was a dog whelped by the monster Echidna of the Greek myths. Now this creature was something of a genetic freak (two heads, tsk), though arguably less so than his more celebrated littermate, the three-headed Cerberus, Hound of Hell. But this two-headed pooch faithfully guarded the famed red-skinned cattle of his master Geryon, before getting himself iced in epic Greek-hero fashion by Heracles himself. And Bingo was his name-o.

No, not really.

It was Scooby-Dooooo! *roll eyes*

Fine, enough chaffing. Of course the feared hound in question was Orthros, though for the life of me I cannot see any strong thematic connection to its eponymous 2009 TBS dorama. Oh–oh– *gasp of realization* …So the bicephalous nature of said mythical canine is supposed to represent the duality of powers over human life shared by the two brothers in the drama, Ryuzaki Shinji and Aoi Ryosuke, who, when combined, make up The Two Hands of God?!?!?! Oh wow wow wow!!!

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Durr. Honestly, Orthros no Inu’s Greek mythology reference is as contrived as the rest of the drama. Okaaayyy, so we have two dudes with mutually antagonistic powers: one can heal any wound or sickness, and the other can kill instantly — both with a single touch. But the only thing these characters have in common with the dog Orthros is the number two. Silly writers, they should’ve picked a creature MORE germane to the story’s theme, and titled the drama: Pushmi-pullyu no Inu. (Oh, you guys remember the Pushmi-pullyu from the Hugh Lofting stories, yes? About Dr. Dolittle, the rotund Englishman who could talk to animals, yes? — Jip! Chee-Chee! Dab-Dab! Gub-Gub! Polynesia! Too-Too! (And no, I’m NOT thinking of the Eddie Murphy movie, lol.) The Pushmi-pullyu (see above illustration by Hugh Lofting) was this gazelle-chamois-unicorn hybrid that Dr. Dolittle found on one of his voyages, and it had two heads (*ka-ching!*) on opposite ends of its body (*ka-ching!*), so that every time it so much as tried to walk, each head would pull in the other direction (*ka-ching!*). (Push me, I pull you… geddit?) Now that’s “mutually antagonistic” for you right there, yesss?)

Well, that’s all moot now, damage already done, doggone it (lol). Orthros, Pushmi-pullyu, Old Yeller, Beverly Hills Chihuahua — it doesn’t. really. matter! This entire drama was an epic FAIL anyway — with or without the canine allusions. The writers obviously bit off more than they could chew by taking on such a potentially fascinating — but highly ambitious! — premise. It was precisely this concept that stoked my interest and made me watch the drama in the first place, and not the actors (I’m obviously no fan of Tackey & Tsubasa, or Kanjani 8, or even NEWS). The Yin/Yang-ish antithesis between a protagonist with the power to kill, and an antagonist with the power to heal, was mighty intriguing, the moral conflict of this twist making it even more so. (Uh-oh, what to DO? The baddie with the hands of an angel, vs. the goodie with the hands of the devil!!! DO I SEE AN EPIC DOGFIGHT — ER, BATTLE OF WILLS RAGING IN THE COSMOS??!?!?!?!? DO I, DO I????!?!?)

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The thing with Really Cool Premises is that they can’t remain just that, and then let the rest of the drama take care of itself. No can do. The bare bones need fleshing out — with real muscle and real sinew and real blood — for the scenarios and the characters to come alive. But the caveat is this: the more interesting and thought-provoking the concept, the more formidable the challenge to deliver a durrrn good drama (at the very least). The stakes are much, much higher now, and so the diegesis must likewise sustain the viewers’ interest all the way to a satisfying conclusion, but without insulting their intelligence or overstretching their credulity. But the sad truth is that the first episode of Orthros no Inu monumentally falls short of expectations, and the rest of the drama simply gets impaled on the stake of its own inflated ambition. The writing is largely to blame for this insipid, unfocused mess that doesn’t know WHAT kind of story it’s supposed to be. We’re “treated” to a shambolic pastiche that tries to be many things — paranormal exploration, psychological thriller, cop drama, morality tale, family melodrama, mythological allegory — but fails in every category.

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Some dramas have plot twists and surprise character revelations that legitimately spice things up, while other dramas suffer from completely arbitrary curveballs sprung on you by writers who clearly did not understand the inner workings of the characters, much less the whys and wherefores of their actions. Orthros no Inu falls under the second category, so that the much vaunted “twists” in the drama’s plot seem nothing more than a succession of random occurrences slapped together at whim, instead of belonging to one organic, coherent whole. But given the fact that there were not one, not two, but five different writers (oh wow!) working on Orthros no Inu, it comes as no surprise that the whole drama feels like a cinematic chop suey of sub-plots and narrative tangents that either peter out into nothingness (forgotten and unloved, lol), or later get resolved in the most stilted manner. Sheesh kebab. What cosmic brain wave of inspiration hit the network bigwigs at TBS to make them hire FIVE of these hacks? Five screenwriters divvying up just nine frikkin’ episodes, five people hammering away in five different directions, five cooks too many (okay, so that would be four) to spoil the proverbial broth. And the finished product? Voila! — your friendly neighborhood dorama with multiple personality disorder and an average viewership rating of 8.3%. Wonderful.

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For the supernatural drama it’s advertised to be, Orthros no Inu is piteously pretentious, a sad, watered-down knockoff that delivers more yawns and incredulous eye-rolling than real mind-blowing excitement. The promise of the opening scene — oooh, nighttime, rain, rooftop, oooh — fizzles out in the rest of the episode’s exposition: instead of chomping down hard on your hamstring from the get-go and not easing off one bit until the finale, this drama can’t even sustain your interest for ten minutes. As a psychological thriller, the drama is nothing more than a hodgepodge of two-dimensional heroes and villains possessing no subtlety or complexity whatsoever, and with no rhyme or reason for their behavior. In the red corner, you have the cookie-cutter baddies: Ryuzaki Shinji the Walking Resuscitator with a Twisted Heart! (oooh) Sawamura the Spook with Evil Geopolitical Designs! Sakaki the Power-hungry Stateswoman with a Heart Ailment! Ninomiya the Nutcase with a Shocking Past! Kumakiri the Pharmaceutical Kingpin-cum-Political Patron! And his son Masaru! — whose extracurricular pursuits — Deals!Drugs!, Plays!With!Knives!, Leaves!TeenageGirls!ToDie!On!Mountains! — are what touch off the drama’s narrative.

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Aaaaand… in the blue corner, you have Saint Aoi Ryosuke, the High School Instructor with a Pure Heart — and a Deadly Touch! (oooh) Hasebe Nagisa, the Ballsy Lady Cop with a Sick Kiddo! (More clichés, yay!) And — oh, that’s about it. Let’s get ready to rrrrumble… but wait! Somewhere in the middle of the ring is a muddy little pool that we shall call the “Who the Fugg ARE You People?” Zone, and in which you will find characters who are Good! — but suddenly, inexplicably, without basis or motivation — Turn!Bad! midway through the drama: Hasebe Nagisa’s girlfriend Chiharu the Necro-Chick, with a fetish for cadavers, red meat, and corporate espionage! Nagisa’s friend Masato, the mad scientist wannabe who pimps Nagisa off to Ryuzaki then does all sorts of unimaginable things to his own body just so he can witness Ryuzaki’s healing abilities firsthand! And Nagisa’s senior partner Shibata, who later kidnaps Ryuzaki and tries to force him to heal his ailing wife! (WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW, ALL THREE NUTJOBS ARE PEOPLE CLOSE TO NAGISA AND ONLY END UP BETRAYING HER. MEBBE THEY ALL HATE HER ‘COZ SHE’S LONG-LIMBED AND GORGEOUS AND HAS GREAT HAIR, NE.)

As a suspense thriller, Orthros no Inu comes off as a half-baked attempt at depicting law enforcers as People With Brains. Nagisa’s boss at the precinct does nothing but berate and then suspend Nagisa for her “rashness.” Oh-kaaayyy. The rest of the investigative procedure is one big joke. And one of the most glaring logic loopholes of the entire drama is committed by the police. To backtrack: (1) Aoi Ryosuke (Nishikido Ryo) turns himself in after killing Kumakiri Masaru’s BFF, Shuhei the Hawaiian Shirt-Wearing Ecstasy Peddler. (2) Nagisa investigates Aoi’s supah-nachural powahs and his role in Shuhei’s baffling death. (3) In an unrelated incident, some wino causes a disturbance at a sidewalk eatery and then collapses on the street while babbling about someone with “the hands of the devil.” (4) Cut to the precinct where Nagisa *fortuitously* gets wind of said occurrence (because she obviously makes it a point to check up on every single incident report filed by every single night patrol officer on the beat, yes?), and she MAKES THAT GENIUS CONNECTION!!! Aoi’s killer touch => “the hands of the devil” => desultory research, which leads her to… => *ka-ching!* Some dude on death row, who OF COURSE turns out to be Ryuzaki (Takizawa Hideaki), whose powers are — surprise, surprise — the antithesis of Aoi’s, OH WOW!

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Okay, children, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Is it just me, or did we witness the flimsiest, most far-fetched pretext for introducing a drama’s main antagonist? What a leap of logic to assume that the drunken jibber-jabber of some homeless nutcase at 2 a.m. would be taken by the frickin’ POLICE as GOSPEL TRUTH and be treated as something oh-so-crucial to their investigation. Then the episode really goes to the dogs (hyuk, hyuk) in the next scene, which the writers simply cribbed from Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (HAVE YOU PEOPLE NO SHAME?????? That was a rhetorical question btw, lol), from the prison cell design right down to the deconstructive soul-gazing calculated to unnerve <insert name of female interrogator> (well, at least Tackey tried, lol ), but with none of the deliciously spine-tingling undercurrents and psychological traction that made that first meeting between Dr. Lecter and Agent Starling an epic moment in cinematic history. Again, this was entirely attributable to the great minds behind the Orthros no Inu screenplay, who apparently considered their drama’s viewership to be a bunch of drooling retards who wouldn’t be able to see a frame-by-frame rip-off if it was staring them in the face and sporting an atomic wedgie. Sinvergüenza! *tears out hair* But really, the mere thought of Tackey attempting anything Hannibalesque, like saying such lines as “Closer, please. Clo…ser…” or sniffing the air with a creepy little smile… is enough to crack me up, baby. And you also wonder WHY Tackey’s character Ryuzaki has been kept in solitary confinement all this time, when the crimes for which he was convicted (three people stabbed to death in some warehouse), as reprehensible as they are, would NOT warrant being locked up in isolation at a supermax facility — and in a glass box in some dungeon, at that. From the manner of his incarceration you’d think Ryuzaki was some sickie child rapist, or Ted effin’ Bundy, or the frikkin’ Unabomber. All he was convicted of was of stabbing those victims, not flaying the bodies and eating the flesh. (Well, hellooo, Dr. Lecter, I presume? Lol.)

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And oh WOW WOW WOW, so this is TACKEY!!!!!! *evil laughter* Q: What can possibly go wrong when Tackey stars in a dorama? A: Why, everything, apparently! Everything! *more evil laughter* Oh, Tackey, Tackey, Tackey, you make abysmal writing look… Pulitzer-worthy, lol. Orthrus no Inu was my first Tackey dorama, but his rep as a dramatic nonentity preceded him… rather vigorously; and in this regard, he doesn’t just meet expectations, he shatters them, lol. With a one-note performance (and it’s a flat at that, hehe) devoid of any depth, nuance, and variation, Takizawa Hideaki sets The Gold Standard for the talentless Johnnies of this world. (Well, I can see where YamaPi gets his acting genes from, hyuk hyuk hyuk.) It’s like, within the JE Boyz spectrum there’s Good, Middling, Promising-but-Inconsistent, Bad, Terrible, and Tackey, lol. (Ganbatte, Tackey, Ganbatte!!! You’ve hit rock-bottom and started digging, Tackey! Good job, old boy, good job!!! Hahahahha.) Ay, caramba, but the man wouldn’t recognize an emotion if it crawled up his right nostril and died there. He does lifeless so dang well, he might as well roll over and play dead in every role given to him. And you don’t know which is more frustrating: that marmoreal mug of his, or that flat, toneless voice. I’d snigger every time Tackey deadpanned to his would-be “patients,” “What will you do for me.” Note the absence of any inflection, emphasis or emotion in his intonation. Should his acting career ever come to naught (*crosses fingers*), he can always find a second career running a hotline for insomniacs: “Trouble sleeping? Call 1-800-Tackey and he will read the phonebook to you. Or Webster’s dictionary. Or the 1976 World Almanac. You’ll hit the Zs in no time, or your money back!” Ha ha ha.

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The drama’s only valid connection to Ancient Greece is really the fact that Tackey could just as well be a life-size statue from the Classical Period. If Yamashita Tomohisa was carved from a plank of wood, suffice to say Takizawa Hideaki was sculpted from a block of pure Parian marble, whittled to painstaking perfection “by the gnarled fingers of Johnny Kitagawa” (to quote Anime Dad of JDorama.com lol), and with those little round chips of obsidian in place of eyes — seeing nothing, conveying even less — to complete the look. So… (more Greek mythology references! *ka-ching!*) I suppose this would make Tackey the Galatea to Old Man Kitagawa’s Pygmalion… except that the statue of Galatea was brought to life by Aphrodite. No such luck for Tackey, tsk.

And for all the story’s overplayed duality of Good (Aoi) vs. Evil (Ryuzaki), Death vs. Life, White vs. Black, it is Tackey’s toothless portrayal of Ryuzaki Shinji that backfires the most. He’s not convincing as a counterpoint to Aoi’s goodness; he can’t even play “kind of baddish” at the very least, just… indifferent, maybe? Insouciant? Apathetic? Uninvolved? There’s no moral tension to him, no potential for nobility within his selfish nature, nothing to make you want to delve into his character and understand him in light of that unhappy past. I wasn’t asking that he turn into Mother frickin’ Teresa and revive all the sick and wounded in sight, laying hands on cripples while singing “Heal the World” or something. I wasn’t asking for sainthood to come upon him, only that the actor do justice to a role that was (supposedly) dark and conflicted and complex. But instead, you just stop caring midway through the first episode. And for the rest of the drama, the 9,455 shots of Ryuzaki making a big show of laying hands on a person, only to flip-flop at the last split-second, just had me rolling my eyes in irritation. Oh, so you don’t want to heal them? Fine. But quit playing hard to get, for ferk’s sake. Stop dithering and just GO HOME and take up embroidery or something. (Now showing: Lassie Come Home! Tackey Go Home! lol)

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Takizawa Hideaki is just the sort of actor who can make someone like Nishikido Ryo look GREAT. Not that the NEWS/Kanjani8 Idol did a bang-up job or anything, but AT LEAST he made his character a real person despite a third-rate script. With only one other drama of his as my gauge, I thought Nishikido Ryo did a pretty respectable job on Orthros, compared to his utterly laughable psycho-droid turn on 2008’s Last Friends. As Aoi Ryosuke, he effectively channeled the character’s bedevilment and inner struggle, and the crushing burden of his lifelong affliction for which there was no alleviation. Physically though, I still find Ryo as creepy and unattractive as the day I laid eyes on him; oh, I’m well aware of his ginormous fan base spanning continents, but seriously — the poor boy looks like he’s been suffering from micronutrient deficiency problems his whole life (beriberi? pellagra? lol). But those reptilian features undoubtedly appear warm-blooded beside Tackey the Inanimate One, making Ryo’s looks the least offensive thing about Orthros. Besides, his perpetually lugubrious face made him perfect for the role of Aoi, and I’ve actually taken to calling his character Nishikido the Sad. (Whereas his sadistic turn on Last Friends would naturally be known as Nishikido the Bad. If he ever got to play a campus activist: Nishikido the Rad? Or a psych ward inmate: Nishikido the Mad? Or a struggling single parent: Nishikido the Dad?)

His performance on Orthros doesn’t negate his atrocious acting on Last Friends (and I remember posting this somewhere about that drama: “Dunno if I can schlep through ten more episodes of Nishikido Ryo’s soulless, mechanical girlfriend-battering. It’s as if some mad scientist holed up in his basement somewhere in Tokyo pushes a red button on schedule and suddenly Nishikido Ryo’s eyes glow red and he drops whatever he’s doing to go and beat Nagasawa Masami into a pulp. Domestic violence has never been so… predictable.”), but at least it gives me reason to rethink my initial impression of him. I know that he’s been one of my favorite JE whipping boys since I began my crazy descent into the Jdorama Rabbit Hole, but maybe I was wrong about him after all. The boy can act. Interesting… *strokes chin* And I really did enjoy every single time Aoi performed his hoodoo on his… subjects. I actually pumped my fist and went, “YEAH!” seeing each subject’s head jerk back, black veins snaking up their arms, and the eyes rolling off at different angles — AWESOME STUFF!!!!!!! I lived for those moments, lol. I also liked those hand-drawn animated inserts and flashbacks, and the one showing the dog Baron’s death actually moved me.

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Mizukawa Asami also delivers the goods as the lady cop Hasebe Nagisa: she’s cool and gutsy, not to mention gorgeous and impeccably dressed all the time, with those heavy tresses swaying fetchingly while she sucker-punches those zombies on Left for Dead… er, those baddies on Orthros, I mean. Her character’s a bit of a cliché, I know, even more so with that daughter of hers, who of course has to be weak and sickly — (*ka-ching!*) — more fodder for her moral dilemma! (I loved the kid actor, by the way. So adorable, and a natural, too. Can’t find a cuter kid calling out, “Mama!” while clutching her chest and wheezing painfully, and her scenes opposite Tackey’s character (aka “The Wizard Uncle”) were among my favorites.) The role of Nagisa is as perfunctorily written as the rest of the characters, but if there had to be an actress to play such a cliché, I honestly can’t think of anyone better than Asami. It was just annoying how she’d spend more time snooping around and chasing Ryuzaki and the baddies (HOW DID SHE ALWAYS MANAGE TO TAIL THEM TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH? HOW? HOW? DURR), than experiencing any real growth as a person.

And I know that one of the drama’s highlights is supposed to be the Aoi-Nagisa-Ryuzaki love triangle, but what you have is a fuzzy three-ring circus at best. There’s NO chemistry between Asami and either guy, which is just too bad because the polarity of both relationships (Nagisa + Good Guy Aoi… or Nagisa + Bad Boy Ryuzaki? choices, choices!) would’ve added a certain zing to the romance dynamic–think The Phantom of the Opera (1911 novel, 1986 musical, 2004 film), where the character of Christine has enough sexual tension with BOTH the villainous Phantom and the noble Raoul, thanks to superb writing and character development. Nagisa and Ryuzaki are thrown together in more potentially romantic situations than Nagisa and Aoi are, but the Asami+Tackey chemistry is about as hot as… liquid nitrogen. That kiss he pulls on her midway through the series (after Mad Scientist Wannabe Masato betrays her and delivers the “goods” straight to Ryuzaki’s doorstep) made me LMFAO several times over. The kiss looked as appealing as smooching a piece of rock. (How apropos, considering Tackey IS a piece of rock.) No wonder Asami gave him a good smack right after — though she was much too kind: something as heinous as lousy kissing deserves no less than the maximum penalty, lol. So let’s see… Takizawa Hideaki: can’t act, can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t kiss for sh*t. Wow, he really IS The Anti-Kimura, just like the prophecy foretold! Hahahahahaha

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Interestingly, Tackey wasn’t even the worst part about Orthros. The honor belongs to The Final Episode, which is one of the stupidest drama endings I have ever had to sit through. After teetering wildly between the ridiculous and the stuporous for the first eight episodes, the story pitches headlong into sheer, WTF! absurdity by Episode 9. First there’s that little family melodrama involving Aoi, Ryuzaki, and (oh wow!) the friendly neighborhood parish priest who turns out to be the bomb planter from the previous episode, and — surprise, surprise — the boys’ father himself! But Daddy Dearest seems to be taking that bit about the sins of the fathers spilling over into the succeeding generations a tad too seriously, so he (in characteristic paternal fashion) decides to blow up the whole church, himself, and his two superkids to kingdom come, tsk. Oh, filicide… *roll eyes* So you want to be a Greek tragedy as well, eh, Orthros no Inu? FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. Both boys survive the explosion, and later at the hospital, Daddy Dearest atones for his iniquities by: (1) refusing supernatural treatment from his elder son, and (2) basically telling Aoi to finish off the job he started, making some vague references to the Cain and Abel story — before expiring himself. Then we see Tackey lurching through the corridor with his black silk shirt unbuttoned completely (natch!), showing those rock-hard (literally, haha) abs of his (natch!), and putting a hand on his chest while he makes all his boo-boos go away — LMAO!!! Oh what is this, so he has self-healing abilities too (despite denying it earlier in the story), does he? Got an adamantium skeleton and a yellow/black spandex costume to go with ‘em, hmmm?

So Aoi, having been revived by Big Bro’s magical CPR, vows to avenge Daddy Dearest’s death, and momentarily flirts with the Dark Side aka Sawamura the Spook, who apparently felt a light bulb go off in his head the moment he learned about Aoi’s powers, and now intends to use him as some sort of military weapon. The whole thing ends in a standoff on the bridge above where the boys’ hometown used to be. Then bang bang — guns go off, inane dialogue gets said (Ryuzaki: “Oh no little brother you are hurt by the gunman let me heal you because you are my little brother.” Aoi: “No! Don’t even think about it! You promised not to use your powers anymore! *writhes in pain* I’d rather bleed to death than allow you to Break!Your!Word!” Sawamura: “Argh, just die already, will you?!?!?” *bang bang* Ryuzaki: “Oh look I am bleeding too now I can’t heal you anymore little brother so I will just go drown myself in the river goodbye.”), supernatural siblings tumble off the bridge, weird stuff happens in the water, and Hasebe Nagisa is very, very upset, tsk.

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Oh, think it ends here, children? Think again! Noooo. Apparently, all the baddies (and semi-baddies) on Orthros (except Sawamura the Spook) have a Change!Of!Heart! and morph into do-gooders and morally upright citizens overnight! Necro-Chick shifts her taste from corpses to little children (which would explain the mysteriously disappearing patients from the pediatrics ward, tsk); Mad Scientist Wannabe Masato conveniently forgets his own personal history of treachery, self-mutilation and other weird sh*t, and dedicates his life to the advancement of scientific research — AND STILL has the gall to ask Nagisa out to dinner, tsk; Sakaki the Dragon Lady (a fine actress who made the most of her role, and whose looks and sharp appeal remind me of Judge Roberta Kittleson (Holland Taylor) on The Practice) takes one look at those Ryuzaki-healed kids running around the hospital and decides that she’d much rather be a small-time politician WITH VALUES than Japan’s next Prime Minister WITHOUT them; Sakaki’s erstwhile backer Kumakiri and his criminal of a son are reconciled to each other and then Junior decides to TURN HIMSELF IN. (Though I must say that this Hey! Say! JUMP munchkin, Yaotome Hikaru, gave his role every ounce his skinny little frame had; good effort, laddie boy, and I say this with no sarcasm. Have the underbite and the snaggletooth fixed, and you can actually be CUTE.) It isn’t that I don’t believe people can change (incidentally, I’m watching “The Confrontation Scene” from Les Miz on Youtube while writing this paragraph… Javert to Valjean: “Men like you can never change!” lol), but I’ve always been leery of characters doing a one-eighty at the eleventh hour, when nothing from their previous behavior tallies with this sudden change of heart. Once again, manipulative writing trumps credible character development. Bravo.

The last few scenes are a BLOODY HOOT because they educate us benighted viewers on a number of scientific facts: (1) It is apparently possible to survive the impact of a 50-ft drop into an ice-cold river even though one is riddled with gunshot wounds. (2) It is also possible to hold one’s breath under the freezing water while swimming downstream for an hour or so, thereby avoiding detection by police and rescue teams combing the river banks. (3) When a guy with a healing touch and a guy with a killer touch hold hands in said river, both powers cancel each other out in a reaction akin to an acid-base neutralization. Poof. (4) It is possible to be a world-famous messianic figure for a couple of weeks and then after “retiring” from your ministry, you can go back to living a normal life and people won’t give a sh*t that you used to heal the sick and all that. (5) It is also possible for two men who KNOW each other to pass each other on a ridge in broad daylight and NOT notice the other one, despite their attention being focused on the same puppy that someone conveniently left to die on said ridge. And OF COURSE Ryuzaki has turned into an effin’ saint by this time, the incontrovertible proof being his decision to adopt said puppy (i.e. “Awww looky at dis widdle doggie let daddy take you home yes”). Wow, it felt like I was watching a play some 10-year-old wrote, directed, and performed for Gran and Gramps. And with that Hokiest Ending Ever, our drama thankfully draws to a close. (Huh? Huh? There’s an SP? Huh? Good grief, it’s–breeding! *shudders*) What started out as a series hinged on an interesting premise ends its tedious run with its tail between its legs. Well, good riddance, Orthros no Inu. Should’ve thrown you to the dogs long ago.

***

By the time this review is posted, Johnny’s Countdown Special 2009/10 will long be over. I do wonder what Old Man Kitagawa made Tackey do this time (if he was on the show at all), but I remember him from the 08/09 Special looking happy as a clam, singing and dancing to one carbon copy pop hit after another, that I actually felt sorry for him. He’s no great shakes as an artist, but this is where he seems to be in his element — and not dramas, where those nonexistent acting skills have to be squeezed out of him, drop by miserable drop. If he retired from acting today, nobody would miss seeing him onscreen, the poor thing. But who knows, maybe the New Year will bring pleasant surprises, maybe Tackey will have an epiphany about his dramatic abilities (or lack thereof) and do us all a favor by eschewing dramas and sticking to J-Pop. Or maybe he’ll grow an iota of talent overnight and win an Oscar before the year is over, and effectively shut down whiners like me for all time. After all, every dog has its day, eh?

Yeah, riiiight… Happy 2010, children.

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Grade
Artistic & technical merit: D
Entertainment value: D
Overall: D

***
Photo credits: adramaotaku.com, chiba-akazukin.livejournal.com, chingsmd.wordpress.com, crunchyroll.com, dangermousie.livejournal.com, flickr.com, gaijin517.livejournal.com, jpopasia.com, mysugoi.wordpress.com, nekomiou.blogspot.com, ynaoblivious.livejournal.com

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16 Comments on “Drama Review: Orthros no Inu / Dog of Orthros (TBS, 2009)”

  1. jicks Says:

    Ouch, you are harsh! You just ripped apart what was one of my favourite series of 2009 ^^;; I’m not silly enough to say that the series was faultless (in truth, it is far from it) but I really loved it. I found myself watching it through the characters’ eyes & in turn I really became attached to them. Takki is by no means a superb actor but he is better than Pi. I also think his awkwardness worked for his character- Ryuzaki, a man stuck in solitude & not wanting to give any part of his heart to the world <33 (yeah I am a Takki fan)

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Whoopsie, I just found out how much you loved Orthros when I checked out your review last night. Y___Y But hey–you like what you like, period. =) My review is by no means a reflection on the fans/viewers who watched and loved this drama; this is just me venting steam in my little corner of the sandbox–whether everybody else shares my sentiments or not. We all have our blind spots anyway, and Lord knows I have mine, lol. Not saying that… um, Orthros is your blind spot, though, or that you ought to feel like you should justify fangirling someone like Takki/Tackey.😄 So you love Orthros AND Tackey, that’s cool. It’s all good, baby.😉

  2. jicks Says:

    haha No need to apologise, like you said, it’s really different strokes for different folks. It’s one thing I enjoy about your writing, you don’t hold back & say it like it is!

    There were alot of great points that you made which only once you mentioned it did I see them… though it isn’t gonna stop me from fangirling after Takki. I think he’s booooootiful xDD

  3. katwoman Says:

    Hi…it’s kat(klover3344) from JSA.

    Hehe…I’m with jicks…I love me some Takki too…mostly chibi Takki. I loved him in Majo no Jouken and Strawberry on the Shortcake.

    Unfortunately, OnI was not that good. I hate to say it, but the older he gets, the worst the acting has gotten…but the boy is just beautiful to look at.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey kat!😉 Hee hee, I didn’t know you were into Tackey too! He was very young in the dramas you mentioned. Dunno if I’ll ever pick up another Takizawa drama again, but the forbidden love premise of Majo no Jouken seems interesting.🙂

      He’s definitely a looker, I’ll give him that. =D Those nicely proportioned features can make YamaPi/Kame/Ryo look grotesque, lol. He should just be a (GUESS Jeans, hehe) model or something.😉

  4. Jenny Says:

    Hahaha, so funny. I tried to watch this but after one episode I was like this sucks please don’t make me watch more.
    I like Majo no jouken unfortunately I have not seen the last eps of that but Nanako Matsushima is so gorgeus!
    I liked Asami in Nodame even though Juri, Hiroshi and Eita were the main characters.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Too bad I wasn’t around to see Nanako at the height of her glory. The first and only time I ever watched a drama of hers was… HanaDan, lol.

      I also thought Asami shone in Nodame despite her relatively minor role. I like that she’s tan, willowy and healthy-looking, and has formidable acting chops to boot.😉 I like her voice too, it’s full-bodied and deeper than other J-actresses. I just hope her career doesn’t suffer a setback after the low ratings of Orthros…😦

  5. katwoman Says:

    Shall I ‘fess up and say that I dropped Kimura-san like a hot potato (one of my shortest crushes) as soon as I laid eyes on Takki? *ducks flying tomatoes* As much as I think Yamapi is cute. He doesn’t to much for me. I really wanted to like him in Buzzer Beater, but I just couldn’t get past the hair. I think he was trying to channel Haru, but major fail.

    Funny enough, I can’t get into Kimura’s older doramas but I love Takki’s older doramas.

    Jenny, you need to watch the last episode of Majo no Jouken. *sniff*sniff*

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      You traded Kimura for Tackey???? Oh kat, say it ain’t so!!! Lollll don’t worry about any flying tomatoes from my end, I used them all up on myself… This is me remember, who likes gross little Johnnies, ne? It’s actually pretty good therapy to be able to stand in front of your bathroom mirror going, “Why do you like Kame.” *splat* “Why do you like Kame.” *splat* “Why do you like Kame.” *splat* Ad infinitum: one tomato, two tomato, three tomato, four… O____x

      Truth of the matter is… KimuTaku, Tackey, who cares? Eeetzallll gooood baybeh…

      (Now Peggy’s tomatoes are a different thing… I won’t be able to shield you from those, sorreee)

      YamaPi channeling Halu’s hair??? Only if Halu was channeling “orange Medusa” aieeee… Biggest hair FAIL if I ever saw one.

    • jicks Says:

      lol Don’t worry about the tomatoes from my end either because I don’t like to waste food xPP It’s okay! Kimura will always be my number one but at the same time it doesn’t hurt for me to, er, “observe” others. Quite frankly, I am waiting for the day they put Kimura & Takki in the same series… omg that would be like heaven xDD

  6. Jenny Says:

    Yeah, Hanadan was my fist Nanako dorama too now she’s making a strong comeback though in Kyumei Byoto 24 Ji.
    Too bad so many actresses have to be super skinny so it’s nice to have a normal looking actress and Asami seems like a nice person too based on her interviews.
    Have you watched JIN it was a really great dorama and even beat Kimura’s Mr. Brain ratings(does stuff like that ever even happen beating a johnnies in ratings especially Kimutaku!)

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Nope, haven’t seen Jin yet, as I’m always a season behind (at the very least).😉 That’s the only Fall ’09 drama that I feel like watching anyway (I chucked TokyoDawgz out tha window after the first ep, and still shudder at the memory, lol). So Jin beat MiztahBwaiinnn in the ratings, huh. Cool. =D

  7. v Says:

    well i agree with your view on this drama.. i didnt finish it.. i did watch the ending and the beginning but that’s it. however, i think you should give tackey one more chance.. watch his earlier dramas… i think you might find yourself changing opinions.. if you don’t like as dramatic, maybe you should watch one of his lighter drama as a romantic lead. smth like boku no madonna or smth.. i dont remember the exact title.. ive watched all his dramas and he is a good actor. especially his earlier dramas are good. kinda reminds me of kimutaku actually. maybe not as good but still worth it. otherwise, i’ve only put up with 3-4 hrs of this cuz of ryo and tackey. haha.

  8. Novroz Says:

    As usual, I am searching for other reviews before writing my own. Just finish this drama, I’m not a fan of any of the actors…but I REALLY like this drama.

    I guess people have different taste afterall🙂 My review will be full of praise over this dorama. In fact this is one of the best dorama I’ve ever seen….I rarely watch something serious, always the funny ones, Orthros can make me glued to my television set even though there’s no laughing stock at all.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey, that’s cool, we all like what we like.😀 And I’d love to read your thoughts on the drama once you’re finished with your review.😉

      • Novroz Says:

        Hehe yeah I remember giving harsh review on a dorama called Kiss of Heaven, and there were people who like it showing up in my comment form🙂

        Everyone to their own taste indeed.

        I have posted my review🙂 Not as long as yours tho because I don’t want to give spoilers and keep people interested.


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