It was pretty easy to watch all 10 episodes of Japanese action drama Crisis. First, it didn’t have unnecessary scenes or dialogue, and second, the pace with which it moved along in all the episodes did not bore.
The drama is the work of award-winning writer Kazuki Kaneshiro, recipient of the prestigious Naoki Award for his novel Go.
Kaneshiro is also behind the film Fly, Daddy, Fly, the hit SP series of dramas and films, and the Border series, which stars Shun Oguri.
Crisis centres on five handpicked agents of the Special Investigation Unit who report directly to Kaji Daiki, head of the National Police Agency’s Security Bureau.
The team is led by Yoshinaga Mitsunari (Tetsushi Tanaka), a former detective with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
His teammates comprise Inami Akira (Shun Oguri), former agent with the Self-Defence Forces, who is disillusioned and traumatised by a prior mission; Tamaru Saburo (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who was involved in a sort of scandal and ordered to transfer to the unit from the Public Security Department’s Foreign Affairs Division; bomb expert Kashii Yusuke (Toru Nomaguchi), formerly with the riot police bomb disposal unit; and the only female in the team, Oyama Rei (Yuko Araki), who used to be a top-notch hacker.
With their skill sets, they are tasked with assignments ranging from protecting politicians’ children to the Prime Minister himself from acts of terrorism.
However, as they continue to deal with political and terrorism cases, often on the down-low, they start to question whether they are really protecting the country and the citizens, or are merely pawns for corrupt top politicians.
In one episode, they receive orders to protect the Foreign Minister’s son who has been involved in a number of assault and drug-related cases but has escaped prosecution due to his father’s influence.
The group’s biggest challenge comes from the Heisei Restoration Army, made up of a younger generation who dream of a new future for Japan that does not see the powerful abusing the weak. However, to achieve their goal, they will resort to killing people if necessary.
The two stars in the drama are Japan’s top actors Nishijima and Oguri, who sport contrasting characters; the former is a serious-faced but soft-hearted agent, while Akira is flirtatious on the outside but carries within him a difficult past.
The other three characters, despite playing secondary roles, hold their own pretty well. Special mention goes to Oyama, the brain behind Japan’s greatest bank hack incident, and the youngest member of the team.
The drama sees action scenes supervised by Kaneshiro himself, who practices a martial art called Kali Silat. Oguri and Nishijima trained under Kaneshiro for a year to prepare for the drama.
Having said that, such adrenalin-pumping scenes are not over the top, and the team does not get to save everyone. However, some parts of the episodes need to be further developed, as certain missions seemed to end too abruptly.
There are only minimal relationship elements in the drama, so don’t expect many romantic scenes. Having said that, the writer does give some space to the love interests of the two main leads.
I like that the ending is not cliched and really makes viewers think about what pushes people to go rogue and go against orders given by the top. The drama explores how high level corruption rears its ugly head and mercilessly tramples on those who block the path.
The way the last episode ends points to a second season (fingers crossed!) and if that happens, I, for one will be among the first to tune in.
Crisis is available on dimsum.