Border was a 9-episode detective drama that started on April 10, 2014 on TV Asahi. In essence, it’s a combination of two short-lived American series that I loved, Raines, starring Jeff Goldblum and Touching Evil with Jeffrey Donovan and therefore seemed perfect. Is it? Let’s take a look at this series and find out.
Ango Ishikawa is a dedicated detective with smarts and an eye for detail, he’s lost everything, his friends, his girlfriend, because he’s so dedicated to his job, he dreams of being called to the next murder scene so he can solve the mystery. One day, while walking the perimeter of a crime scene, he happens upon the killers and they shoot him in the head. Apparently, Ishikawa’s head is filled with cherry Kool-Aid, none of the gunshot wounds in this series look like blood at all. Miraculously, the bullet doesn’t kill him, instead if lodges in his brain between two arteries where it is very dangerous and life-threatening to remove it. Ishikawa decides, at least for the moment, to leave it there so he can get back to work, but he learns that this bullet has a significant impact on his life. Now he can see the dead, who want him to solve their murders.
Like I said, this isn’t the most original idea in the world. In the U.S. version of Touching Evil, Detective Creegan, played as I said by Jeff Donovan, was shot in the head and that left him without impulse control, he didn’t know when to stop and this became very useful in solving crimes. The series went 12 episodes and was cancelled, mostly because I think the American audience couldn’t handle someone out of emotional and physical control being a hero. The other series, Raines, only went 7 episodes before the plug was pulled, it starred Jeff Goldblum as an emotionally haunted detective who could see manifestations of the dead who helped him to solve their own murders. Combine them together and you get Border, the story of a detective who lives on the border of life and death, both emotionally and literally.
Ishikawa has some strange traits, even before the whole bullet thing. Seriously, the guy doesn’t know what a car is. He just runs. Everywhere. I know he ends up in a car once or twice in the series, but most of the time, he’s just running. There’s a part where he’s going to a restaurant 20 minutes away on foot. Does he get in a car? Nope, he walks. He’s also not the friendliest guy on the planet, even before he gets shot in the head, but his crime solving skills are very impressive. I guess being able to ask the dead who killed them helps in that regard.
Most of the cases are just what you’d expect, Ishikawa is a bastion of justice who will do anything, including die, to solve a case. Then we get to the last episode. I’m not going to spoil it. Aw, heck, yes I am! But only if you really want to know.
That last episode and the way it ended makes me wonder if there’s a second season or a movie in the works. If there is, I’m in!
So what about our cast? Oguri Shun plays Ango Ishikawa, our detective with the bullet in his brain. He’s been in things like Densha Otoko and Densha Otoko Deluxe and he was in several seasons of the live action Detective Conan series. Next we have Haru, who plays the coroner, Higa Mika. She was in 33pun Tantei, a really fantastic detective comedy that unfortunately, stopped being fansubbed before the last episode and the recent Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo 2014 special, which like Detective Conan, is a live action version of the long-running animated series. Then there’s Endo Kenichi, who I mentioned not too long ago. He was in both the ATARU series and the Lupin no Shosoku TV movie that I reviewed.
This was a really cool series and it ended completely differently than I thought it would. The cast was great, the mysteries were varied and interesting and I really hope there’s more to come.