Yeah, I know, I watched these out of order, there was a first series that aired in 1999, but when I got this series, I had no clue that the other even existed. I will be doing an out-of-order review on the first Keizoku at a later date.
Strange things are afoot at the Unsolved Cases division as Toma Saya, a woman with a 201 IQ and no social skills and her partner, Sebumi Takeru, a skilled detective who was demoted the the Unsolved Cases division following a strange death under his command, try to solve a massive conspiracy carried out by SPECs, people with seemingly supernatural powers given because they can use 100% of their brains.
So here’s my take on the 2010 Japanese series Keizoku 2: SPEC.
Now that’s not a particularly original idea, it was just done this summer as the plot for Lucy, but they do it very well here. While there are a lot of different mysteries to solve here, everything comes back to the central story, trying to find out how Sebumi’s subordinate ended up getting shot with his own bullets after he pulled a gun and turned it on Sebumi. This all comes together in a roller coaster ride that combines rampaging SPECs, Toma’s long-dead brother and a super secret organization within the police force that’s trying to take over the world. I’d say not to worry, it all makes sense but that wouldn’t be true, there are a lot of questions left unanswered and a lot of ideas to ponder after the final credits roll and, while I’d be a bit miffed at that in most shows, here it works because, hopefully, there will be a third series one of these days.
I really like the characters, they have a great chemistry, especially between Toma and Sebumi, where it isn’t romantic, but a deep admiration and friendship that develops over the course of the series. In fact, with very few exceptions, the cops are really all on the same side most of the time, nobody is really trying to stab our heroes in the back, even if they don’t necessarily understand our heroes all the time. There’s a lot of comedy and drama and every character fits into the puzzle perfectly.
Toda Erika stars as Toma Saya. She’s been in a ton of things I’ve loved, from Boss 2 to Kagi no Kakatta Heya. Her partner in detective work, Sebumi Takeru was played by Kase Ryo, who, while he hasn’t been in any other J-dramas I’ve seen, he did voice work for The Sky Crawlers as well as being in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. The chief of the Unsolved Cases division, Nonomura Kotaro, was played by Ryu Raita, who has been in Iryu 2 and Bloody Monday 2 and finally, one of our major bad guys, Ninomae Juichi, was portrayed by Kamiki Ryonosuke, who was also in Bloody Monday 2 and Kamen Rider Agito.
I found it funny that, at the end of the series, Toma declares that she absolutely refuses to do a movie, but ended up doing 4 of the 5 movies that came after this series. There were also some references between this series and another I’ve reviewed, Ataru. In episodes 10 and 11 of Ataru, Toma walks through the background and some of Ataru’s odd behaviors are actually inspired by this series. I love it when stuff like that happens.
This is kind of an oddball series and not the easiest thing to follow, but given a little attention and imagination, it’s really a lot of fun. Now I have to go back and watch the original 1999 series and all of the movies!