Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

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Or if you’d prefer the English title, Undercover Agent Tokage. Maybe because my expectations were unreasonably high, thus I’m left slightly disappointed with the premiere. On the up side, it has Shota Matsuda, whom I have seen (and swooned) in the Liar Game franchise, hence my excitement to see him venture into something that requires more than thinking from him. The hour was tediously long, spending over 30+ minutes setting up a throng of many characters, leaving the action in the last twenty minutes, and boy was it nice to see our crafty swindler, Akiyama, in action (though he gets punched by someone. ha!)

Funny how I had Toda Erika in the winter, and Shota in the Spring. When are these two going to unite? Drama gods! I’m counting on you!

Episode 1 Thoughts:

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Gratuitous shots of Shota…

Crime rates are on the rise, demanding The Metropolitan Police Department to recruit a number of cop-turned-private detectives into their undercover team. Meet Oribe Toru, whose nickname on the field is Tokage (Shota Matsuda), meaning lizard. He works under a senior mentor, Masahiko Yanagida (Shiro Ito), and the elderly man explains it mildly that he’s called lizard because “wherever he is, he blends into the background,” effectively leaving out the other perilous meaning. Tokage’s offered the job because he’s brilliant, and having a photographic memory is just another quirk.

Two years ago, he retired from the field after a deadly accident and he was blamed for not rescuing his partner when both were dropped in separate crates into the ocean. Flashbacks show us what happened: Tokage’s crate slammed against a rock and broke and he was able to free himself, however, he couldn’t save his partner who was still stuck at the bottom of the sea.

I think I could forgive Tokage had he gone down and tried a second time to save his dying partner. He didn’t even look desperate enough to try. He just gave up after one try and swam to shore. To give the man some credit, he’s taking care of his partner’s son, a little boy named Shota Moteki (Yuma Kimino), now residing with them in the operation building. The place looks daunting and lifeless for a child, to be honest.

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Joining the team is Kaori Mochizuki (Misako Renbutsu), an ex-banker who is good-natured and clumsy, but driven to become a cop because she’s searching for someone. This set-up reminds me of Kagi no Kakatta Heya already, aloof man with well-meaning assistant. Do we have a role reversal in any dramas where the man is bumbling instead? But I like her performance so far, plus she’s adorable as heck! Reminds me of this Chinese actress which I can’t place a finger on her name!

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The other two prominent cops from the official police force are Shuji Terashima (Masahiro Matsuoka) and Yoko Makihara (Mimura). Both knew about Tokage’s past and hence disapproves the Director’s decision of hiring a cold-hearted man like him to solve cases. Especially, when the first case concerns kids; they believe his strategy might put them in further danger.

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First Case: Trading children’s organs. And it’s no work of a small potato either. In order to find a suitable kidney donor for his daughter, Minister Kashiwabara has his secretary, Ikedani, get in contacts with a prolific criminal gang to illegally find a suitable child. The child turns out to a be a little girl from the orphanage. Tokage disguises himself as Ikedani and boards the ferry where these kids are on a goodwill tour. There he meets several famed men, all known for their kindness in helping children adjusting to the life without their parents. *ahem*

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As the hour goes by, we learn that the little girl is not on the ferry because she has traded spot with another girl to be adopted by a set of caring parents. With the clock ticking, Tokage needs to find the girl when the ferry docks briefly because without her, the deal with the devil will be canceled and they wouldn’t be able to find the mastermind behind.

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Believing that Tokage wouldn’t care about the child’s safety after he hands her over to the said mastermind, Shuji intervenes in the last minute trying to save the girl from his clutch. Desperate to make it back to the ferry in time, Tokage has no choice but to work with Shuji this time around. While he deals with the culprit(s), Shuji stays near the girl, waiting for his chance to attack.

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2/3= bad. Guess?

Turns out the real culprit is an assassin believed to have been murdered after his prison release three years ago, Nakao Hideki. Nope. He underwent surgery to have a new face (except those lips) and name, Katayama, currently working in a non-profit organization, Independent Support.

After the culprits have been apprehended, Kaori learns the second meaning to Togake’s alias from Shunji:

“When a lizard is trapped, it’ll tear off its own tail to escape. That guy, too, will abandon his colleagues if he needs to.”

That’s hardly a fair assessment. He tried and it was almost impossible.

Kappy: I think my lukewarm response has to do with the execution of this show. Too many characters stuffed into one long hour of material. I didn’t fully recognize the faces until a second watch. Then again, when the culprits’ identities were released, I wasn’t surprised. For me, a good detective drama needs to have elements of suspense and surprise, continuously keeping us on our toes. And the fun involves the audience’s participation in guessing the bad guys.

Are we to believe the three men on that ferry are good guys? I couldn’t stop giggling when they stand side-by-side facing Tokage, because it’s like a perfect moment for the Evil Council of Evil to gang up on him.

The show lost its emotional beats with me the moment the Minister said he couldn’t donate his own kidney to his daughter because he wouldn’t be able to fulfill his minister tasks. WHAT?!! So you mean to tell me the whole five years that he waited to find a freakin’ donor while his daughter suffers is because of his own selfishness to hold onto his post? Ugh! The messed up part is how we are shown footage of him holding his daughter’s hand throughout the episode, manipulated to think how loving he is as a father. It was a flimsy excuse and I wanted to slap him. Real Hard!

On a brighter note, the characters are entertaining so far, none of them is a pain in the buns yet. 😛

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I have a feeling these two are going to be my favorites. The hostility didn’t last very long before they banter like old times. heh. Bromance?

  1. 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

    kappy, you crazy girl!!! how many dramas are you watching and will be watching HUH?

    im young and im trying to keep up with all your dramas!!! LOL

    lots of jdramas on your dish? i dunno about this one. detective dramas are a hit or miss with me. will try episode 1, and i’ll blame your if i don’t like it. 😛

    the main guy is handsome! but skinny….but i see he’s not abless when he exercises which is good.

    • 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

      Umm…..well, not really that many. BUT I’m going back to school so I’m trying to watch as many as possible to quench my thirst for the summer! Perfect excuse!

      Yes, a lot of Jdramas because they offer more varieties with different themes, not always the rich chaebol, poor girl in Kdramas. I’m a happy viewer, in that respect.

  2. 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

    That case of disappointment when expectations are high. I get that. Hopefully the rest of the drama picks up for you. (:

    I wasnt expecting much, cause all I knew about it before watching was it’s a detective drama with Shota. Probably why I thought it was awesome. Maybe also it’s got a new concept here, about a contracted undercover agent, rather than an officer in the police force taking the position of an undercover. I thought that was pretty novel and interesting, until I remembered a similar concept in a previous medical drama, Doctor X. That got the highest ratings for the dramas that season. They’re probably banking on that this season. Nonetheless, I’m gonna keep watching it.

    Just did a search on Misako Renbutsu, and she’s my age! Never thought it! I thought she’d be 25 or something. She has always had minor roles in different dramas. I think this is her most major role so far. And I agree with you! She’s pretty and cute! And looking really sweet too!

    I had my eyes on Murai as the suspect from the beginning, and never suspected Katayama, so that was a twist for me. Gotta agree though, that minister not wanting to save his daughter because of his post was lousy.

    • 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

      I’m not even sure why they’re so high? I still might be riding off from his Akiyama’s brilliance. 😛

      Misako is youthful, I was guessing she’s my age! Hahaha (Someone wants to look young here. 😉 ) Turns out she’s younger than moi!

      As for me, I suspected all three men. ha. But it wasn’t until Kaori mentioned about his detergent smell that I’m sure. But the twist with plastic surgery threw me in dismay. I felt like they did it for the sake of plot twist.

      Looking forward for more!

  3. 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

    I’v been craving more Jdramas so i think for this one i’ll wait to see you reviews for the next eps seeing how the first ep wasn’t too hot

    • 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

      Alice i just realized i watched the first ep before i read your post! LOL! It’s exactly as you wrote about it, i found myself getting bored i stopped paying attention/caring by the half mark.

      What other Jdramas would you recommend? i’m looking for a good Jdrama i find myself going back to old ones. I have not yet finished Hana KImi so been watching it. I also found a really old one – 1998 – but its good. Its called Shomuni. Also just started a new one called Kamo, Kyoto he Iku

      • 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

        I need to watch the 2nd episode to see if it’s shorter and more gripping. 🙂 But I do like Shota and his assistant!

        What other Jdramas…There’s this new drama that deals with ghosts: Kasuka na Kanojo. I like it so far. It’s not overly preachy and the message is delivered in an understated way. It’s about a teacher cohabiting with a ghost (she was a teacher who died and was contained in the room he rented.) and how he helps the students overcome whatever difficulties thrown at them, supernatural or not.

        Jdrama from 1998! GAH! You’re more experienced than me, Annette. 😛

  4. 8 thoughts on “Sennyu Tantei Tokage: Episode 1 “He’s a lizard?”

    Throng haha!
    thx for teachin’me a word awesome person!

    throng… lol, sry.

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