Japanese Drama Review: Galileo

A new Japanese Drama aired by Fuji TV, Galileo, starring Fukuyama Masaharu and Shibasaki Kou, has captured my roving J-drama-hungry eyes this October 2007. Reminiscent of the US TV show Numbers, this series features rookie detective Utsumi Kaoru (Shibasaki) tasked with solving mysterious cases that more often than not appear to be supernatural in nature. In the first episode alone, she must solve the mystery behind an incident of spontaneous human combustion! Fortunately, her outgoing predecessor divulges the secret behind his crime-solving success rate, the help of his former college schoolmate, the tensai physicist and university professor Yukawa Manabu (Fukuyma), AKA Tantei Galileo.

Initially off to a rocky start, the two begin a tenuous relationship where Utsumi appears to rely entirely on Yukawa-sensei to solve the seemingly implausible cases. However, as much as the eccentric professor would like to regain his relatively previously peaceful existence, each baffling case inevitably ensnares his interest and challenges his incomparable intellect to explain the hows and whys of each scenario.

The two main actors have good chemistry, and perform adequately in the series. Fukuyama is a stoic Galileo, who appears indifferent to the charms of the beautiful rookie detective – at first. He is believable as a physicist, although one does wonder if the calculations used in his bursts of enlightment are actually valid equations. The little experiments he does to recreate each situation are cool to watch, and actually makes me regret not maximizing time spent in the science laboratory. You learn a little something with each episode. Shibasaki, on the other hand, is undeniably attractive as the tenacious Utumi, but can appear to be too much of a whiner at times. It would be nice to watch her evolve into the confident and professional detective that she aims to be. The regular supporting cast appear adequate, although underutilized. The actors used for each episode are also excellent in general.

The sets used are great, and the music very appropriate for each scene. Each episode features a particular unexplained phenomenon, from spontaneous human combustion and out of body experiences to poltergeists and mysterious sudden deaths, that will be accounted for scientifically in believable terms at the end.

As of writing this review, I have only seen the first four episodes, and am anxiously awaiting each new installment, subtitled for free by SARS Fansubs. Why not give it a shot?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. doramarookie
    Feb 14, 2008 @ 16:49:43

    The calculation part is a bit contrived, it doesn’t add anything to the show, in my opinion. Just a convenient way to break the flow a bit and to shove in a few flashback shots of the mystery at hand for 30 seconds.
    For the rest, I agree with your review, nice main actors, good sets, nice music, most plots are entertaining, only a couple of episodes are downers.
    I’m at #8 and their relationship evolves quite slowly, I wonder what they will make of it in the last 2 episodes.

    I’m starting to dl Japanese dramas, I’m also watching hane yori dango, I look forward to more SARS fansubs!


  2. Fukuyama
    Apr 14, 2008 @ 23:05:53

    i think this drama is one of greatest japanese drama ever seen.
    it is show all event of murdered are explained by science.

    compare to hana yori dango it much better.


  3. vaberella
    Aug 05, 2008 @ 08:32:24

    I saw all of it and I have to agree this show rocks. I actually must completely disagree with the first commentator about the equations.

    I’m an economist and whenever we have to brain storm a scenario of wage and labor as it affects the economy we need to use the same derivative equation system that Fukawa was using. I was surprised by what he did, it’s similar to what I’ve done in the past and I didn’t find it at all contrived. I think people in the sciences might like it more.

    They did a great job with the story.


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