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"The Vulture" More at IMDbPro »"Hagetaka: Road to Rebirth" (original title)

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Japanese business drama

Author: sillyman-2 from United Kingdom
29 May 2011

This consists of 6x1-hour episodes. I bought it on Amazon Marketplace from 'DramaPrincess' and despite their warning of the possibility of poor subtitling, this was excellent throughout.

It is very different from other Japanese TV series I have watched as there are no quirky characters or comedic moments: a sombre tone is maintained throughout. Set in the world of big business, it concerns Washizu, a hagetaka (vulture) working for an American fund that buys out Japanese companies in trouble then sells off the component parts to make a profit. Over a period of eight years , he keeps finding himself in competition with Shibano, a banker who is trying to save the companies that Washizu wishes to destroy.

Over several years, they struggle to gain control of a traditional family hotel whose owner wishes to pass it on to his son, a toy company run as a personal fiefdom by the family matriarch, and an electrical appliances company run by a dying entrepreneur who believes in loyally to one's workers. The aim of this series appears to be to contrast this ideal with the 'business is business' attitudes of Washizu. His opponent, Shibano, is not seen as ideal as his attempts to save companies still involves rationalisation and compulsory redundancies. Over the episodes, both men are forced to confront the human consequences of their business actions.

While not anti-American, the programme is anti-American attitudes to business and it is interesting that the only businessmen featured that wishes to emulates the ideals of the dying entrepreneur is Chinese.

The programme certainly does not talk down to its audience, expecting the viewer to follow such concepts as leveraged buyouts, and to its, credit, achieves quite a bit of suspense during the various takeover battles.

Chiaki Kuriyama has a meaty role as an investigative TV reporter who holds a grudge against Washizu for her bankrupt father's suicide many years before.

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