Aibo is a popular detective drama on Japanese television and the seventh season will premiere on October 2008. Aibo means partners, which is a common title and somewhat lacks the urge to watch. Not only by this title but due to some popular variety shows that were on air at the same time frame, the audience ratings of Aibo were not so high during the first few seasons. But because of the fun characters, skillful scenario, and good acting, Aibo had core fans from the beginning, and the popularity went to the general audience. Now the ratings are quite high and stable, and eventually Aibo gekijo-ban (theatrical version) was made.
Aibo is about a gifted, former elite detective who was disliked by the upper levels of the police organization (he is too smart) and given a position with no active work to do. He is teamed by a friendly and athletic but a little clumsy detective, and together they solve all kinds of difficult crimes. Heard of such story somewhere? Maybe, but the scenario is solid and good (most of the time), and the directors are again, most of the time, good. Seiji Izumi, the director of the gekijo-ban, is one of the main directors of the TV series. And the best part is due to Yutaka Mizutani's peculiar but believable acting (Ukyou Sugishita, the smart detective) and Yasufumi Terawaki's jocular performance (Kaoru Kameyama, Ukyou's partner), which makes this show quite impressive. These two are real actors who can really act, which cannot be seen in most of the recent TV shows in Japan with idol-like stars who cannot act properly. The co-stars (like Ittoku Kishibe, Sawa Suzuki) are also very good, and some other co-stars, who may not be famous, are real actors from stage and theaters.
Aibo gekijo-ban was made with the same cast and staff of the TV version, and with some big name guest stars. The story starts with a bomb threat to a politician and other murder cases with identical clues left at the crime scenes, which leads to a bomb threat at the Tokyo big city marathon. Ukyou and Kaoru investigate the case on their own as usual, and finds out the sad background of this crime. This is actually the whole plot of this movie, and this was on the television commercials of this movie on the TV Asahi network (one of the sponsor of the show), shown like almost every 30 minutes between the commercial breaks during April and May. The movie was good in terms of Mizutani's excellent acting, and to see a higher cost involved. But the plot was already revealed by seeing the commercials (that is why I did not check the spoiler mark), and there were much better and complicated scenarios for the TV versions. With a 10/10 for the best stories of the TV series, I will give this gekijo-ban an 8/10.
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