"Aibou" (Partners) is one of the most popular Japanese TV series ever, with 14 seasons under its belt in 2016, one pre-season, three movies, comics, books, 2 more movies with some of the supporting characters at the center... and great ratings year after year on Japanese TV. Even after Yasufumi Terawaki, who played one of the two original characters, Kaoru Kameyama, left the show at the end of season seven, the show still continued its strong run. The show, instead of changing the formula, just decided to give a new partner to Yutaka Mizutani's Ukyo Sugishita, who has become the soul of the series. Since Terawaki left, three popular Japanese actors have taken the role of the partner, from the original GTO's Takashi Shorimachi surprising appearance in the last season to date, to Mitsuhiro Oikawa and Hiroki Narimiya in various of the previous seasons.
The story is pretty simple. Sugishita is the boss of the Special Mission Task Team, the lowest of the departments at Tokyo Police, a department no one cares for. He gets teamed up with Kameyama, a hot- headed policeman. Even though their personalities are quite different (Sugishita being more the brainy type, even though he has quite interesting, and funny, fighting and running skills) they mesh quite fast and start resolving case after case under the irritated look of their bosses, who would rather have them quietly doing paper work.
The dynamic between the characters is what makes the show, and in the first seasons Terawaki and Mizutani make a great team. But it is not only them, as all the supporting characters are quite fleshed out and have their very personal traits (a little bit of caricature-type, though). The relationship between all of them would be enough to make a quite fun show, but the mysteries are quite interesting too, from a person killed in a restaurant, to a bomb threat, some cases related to politicians, or with the yakuza... The show doesn't just center on the dead-body-of-the-week type of show, but offers a huge range of cases, many of them posing the two principal characters against their superiors, politicians and people with money. This makes for a very interesting look into the inner plays of power, and in the work of the little against the big.
It is all lots of fun, interesting and never boring. Totally worth watching.
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