keizoku spec

Keizoku 2: SPEC (ケイゾク 2: SPEC) 2010

Rating: 10/10

Recommend: Yippie yes.

Review:

Another detective drama that made me fall in love instantly.

I have a weak spot against slightly quirky, eccentric characters it seems. In this case, Toda Erika’s Toma Saya. Pair it with the stiff Sebumi Takeru played by Kase Ryo, and a slightly superpower themed plot, you have yourself one of the best dramas.

I don’t know what’s coming next and that kept me glued to this series.

Definitely a must watch for Toda’s fans.

2

What is it: SPEC is a 2010 10-episodes Japanese dorama which was then followed by a series of movies and TV specials. It’s short!

You might like this if you like: Fringe, X-Files, Doctor Who at its darkest

Content labels: strong female characters with flaws, manipulative geniuses, Failure Knights, tragic backstories, fireforged partners who might or not be romantic, loyalty beyond all measures, doomed siblings, gore/body horror, CONSPIRACIES!!, Shady Governments Who Shady, twisted plots, buddy cop shows, supernatural drama, NAKAMA!!!, weirdness, mutants 

Hey, you! Yes, you, the one missing Fringe or the one waiting until new X-Files hits. May I interest you in Keizoku 2: SPEC?

It’s my favourite TV series. It can be weird, but the plot and the characters and everything are just simply great.

It’s not, of course, a very happy series. The Keizokuverse has less moral fibre than Westeros… but also a lot more humour. Because SPEC is, besides everything, incredibly incredibly weird. Some characters suddenly show up as robots. There’s funny background moments constantly. (It can be offputting for some. It works well for me.)

Now, SPEC’s plot is twisty and beautiful, so if I kept talking about it, most of it would be ‘but then SPOILERS happened’. Going in unspoiled makes it a much better experience, because SPEC has one of the weirdest genre shifts ever attempted. One that works, for that matter. Let’s just say that ‘mutant crime’ is just the tip of the iceberg and the stakes just keep getting higher and higher as the show goes on. By the last two movies, it’s become a supernatural series. So I’ll focus on the characters and on the themes, which aren’t really spoilery.

Touma Saya is a genius. She’s also disgusting, arrogant, closed-off, manipulative and not at all charming. Sebumi Takeru is an absolutely loyal cop. He’s also bad at social graces, closed-off, easy to anger and not at all okay.
Together they fight mutant crime!

They’re both thrown together after Sebumi is accussed of attacking one of his colleagues and Touma has a run-in with a psycopath that leaves her without the use of her left hand. They’re weird, disliked and in a basement.

Their relationship is the core of the show - two very, very, very, very broken people who in their isolation find each other. They fight and argue and bicker, but their bond can survive anything.

Sebumis’ struggles with conflicting loyalties are a great counterpoint to Touma’s complicated mix of grief - she lost most of her family - and detachment. Their arcs are about sacrifice and about finding some semblance of love after a lot of pain.

The secondary cast is secondary, but incredibly lovable (or hateable, in several cases). Everybody gets their share of attention and even the most disliked have understandable, sympathetic motivations.

But where SPEC shines is its themes. Following Keizoku (the also great but very different first series), it continues to delve in questions about memory and about what the truth is that resonate across characters arcs and the plot itself. It’s also a series about the past, about the dead we carry inside and whether or not it’s possible to let go of our regrets. Can we honor the sacrifices of those who came before? Why should we go on? How can we go on anyway?

Just give it a chance. It won’t dissapoint.