Jdrama Review: Untouchable
English title: Untouchable
Broadcast station: TV Asahi
Broadcast dates: 16 October to 18 December 2009
Cast: Nakama Yukie, Kaname Jun, Sato Tomohito, Ozawa Yukioshi
Theme song: “Orion” by GIRL NEXT DOOR
Insert song: “Koku ni Iru yo” by 72
Synopsis: Nakama Yukie stars as Narumi Ryoko, a journalist fired from the top-rated magazine National Journal due to an editorial disagreement who is now working for trashy gossip magazine Untouchable Weekly. Throughout the series, Narumi quests for the truth behind all the weird happenings and gossip, finding that all the events can be traced back to a certain mysterious organization. Helping her along the way are the other reporters of Untouchable Weekly (especially cameraman Takafuji Shinichi), her crush from National Journal, and her police officer brother.
My thoughts: I personally love Nakama Yukie. From her portrayal of Yankumi in the Gokusen series to the reluctant ninja in Shinobi to the out-of-work magician in Trick. Her acting skills are wonderful and she has a classic beauty and a very expressive face, making it very easy for her to show a lot without speaking much. After her roles as Yankumi and Yamada Naoko (Trick), the quirky, klutzy character of Narumi Ryoko seems to be a natural role for Nakama.
There have been some negative reviews of Untouchable, but I find that I thoroughly enjoyed the drama. Nakama did a wonderful job portraying Narumi, the supporting/main cast did great jobs with their characters as well. I especially liked Sato Tomohito as Takafuki Shinichi, cameraman for Untouchable Weekly. This drama reunited Sata and Nakama who had previously starred in Gokusen 2 together.
The character of Takafuji, who is more grounded (and dare I say more mature), is a good foil for the klutzy, and unrealistic (especially in regards to love) Narumi. It was always interesting to see what would happen next and to see if Takafuki would help Narumi out of her little messes or if he would just let her sink with her own mistakes (i.e. blurting out the wrong thing, letting her fall into a swimming pool). Takafuji, despite being a cameraman and not the actual journalist, did a great job in smoothing over the feathers that Narumi ruffled with her over-honesty and sometimes hard-hitting questions and did a great job in furthering the investigations.
Together, Takafuji and Narumi are partners trying to discover the truth behind the darkness. While pursing sensationalist stories about celebrities, these two constantly stumble on deeper incidents all revolving around a certain fund-raising organization and a mysterious person only known as “Anonymous.” There is a strong dark undertone to this series; however, there are many light, comedic moments. Even when faced with death and tight situations, the character of Narumi always seems to bring a little laughter with her inane comments and physical comedy. I think that really helped keep the drama away from being too heavy and dark. Mystery and suspense are all well and good, but humor definitely helps give the nerves a rest.
The plot line was good. I was kept guessing as to the true identity of Anonymous throughout the first 7 episodes (I definitely knew who it was by episode 8, but I know there were viewers who were completely shocked when Anonymous was revealed in episode 9). Also, all these people and events with seemingly no connection are all brought together in a finely woven web. I also liked how Narumi kept her journalistic principles even while working for a third-rate gossip magazine. She didn’t lie or cheat to get information and (unlike the other female reporters portrayed) she did not use her body to get the story. I also liked how towards the middle of the series the crew of Untouchable Weekly came together as a unit, accepting Narumi and doing their best to uncover the truth (despite the very real threat to their lives).
If there were some shortcomings to the series, one of them would have to be the relationship between Kaname Jun’s character and Nakama Yukie’s character. Narumi has a very blatant crush on Toyama Shiro (Kaname Jun), one which she doesn’t hide at all. Toyama seems to have no feelings for her whatsoever, but their comes a part in the drama where their relationship becomes a little blurry and I am not sure what to think of it.
Another detriment to the story was Narumi’s blatant disregard of facts about certain people. Even with the proof staring at her straight in the face (whether fabricated or real) she would ignore it and go on defending the person until either we find out that she is right or something happens and she just cannot deny the truth any more. There are times I would want to shake her and tell her to wake up. It is ironic that for a person constantly chasing the truth, she is a person who finds it hard to actually face the reality of the truths she eventually uncovers.
It is funny to watch Narumi constantly throw herself at Toyama and to be constantly rejected by his “never thought of you that way” and “impossible for him to like her” comments. In fact, Toyama’s rejection of Narumi helps Takafuji care more about her and to begin to understand her better. Whether or not Takafuji “likes” Narumi as more than a friend is left up to the imagination, but I think their is a little something there that could possibly blossom into a real love for Narumi, but the series ends before that can happen. The series also ends with a cliff hanger making me want to see a special down the line, just to see what happens – but it’s not necessary. The main storyline of the drama does get wrapped up.
This is definitely a worthwhile drama. It’s got a little something for everyone: mystery, murder, suspense, humor, great group dynamics, and a great brother-sister relationship. Check it out and find out who Anonymous is. (I could tell you more about the plot and the ending, but I figure you should see for yourself – I always hate when people tell the end and ruin the suspense.)