TROUBLEMAN Episode 1 Recap

TROUBLEMAN posterトラブルマン

English title: TROUBLEMAN
Broadcast station: TV Tokyo
Broadcast dates: 9 April – 9 July 2010
Episodes: 12
Cast: Kato Shigeaki (NEWS), Takezai Terunosuke, Iwasa Mayuko, Nakayama Yuichiro, Riju Go, Rino Hana, Terajima Susumu, Kunimoto Shoken, Ogura Takeshi
Theme song: “Be Funky!” by NEWS
Synopsis: An all-around nice guy, maybe he’s too nice, gets in trouble at work, goes home early, runs into a trio of yakuza looking for his next door neighbor and the misadventures start there and eventually snowball to encompass many of his neighbors and elderly landlady and we slowly learn just how connected everyone is and just why Tokuda is mixed in with these unfortunate events.

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I wasn’t sure about this drama, but clocking in at only half an hour, it tempted me away from the longer dramas. This is definitely a must see, action-packed drama complete with mistaken identity, yakuza, an amnesiac, a mysterious (crazy?) young woman, an otaku, and a poor guy caught up it it all. I can’t wait for the next episode to be subbed.

The episode starts with a crash, an explosion and people on fire chasing after one another. We then see Kato Shigeaki running for his life, collapsing, and seeing a mysterious woman, we are then taken back to the beginning to show what started this all.

Kato Shigeaki of Johnny’s boyband NEWS fame heads up his first leading role as Tokuda Kazuo, an insurance company employee who cares more about helping his clients get the money they deserve than keeping the money safe for the company. He is seen helping not only his clients, but all those in need around him, from a little boy who lost his ball to an old lady whose cart tire went flat. When he gets back to his company, he meets a sad older woman who was denied her pension due to a problem with the insurance. He fixes her up right away and then gets called into his boss’s office who then proceeds to tell him that he is losing the company millions. Tokuda defends his actions and his boss sends him out of the office saying Tokuda just doesn’t understand.

Tokuda goes to the riverbank and we see flashbacks of him and some woman (we don’t know who she is yet, but it’s obvious that she’s important to Tokuda). He then goes home only to run into three Yakuza who ask him about his neighbor Ozaki. Tokuda states he doesn’t know his neighbor at all. The yakuza boss says the Tokuda looks familiar, but he can’t think of why. He then asks Tokuda why he isn’t at work and Tokuda says he doesn’t have to answer the man’s question. The yakuza then says that if Tokuda has any trouble, just leave it to him and his men and they’ll take care of it. They then move a few doors down to Ozaki’s apartment. Tokuda goes into his own, happy to escape the yakuza.

After getting a bottle of water, Tokuda notices a man with a knife hiding in his apartment. The man motions for Tokuda to keep quiet as the yakuza are still around trying to get into Ozaki’s apartment. Tokuda keeps quiet and when the noise quiets down, Ozaki makes Tokuda go outside to look around. The yakuza see this suspicious behavior and run after Tokuda who doesn’t know what to do. Ozaki tries the apartment door next to Tokuda’s and finds it unlocked. He then goes in and Tokuda follows. There they come upon what looks like an attempted rape, shocking both Ozaki and Tokuda.

The Yakuza figure out which apartment the two are hiding in and demand that Tokuda gets out there right now. Tokuda wants to know why he is being called out when they are looking for Ozaki. They go into the living room where the rapist opens a cupboard to get “medication” and a dead girl falls out. The young woman comes into the room and tells the dead girl to pull herself together and get up. The yakuza try breaking down the door, causing the girl to start laughing, saying it’s over and then she jumps out the window, followed by Ozaki, then Tokuda and the rapist.

Their jump lands them into the apartment complex’s backyard which is walled in. Knowing they’ll be caught it they stay, Ozaki begins trying windows to see if one of them will open. He gets one open and they all clamor inside. Tokuda takes off his shoes first and leaves them neatly outside (heehee, a cute moment) before remembering that he is running for his life.

They make it safely inside only to find a table where a lone gun sits. This seems to keep the foursome in shock. Tokuda keeps asking if it’s real. Ozaki keeps replying he doesn’t know. Tokuda asks why it’s there, Ozaki replies he doesn’t know again. Meanwhile, the yakuza have found they had jumped from the window and are looking for which apartment they fled to this time.

The otaku rapist then tries to leave as it doesn’t concern him. Afraid the yakuza will find them because of him, Ozaki grabs him and threatens him with the knife saying that even if the yakuza has nothing to do with Kameda, he is still a criminal as he tried to rape Ogi. Kameda states that Ozaki is wrong, but Ozaki refuses to let go. At that moment the door to the apartment it unlocked and the owner walks in, with a very unnatural reaction to the situation. Ozaki throws Kameda away and brandishes the knife at the apartment owner.

The owner asks Ozaki why is he here and why does he want to kill him. Ozaki says that he has no idea what the man is talking about. Come to find out the man has amnesia and is trying to figure out just who he is. This shocks the others, but can’t be anymore surprising than everything else they’ve experienced that afternoon.

The yakuza break in the door and Tagawa whirls with the gun and threatens to kill them if they can’t tell him who he is. The yakuza boss seems unconcerned by this and sits down, asking if the man is wrong in the head. Tagawa states that he is, that something’s messed up.

And that’s where episode one leaves us, and yes, all that in only half an hour. Amazing, isn’t it?

My thoughts: I love Tokuda’s character. He is a good guy who just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time which leads his crappy day to a downward spiral he never saw coming. There are more mysteries than answers and I can’t wait to find out just what is going on with Tokuda’s mystery girl, the murder, why the yakuza are chasing Ozaki, did the otaku really try to rape the girl upstairs, and just who is Tagawa and why does he have amnesia.

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