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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


Sure, Kencaesi. To answer your question, Season 12 is far from over. Just like every other Partners season, there will be 19 episodes. We just finished Episode 10 last Thursday. Every Partners season has two multi-episode story arcs—one in the middle of the season (which we just finished this last Thursday) and one at the very end of the season.

So, the latest story arc we saw was a midseason feature that marked the midpoint of Season 12. We have quite a few regular episodes remaining, and Season 12 will draw to a close (in a couple of months) with a second multi-episode story arc—the season finale.

I believe Season 13 is still in production in Japan (meaning, they are still filming) and it will be a while before we see it here in the United States. However, luckily, Season 12 is far from over and there are quite a few episodes remaining—8, to be exact.

Hope this clears up any confusion! emoticon
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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


<EPISODE 11>

Nice change of pace from the usual "hostage" stuff. This episode reminded me a bit of the old J-drama Trick, from about 9-10 years ago. Two skeptics were debunking spiritualists and psychics in that one, and this episode had some shades of that. I was always thinking how nice it would be if Partners would become a little more mysterious with stories like this, and so I hope we see more of it in future episodes/seasons.

Jinkawa made his obligatory appearance for the season. He was getting on my nerves a little bit, though. I know he had to abide by his usual storyline (getting dragged into a case by a pretty woman, falling in love with her, and then being forced to forget about her because she is either taken or the actual perpetrator) but I didn't like how he was pretty much abandoning Ukyo to continue protecting Ms. Psychologist. It was refreshing to see him "snap out of it" and take Ukyo's side again before long. Usually he waits until the big reveal to come to his senses, but this time, he realized that there was simply too much evidence against Ms. Psychologist.

Poor Jinkawa hasn't changed for twelve whole seasons. I hope he will have found someone nice the next time he rolls around... but if that were to be the case, he wouldn't have much of a storyline, would he? LOL!

I enjoy Jinkawa and Kaito's funny rapport. It reminds me a bit of how Jinkawa and Kameyama used to be with each other.

Lots of great scenes with Mr. Contact Lenses and Mr. Forensics Guy. For some reason, it feels like they have been missing from action a bit this season. True, they make their obligatory appearances in each episode, but it just feels like they're not a part of the story as much as previous seasons.

Ukyo was certainly harsh in this episode, wasn't he? Especially the ending, when he kept repeating over and over again that Ms. Psychologist was not "qualified" to be a clinical psychologist. He then finished by telling her that she would have a lot of time to think about it—while she was in the slammer. While Ms. Psychologist certainly was to blame for everything, I was rather surprised to see Ukyo react so harshly to the whole thing.

It was quite a plan that Ms. Psychologist had concocted, though. One wrong move and it would all go wrong! I was totally shocked that Ms. Psychologist's "client" was actually the hit man, though. Quite a disguise he had come up with! I laughed when we saw his real picture—and how he was actually a yakuza guy.

By the way, I loved the scene with all the yakuza guys. Something tells me that Yakuza Ken from Oshin wouldn't be too impressed with these guys, though. LOL!

Episode 12 airs next Thursday!
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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


On Ms. Psychologist and Ukyo - Clinical psychologists are especially responsible and reprehensible for their actions because they are dealing with people who are in a particularly confused, vulnerable, and suggestive state of mind. To use such people as pawns in a personal game—an evil game, at that—is more than unforgivable.

Ms. Psychologist seemed not to understand her actions within the bigger picture. She looked a little shocked (realization?) at Ukyo's emphasizing to her that she was not qualified to be a clinical psychologist. I suspect she viewed her profession as just another job, not all that connected to the depth of violation in which she had engaged.

When you step back and look at this situation, Ms. Psychologist was herself in need of serious psychological counseling. What well-balanced, "healthy" person engages in all that she did? She had an affair with a married man (her work superior), pressuring him to divorce his wife; her personal and professional ambitions were off-base; she made an elaborate plan to have herself killed as revenge toward the other woman who was vying for the same professorial promotion; she endangered the lives and well-being of other people who might be injured/killed at her "accidents"; and on the list goes.

It seemed to me that Ukyo was not particularly harsh, just cognizant of what force it would take to get through Ms. Psychologist's thick skull, to wake her up to see realistically how she fits (or does not fit) into such a profession. Ukyo would definitely not want to allow such an incompetent, psychologically "bent" person be in charge of the vulnerable in society. Ukyo's choice of manner and word would not be easily dismissed or brushed aside.

I, too, was surprised at the yakuza client being the hit man. He certainly disguised himself excellently! LOL Although in retrospect it should have been a big clue that this "client" was given so much air time in the episode, I missed it completely.

Seeing more of Mr. Contact Lens and Mr. Forensics adds to the enjoyment. In fact, this season has notably included more of the supporting cast members for us to enjoy. Since time is limited, it's interesting to see who is "in" or "out" of the current episodes. It was funny recently when Itami's biggest scene was as Santa Claus at a mall.

Overall, this was an entertaining episode. Jinkawa I can do without. I have always found him enormously annoying—even more so in this one. Still, his presence gives us a change of pace during the season. When you think about all the writing and different plots required to produce all these seasons of Partners, it is quite amazing that the series continues to be satisfying and mostly "fresh."
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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


Nchristi, I definitely share your feelings on Jinkawa. Out of all the recurring characters we see on Partners, I think he is the one who grates on my nerves the most. I suppose he has his funny moments, but generally speaking, his "woe is me - I'm still single!" shtick gets a little old. I'm sort of glad they have limited his appearances to just once a season. If it were any more often, I'd get quite irritated with him! I sort of like the way Kanbe used to handle Jinkawa—if I remember correctly, he wouldn't pay much attention to him.

Yes, there are definitely some episodes where we see certain recurring cast members over others. These characters are really well-written, and I think that's proven by the fact that despite twelve seasons, we haven't seen many cast changes. There have been minor alterations (Onoda being killed off and replaced by Kaito's dad, for instance) but the fact that these characters have mostly remained the same shows us how dynamic they are.

Ms. Psychologist is one of those people that Ukyo dislikes the most—professionals who betray the trust of their clients, and end up using them in their schemes. If we think about Ukyo's "outbursts" (when he suddenly loses his patience) it is usually with people like Ms. Psychologist, who just don't get and understand that people are looking up to and relying on them. It might also explain why Ukyo takes his position of power so seriously—never abusing his position as a police officer and treating everyone with extreme fairness.

It's ironic that in some ways, Ms. Psychologist was getting fooled, herself! I remember that scene when we first saw the yakuza client. Ms. Psychologist said she was using him for her research. Little did she know that he was the "hit man" hired by the yakuza guy! I guess everything about Ms. Psychologist's practice was a scam—she wasn't qualified herself, and some of her clients weren't even the real deal. Not to mention, her co-worker and boss. I would hate to imagine what their poor patients are going through!

This was one of those cases that really makes you think—another reason why I love Partners. Much more interesting and fresh than the usual hostage cases!
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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


<EPISODE 12>

Great episode. I've noticed that in these last few episodes, we've seen Ukyo and Kaito embark on the investigations separately, with Ukyo teaming up with another character (last time, it was Jinkawa, and this time, it was Itami) to do the investigation. Then, Ukyo and Kaito come together for the "big reveal" at the end.

I definitely enjoy the episodes where Itami plays a big role much more than the ones where he just makes a quick cameo appearance. He certainly steals the show, doesn't he!? I just loved his reactions when he felt that Ukyo was treating him as his "servant boy." LOL! Itami can't hide his dissatisfaction with it, but he has no choice to follow through, since he knows that Ukyo is his key to solving the case and taking the credit! It's all too funny, really.

I can see why Itami has been a part of this show for twelve seasons. Unlike Jinkawa, whose shtick gets old after just one episode per season, Itami never fails to entertain. There is just something about him (and Serizawa) that makes him so entertaining to watch. He has definitely become an indispensable part of the show, and I hope the writers will keep him on-board for good!

Kaito has taken over Kame's role of being the nice and compassionate detective. I thought it was nice of him to stay with the female teacher and try to dissuade her from killing herself. However, she certainly had everyone fooled with her fake threat to kill herself! I was shocked at the last minute when we found out the truth. Although her desire to send her student off to study abroad was admirable, she should have known better than to use such dirty and lowdown tactics to do it. I totally agree with Ukyo about how the student would feel horrible if she ever discovered where the funds that paid for her education came from.

I wonder what charges the woman will have to face? She didn't kill anyone, but can she be charged with conspiracy and/or misleading the police? I am always curious to find out what charges some of these criminals face after being arrested by Special Missions.

The murdered "teacher" and the principal were horrible. I feel bad for the students who had to take classes with these poor excuses for educators. I felt like applauding when Ukyo told the principal that he would be spending a lot of time in jail, reflecting on his bad deeds.

Ukyo's advice to Kaito and his girlfriend pretty much sums up the reason why we know little to nothing about Ukyo after 12 seasons. If we think about it, we hardly know nothing about Ukyo - especially when it comes to his relationship with Ms. Ex-Ukyo! But he's right - a little mystery keeps us coming back for more.

Episode 13 airs next week! Hope we have more Itami!
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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


It was a pleasure watching this last episode! It was funny, interesting, and had some rather jaw-dropping clues that Ukyo saw to solve the case.

First, the removal of the blood on the piano key "F" was just a little hard to accept. LOL. Since there was blood spattered all over the piano, why would the killer try to wipe up only the key with a smudge? It seemed somewhat of a stretch that the killer would try to clean only that key because he worried the "F" note might lead detectives to his name: Fukawa.

As for our Ukyo, it was fascinating that simply striking the keys one at a time drew out of him his piano ability, his hand gestures mirroring those of a sensitive and able pianist.

On to Itami.... He really does bring some spice to this series. My favorite line from the episode was Itami answering Ukyo's phone call: This is Itami, your beloved errand boy. Second, it was so funny to watch him crawling like an alligator on the floor of the auditorium to place his cell phone in a position to pick up and transmit the piano audition of the young jazz pianist student. My other favorite line was when Itami entered the room where the school principal was about to shred some of the accounting documents. What a lame attempt to cover up! exclaims Itami, as he snatches the pages out of the principal's hands.

As for the "suicidal" teacher, the minimal punishment must be for falsely calling out the police, the fire department, etc., to save her. That costs a lot of money and resources. The way society is going these days, individuals are many times being held responsible for the cost of life-saving governmental activities. I would imagine the teacher would be charged and punished for misusing such services. There could also be some accomplice charges for knowing about the fraudulent theft of school monies, then trying to run off with the suitcase of cash.

Still, I would like to know the real legalities of her situation, too. The Japanese legal system has always interested me.


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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


Yes, I couldn't believe it when we found out that the victim, in his last moments, got blood on the "F" key in order to throw his killer under the bus. Even when he was breathing his last breath, the guy was consumed with dragging his killer down with him! I find it difficult to feel bad for some of these victims, though. The murder "victim" was just as corrupt as they come, and I was shocked that he was actually working as a teacher. From embezzling school funds to buying marijuana from students, this guy wasn't exactly the best mentor!

Totally agree with you about Itami, Nchristi. He's really becoming the Greek chorus of this show, isn't he? I enjoy his commentary. One thing I enjoy about the Itami actor is that he doesn't go out of his way to be funny or over-the-top—everything is done subtly, which makes everything he does even more entertaining and funny. Some of my favorite Itami moments come at the beginning of the episode, when he and Serizawa are interrupted at the scene of the crime by Ukyo and Kaito barging in.

Ukyo seems like the type who makes sure the culprits are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, so I can definitely see the teacher getting all those charges. I'd imagine she would have to serve time for a couple of years, especially if she gets the accomplice charge. The Japanese legal system is very interesting, indeed, especially when we look at the statute of limitations law and the changes to it as of late.
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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


What a refreshingly different plot foundation in this episode. It was especially interesting and my second viewing of it produced a few finer points that I had missed the first time around. In fact, a third viewing might be revealing, as well.

A Study in Loneliness. Ukyo narrates the episode, talking about a book he is writing on the aforementioned subject; how it all got started.

I'll mention just a few of what were high points for me, otherwise I'd be here all day.

First up is a question: Mr. Contact Lens walks into the office, Kaito reading a novel, Ukyo working away at writing on his computer. Has this become the literary unit? he asks. Looking over Ukyo's shoulder at the writing, Ukyo then holds up a paper to Kaito and says: "He" is this, pointing to a specific Japanese character. Both men give each other that "knowing" look of recognition. My question is, What was that character? It must have been an important clue of some sort but the translator didn't include it as an e-sub.

In talking about Ukyo being a lonely sort, the internet critic Poison commented that because Ukyo is such a talented person, he is an oddball within the police department. Ukyo is alone from the general ranks but instead of being "lonely," Poison describes Ukyo as being simply "detached" from the incompetence surrounding him. A recurring quote is something to the effect that a person in the wild does not feel lonely, he is lonely in a city.

Poison also suggests to "Watson" (Kaito in relation to Ukyo's Sherlock) that he should develop more amity with Sughista. Kaito is uncomfortable with that as Ukyo is his senior both in position and in age.

Eventually, the truth of the "murder" case is revealed at "tea parties" Poison has in his apartment with Ukyo and Kaito. His motivation in revealing the truth was not a particularly guilty conscience, rather that he wanted to tell his story to someone who would believe the truth—which was stranger than fiction. Actually, it was not so much a murder as the woman inflicting suicide upon herself after she put the antique knife into the shocked Poison's hand.

At this revelation, Poison is ready to go with Ukyo and Kaito to the Metropolitan Police Department to begin the legal proceedings which must be taken care of. They calmly walk into the detectives' room where Itami and Serizawa are at their desks. Itami jumps up and asks Who is this? Kaito looks at Ukyo and Poison and replies: He is Ukyo-san's friend.

Looks like Holmes and Watson have progressed in their relationship to a greater "amity."

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Re: J-Drama: 相棒12 (Partners 12)


<EPISODE 13>

Oh yes, this was definitely one of my favorite episodes this season! Excellent story and case. It reminded me of why I started to enjoy Partners in the first place, and why I continue to find it so interesting. Very unique episode.

Nchristi, that's a good question about the character on the screen. The character Ukyo and Kaito were looking at (彼) means "he." Kaito asked Ukyo if by this character "he" refers to Poison, which was correct. It was a significant clue since this is when the audience realizes that the main character in the book Ukyo is writing is actually Poison himself.

Another point I found very interesting is Kaito referring to Ukyo by his first name at the end of the episode, instead of with his last name (Sugishita). In Japanese, it is usually the case that co-workers refer to and address each other by their last names - especially when one is talking to their boss. First names are used in more friendly, casual contexts, or by two people with a closer relationship. Both Kanbe and Kaito always call Ukyo by his last name, and the only partner Ukyo had who called him by his first name was Kame. I think this is a testament to Kame and Ukyo having a much closer bond than Ukyo had with Kanbe and Kaito. However, perhaps Kaito referring to Ukyo by his first name (assuming he continues to do so) shows us that he might be becoming a little closer with his boss. Ukyo seemed rather content when he realized that Kaito referred to him as "Ukyo-san", instead of "Sugishita-san."

It's a shame that Ukyo and Poison couldn't continue their friendship. Come to think of it, we've never really heard much of Ukyo's social life. It's all been a mystery, and I've always been curious about his interactions with others - particularly those not involved with the police department.

What charges will Poison face? I guess he could be charged with assisted suicide, although he might also be dinged on keeping this all a secret for so long. Poison seemed resigned to his fate, though. I think he was planning things to turn out this way all along, which is why he was giving away his books. I think Poison was waiting for somebody like Ukyo to come along - somebody who he could reveal the truth to, and who would believe him. Ukyo handled it in a way only he could - by turning the case into a riveting mystery novel!

I wish Ukyo really published this book - I would certainly buy A Study in Loneliness!

For a second there, I wondered if Ukyo and Poison shared a similar childhood. I can also imagine Ukyo being the type to point out mistakes made by his professor, or not having many friends in high school. Perhaps that's another reason (besides the tea and Anglophilia) that allowed for Ukyo and Poison to bond so easily.

Excellent episode, and one I will always remember! Definitely the best case of the season so far. emoticon
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    We too were captivated by this episode which may turn out to be pivotal in the arc of this season. Hiroshi, both you and Nchristi have illuminated some subtle points that a casual viewer might have missed. Nice catch, Hiroshi, on Kaito's referring to Ukyo by his first name - a potentially significant shift indeed.
    We were struck by the shift in lighting in this episode from the cool palate of most previous episodes (blues, whites, etc) to a much warmer set of colors (browns, tans, autumnal reds, etc). What do you think this shift signifies - it does seem to be a deliberate choice, but why?
    Another interesting facet of the episode is the Japanese word translated as "loneliness." The word Ukyo chooses is kodoku, rather than samishii, sabishii, hitoribochi, or wabishii. Hitoribochi usually translates as "alone," so that seems inappropriate in this context, but the other words all are commonly translated as "loneliness." However, samishii, sabishii and wabishii all have a strong (rather painful) emotional tone attached to them, while kodoku is the more objective and neutral "solitude." That seems so much more apt for Ukyo - just one more way that this episode appears to be so carefully constructed.
    By the way, we have two questions (sorry if they have been answered in another strand):
1) What kind of car does Sugishita drive?
2) What is the source of Sugishita's apparent wealth (he's not showy about it, but he does wear bespoke suits, and his car seems rather special too).
    
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