SPEC ~ First Blood – Episode 1

Hello there! Time for a j-drama recap. And I decided my first dorama recap to be SPEC ~ First Blood. More explanations in the “Impressions” part below. I used the D-Addicts subs, and I’d like to thank them for their impressive work ♥.

In a nutshell, you have a genius weirdo, paranormal powers, a secret organization, a red-suitcase and a plaster cast. Oh, and a no-nonsense fella, who has to work with aforementioned weirdo. And they’re working in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Guess you’d love to live there, right?

Song of the Post:

Spec Opening – NAMInoYUKUSAKI by Japanese rock band THE RICECOOKERS

Episode 1:「魔弾の射手」(Marksman)

We start out with views from the japanese megalopolis: Tokyo. We’re lead to a kind of a very formal disciplinary hearing. Facing three superiors, behind a reinforced glass box, SEBUMI TAKERU (Kase Ryo) is pressed to give a honest testimony.

Flashback: he had to lead his special forces unit (SIT: Special Investigation Team) on a mission against a band of thugs who greeted them with gunfire. The SIT unit made its way to the warehouse where the thugs ran to hide. Sebumi motions to his unit when to charge, and noticed one of his soldiers, Shimura Yusaku, falling to his knees. He tried to cheer him up by vowing to treat the whole unit to Shimura’s favorite restaurant.

Time for attack, and the SIT unit entered the warehouse protected by their huge shields. Sebumi was teamed with Shimura, but there has been a split moment when Shimura disappeared, and when Sebumi looked for him, Shimura was suddenly facing him.

Sebumi yelled at Shimura not to shoot, but he’s already gone crazy and fired. Before Sebumi could have countered, time froze, the bullet slowly making its way to Sebumi, before stopping mid-air, and next thing we see is Shimura being shot by these very same bullets. It gets very bloody here, guys.

Back at the hearing, Sebumi’s superiors barks at him, calling him a liar. He sticks to his testimony but the superiors can’t believe that a soldier would be killed by its own bullets, and accuse Sebumi of switching guns after shooting. I admire Sebumi for staying stoic. I’d have already spit at them. Ok, not the brightest idea, but very satisfying. I’m sure the Creepy Cap Man snooping around thinks the same.

As a result, Sebumi gets notified by his chief that he’s transferred to the 5th division: Mishou (aka Unsolved Crime Unit, aka The Loony Unit). Read: demotion.

But now is the time to be introduced to our main character. Her name is not given yet, but we’re no fool. She’s TOMA SAYA (Toda Erika), and she’s all I am at home, when no one is watching, except she’s like that everyday, everywhere. Her hair is a mess, her clothes disheveled, and she uses her chopsticks both to eat gyozas AND to turn the pages of her books. But you should not judge a book by its cover (har har). This girl has an IQ of 201, and reads about quantum physics or discuss Schrödinger’s Cat’s theory while pointing to the Gyoza Chef that one piece of his puzzle is missing. Needless to say, I love her. (albeit not loving the physics)

Stoic Sebumi has packed his things, and heads towards the 5th division. Only, it’s such an obscure division that they don’t even has a proper elevator. Instead, they use a freight elevator. Eep, talk about budget cuts. But I love how indifferent he is, not making any comment.

As he goes up, he comes to face an old man standing there who seems rather curious to see who’s this new visitor. Sebumi introduces himself with a military-style salute. Old Man seems not used to such ceremonials, but introduces himself as well: he is the The Loony Unit’s  5th division’s-Unsolved Crime Unit’s chief, NONOMURA KOTARO (Ryu Raita). You certainly don’t look the part, Persimmon Grandpa.

Sebumi settles at his desk while scanning the place and I bet the outcome does little to improve his first impression. Chief Nonomura (I so want to call him Persimmon Grandpa, but I have to respect hierarchy) presents his division and their activities: investigate cases that can’t be explained by science, and handle paranormal/ESP problems. Sebumi sums up: “In other words, we handle nonsense cases and claimer complaints that are passed around departments.” Weeeeell, you could say that.

Poor Sebumi wonders if there are others weirdos members in this unit, and Chief Nonomura says that there is: 24 y/o Toma. Speaking of whom, she’s currently being dragged by her hair to the 5th division by an angry Gyoza Chef who calls her an “eat and run”. Turns out she forgot her wallet and she doesn’t look a bit like a cop, so no wonder why Gyoza Chef brought her suspicious ass there. She even sleeps and snores while Gyoza Chef complains to Persimmon Grandpa. errr…Chief Nonomura.

Chief Nonomura offers to pay in her stead, and she wakes up in time to ask for a tab. Sebumi snaps and angrily asks if she’s really a cop. Not so stoic anymore, aren’t we? But now he can be introduced to Toma and her clumsy ways as he points out her wallet, hidden in her sling. As soon as she hears Sebumi’s name, she runs to him and practically sticks her head to his, saying “So you’re the man involved in that strange case…” Intereeeeeeesting.

Toma watches a DVD of a Qigong Master to gather data for an investigation: the Master pretends he can knock down anybody just with his mind. Sebumi can’t stand the ridiculousness and wonders if watching such videos can even be considered as work. Toma replies that “since only 10% of the human brain is used, why does the other 90% exist?” There are hidden capabilities out there, and no one can explain it. She refers to Rain Man’s savant syndrome, for example. She knows that this DVD is fake, but she believes there are people with SPEC in this world.

Sebumi thinks that believing in supernatural powers is ridiculous. But Toma has met such people. She knows the horror firsthand. And so has Sebumi, right? His temper flares up, and he warns her: “Don’t talk about things you don’t understand”. Well, what a lovely introduction for our super duo.

Here enters MASAKI MIYABI (Arimura Kasumi), who perfectly dons the female police officer. Chief Nonomura panics as he tries to tense up his body, and calls her Miyabi-chan. Loudly dropping the remote control of the freight elevator, she introduces new customers to the Mishou division. Seems like it’s a first for the team. Hello, guinea pigs!

Both customers look rather sceptic about Mishou’s abilities. One is Waki Tomohiro (Glasses Guy), assistant of Gokitani Haruki (the tall and tanned one), who is a member of the Congress, a successful businessman, and a TV celebrity. He seems annoyed to have to explain the same things, and complains in english.

So, Toma channels her best gangsta attitude as she says: “That’s a piece of shit, we’re the motherfuckings pigs man”. Quickly followed by a ironic「よろしくお願いします」- Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu (Please treat me kindly). HAHAHA I don’t really get what she meant, but I freaking love her antics. Everyone (except Sebumi) is pretty much thinking “What the….?”

Assistant Waki explains their presence: Gokitani has consulted his fortune-teller, called Reisen Toshiaki, who revealed a pretty unpleasant prediction. At the word “prediction”, Toma’s ears prick up and she runs to hear more. She’s so impolite and yet I love her for that.

She wants to know what the prediction said, and Waki explains that there’ll be a big party held the next day to commemorate Gokitani’s Group 15th year. And according to Reisen’s prediction, Gokitani will be killed. Is that excitement you’re feeling, Toma?

The fortune-teller also said that if Gokitani doesn’t want to die, he has to hand him 200 million yen. Hmm, sounds rather fishy to me. Even Chief Nonomura calls Reisen a bogus, but it seems that actually this fortune-teller’s predictions are pretty accurate, and he helped Gokitani several times. As Sebumi says, why not postpone the party? But that won’t do, as many influential politicians were invited, and while it sure looks childish to cancel such a big party because of a prediction, it’s also stupid to still hold it when you KNOW you’ll die that day. To quote Sebumi: Lame!

Assistant Waki asks to have Security Police agents for the party, but for Chief Nonomura that’s a bit exagerrated. Gokitani claims that he pays taxes enough, and Toma snickers at the amount, laughing her head off. Waki tried to present the case as an anti-terrorism protection, since Gokitani is a Congressman, but they were dismissed and sent to the Mishou office. He threatens to go see a commissioner instead, but Chief Nonomura stops him. Very formally, he accepts the case and Sebumi rolls his eyes. Tee hee.

But even as Chief Nonomura and Toma go to ask for Security agents, their request is disdainfully rejected. So they’ll have to protect Gokitani themselves, and with a former member of the SIT unit with them, it’ll be a piece of cake. Toma thinks that they should also focus on gathering more data first. So off they go to visit the much talked-about Reisen Toshiaki. Standind in a crowded waiting-room, they get lucky and are picked right away thus cutting a very long line. My French heart feels for these frustrated clients.

Once facing Reisen, or shall we call him Rasta Medium (seriously, only in Japan can you find a dreadlock guy sporting the traditional medium clothes) they’re told they have 5 minutes. Eeep. But Toma doesn’t need much, and asks right off the bat how 200 million can change your future, if the future is absolute. Smart girl.

Reisen goes on saying that if you know the future you can change your current self, and thus change the future. Toma smiles knowingly, and though Reisen’s assistant signals that their time is up (huh? Not even 1 minute!), she asks if Reisen can predict what will happen to her and Sebumi tonight at 9 o’clock. I love how she seems innocuous and yet she’s the most clever and proactive so far.

Reisen readies for his prediction: biting in a lemon, he squeezes its juice on top of a sand mountain and starts chanting what sounds like the lyrics of a magical anime. He suddenly opens his eyes and writes something on a card, then repeats the same action. He says that both Sebumi and Toma should open their card around 9 tonight.

Toma swears she’ll believe he’s the real thing if the prediction comes true and they set to go, but Sebumi doesn’t budge an inch. He asks: “If you really can see the future, then you know what I’m about to do now, right?” Reisen pretends he knows, so Sebumi stands up saying “Good, I won’t have to explain”, and takes out a paper from the paper bag he always carries, announcing: “You’re under arrest” !!!! Such a smart move!

He has issued an arrest warrant for alleged extortion, using Chief Nonomura’s stamp without him knowing. I shall really call you Persimmon Grandpa, you useless Chief. Sebumi declares that claiming supernatural powers to extort people is illegal in Japan, and that in order to fulfill his prediction, he could have had set up Gokitani’s death. Though his assistant is indignant, Reisen is cool with that twist, saying that he’ll have to prove his innocence then. He adds: “Gokitani will definitely be poisoned at his party”. At least we know more about the “HOW” now.

Sebumi tramples on the holy sand mountain, having no care for such things (though he could just have went round it) and grabs Reisen by the collar. Next thing we see, Reisen is abruptly pushed inside a cell. He comments on how this is a waste, and that future is absolute. Sebumi confidently replies that he’ll prove to the entire world that Reisen’s predictions are false and that he is a fraud. As he leaves, Toma hands him his divination card but Sebumi tears it right away and thrusts it into the bin. Toma-Shock: °O°

In the hotel hosting the party, Toma and Sebumi are led to the main room. Assistant Waki makes sure that security is reinforced, helped by Sebumi’s advices. He also hired the private military company Black Water. Errr, this ain’t no Irak, you know? But at least, we’re given some 「外人」- Gaijin (foreigners) faces *sigh* and an English-speaking Sebumi.

Toma tells Assistant Waki that Gokitani will be poisoned, and that prompts him to have all the food and drinks checked. Toma suggests to analyze it with gas chromatography before it is served to Gokitani.

Trivia: Assistant Waki excuses himself to answer a call from Gokitani, who is a guest at a TBS show (the channel broadcasting “Spec”!), and is displeased because he wanted to be with the Fuji Television announcer. Haha.

As Toma asks what Gokitani is doing, she notes down all the stuff he’s in charge of: a company’s president, a TV talent, a politician. Such a busy guy, yet I bet every Korean idol is busier. But I digress. Toma wonders whether or not Assistant Waki is  going to be a politician.

She thought about it after seeing a woman calling him “Master” earlier. He surely liked it, right? He tries to pass it as a mistake, pretending he’s embarassed by it, and assures Toma that he prefers working behind the scenes. Tome smiles approvingly, but obviously doubts him.

We see Chief Nonomura sipping a pink drink at one of those countless cute cafes in Tokyo, and Miyabi joins him. Wait, what’s that? She’s not his daughter, but….his lover? Ewww. You naughty Perverted Grandpa. She asks when they’re getting married, and Chief Nonomura stammers as he says that his divorce is not going well. What now? She’s so young she even has curfew, for pete’s sake!

Back at the Mishou office, Toma and Sebumi work on the case. Toma reviews Gokitani’s past, which could explain why he’s being targeted. But to Sebumi, it doesn’t matter who he is: whether it’s a politician or a criminal, every life is important. You’re so cool, Stoic Sebumi.

Toda takes it badly and retorts that she already knows that since she’s a police detective. With his usual cold anger, Sebumi shouts that she better not make fun of detectives but their quarrel defuses as Chief Nonomura enters, ever the imperceptive kind.

Sebumi stands to leave as he has things to take care of, and Toma goes as well, pretexting to need to go eat gyoza. Sebumi points that she already had gyoza for lunch and she counters with how she’s in the mood for gyoza. Hilariously cute, Sebumi notes that she’ll smell bad tomorrow. Funny how they already look like an old couple.

Chief Nonomura smooths things as he praises both of them, and he sits saying that he’ll spend the night working through all the data. Poor old man will be eating alone. He takes out what looks like a pen box, but there’s a syringe inside, and he suddenly opens his shirt as he sticks it into his belly.

It looks so much like he’s performing「切腹」- Seppuku (Japanese ritual suicide) that it’s no wonder both Toma and Sebumi look abashed, until they register Chief Nonomura’s stupid antics. He has diabetes, and is using a brand new type of needle that leaves no irritation, but a cute little red spot. Tsk, you’re so not the average japanese grandpa.

In the Gyoza restaurant, Toma snerks, saying that she’ll let Sebumi smells gyoza. Haha, how petty. As she orders 2 more servings (but where the hell does all this food go?), Gyoza Chef makes sure she has her wallet this time. Heh. She searches for it to prove her probity, but can’t find it. Before Gyoza Chef thinks of boiling her, CHII SATOSHI (Shirota Yu) appears to save the day: it was just under her suitcase. He’s Toma’s ex-boyfriend, and still worries about her well-being. Somehow, it’s strange to picture Toma as a girlfriend.

He wants to start over with her, but she shoots: “No, annoying, persistent”, to which he meekly nods in agreement. Aw, poor puppy. But not dejected, he takes some gyozas from Toma’s plate. Listen puppy, you should not mess with a girl’s food! But Toma has something else to focus her attention as she notes that it’s time to read the card, which says:

You’ll reunite with your destined person while eating gyoza.

Sebumi goes to the hospital to visit Shimura. Placed on life support, he lies there, with his sister Mirei sleeping at his bedside. As soon as Sebumi enters the room, the patient monitor goes wild, waking the sister up. She warily eyes Sebumi while the doctor rushes to the room. He advices Sebumi to leave, suggesting that the cardiac dysrhythmia could have been caused by Shimura’s fear of him. So he’s conscious, asks Sebumi. But no, someone in a vegetative state can’t feel a thing.

Sebumi takes an envelope out of his jacket, and hands it to Mirei. Offended, she says she doesn’t want money, preferring that he admits his sins. Sebumi can only look at her, conflicted. Please, someone give this guy a hug. He lets the envelope on the bed and leaves. But Mirei runs after him, and throws the envelope back. She calls him coward and accuses him of putting all the blame on her brother. Now Sebumi is completely lost and helpless, forced to endure accusations, hatred, disbelief.

The same night, Reisen has to wake up as he receives the visit of Creepy Cap Man. He has a name : TSUDA SUKEHIRO, and also works for the Public Welfare. Oh, I almost forget to say: he’s here to kidnap Reisen. I knew you were suspicious, you Creepy Cap Man! As Reisen asks where they’re heading, CCM hands him a lemon and jokes on how Reisen should try predict his future. He does, and realizes that they’re going to kill him. Well, I’m sure you could have guessed it just by thinking that black suit guys, a black car and a CCM are never a good combination.

Party Day. A specialist of gas chromatography came to analyze the food, and Sebumi maintains that Gokitani just needs to avoid food. Duh, why don’t they listen to him, seriously? But I guess there would be no drama then. Toma announces that her prediction came true, and totally believes in Reisen. Gokitani reveals that Reisen was unemployed before he met him. He tried to call him last night, to no avail. Erm, that’s because he was too busy being abducted.

Party Time. Indeed, every food and drink is tested, and guests are greeted in the best Japanese fashion while the Mishou team is on the watch.

During Gokitani’s speech, an important political figure enters, and Sebumi freaks out. This new guest brought an unexpected gift with him: huge sake barrels.

Culture break: when one celebrate a big event, the tradition calls for a「鏡開き」- Kagami-biraki (Opening the mirror/lid). You open a sake barrel by breaking its lid with a wooden mallet, and it supposedly represents an opening to good fortune. Thing is, you need to serve the sake to everyone present. And how much would you bet that this barrel didn’t go through the gas chromatography test?

The politician breaks the lid and Chief Nonomura runs to inform him of the danger. Uh oh. Of course the politican takes it the wrong way, thinking that he’s suspected of poisoning his sake gift. To save his honor, he takes a cup and dips it into the barrel to taste the sake himself. Assistant Waki jumps to him, and offers to be the taster. Guests start to complain about the police’s incompetence, so Chief Nonomura feels forced to step and take the cup. Why don’t they all taste it, since they’re all so brave?

Shaking from head to toe while Toma starts to pray for the future dead (lol), Chief Nonomura sees Miyabi-chan in the sake. You old Perverted Grandpa! She even winks. So cheesy. At least NOW he’s eager to drink it. As everyone’s attention is focused on the outcome, he starts to grimace and groan, but that was just for show. The sake is quite good! Oh, how I would love to smack this head of yours. So now that the sake is deemed okay everyone is served, and Gokitani seems to enjoy it as well.

As everyone is watching a musical performance, Gokitani suddenly brings his hands to his throat, going through hell as he feels the poison. He falls down, rolling because of the pain, and dies. The whole room panics, and Assistant Waki rushes to Gokitani’s side as journalists run to take pictures. Fortunately, there’s Sebumi to take initiative and he orders the Black Water agents to call the ambulance and lock the doors.

Forensics agents come to inspect the room, and an investigator practically insults Sebumi for not having prevented the murder. His chief, Commissioner Baba Kaoru (Sebumi’s former chief) enters and after answering a call, he informs everyone that Gokitani died of a heart attack.

The Mishou Trio goes to tell Assistant Waki about this news. He doesn’t seem shocked but feels guilty for not doing more, and wonders about Reisen’s whereabouts. Chief Nonomura says that they can’t reach him now, and that the Public Welfare Department will soon held a hearing about it. Hmm…Toma seems bothered and defends Reisen, reminding them of how he was always right.

For her, Reisen’s ability is real, and she wants to meet him again to ask why he wanted to charge his benefactor 200 million. Assistant Waki ventures to say that he maybe needed the money and Toma totally agrees. Still, if Gokitani were to die, Reisen would get nothing. So why didn’t he try to lower the price?

Assistant Waki doesn’t get where she’s going, so Toma develops: there is a reason why Reisen didn’t offer a discount. He knew he would eventually get the money from the person behind Gokitani’s death. As Assistant Waki still doesn’t understand (whether he’s really stupid or plays dumb is yet to discover), Toma tsks him (lol) and demonstrates her point: If Reisen’s power is real, then surely he must have known beforehand that Gokitani would be killed.

We see a flashback when Reisen speaks with his assistant after rejecting Gokitani’s demand for a discount. He tells him that when Gokitani will die, someone will pay him the 200 million. As hush money. Oh oh!

And Toma goes on with her hypothesis: if Reisen kept silent, it’s because he knew he’d get the money out of the culprit. Assistant Waki devotedly offers to give 300 million to find the culprit, ready to fight long and hard. Toma eyes him cryptically while enjoining him to do as he says. Killjoy Sebumi tells her to cut it out, since the death has already been investigated, and the case is closed. Not even 1mg of poison had been found in Gokitani’s body. And grabbing Toma, they leave.

Mishou headquarters: Toma stands on a table, her head touching the ceiling. It’s like she’s meditating, and Sebumi has no idea what she’s doing. Oddly enough, he yells at her to not talk about ridiculous things (huh??? why so violent, Sebu-chan?) and Toma yells back: “Distraction!” Haha, good girl.

Sitting in front of a calligraphy set, she holds her brush, raises her arm, and letters come flooding her mind. It looks a bit like a zen ceremonial, à la「筆禅道」- Hitsuzendo (The Art of the Brush), as she’s trying to clear her mind from disturbances and focus solely on the solution. Her eyes pop, and she frenetically traces out words linked to the case. Sebumi looks her working, but interferes when she stops to ponder. Gah, I love you Sebumi but please let her be!

The more she brings her ideas to life, the more she seems possessed by her task. When she’s finished, she picks all the sheets and goes to a wider place where she puts her foot on the papers and rips them! Tearing them to pieces, she suddenly throws them in the air, closing her eyes to focus more on the words buzzing in her mind as the pieces of paper fly around her. When she opens her eyes, she declares:「いただきました」- Itadakimashita (I get it). Girl is ready to fight!

Assistant Waki is alone watching the TV news announcing Gokitani’s death (which has been filmed). His phone rings, and the politician present at the party asks him to run in the election since everyone knows him and Gokitani wasn’t popular anyway. Urgh, politicians. Assistant Waki hesitates, but the politician tells him that everything will be fine. As he hangs up, Assistant Waki slowly opens a binder, and takes out a tennis ball plastic can. Taking off his glasses, he raises his head and opens his mouth wide, as if for screaming, but while he’s making no sound, we hear a beastly noise. You’re scary, buddy.

Late at night, he enters the hotel’s party room, now emptied. But that’s speaking too quickly: Toma is here, eating while using her plaster cast as a tray. Ha, I so love her. She’s waiting for the criminal, who shall be here soon. Assistant Waki reminds her that the investigation is over, and that she should stop, but she smiles, saying that no, there was poison. A very elegant one. He points that they didn’t find any trace of it, and Toma gets that she’ll need to explain, so she puts her food aside (booo).

Sure, no poison was found, but there is an element present in the human body which can cause a heart attack when delivered in high doses: potassium. Assistant Waki thinks about the sake, but that only amuses Toma. Certainly, he trapped the police nicely. She makes him remember about the time she told him Gokitani will die by poison, and calls herself foolish for focusing only on food and drink, when poison can be in so many other things. In their case, it was injection. Assistant Waki wonders if she’s saying that he injected Gokitani with poison during a party where so many guests were present.

She agrees, it seems impossible, yet magicians are able to perform even in front of a large crowd. The key point is to divert their attention. And during the party, there was indeed a psychological moment with everyone’s attention focused elsewhere: when Chief Nonomura drank the sake. We see a flashback of Assistant Waki jabbing the syringe into Gokitani.

Toma heads to her suitcase, takes out chopsticks and begins her charge, when she notices that she’s holding the wrong item. Haha. What she shows later is the needle Chief Nonomura uses. The one leaving nothing but a cute little red spot. Toma asked for a re-examen of Gokitani’s body and oh surprise, a little red spot has been found on his thigh. But not so cute anymore, this spot.

Assistant Waki looks really nervous, but he pulls himself together as he says that while it’s an interesting presumption, he’s not able to do that since he’s not that skilled with syringe. Toma laughs and refers to his past as a sensei. The woman who called him that wasn’t mistaken. He was either a doctor or a medicine student back then, and that woman was one of his patients. Not joking anymore, Waki asks if she checked that fact. She did, of course, and shows his resume.

Since she used theatrical tricks, he asks to be allowed theatrical objections: for instance, where is the syringe now? Surely, she already checked the room, right? She agrees that if the syringe disappeared in the midst of the party’s chaos, that’s their loss. But if it’s still in this room, then she bet that the culprit would come back to retrieve it. Because if he destroys the syringe, there’d be no evidence and that would be the perfect crime. Uh Oh, I really don’t like this look in Waki’s eyes.

Since Waki came, that’s pretty much like screaming that the syringe is still in there. He pretends coming by chance, and takes his leave. Toma runs to him, faces him and asks: the syringe, with his fingerprints, where could he have hidden it? Does he want to hear? Yes she stinks of gyoza, and so what? The only place that the police didn’t check is….the ceiling.

He snickers. Has she seen the room? The ceiling is way too high for him to hide anything in it. She counters that he threw it up, like a dart, and it stuck there. He repeats, attentively looking at her: at such a high place? She muses that he sure has an amazing phyical strength. She goes to her (Mary Poppins) suitcase and takes out a monocular, pointing it at the ceiling. Found! Does he wanna see? Huh, I guess not. There’ll surely find his fingertips on it.

An average human only uses 10% of his brain. Nobody knows yet what sort of SPEC lies within the other 90%. As she reveals his SPEC ability, she recognizes that such people exist among us, hidden, and they are an unlimited amount of talent. Such a pity he wasted his great SPEC to commit a cliché murder.

Swiftly, Waki pops out a ball, and sends it flying towards the roof , destroying the syringe. Toma is amazed by the display of his ability, while Waki smugly says that there’s no more evidence now.

Toma apologizes: she was being theatrical again. Calling out to Sebumi to no avail, she has to head to him and finds him sleeping behind the room’s equipment. LOL. But he has the camera that filmed the whole exchange. He walks towards Waki, showing him the “real” syringe protected in a plastic bag.

The one Waki destroyed was fake, but thanks to it they got to record his confession as evidence. Trapped, Waki resorts to his last chance, and throws a ball as fast as a bullet at Sebumi’s left shoulder. The impact is so violent that Sebumi is knocked-down, and realizes that his bones are broken. With one last ball in his hand, Waki tells them that he’ll have to kill them. Cryptically, he says that there is no other choice now that they know about “their” existence. Toma catches on the plural form and a crazed Waki mentions that she was right:

People are continuously evolving. Those of us who have evolved have to fix the world. Politics, economics, education and morals. If you don’t start now, it’ll be too late. Second generations and talents who got in because of their parents, it isn’t time to leave the world in their hands.

Gearing for his shoot, he strikes and the ball severely hits Toma’s head (aaaaaaah!!!) and she falls. Sebumi looks at her, alarmed, and pulls out his gun but Waki is fast as light and he’s now the one holding Sebumi’s gun. Sebumi calls him a monster to what Waki smirks, suggesting “Godlike” instead. He aims at Toma, and Sebumi shields her yelling that he’s more like a criminal. Waki starts: “You also…Die”. He shoots, the bullets going slow-mo towards Sebumi, and once again time freezes.

But this time, there is someone watching. Dressed in black, a teenager comments: “Troublesome. They’ve gotten closer to us.” Addressing Waki, he adds: “You shouldn’t act selfishly”. Walking to Sebumi, he looks at Toma and moves her hair to better see her face. Looking at Waki, he says: “You die” and snaps his fingers.

Time starts again, and Waki takes all the bullets. Stunned, Sebumi can only witness an astounded Waki staggering as he registers that he’s the one who received the bullets. Falling, he mutters: “Why”. For Sebumi, this is the second time such a thing occurs, and he trembles as he remembers the Shimura accident.

Creepy Cap Man lights a cigarette, and makes a deal with a bruised and terrified Reisen. In the hospital, Shimura’s sister Mirei takes an handkerchief to wipe out her brother forehead but as she touches him, she suddenly gets flashes of strange visions. She moves back, scared of what has just happened.

The last image goes back to Sebumi, the only conscious person in a bloody room. As he watches the blood streams, and Toma being inanimate, he painfully realizes that he has to accept this reality, those people called SPEC.

Impressions:

It’s the first episode. She won’t die, right?

I didn’t expect to recap SPEC ~ First Blood (an other title is Keizoku 2: SPEC). In fact, I thought I’d recap a very oldie drama first. Because I love me some vintage. But I came across a blog post that reviewed the Spec series, and that made me really interested. Through the usual blogs and websites covering Japanese dramas news, I knew about this drama, but I didn’t think it would be interesting. And I’m not a fan of Toda Erika, since my only try with one of her dramas was “Nobuta wo produce”, and my opinion of her was “harmless and cute but nothing worth remembering”.

And then I watched Episode 1 of Spec.

God, it was good at so many levels! True, we do have our share of J-dorama clichés, but I think it was played nicely enough so as to not thwart the fun. But the one who totally blew me away, certainly, is :

I love it when actresses immerse themselves in their role enough to be able to strip away their make-up and “femininity”, and forget about being cute and whatnot. The Erika Toda I watched in “Nobuta” was cute but….boring. Ok, her role was. With “Spec”, I feel like I’m totally discovering her anew. Granted, maybe her antics and zany behaviour will turn off some people, but I think the story itself is compelling enough to drag you in anyway. Making it even funnier for me is her relation with Ryo Kase. She’s the fun and the crazy, he’s the calm and the cool. She doesn’t have any manners, and given how Japanese culture worships the respect of hierarchy (for instance), her carelessness is akin to sheer tactlessness. He sticks to bureaucracy and military code of conduct like glue.

It’s the first episode, and we can already see how Toma and Sebumi will interact, as Sebumi grows to understand more of Toma’s uncommon methods. At first, he automatically dismissed her but she has proven her ability now. Speaking of ability, it seems like Sebumi possesses a strange power he isn’t even aware of, yet. In fact, many are.

SPEC ~ First Blood is sometimes called the sequel of Keizoku (a 1999 drama), but from what I’ve found, it’s not really the case. I wasn’t able to watch it, so don’t quote me on this one, but it seems like there’s no paranormal, nor SPEC in Keizoku. Here what I read on ifbyjapan:

The stylistic differences are quite marked. The original is played a lot straighter. In Keizoku, the female detective (Nakatani Miki) is socially inept, but she tries to do the right thing. In the sequel, the detective (Toda Erika) also has problems dealing with people, but this time cares little for the consequences of her rudeness. The second series has a broader sense of humour, with a fair amount of physical comedy which the first series lacks.

Hmm, I confess I’m itching to see the old Keizoku, to compare. But there’s one thing both series have:

OMO! Persimmon Grandpa!

I usually don’t like first episodes, but this one completely won me over with its characters, its music and its cliffhanger ending. Oh, by the way, each episode has a different opening version. For this one, here’s the track used for the first opening (I’m so lovin’ it):

NAMInoYUKUSAKI for SPEC【甲】

I’m dying to see what will happen next!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “SPEC ~ First Blood – Episode 1

  1. Hello Ri! Thank you for your comment 😀
    7 episodes later, I feel that I was very very green at the recapping process (and clearly, I still am), but I’m more than glad to know that I managed to make some points clearer. Thanks for your support and I hope to see you around 😉

  2. I need help! Where can I watch this online? I tried different sites but they all go to wat tv. Arg! This looks good!

Share your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s