Tokyo Dogs – Drama – Review

Tokyo Dogs Poster


Takakura So witnessed his father’s murder at a young age. Pledging to catch the killer, he grows up to become an elite cop in New York City, where the criminal lives. His character is cool-headed and disciplined, yet adapts well. Because of major drug dealings, he gets sent to Tokyo to conduct a joint investigation with the Japanese police. There, he gets teamed up with, Kudo Maruo, a detective from a special investigative division. Kudo is a hot-blooded fighting expert due to his earlier days as a delinquent, but he makes a strong impression with his stylish appearance and is always interested in going on group dates. His personality, interests, and investigation methods are completely mismatched with Takakura’s, but the two somehow work together to crack the case they’ve been given.

Native and/or alternative titles: 東京 DOGS; The Worst and Best Partners; Saiaku de Saiko no Partner
Year: 2009
Countries: Japan
Languages: Japanese, English
Genre: Action, Comedy, Suspense
Director: Takeshi Narita, Yusuke Ishii
Writer: Yuichi Fukuda
Cast: Oguri Shun, Mizushima Hiro, Yoshitaka Yuriko, Katsuji Ryo, Miura Tomokazu, Otsuka Nene, Azuma Mikihisa, Shiga Kotaro, Tomosaka Rie, Usuda Asami, Yazaki Hiroshi, Tanaka Yoshiko, Kawaguchi Haruna, Yoshimura Takuya, Mikami Kensei, Okuno Tadashi

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Tokyo Dogs is basically 10 episodes of comic relief with spots of action-thriller and suspense weaved into the hilarious dialogues narration and scenarios. With some of the top-notch actors like Oguri Shun, Mizushima Hiro and Yoshitaka Yuriko in the mix, there is no doubt about the quality of acting. These three have such a brilliant and strong chemistry together than just watching the three of them interact can guarantee hours of entertainment.

So basically the story goes like Takakura So (Oguri Shun) is an elite officer in command in the NYPD, USA and is currently in pursuit of his arch-enemy who is the leader of a crime syndicate working across Japan and USA. He is also the killer of Takakura So’s father who was assassinated in front of Takakura So when he was a little boy and the only way he recognises this killer is a scar the killer’s left forearm. Due to a failed operation, the killer escapes to Japan and Takakura So follows him, therefore ending up being part of the Tokyo Police force and becoming partners with Kudo Maruo. Now, where Takakura So is a calm, collected, level-headed and extremely professional officer with a no-nonsense policy; Kudo Maruo is his exact opposite being a hot-blooded, rash, no-plan type of guy who is constantly trying to flirt with women and have fun. Now, these two need to work together to catch this mafia leader and the only link that they have is a girl, Matsunaga Yuki, who is suffering from Amnesia but is the target of assassination plots constantly since she came in the custody of the police. The three now eat together, live together and sleep together in order to keep Yuki safe. With a cute, boisterous personality like Yuki, the serious level-headed So and rash playboy Maruo working together nothing but a stream of chaotic comedy can ensue.

Every character in this drama is a burst of comic energy and even in the serious parts, there is some element of humour present. It is especially hilarious to see the budding bromance between Takakura So and Kudo Maruo who are practically made for each other. The verbal sparring at most random things and absolutely anywhere and everywhere is one of the biggest charms of this drama. Another hilarious encounter which keeps repeating is So’s mom calling him at the most inappropriate times and So being the good kid always picking up the phone whether he is relaxing in his room or in the middle of a gunfight. Even the supporting cast is amazing with everyone having their own unique quirk which adds on to the humour of the drama.

Oguri Shun - Tokyo Dogs
Takakura So picking up his mother’s call in the middle of catching criminals

I would recommend this drama right off the bat just for its hilarity and brilliant dialogues. There are a lot of pop culture references made in the drama which might be difficult to understand if you are not into Japanese pop music, animes, movies etc but none-the-less it is worthwhile to watch it. The plot is definitely not the greatest or very unique but there is something in this drama which keeps you hooked till the end. There are places where the certain scenes are unnecessarily long but considering this drama is only 10 episodes long, it seems perfectly acceptable to me. Also, there no romance in it as such, the drama is more focused on the bromance and friendship between the different characters and I feel it is for the best. It suits the overall flow of the drama and its basic essence.

The music or cinematography didn’t really stand out much and wasn’t really unique either. It was all average. But since it is more on the side of a slapstick comedy than anything else, it’s pretty decent. Even the plot is quite predictable but some of the action scenes are quite nice and very touching as well.

Overall, it is a pretty good drama to watch to get your spirits up and to laugh out loud. If you watch it now then you will definitely ponder on the tacky style of directing and producing the drama but it might also leave you with a slight tinge of nostalgia.

  • Story
  • Acting/Cast
  • Music

Have you seen ‘Tokyo Dogs’? What are your thoughts on it? Do you plan to watch it after reading this review?

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About Poornima

A Korea-phile by nature~ Love everything Asian and originally from India. Fluent in Korean language and knows Chinese language as well. Has Masters in East Asian Studies (with special interest in Korean culture and politics)

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Gita Madhu
May 26, 2018 9:55 am

I’ve seen it. Oguri Shun 😀 One of the stars! I have a Page on FB for Asian and other dramas. may I add you and request a regular feed from here?
I’m thrilled to find your blog! Indians need to know about K and J dramas and so much else. Great work, Poornima San!