“Zappari Wakaranai.”

I’ve been watching fansubs of a Japanese mystery series. (Live action, not anime!) Galileo is a really good show, well-produced, with really good mysteries and gimmicks and a very winning soundtrack. Of course, the detectives are the best part: an awkward but determined rookie female police detective, Utsumi, and an impossibly Spocky physics professor, Yukawa. The first season was only 10 episodes long. So I’ve almost worked my way through it, and am very sad there’s no more. However, a movie and a new season of shows are supposed to be coming out for fall… so there’s something to hope for.

As always with a foreign show, there’s a certain fascination in watching things happen that would never happen in an American show — or not in the same way.

There’s a certain importance in Japanese to the use of certain pronouns for certain people, for instance. So when the professor told someone that he couldn’t talk because he had plans with “her” (kanojo) — meaning Utsumi — the obvious implication is that Utsumi is a woman of special significance to him.  You usually hear “kanojo” only in reference to a wife or girlfriend — sorta like an Irishman referring to “Herself”.

But Professor Yukawa being Professor Yukawa (doing things his own way, and regarding most of the world’s common usages as illogical), it is of course possible that he just means to use the literal meaning of the pronoun. So… another kind of mystery.

One thing that you’ll notice with all Japanese mystery shows, though — the characters tend to give up very meekly when caught. Part of this is Japanese social theory and social pressures, both in real life and in their ideas of a good story. But part of it is apparently that, in real life, the Japanese police feel that a bad attitude on the part of arrested people (ie, not admitting guilt right away) is good reason to give them a hard time back in the cells. This comes up in news stories. (And yes, it’s not a good thing to be erroneously arrested. Most Japanese in this situation confess, too.)

Naturally, it never comes up in the genteel mystery shows I watch, or with a good cop like Utsumi. But since it seems a bit unrealistic to non-Japanese, I thought I’d better explain.

Anyway, it’s a fun show even if you’re not used to watching Japanese shows and aren’t interested in intuiting romance between characters. And I’m not kidding about the cool gimmicks. Any show that teaches me a fun new home use for Sharpies is my kind of show!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to ““Zappari Wakaranai.”

  1. You might like Rurouni Kenshin–it’s anime, but just watch it in Japanese with subtitles and it’s a blast.

    I’m watching it with my husband and keep being hit over the head with Catholic imagery for the first 8 disks. The guy has a CROSS SHAPED SCAR for crying out loud….

  2. Lucia Rosa

    She does! My sisters and I have been watching it (on her recommendation) and –actually– I was just designing a picture essay titled, “why Brendan should make an anime of the Life of Christ.” The cross shaped scar didn’t come into it, I confess–but I’ll show you when I’m done.

  3. I look forward to it!

  4. Ines de Erausquin

    I love Kenshin! We’ve been watching a couple of episodes at a time night after night… and staying up waaaay too late to do so…. but it’s so fun!!!

    (Lucia’s sister here)

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