|Original work by:||Aida Saki (Novel)|
|Cast:||Yasumoto Hiroki x Nakamura Yuuichi (安元洋貴 x 中村悠一)|
|Related drama(s):||① Deadlock (デッドロック)|
|③ Deadshot (デッドショット)|
|④ Deadlock: Love Begets Love (デッドロック番外編 Love begets love)|
|⑤ Deadlock Simplex Gaiden (デッドロック外伝 SIMPLEX)|
|Drama translation:||Keseranpasaran (external)|
|Synopsis:||After entering the FBI, Yuuto’s pursuit of Corvus brings him to Los Angeles, where he meets Rob Conners, a professor on criminal psychology. Together, they work towards uncovering the truth behind Corvus and the terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, Dick also gets closer to getting his revenge on Corvus. In the process, has he chosen to give up his feelings for Yuuto?|
This review is super long because I couldn’t help it, I just had that much that I must say, so I decided to split it up in sections so that it doesn’t appear too chunky. But it still does look chunky doesn’t it. Well, the drama was two and a half hours long…
The story opens with a solemn scene where Yuuto visits Paul’s grave. It’s feels like a breather before the action starts. He dives straight into investigation soon after, visiting LA and meeting Rob (Yusa Kouji). We soon find out that Rob is gay, but despite his persistence in trying to seduce Yuuto, Yuuto stays focused on his goal of finding Corvus and rescuing Dick from his hatred and thirst for revenge. We watch the two work their way towards solutions, both regarding their relationship and finding Corvus. The story reminds me of a Nicholas Cage movie where he rushes to place after place with clues from the terrorist to difuse bombs against a set deadline. The progression gets us wondering about what Corvus’ motives truly are. Even though he seems to call everything a game and he does fit the bill of a crazy person who would kill for fun, I suspect there’s a deeper meaning to his actions.
The turn of events where we find out that Rob and Jessica were acquaintances was a tad cliché, there just has to be the link for Yuuto to confront Dick. And when they finally get to speak to each other with nobody else around (I highly suspect that Rob pretended to go out just to let Yuuto sneak away to find Dick), it was an emotionally-charged confrontation between the two, ending with a sweet H scene and a painful parting. On a side note, I was quite surprised by their honesty with each other. When Yuuto admitted that he is jealous of Jessica and asked Dick if he would sleep with her just to get what he wants, Dick replied yes without missing even hesitating. Is that even realistic?
Just like the previous drama, we had a good balance between action, light-hearted, and emotional scenes. Dick’s last words “your true enemy is the monsters inside the white house” gives the drama a thought-provoking end, seems like we’ll only find out what he meant in the third drama.
There is a heavier emphasis on the theme of love this time round, we hear quite a few analogies about love throughout the drama and I find them quite meaningful. One of the first things Rob said which really got me thinking was when he tells Yuuto that if a guy finds himself focusing on the question of whether he is gay or straight, it means that he isn’t really in love with his partner. He says quite a few other thought-provoking things too, like the Suspension Bridge effect where a person misattributes the heart-pounding feeling from fear for love. I have heard about this theory before, where it is easier for a person will fall in love when they are treated with kindness during trying times. However, my favourite would be Rob’s catch-ball analogy where he likens love to a game of “catch ball” between two people. The first throws might be clumsy as both parties can only see each other’s gloves, but as time goes by, both of them will get used to the actions of throwing and catching. That is when the game gets boring and it becomes a test of their commitment to continue the game. Love isn’t just about the initial spark, neither is it about one person trying his hardest to keep the relationship together; it’s about how two people committing to something and putting in equal effort to maintain it over time. This analogy is so apt and this is one of the reasons why I love this drama so much; its content makes so much sense and gets me thinking about things beyond the usual rabu-rabu.
As usual, Yuuto is rather cool (during Dick-less scenes) and serious, staying focused on his goal of pursuing Corvus and Dick. I like how he saw his experience at Shelger prison as “something to be gained” even though it might not have been a pleasant memory, because I think it’s the right mindset for someone to have. Some memories might be good while some are bad, but all count towards a form of experience. Yuuto was very cool with the way he dealt with Corvus after hearing about the bombs planted all over town. Even though he was rather cool at times, Yuuto seemed to be just putting on a mask to hide the insecure side of his. While he doubted his feelings for Dick, Rob very skilfully persuaded him to try kissing “another man” as a test of his love for Dick. Though he was slow on the uptake and very nearly seduced by Rob (that smooth-talker), Yuuto figured being physically attracted doesn’t equate to being in love, well done Yuuto, *cough* I thought that was the obvious though *cough*. However, the way he manages to stay committed to Dick even though Dick seemed to have abandoned him was really admirable. Watching him hang onto the glimmer of hope reminds me of how he was like in Shelger prison, where he had stayed optimistic about finding Corvus despite all odds. We got to see a rather cute side of Yuuto when he asked after Dick’s well-being; the way he wouldn’t just settle for a short answer from Neto and persists in getting a more detailed answer is such a contrast to his usual cold and business-like attitude.
The moment Rob brought Yuuto to the gay district would have made it quite obvious that he would form one end of the love triangle. To be honest, I had that hunch that he was gay once I heard Yusa’s voice, but I was just lucky that it turned out to be right; having a famous seiyuu voicing him doesn’t guarantee us a gay character, even in bl. Rob is the clichéd character that all romance stories can’t seem to avoid – the nice guy destined to be in the friend zone. Even though it is a cliché, I still enjoy love triangles, especially when it involves another guy vying for the uke’s love. Am I a sadist? Anyway, I enjoyed listening to Rob flirting with Yuuto and trying to seduce him (ahhh Yusa’s voice~). Yuuto stood firm on his stand at first, but eventually gave in to Rob and… they kissed! It was a very gradual thing, perhaps it was Rob’s persistence or the way he manages to make sense out of Yuuto’s confusion that got him his way, but it was a pity that Yuuto managed to strengthen his belief in his love for Dick through that kiss. Nice try, Rob.
But I must emphasise that Rob is a very. Very. Nice. Guy. He always seem to be giving Yuuto golden words of advice, clearing up his confused mind and soothing him when he gets emotional, so much so that Yuuto actually goes to Rob whenever he needs help. Even though he always seems to be hitting on Yuuto and trying to convince him to give up on Dick, there’s just something about Rob that makes you trust him, be it his straightforwardness or optimism, he’s someone who never lies about his intentions or feelings. Besides giving Yuuto the right words in times of need, Rob also reminded Yuuto of his role in this case when it seemed like Yuuto was confused (again) about his stand because he didn’t want to become a hindrance to Dick. A much needed wake up call for Yuuto.
I can’t seem to stop typing when it comes to Rob, I think I really like like him. Did I mention that he is an eccentric guy who analyses everything? He asks Neto to make him coffee a few minutes after he has been held at gunpoint by Neto’s henchmen, makes you wonder what goes on in that head of his. Seemingly oblivious to the world around him, he interrupts a solemn moment between Neto and Yuuto to ask for another cup of coffee. And just when you think that he’s just a quirky guy in his own world, he surprises you by saying something deep and thought-provoking. Frankly, I prefer Rob to Dick. Why, Yuuto, why?
Though we don’t see much of Dick in this drama, we hear plenty about him through the other characters. Dr Spencer talks fondly about Dick with Yuuto and Yuuto’s heart-pounding encounter with Dick at the Mexican quarter leaves us wondering if Dick has decided to discard Yuuto from his life, but Neto quickly reassures Yuuto (and us) that their love is something worth believing in. We also hear from Neto that Dick seems to have hardened his resolve to get revenge on Corvus since he left Shelger. He seems to be getting further out of Yuuto’s reach, and we get an affirmation of Dick’s change in personality when he puts on a perfect stranger’s act with Yuuto during their long-awaited reunion.
One totally random thing that I have to say about Dick, I really hate his name. Why on earth did Aida sensei decide that “Dick” would be the perfect name for him?!
Background music and SFX
Background music is something people usually overlook, sometimes I do that too because there’s only so much my ears can take in at one go, but background music is an essential part to any movie or drama cd. While some music is too in the face to be ignored, some pieces stay true to their name and remain in the background, stealthily affecting listeners’ moods. Deadlock is one drama which has above average background music and I had a lot of fun listening ^^
At Rob’s house when Yuuto first confides in Rob about his feelings for Dick; the slow moving strings piece which began with a lamenting violin voicing out his heart’s cry as Yuuto talks about Dick makes the scene super heart-wrenching.
During the H scene, the use of minor-ish parallel 4ths on the piano with other instruments like the French horn, oboe and organ dresses the scene with some magic fused with melancholy. I love the winds (and French horn). While we feel happy for Yuuto and Dick for having found temporary respite from reality, we can’t ignore that this is a one-night thing and their future together isn’t guaranteed.
At Shelger prison with Dr Spencer, the jazzy piano piece with a tinge of nostalgia gives the scene the lightheartedness that it needs, at the same time infuses the bittersweet feel that Yuuto feels when he thinks of Dick. Besides the usual jazzy pieces used throughout this drama, we hear a folk-like melody on the viola over a drone when Yuuto visits Neto in the Mexican quarter. It effectively lets you feel that you’re entering a new and exotic place.
During the scene where Yuuto first discusses about the case with Rob, the background piece consists of suspended low strings and an angular repetitive minor-ish motif on piano with the occasional cymbals and drums. This creates a rather tense and dark mood, with the repetitive motifs accumulating the anxiety of that scene.
I thought that the use of background music and SFX was superb during the scene where Yuuto chases after Dick; the initial sforzando strings dissonance symbolises Yuuto getting a shock. During the chase, the chaos created by rushing strings with crescendo brasses, the occasional cymbals and percussive chords heightens the sense of panic and anxiety that Yuuto feels. The contrast created by the sudden cessation of music when Dick disappears, followed by resumption of sounds like traffic and humans walking highlights the futility that Yuuto is struggling to comprehend. I think the movement from music to SFX symbolises Yuuto’s brain going into an overdrive and shutting out all other noise as he focuses on Dick during the chase.
Similar music was used when Yuuto got a phonecall from Corvus, the percussions with irregularly punctuated melody and dissonant brass chords. We hear it once more when Dick appears in the hotel; I think I had the same reaction as Yuuto when I heard his voice – disbelief, joy, then apprehension. The music climaxed before stopping completely as we hear heels clicking across the floor and a woman’s voice. I would think the music symbolises Yuuto’s feelings. He first got a shock when he heard Dick’s voice, then as he further confirms that the man in front of him was really Dick, he got more excited/nervous. But as Dick ignores him, he gets confused and overwhelmed by his feelings, hence the crescendo of the dissonant and irregular strings. When Jessica came into the picture, it came as another form of shock and Yuuto’s mind went blank, as reflected by the sudden stop in music.
I might have been over-analysing the use of music here, but you have to admit that this drama won’t even be have as exciting without all that.
Nakamura is definitely the star of this drama; he talks like 70% of the time. He portrays a Yuuto who quite cool most of the time, but when it comes to Dick, he becomes another person. It’s different from his usual strong voice and you feel like you’re listening to a man who’s acting tough but on the verge of breaking down on the inside. He can make listeners sympathise with Yuuto when he talks about Dick, though I think the background music played quite a huge role in magnifying the pain in his voice, but that was still great voice acting on Nakamura’s part. He also dragged me through an emotional roller coaster with him during the scene where he finally gets to talk to Dick in the hotel room. Nakamura can be so stoic yet so whiny and emotional at times, it amazing how he manages it.
Yusa was great here too, his seductive voice was soooo persuasive and gentle that I don’t think anyone in real life could have resisted. Oops, did I just give myself away… Anyway I think I’ve ranted too much on his character that I ran out of things to say about him. A major reason for how much I love his character is because of his voice, I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better Rob than Yusa. Nope, not even my favourite Suwabe.
After such a lengthy review (and the review process), I’m a little scared of starting on Deadshot. But still, I’m looking forward to listening to next and final drama of this series. Hopefully I won’t cry at the end like usual.