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Massage Tantei Joe [マッサージ探偵ジョー]

Drama Details
Title:Massage Tantei Joe
Season:Spring 2017

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TV Station:TV Tokyo

©TV Tokyo

Yabukihara Joe (Nakamaru Yuichi) starts working as a masseur with the encouragement of Eko-baba (Baisho Mitsuko), the owner of a massage shop whom he happened to become acquainted with about one year ago. Recognising that he is gifted in massage, Eko-baba makes Joe go to the homes of all kinds of customers although it agonises him because he dislikes people and has anxiety around strangers. One day, the wealthy husband of Joefs customer, is murdered and Joe finds himself suspected by police detectives (Ozawa Yukyoshi, Wada Masato). At the suggestion of fellow masseur Aguri (Koshiba Fuka), Joe uses his massage techniques and powers of observation to solve the mystery and clear his name. This becomes the turning point in his life. After that, he keeps getting involved in strange murder cases at customersf homes and demonstrates his unexpected talent each time.
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Actor/Actress Cast (9)
Nakamaru Yuichi
Koshiba Fuka
Wada Masato
Ozawa Yukiyoshi
Baisho Mitsuko
Yoza Yoshiaki
Nishi Tokichi
Mikawa Yuugo
Aoyama Hiromatsu
Satou Kouzou
Sugawara Juria

Cast Correlation Chart
Massage Tantei Joe [マッサージ探偵ジョー] Chart
©TV Tokyo

Related Links (3)
1. Official Site
2. Japan Wikipedia
3. D-Addicts Wiki

Drama Reviews (1)
The review section may contain spoilers! Please understand
that you may find out about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Interesting And Funny, But Too Silly Overall [Rating: 6/10]
Yabukihara Joe is a masseur who's afflicted with a debilitating introversion. He literally can't look someone in the eye while talking to them, to the point that he practices eye contact with a massage training dummy - which also makes him nervous. But when he commits to doing a massage and focuses, that fear leaves him completely. He gives massages that leave his customers in a state of bliss and which give him uncanny insight into what those customers have been doing and even thinking.

Naturally there's a huge suspension-of-disbelief required of the viewer, but it's easy to play along with the premise, and the show is funny and entertaining. The reason I had to dock it points is that it's too silly for its own good. A lot of overly-silly dramas are overly-silly because they were based on comedy manga and the producers tried to match the manga's over-the-top humor in the drama - but as far as I can tell, "Massage Tantei Joe" wasn't based on a manga. So maybe the producers were trying to create that kind of vibe with the source screenplay?

Whatever the case, the silliness factor gets so over-the-top at times that you as an audience member have a hard time taking anything about it seriously. Additionally, there's a late episode in which a corrupt manager's ethics breach is completely glossed-over as A-OK.

She's the protagonist's former superior who, at his previous engineering job, basically got him fired via blaming him for her own mistake. Joe encounters her again in the midst of his massage career, and just sweeps her ethical rottenness under the rug. It makes him appear capricious and dismissive of ethical essentials. But then, the Joe character is not a particularly strong one anyway.

The clownish pair of policemen who continually enlist his help in solving cases are motivated by a respect for justice, but Joe never shows any such motive. He's always reluctant to do anything until he's literally dragged along, and until he does his "concentrate" transformation and gets serious about his work, he's a quivering mass of indecision and confusion. It contributes a little to the series' comedy, but it strips the Joe character of anything admirable, and leaves him - and the series itself - as shallow and a little two-dimensional.

It's ok for entertainment, but don't watch this expecting anything deeper in terms of theme or character development, or even engaging drama. It's strictly screwball comedy.

Currently available (April 2018) on Amazon Prime.
Reviewed by Sakebitosan on 1 April 2018

Comments From Users (1)
This section may contain spoilers! Do not proceed if you
do not want to read about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Comments by Sakebitosan [Rating: 5/10]
A funny but too-silly comedy about a masseur who discovers he can gather hidden information - therefore solve crimes - via massaging suspects. It's good entertainment, but would've benefited if the "silliness" factor had been dialed back a bit. Currently available on Amazon Prime (Jan 2021)
2. Comments by jessiesoon [Rating: 5/10]