Over a year ago, development of a Japanese reboot of the hit American TV series "24" began. While met with skepticism, the original show had been hugely popular in Japan, leaving many hungering for more counter-terrorism thrills and cliffhangers.
▼ We like to think the show’s popularity owed a lot to these weird songs that were used to promote it.
Now, new details have emerged from the Japanese 24’s producers at TV Asahi. Most importantly, the role of Japanese Jack Bauer had been bestowed to Toshiaki Karasawa.
▼ Toshiaki Karasawa
Those outside of Japan may know Karasawa best from his roles as Kenji Endo in "20th Century Boys" and Burai in the live-action "Casshern" adaptation.
Karasawa has a reputation for pulling off emotional roles such as the lead in the 2003 remake of the medical drama "Shiroi Kyoto" as well as deftly handling action parts involving martial arts and guns. It’s a great resume so far, but he’s not resting on that alone to fill the blood-soaked shoes of Kiefer Sutherland.
The 56-year-old actor said, “I think a lot of Japanese people have seen '24' and think ‘this can’t work in Japan.’ Criticism and complaints are natural. Even if I worry about it, it can’t be helped. However, I want to make people think ‘even though he’s Japanese, Toshi-Bauer works quite hard, doesn’t he?'”
Toshi-Bauer is also training hard every day and practicing his hand-to-hand-combat to prepare for the physically demanding role of an oft-stepped-on CTU agent. “I don’t usually put it all on the line for acting, but this time I’m going to.”
It sounds promising, considering that from the outset a Japanese production of "24" had a very high potential to become laughably bad. Comments online, however, remain skeptical.
“He’s too old, isn’t he?”
“Is a small old guy okay here?”
“The good news is that expectations are so low, that they can only impress us.”
“I’m not worried about Karasawa as much as the average quality of Japanese TV shows.”
“His face looks too warm and round.”
“Wait a minute… There’s a CTU in Japan?”
“If there’s gun fights in Japan it’s unrealistic, but is there’s no gun fights in 24 it’s uninteresting.”
Karasawa is about the same size and age as Keifer Sutherland…granted, the original "24" began 19 years ago. The plot seems to be sticking closely to the original as well, with Karasawa playing CTU First Division A Team Agent Genba Shido who gets mixed up in a plot to assassinate Japan’s first female prime minister.
It’s a measured optimism though. As some comments rightfully pointed out, the original "24" plots involved lots of gunfights and international espionage that don’t seem very at-home in Japan. Moreover, having watched Japanese televised dramas for so many years, it’s still painfully easy to see how this could devolve into a low-budget "Matlock" rip-off or romantic comedy by the time it airs this October.
Sources: Sponnichi Annex, Otaku.com
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