Toshi Densetsu no Onna
Original Title: 都市伝説の女
English Title: I Love Tokyo Legend – Kawaii Detective
Literally translated to Urban Legend Woman, Toshi Densetsu no Onna is a Japanese drama following detective Tsukiko Otonashi (Masami Nagasawa), an avid fan of Japanese urban legends ever since she was spirited away [神隠し, kamikakushi — like in the film] as a child. In the show, she encounters one murder case after another that seem related one way or the other to their explanations, to then discover what logically really happened.
I gotta admit, I don’t see Masami Nagasawa (Last Friends) as the type of girl’s girl, you know? She isn’t the type of girl who other girls squee and gang up against others to protect, or the type of girl who girls would love to be besties with. Nagasawa is the type of girl you hate your boyfriend or guy friends for liking, but in the context of her character in Toshi Densetsu, they couldn’t have gotten a more perfect fit.
Detective Otonashi goes to work with skimpy, colorful outfits to the dismay of her boss Detective Tannai (the hilarious Naoto Takenaka), but to the delight of most her fellow policemen… and sometimes her fellow criminal suspects. Otonashi is a woman who knows she’s in a man’s world and uses that to her advantage with her looks — as does the show with those blunt shots of Nagasawa’s bare legs — but she doesn’t just leave it at that. Otonashi is so passionate for Japanese urban legends that she ends up knowing a lot of random facts that help her cases. She’s smart, resourceful, and somewhat quirky. Quirky enough to not be boring, and normal enough to not alienate the others.
Most of the characters are run of the mill staples of detective shows — Detective Tannai’s team is always going up against Detective Gohara’s (Takayuki Takuma) team to solve cases, and CSI team member Katsuura-kun (Junpei Mizobata) tries to balance the little Otonashi quirk with his own — a really unhelpful OCD for order. He’s smitten with Otonashi, jumping through hoops of fire to help her solve her cases — played for comedy, but ultimately falling flat.
Then again, the most interesting things about Toshi Densetsu no Onna are the urban myths, which apparently are all based on real urban legends. So kudos to the investigating team that is managing to link all the murders to these legends. The show falls in the lines of shows like Galileo or Keizoku, in that they’re trying to solve cases that almost seem impossible in a logical way, in a way that’s dynamic for the TV viewers, unlike something like Ataru.
One whole extra star for the urban myths angle of this show!