Tokyo Vice (HBO Max): Michael Mann and Yakuza, what more do you want?

This show deserves its own thread. Watching the first episode now (directed by Michael Mann!) and this is fantastic. Just absolutely ridiculous how good this show looks; it feels like a Michael Mann movie.

Even Hansel Humperdink is growing on me.

I really only care that Rachel Keller is in this. I’ll watch her in anything. Also Ken Watanbe is ridiculously hot for a 62 year old. There’s also some annoying shaggy haired 15 year old white dude in the show and I wish they’d get him out of the way.

Enjoying the show by and large and it’s not that I dislike Ansel Elgort, and I get that it’s based on the memoirs of the guy he’s playing, but I do still kind of instinctively sigh at the fact that this show about journalism and crime in Tokyo is centered on a Jewish guy from Missouri.

This show is very cool so far.

Started watching last night and I was utterly transfixed. Love me some Michael Mann. Every shot of Tokyo is gorgeous and Tokyo in 1999 is even more fascinating.

I saw on facebook that my old pal David Briggs supervised the sound editing on every episode except the pilot. (Mr. Mann had his own sound team handle that one.) Go David!

Episodes 2 and 3 aren’t Mann, and it shows. Much more traditional TV direction. Still very solid, but it’s nowhere near as flashy.

Of course, it also feels like Mann’s episode got three or four times the budget, as well. Those shots of a massive room full of would-be reporters taking the entrance exam, and then that ginormous newsroom full of reporters, and then a giant room full of Yakuza were downright indulgent.

I was trying to avoid spoilers so I didn’t actually read it, but Polygon review’s headline seemed to imply something similar.

“This song is a masterpiece.”

Not sure if people stuck with this but I’ve enjoyed the first four or five episodes that I’ve watched. Sure, it’s almost unfair having the first episode directed by Michael Mann for him to then hand it off to Not-Michael-Manns… it’s going to take a hit (especially when I feel like there are scenes where they can’t even keep eye line directions straightened out). But I’ve found it pretty interesting overall, I love that it’s filmed in Tokyo and that so much of it is in Japanese. Those seem like small or obvious things but I imagine they added complications to the process. Curious to see how it all comes together when we get back to Mann’s portion of the timeline.

Oh, I’ve definitely been watching. Enjoying it, too.

We’ve been watching it. I don’t know that I’d call it relentlessly compelling, but it has at least remained interesting. I wish TV would just abandon the device of telling characters’ backstories late in the run. Jake, all the way through episode 5, remains an enigma: we know little about why he’s in Japan or what his motivations are. Samantha has just now come to light, when there’s no reason to withhold her story that long. Still no idea where Katagiri (the detective played by Ken Watanbe) stands–what’s his relationship to the Yakuza families and within the police force. Likewise Emi the editor played by Rinko Kikuchi. She has some sort of family life that is unexplored, and we get tiny glimpses of the pressures she’s under as a woman in her position, but not enough to actually give insight to her character. Sho Kasamatsu’s character Sato, the young yakuza enforcer, is probably the most well developed character–we see more of his inner life, history, and motivations than anyone else even though, ironically, he rarely speaks.

I continue to like this show. Ep 8 was pretty crazy. Was that the season finale?

I thought I read it was an eight episode season.

Ep 8 definitely had a feeling of a finale, but the kind that doesn’t resolve anything, which is kind of annoying.

That’s how I felt about the Severance finale. A great episode with a solid cliffhanger but no story climax beforehand to wrap up season 1 and set the table for season 2.

I’m on episode 4 of Tokyo Vice. Still enjoying it and looking forward to more but, man, that first episode!

Uh absolutely nothing wrapped up in that finale. There was no resolution to any single plot thread. We didn’t even get back to the scene showed as a teaser in the very first episode. WTF I thought this was a limited series.

Yeah, that was super strange, like it’s really just the mid-season finale.

I’ve enjoyed the season and would be back for more. It actually captures the Japanese experience for non-Japanese pretty well - was impressed at how authentic most of the ‘Japanese’ aspects of the show were, although there’s definitely leaps at times.

It actually felt more like just another episode than any kind of finale.

I really can’t believe they didn’t even payoff the scene at the start of the first episode.