Mozu S2 Poster

Mozu (2014) on IMDb

Traditionally, drama always meant the tear-jerking, romance or familial ego clashes filled soap operas that went on for years. Nowadays, the big budget mini-series format has taken over, but with the same lowest common denominator themes. Once in a blue moon, a brave company/production house takes the leap of faith to produce the kind of content that can only spell a financial disaster. Fortunately, some of these shows get the treatment they deserve from the entire team to make them something that all kinds of audience can enjoy. Mozu, with exceptional acting and tightly paced storytelling, falls in this category of must watch Asian dramas.

Based on a novel, the series starts off with a bombing incident which gets 3 police detectives, Kuraki, Akeboshi and Osugi to investigate it deeper for both personal and professional reasons. The main suspect of the bombing, Shingai Kazuhiko, ends up losing his memory after the incident and tries to unravel his past while escaping from both the police and him employers. Slowly the plot reveals the bombing to be part of a bigger controversy of epic proportions involving politicians and senior police officials.

The word ‘Mozu’ translates to ‘Shirke’, a bird which pins its prey to sharp objects and flies away without eating. Shingai epitomizes this characteristic as someone who kills because he feels an impulse to kill. As the central character, the slow unraveling of Shingai’s past and his violent streak exacting revenge upon his employers is what keeps the series together. The plus point for Mozu is how, not just one bad guy, but the whole lot steals the show. The psychotic Nakagawa and his eccentric boss Higashi are two other intriguing characters well portrayed by the actors.

If one were to draw parallels to the story, the theme of several interconnected conspiracies and the pace at which the mysteries are revealed is reminiscent of the mangas ‘Monster’ and ‘20th Century Boys’ by Naoki Urasawa. Shingai’s makeup in a few scenes and his embodiment of the quote “Some men just want to watch the world Burn” makes this character similar to Joker minus the hysteric laugh. The pair of Osugi who is a family man and Kuraki who lost his family is somewhat similar to the protagonists of True Detective. With all these elements and some nifty action scenes to top it, ‘Mozu’ offers a thrilling and entertaining experience of an action packed movie consistently for 15 episodes.

Anyone interested in reading the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” that Higashi keeps referring to in the series, can read it here.

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