Hero (2001 TV series)

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HERO
HERO.png
Genre Legal Drama
Starring Takuya Kimura
Takako Matsu
Hiroshi Abe
Ending theme Can You Keep a Secret? by Hikaru Utada
Composer(s) Takayuki Hattori
Country of origin  Japan
No. of episodes 11
Production
Running time approx. 46 min.
Broadcast
Original channel Fuji TV
Original run January 8, 2001 – March 19, 2001
HERO (2014)
Genre Legal Drama
Starring Takuya Kimura
Keiko Kitagawa
Tetta Sugimoto
Country of origin  Japan
No. of episodes 11
Production
Running time approx. 54 min.
Broadcast
Original run July 14, 2014 – September 22, 2014


Hero is a Japanese drama series that aired in Japan on Fuji TV in 2001.

Hero achieved the highest Japanese TV drama ratings record in 25 years (average audience share over the entire series = 34.3%). It was so successful that it spawned a 2006 miniseries and a feature film entitled Hero: The Movie which reached #3 on the 2007 top grossing film chart in Japan.

Starting July 2014, Fuji TV will air a second series entitled Hero 2, which will have Kimura Takuya reprise his role.

Plot[edit]

Kuryu Kohei is a young public prosecutor who gets transferred to a division in Tokyo from Aomori. Kuryu is unlike a typical prosecutor; he refuses to wear a suit and tie, opting for casual clothing, his trademark orange down jacket and stylish boots. He looks and behaves more like a Generation X slacker. He is known for always buying bizarre items from infomercials and the home shopping network. Kuryu is a high-school dropout who was falsely accused of a felony, cleared only by a public prosecutor who took the time to uncover the facts. This forces Kuryu to abandon his delinquent lifestyle, take his high school equivalency, study for the bar exam and pass with flying colours.

Kuryu's brilliant investigative instincts and determination make him well-suited as an investigator and advocate. Kuryu's job is interview suspects and decide whether to proceed with pressing charges against them. However, unlike his colleagues, rather than sit behind a desk and rubber stamping suspects for trial, Kuryu will leave the office and (literally) do the legwork, go the extra mile and doggedly pursue the truth. However, his unorthodox approach generally generates a lot of antagonism and negative publicity.

Kuryu's colleagues are all concerned with status and position and do not think highly of Kuryu or his eccentricities. Amamiya Maiko, his paralegal assistant, is concerned with attaining her law credentials and becoming a full prosecutor. At first, she believes Kuryu's addition may help her chances but at the beginning of the series comes to detest Kuryu. Kuryu doesn't care too much with how he is viewed and only cares about uncovering the truth of criminal allegations.

Throughout the series, Kuryu uncovers coerced confessions, unethical legal practices, corruption, obstruction from overzealous cops, sensationalistic media, interference from politicians and well connected, powerful elites. Over the course of the series, his idealism and dogged pursuit for truth and justice ignite a similar passion in his colleagues, especially Amamiya.

By the end of the series, Kuryu is transferred to Ishigaki Island because of all the commotion he causes.

A running gag of the series was the bar tender who miraculously and instantly produced anything a person who ask for, even if was something rare, obscure or unlikely to expect at a Japanese bar. The bar tender would never say a word except "Aru yo." (meaning "I got it"). He would even produce the obscure items that Kuryu couldn't get from the infomercial channel. The character even appears as a sushi chef in the rural village of the 2006 special. Kuryu asks the chef if he is the same person, twin brother or close relative of the Tokyo bar tender, but the chef characteristically says nothing, only "Aru yo" when asked for items.

2006 Special[edit]

The popularity of the 2001 series spawned a two hour special in 2006. In the special, 5 years has passed since the events of the TV series. Kuryu has been transferred from Ishigaki to Sapporo and finally ends up assigned to a small coastal village in rural Yamaguchi Prefecture. There, he inspires a new group of small town prosecutors and paralegals while investigating a murder possibly implicating a favorite local politician. The events of this special lead into the 2007 feature film.

2014 TV series[edit]

This series takes place 7 years after the events of the feature film. Kuryu returns to the same Tokyo office from the first series and feature film. Also reprising their roles will be Kadano Takuzo, Kohinata Fumio, Yashima Norito and Tanaka Yoji. Bokuzo Masana, who had a nonspeaking role as the security guard in the first series (and feature film), is promoted to a series regular. His character is now a paralegal. New cast members will be Sugimoto Tetta, Hamada Gaku, Matsushige Yutaka, and Yoshida Yo, as well as Kitagawa Keiko, who will be Kuryu's new assistant paralegal.

Katsumura Masanobu makes a cameo appearance in the first and tenth episode, while Otsuka Nene guest stars in the 4th episode.

Cast[edit]

Main cast (2001)[edit]

Takuya Kimura's costume in Hero
Actor Role
Takuya Kimura Kohei Kuryu (久利生 公平)
Takako Matsu Maiko Amamiya (雨宮 舞子)
Hiroshi Abe Mitsugu Shibayama (芝山 貢)
Nene Ōtsuka Misuzu Nakamura (中村 美鈴)
Takuzō Kadono Yutaka Ushimaru (牛丸 豊)
Masanobu Katsumura Tatsuo Egami (江上 達夫)
Fumiyo Kohinata Takayuki Suetsugu (末次 隆之)
Norito Yashima Kenji Endo (遠藤 賢司)
Kiyoshi Kodama Toshimitsu Nabeshima (鍋島 利光)

Supporting cast (2001)[edit]

Naoko Iijima, Ryō (りょう), Yōji Tanaka

Main cast (2014)[edit]

Actor Role
Takuya Kimura Kohei Kuryu (久利生 公平)
Keiko Kitagawa Chika Asagi (麻木 千佳)
Yutaka Matsushige Kenzaburō Kawajiri (川尻 健三郎)
Tetta Sugimoto Masashi Tamura (田村 雅史)
Norito Yashima Kenji Endo (遠藤 賢司)
Gaku Hamada Daisuke Uno (宇野 大介)
Fumiyo Kohinata Takayuki Suetsugu (末次 隆之)
Yō Yoshida Reiko Baba (馬場 礼子)
Bokuzō Masana Shūji Ido (井戸 秀二)
Takuzō Kadono Yutaka Ushimaru (牛丸 豊)

Supporting cast (2014)[edit]

Yōji Tanaka, Naotarō Moriyama (ep.1), Shōsuke Tanihara (ep.2)

Production notes[edit]

  • The sound track and music scores for the series are available. The theme song, "Can You Keep A Secret?", is performed by the Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru.
  • Utada made her acting debut in a guest appearance in episode 8 of the drama. She appeared as a waitress and was on screen for only 14 seconds during the rooftop dinner scene, and it made the series get its peak TV rating (36.8%). When asked if she would like to take on bigger roles, Utada replied that this wasn't the path she would like to be in.

External links[edit]