26 February, 2010 by

In Jin, Osawa Takao and Ayase Haruka star in a drama based off the manga of the same name. Played by Osawa Takao, the titular character a talented brain surgeon who develops a fear of operating after an unsuccessful procedure on his wife. In an unexplainable incident, he is transported to feudal Japan where he is forced into picking up the scalpel once again.

Osawa Tako as Jin.

Possessing medical knowledge that must seem like miracles to the people of the past, Osawa becomes the center of attraction. The story follows him as he introduces modern medicine to the people of Edo Japan.

He finds himself lost in a different time.

Ayase Haruka plays the daughter of a samurai family whose brother is saved by Osawa. Intrigued by his medical skills, she finds herself attracted to him and chooses to become his assistant despite resistance from her family. The confidant to Jin’s secret as a person from the future, Ayase provides him with emotional support while struggling with her developing feelings for the doctor.

The curious Ayase Haruka.

Supporting the two leads are Uchino Masaaki and Nakatani Miki. Uchino Masaaki appears as the historical figure, Sakamoto Ryoma. Nakatani Miki plays the dual roles of Osawa’s comatose wife and her physically identical ancestor, Nokaze. As the ancestor, she plays a high ranking Oiran (courtesan) in one of Edo Japan’s segregated red light districts. Most of the show revolves around the conflicts and relationships between the many different characters.

While I was initially worried that the feudal Japanese setting would be a little dry, I ended up liking the atmosphere of the show. There is a certain charm in the bustling streets of Edo Tokyo. The case of Osawa as a person from the future also leaves the possibility for many interesting situations in this feudal era.

Uchino Masaaki won an award for his portrayal of Sakamoto Ryoma.

Nakatani Miki as the oiran Nokaze.

The show benefits from being able to refer to the manga for a strong script. Thankfully, nothing was lost in its translation to a drama. While a story like Jin cannot possibly end well, I enjoyed the fresh and interesting theme. Despite it’s science fiction premise, the story captures situations with much believability and I was able to understand many of the characters even if I didn’t necessarily like them. These characters were in turn portrayed well by the actors on screen. Most of the roles are performed admirably with the exception of a few minor, unimportant characters.

Surprised by the Japanese customs.

Unfortunately, the main flaws of Jin are also derived from the fact that it is based off a manga.

The biggest single problem is that while the show features multiple story arcs, the show lacks advancement in an overall plot. This is no doubt due to the manga’s ongoing status but it still hurts the show deeply that there is no main conflict or climax to the story. Each sub plot and its resolution, hardly affects the overall scheme of things and simply serves to introduce even more characters into the story. An inherent problem in long running mangas. The series ends up feeling like an introduction to an otherwise greater story. With all its characters in place, Jin would definitely benefit from a more focused sequel.

Osawa comes to rely on Ayase as his ally in this strange land.

While the show occasionally hints towards a more logical (and depressing) reason for Osawa time travel, it does so rather halfheartedly. Not wishing to take liberties with the source material, Jin lacks an actual resolution. The show would had been better off not featuring this element of the story at all. The 3 or 4 such scenes scattered throughout the drama’s 11 episodes served only to distract.

Despite it’s flaws though, Jin is still a thoroughly enjoyable show.While there are slow points in the series, it ultimately manages to capture back the viewers’ interests This is inherent from the 25.3% viewership rating Jin attracted on its final episode. This was the highest rating any series ended with last year, easily surpassing even Takuya’s Mr. Brain and the year long Taiga drama.


Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.