Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 10th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, July 16th, 1983
Director: Kichitaro Negishi
Writer: Toshio Kamata
Cast: Hiroko Yakushimaru, Yusaku Matsuda, Risa Akikawa, Chu Arai, Susumu Fujita, Kyôko Kishida, Yuki Kitazume, Akiko Nakamura, Miwa Sakagami, Takashi Shikauchi, Hiroshi Shimizu, Ichirô Zaitsu
Approximate running time: 111 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
Subtitles: English & Chinese
DVD Release: IVL
Region Coding: Region 3 NTSC (Hong Kong)
Retail Price: $13.95
Synopsis: A washed up detective named Shuichi is hired to tack care of and watch over a university student named Naomi who in one week is going aboard to study in America. Shuichi’s estranged wife is accused of murdering her lover a member of the Yakuza. On the run she goes to Shuichi for help and protection from the law who wants to arrest her and the yakuza who want to avenge their fallen brother. Wanting to help Shuichi, Naomi starts her own investigation.
Story of the Detective plot revolves around two loners, an older down on his luck detective and young woman about to go away to college. Despite their age difference and coming from drastically different backgrounds the two lead characters are brought together because of their loneliness. In their pasts they were unable to connect with anyone else that is until they find each other. Besides the more romantic side of the plot there is the thriller/mystery subplot of the story. The first half of the film is spent showing Shuichi following Naomi around and there subsequently bonding. This half of the film while cute is not as strong as the second half of the film after the murder occurs. During this section of the film their relationship is strained when Shuichi devotes all of his time to helping his ex-wife who is accused of murder. Overall the plot while slow going at the beginning pays off in the end with the films strong and melancholy ending.
The cast is lead by Hiroko Yakushimaru in the role of Naomi the young woman about to go to college and Yusaku Matsuda as Shuichi a detective hired to protect her tell she goes away to college. Hiroko Yakushimaru does a superb job conveying her characters need for companionship. My favorite moment with her in the film is when she goes to hotel with a stranger to have sex she quickly changes her mind and decides to look for clues to help solve the murder. In this scene the bathroom has a window where you can be watched while taking a shower and she puts up towels to hide what she is doing in the bathroom. Hiroko Yakushimaru also sings the films main theme. Shuichi is a different kind of detective then the one Yusaku Matsuda played in the T.V. series “Detective Story” which is not connected to this movie even though they have similar titles. Shuichi is yet another superb performance from Yusaku Matsuda who knack for playing diverse characters and acting in all genres of film set him apart from most of his contemporaries.
Ultimately Story of the Detective succeeds as a film because of the exceptional performances from its two leads Hiroko Yakushimaru and Yusaku Matsuda.
Story of the Detective is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. The transfer is in exceptional shape with strong colors, black levels and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression, edge enhancement or artifacts.
One audio option is included with this release a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese. The audio is clean, clear and evenly balanced. Three subtitle options English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese have included. The subtitles are easy to follow and error free.
Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for Story of the Detective. Overall IVL’s release is an affordable DVD that comes with a first rate audio/video presentation.