Drama Review: Hard Nut


Ratings: 6/10

After being out of commission for a long time, I’ve decided to blog again starting with a Japanese drama! I wanted to blog more J-movies, C-dramas and J-dramas I’ve watched but I’ve either:

a) Not completed it

b) Forgotten about what I wanted to write about it

Anyhow, this 8-episode drama stars Kengo Kora as Tatsuhiko Tomoda, a rookie detective with hints of darker pasts. Meanwhile, Ai Hashimoto stars as a mathematic major college student, Kurumi Nanba, filling up the ‘genius’ role. So if you haven’t guessed it yet, yes, we are seeing mathematics in action for some crime busting.

I’ve watched a lot of detective-plus-genius combo drama and I can say that there isn’t anything special about this one. It’s watchable, yes. If you liked Galileo, give it a go but don’t expect better. I can say that it’s similar to Otenki Oneesan as well. Heck, I can find more similar dramas in this genre and that’s the problem with J-doramas sometimes. It doesn’t standout as much anymore.

For me, if a detective drama has appealing cases (I’m not high on logic here but the novelty of it is that in THEORY, it MIGHT work. Haha) you get at least a 5. Hard Nut isn’t high on the whodunit part of the crime but on how it’s done. I won’t say the cases are tough. Then again, they will be easier if you have a math degree. For people who don’t have a math degree, we have to wait for Nanba to tell us what theorem she applied. It’s like Galileo I swear (Still hoping for Galileo 3!). The whodunit part is easy peasy. No detective intuition required for this.

Acting-wise, I’m not familiar with both actors. I’ve only seen glimpses of Kengo in Hanamoyu (taiga drama) which he plays a supporting role that I can’t really remember now because I left Hanamoyu hanging somewhere too. I won’t say that there’s any deep acting in this thing but they are both easy on the eyes. Initially, I was pretty annoyed with Nanba’s voice, felt like she over-acted. But I think over-acting a little is better than giving me a wooden stump of a heroine, or an egoistical prodigy who feels like nothing else matters in the world other than what’s making them genius. I’m actually content that they made Nanba more ordinary as a college student who frets about her love life and money. Precisely because of this, we witness her crush over Tomoda. It’s quite cute if you don’t find it annoying. It’s also quite funny how she does exactly the opposite of what Tomoda asks her to.

A gripe I have with the drama is the overly-used senior bullying where Tomoda works in. Yes, organisations suck in Japan, I’m sure every drama makes at least one episode about this. I’m just uncomfortable that poor Kengo is screamed at for being incompetent by some jealous senior.

Cinematography here is decent. It’s ‘cooler’ and darker in certain places like the police headquarters but there is a contrast when Nanba is around. There’s a thing where Nanba cracks the case or formula and we can see more light getting into our screens. Like, yes!, you are getting warmer and HOT and Bingo!

I feel that the conclusion felt a little rushed into and could have been better built. They were laying little hints on our characters past but in the end, it didn’t feel like they were substantial enough to give an impact. I wished they spent a little more time delving into our character stories than being episodic really. Then again, it could have been restricted by the fact that they had to work with 8 episodes only instead of the usual 10 or 11.

Verdict: Watch if bored or desperate for more detective dramas involving numbers (like Galileo). Don’t expect high quality acting or plot though.


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