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J-Series Review: Kaito Yamaneko

Kaito Yamaneko (怪盗 山猫; English title: Yamaneko the Phantom Thief) is a 10-episode mystery, crime Japanese series that ran early this year, from January 16 to March 19. The series stars Kamenashi Kazuya (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, Nobuta wo Produce) as Yamaneko, Narimiya Hiroki (Nana, Gokusen) as Katsumura Hideo, and Hirose Suzu as Takasugi Mao.

From NTV:
What is justice? Is it about being kind? Or is it about winning? A certain man claims that "Justice is about robbing." Yamaneko is notoriously elusive, but wherever he shows up, enormous amounts of money gets stolen. Evidence of the audacious crime is left scattered all over the place. In every episode, Yamaneko the hero thief throws a splash of “rotten justice” in your face. Pretentiously calling himself a “genius thief,” Yamaneko is arrogant and acts like he's the king of the world. Everything he does is bold and daring, but he remains elusive. There is indeed no match for Yamaneko. He goes by one creed alone—“I will steal but I won’t deprive.” Why does he steal? Just what is he all about?

Yamaneko exposes corporations and agencies that are corrupt and do underhanded work. In spite so, the police are still after him because he steals huge amounts of money while he exposes their crimes. He has help, of course, along with Katsumura, who often writes about him in a magazine. More secrets are revealed as the story progresses--Yamaneko’s past, his purpose, and his relationship with Katsumura.

WARNING: Possible spoilers.

Hirose Suzu resembles Jun Matsumoto

If you want real mystery and crime series then you're better off watching something else. The series is quite lighthearted that I was disappointed, though I admit I enjoyed the comic-relief parts. I watched this for Narimiya Hiroki and his character is the only one I liked.

The series as well as Yamaneko, the character itself, tried so hard to be elusive and deep when everything seems predictable save for one. I didn’t see that Chameleon character coming. I thought for a character who’s supposed to be spying on them was very inactive. But he was behind the mystery killings including their first tech. Things get interesting only after it was revealed who Chameleon was. After all that made the group closer and more open with one another, one of them has to be the Chameleon, and he could go as far as being able to harm them.

Such a colorful top for a thug

Oh, that Yamaneko peeing in his pants or on the bed are so random. Of all comic-relief they could come up with...!

There was a short Nobuta wo Produce reunion in this series btw.

It is no surprise that the Kaito Yamaneko's theme song is by KAT-TUN. I just can’t remember the theme... Actually, I didn't know there was one because of all Kazuya’s jarring singing.

Kazuya fans will enjoy the series because he has lots of charming moments, but if you want more mystery and crime and deeper plot then, as I said, this isn’t it.

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