Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou, a drama with a long name! It is translated to Antiquarian Bookshop Biblia's Case Files. I have reviewed the first episode of this series in the past in 2013, I got a positive impression back then. Now I have completed it and this is a full review~
Synopsis: (From DramaWiki)This story takes place at an antiquarian bookshop on a secluded corner of Kamakura, Japan's ancient capital, called Biblia Antiquarian bookshop. The owner of the shop is Shinokawa Shioriko, a young and beautiful woman who is overly shy and finds it difficult to converse upon meeting someone for the first time. On the other hand, the abundance of her knowledge in antiquarian books is second to none. When she speaks about these classic books, passion overcomes shyness and she becomes the most eloquent storyteller. Shioriko is your guide to unravelling the secrets and mysteries of antiquarian books through her vast knowledge on the subject and sharp observant eyes.
- Gouriki Ayame as Shinokawa Shioriko
- AKIRA as Goura Daisuke
- Tanaka Kei as Kasai Kikuya
- Suzuki Kosuke as Fujinami Akio
- Kitagawa Hiromi as Yokota Natsumi
- Jesse as Shinokawa Fumiya
- Mizuno Erina as Kosuga Nao
- Triendl Reina as Sasaki Aya
- Naito Risa as Hashimoto Sayaka
- Yasuda Narumi as Shinokawa Chieko
- Matsuzaka Keiko as Goura Eri
- Takahashi Katsumi as Shida Hajime
StoryThis drama was aired in 2013 in the Getsuku airing spot ( prestigious airing time on Monday). Usually Getsuku is a romantic comedy, but this time we have something quite different! This is quite an unusual Mystery type drama based on the novel of the same name by Mikami En. I know what you might be thinking, a mystery drama again?? Yup, I couldn't resist to watch an other one, but this one was different. Goura Daisuke (AKIRA), a man in his thirties, finds himself at a antique bookshop, where he meets the owner Shinokawa Shioriko ( Gouriki Ayame). She is extremely knowledgeable about books and literature and together with Goura and their friends unravel mysteries concerning book. The kind of mysteries here are quite simple, like finding a lost or stolen book and not like finding a murderer.
The story is really unique. First of all, the main character has no knowledge about books and is presented as a totally normal person with no special talents or abilities in deduction. We follow the story and connect with the main character because (I assume) most of us also doesn't have any knowledge of literature. In a way, he represents us, the viewers. Then, every episode has a episodic mystery, where a book in question becomes relevant. Shioriko explains many details about the books to the main character (and us) , unravels the mystery in front of our eyes and mentions how she came up to the answer. Most episodes follows this patterns, some of them are extended to a 2 episode mystery.
There are many unexpected aspects here that I really liked. The 1 episodes mysteries were usually very well done, original and refreshing. The theme here being about books, I had no way to predict what was going to happen. Even if I haven't read a book for a long time, I used to read and like them a lot. So it was interesting for me. Also, all the books and authors mentioned in the drama are real and with the kind of mysteries in the story, this drama is a lot more realistic than the average Japanese drama. This drama also introduce us to the world of book collection and stores specializing in rare and antique books. I doubt that the antique book scene is as big here in my country as shown in the drama, but it makes sense that in Japan and in particular Tokyo that there is a big network for this. The japanese literature seems to be very rich as well. The drama was also beautifully filmed. Most of the drama is at the main book shop or at the local coffee shop. They are beautiful with an antique feel. It also seems like they added a sepia colored filter and made everything look a bit dusty. I personally enjoyed those additions.
Some people might be put off by the main theme here, it is only about books. Obviously, if you don't like books I do not recommend this. The comedy and romance aspect are practically nonexistent. But if you have even just a little interests about books then it will be fine. The main character is almost useless, well, he does have a role in some of the mysteries especially as he learns with time. Personally I wasn't really attached to him, but this is maybe just my opinion. I did really appreciate their try at having a character represent the audience. Again, the drama is episodic which is standard for mystery dramas. Maybe a last thing that was negative was that Shioriko would come up with the answer of a mastery very easily with little and weak clues.
In general I have a good feeling about the acting. The main cast is comprised of Goura Daisuke (AKIRA), Shinokawa Shioriko ( Gouriki Ayame) and Shida Hajime ( Takahashi Katsumi). Other relevant casts includes the cafe shop owner (Suzuki Kosuke) and Shioriko's brother (Lewis Jesse).
Let's start with AKIRA. This is my first seeing him act (haven't watched GTO). I am not really a fan of Exile and it was a little out of nowhere that he gets a main role. In Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou, I feel like he was a good choice and that he fits the role. This is based on a novel and looking at picture of the character in manga drawing, they do look very alike. However, there was nothing really special about his acting and I didn't really feel connected.
Young and rising actress Gouriki Ayame plays the main female lead. All the other roles I have seen her in she was pretty evil, except in Taisetsu na mono wa Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta. Here she shows her acting talent playing a shy and very smart lady. I find maybe she was a little young for the role, portraying the owner of a bookstore while she still looks young enough to be a student. I can overlook this pretty easily. I really enjoyed her performance. I feel like this actress is better suited for energetic roles, but this shows how a flexible actress she is. I won't be surprised if she ever gets important roles from now on like a Taiga heroine.
The rest of the cast was, again, well chosen. I really enjoyed the peculiar personality of the cafe shop owner.
The main theme in the music here is techno music, well more techno than what I am used to. I absolutely loved it, it is very well done and super catchy. Like I said in my thoughts about the first episode, I find that techno music is a little out of place. Everything is about books, antiquity, calm and serene then Bam, techno music. Hahaha, I guess the upbeat music did contribute to make the mysteries and action interesting.
The ending song is by E-girls and still has a techno beat to it too. After a couple episode, it started to get catchy too.
I recommended Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan drama in my previous review of Akumu-Chan. I feel that it still applies here because they are "light mysteries", dealing about little mysteries like a lost object.
Otherwise, Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou is a mystery drama that manage to be unique and original. If you like books you will definitely like this drama.The story can be a little slow, the only focus is mainly on mysteries and nothing much outside of that is happening for a good part of the drama.