'Tokyo Vice,' an adaptation of the book of the same name by Jake Adelstein, premiered on HBO Max back in April.
The story of an American journalist embarking on a dangerous investigation in Japan attracted quite a large number of viewers: 'Tokyo Vice' topped the list of most watched (in the last 100 days) TV series almost immediately after its release. Here's why you should pay attention to this show in case you haven't seen it yet.
Based on a true story
'Tokyo Vice is based on the book of the same name by Jake Adelstein, an American journalist who worked for the major Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun for 12 years. Adelstein conducted investigative journalism, talking to local police, gang members and fellow writers. One of his investigations concerned the cooperation of the FBI and a yakuza boss who became an informant in exchange for an American visa. It is that very story that 'Tokyo Vice' Season 1 is based on. Fans of the series, who are familiar with the Adelstein's book, admire it and hope that other stories will be adapted too.
The creative team
'Tokyo Vice' showrunner is J.T. Rogers, who in 2017 won a Tony Award for his play 'Oslo'. In 2021 the play was adapted into a film of the same name with Andrew Scott and Ruth Wilson. The list of directors who worked on 'Tokyo Vice' Season 1 is quite impressive also: for example, Joseph Vladyka worked on 'Narcos' and 'Narcos: Mexico', while Alan Paul gave us some of the 'Six Feet Under' and 'The Newsroom' best episodes.
"Director Michael Mann filmmaking artwork is a masterpiece for this one. This story really gives me the perspective of acceptance, denial, deception, selfishness, lust, destruction, fame of money is the root of all evil in Tokyo," said one of the series' fans on Reddit.
Cast and acting
The main roles in the show were played by Ansel Elgort ('The Fault in Our Stars', 'The Goldfinch') and Ken Watanabe ('The Last Samurai', 'Inception'). The rest of the cast, with the possible exception of Rachel Keller ('Supernatural', 'Fargo', 'Legion'), are not too well known to the general audience, but it actually makes it all the more interesting to watch the series. A lot of the dialogue in the show is in Japanese, adding to immersion in Tokyo's atmosphere.
"I love all actors, great performances overall, very interesting characters and story in general, and production is top notch".
Pretty much everyone who watched 'Tokyo Vice' has noted its excellent visuals. The opening credits of 'Tokyo Vice' will definitely go down in TV history as one of the most aesthetically pleasing. That's why you don't want to skip them at all. Every frame of the show is a feast for the eyes, and you just can't help but fall in love with Tokyo we got to see on screen: neon-lit bars, retro cars, neo-noir aesthetics – all of it makes 'Tokyo Vice' stand apart visually.
"The props and the story setline that set back in the late 90s and early 2000s gave me that real sensation of early lifestyle of nightlife and underground world of real Tokyo".