An exciting Crime Noir that explores the underworld of Japan

HBO Max has done it again with the debut of another ingenious original series. The series premiere of the brand new crime drama, Tokyo Vice, released its first three episodes on the streaming platform. Created by JT Rogers, the new series is based on the 2009 memoir written by Jake Adelstein entitled, Tokyo Vice: An American reporter about Police Beat in Japan. Adelstein is best known for being the first non-Japanese staff writer at Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri Shinbun.

The plot in the late 1990s moves American journalist Jake Adelstein to Tokyo to join the staff of a major Japanese newspaper as their first foreign-born reporter. Taken under the wings of a veteran detective in the caretaker team, he begins to explore the dark and dangerous world of the Japanese yakuza. Tokyo Vice’s pilot is directed by Michael Mann, who also sets the tone for the series. Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings director Destin Daniel Cretton also sits as executive producer for the series.


Tokyo Vice Ansel Elgort stars as Jake Adelstein, an American journalist from the state of Missouri who moves to Tokyo, Japan. Ken Watanabe plays the role of Hiroto Katagiri, a detective in the Department of Organized Crime. His character will become a father figure to Adelstein and help guide him through the thin and often precarious boundary between the law and organized crime. Rachel Keller acts as Samantha, an American expatriate living in Tokyo who makes a living as a hostess in the Kabukicho district.

Other cast members include Ella Rumpf as Polina, an Eastern European expatriate working with Samantha as another hostess. Rinko Kikuchi plays the lead role as Eimi, Jake Adelstein’s supervisor at the Japanese newspaper company. Show Kasamatsu plays the role of Sato, while Tomohisa Yamashita stars as Akira. The recurring roles are performed by Shun Sugata, Masato Hagiwara, Ayumi Tanida and Kosuke Toyohara.

The official synopsis for Tokyo Vice sounds like, “loosely inspired by American journalist Jake Adelstein’s non-fictional first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Beat, the crime drama series, filmed on location in Tokyo, captures Adelstein’s (played by Ansel Elgort) daily descent into the neon-soaked abdomen of Tokyo at the end of The ’90s, where nothing and no one really is what or who they look like. “

Section 101: The Test

Employed as Meicho Shimbun’s first American crime reporter, Jake Adelstein is quickly given the task of covering two cases that initially appear to be independent, but which soon put his career and life on the line.

Directed by Michael Mann, the series premiere begins with Adelstein’s commitment not to be a random tourist in Japan. He strongly dedicates his time to studying the language, eating at local restaurants and preparing for the entrance exam for Japan’s largest newspaper company. After making a very good first impression, Adelstein gets the job as a staff writer, where he is treated a bit like an outcast along with other colleagues. Ansel Elgort easily performs an incredible performance and really captures himself in the role of his character.

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Section 102: Kishi Kaisei

While crime boss Tozawa dangerously walks on the border between territories, rival Chihara-Kai fights to recover contingent. Samantha protects another hostess while Jake witnesses a confrontation that changes everything.

The next two episodes are directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka, who certainly brings the story into a much darker world. As the season continues, viewers can begin to learn much more about the featured characters in the series. The first two episodes start in a way with a slow burn, but it seems to increase again after the third episode. Tokyo Vice is certainly not dependent on too many special effects, but the many scenes that show the city of Tokyo turn out to be quite amazing.

Section 103: Read the air

Jake’s persistence pays off when he receives an exclusive from Detective Katagiri – but catches someone else’s less ideal eye in the process. Meanwhile, Samantha strikes a new customer as Sato chooses between words and fists.

What is interesting about Tokyo Vice is that the series does not always have to revolve around epic action sequences just to keep viewers entertained. The series has already shown that conflicts do not always have to end in violence. The complexity of each character proves that the series tells an incredible story. As the story continues to unfold, Adelstein turns out to be a strict reporter, while Ken Watanabe’s detective Katagiri is a total badass. Nevertheless, these two actors seem to form a fantastic duo together.

Initially, Tokyo Vice was to be developed as a film back in 2013. The film was to have Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role as Jake Adelstein, while Anthony Mandler was to direct. In June 2019, Tokyo Vice was then renamed a TV series and had received an order for 10 episodes of WarnerMedia. The main star Ansel Elgort also sits in the seat as an executive producer alongside JT Rogers. Currently, Rotten Tomatoes has reported an approval rating of 90% with an average rating of 7.7 / 10, based on a total of 20 reviews.

The first three sections of Tokyo Vice are currently available for streaming on HBO Max. Thereafter, two episodes will be released weekly on Thursdays until the season finale on April 28th. It has been confirmed that Tokyo Vice will consist of a total of eight sections. Each episode has approximately 55-57 minutes of playing time. There are currently no details regarding the series’ second season at this time.

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