June 24, 2013
So I was reading Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino. It's a mystery in the classic whodunit (or howdunit) style. I got to chapter nine and there was "Professor Yukawa." I stopped, looked again, and a light went on in my head.
"Oh," I said to myself, "this is Galileo!"
Galileo is a Japanese television series (Fuji TV) that's roughly a cross between Numbers and Bones, the only big difference being that the consulting detective is a physicist.
The series stars Masaharu Fukuyama as Professor Yukawa. Fukuyama made a name for himself as a pretty good pop singer.
He's a pretty good actor too. He played Sakamoto Ryoma in NHK's historical drama, Ryomaden (2010), and most recently starred in Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father, Like Son (2013), which won the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
The book doesn't introduce Professor Yukawa until chapter nine. In the second TV series (I didn't see the first until later), Kaoru Utsumi (Kou Shibasaki) is replaced by Misa Kishitani (Yuriko Yoshitaka), a character invented for the series.
A casting issue, no doubt, as the first and second series were made six years apart. Kaoru Utsumi only appears for about five minutes in the first episode, so I missed the connection. Professor Yukawa is far more prominent in the TV series.
(Incidentally, the first television series was broadcast in 2007 and Salvation of a Saint was published in 2008, which may explain why Detective Utsumi is listening to a Masaharu Fukuyama album on her iPod in chapter 24.)
As you can see, Fukuyama's Yukawa favors vests and tailored shirts while in the book he's often described wearing short sleeves or a T-shirt and maybe a leather jacket.
But once I made the connection, in a blink my brain automatically cross-linked all of the visual data from the television series to the book. It's a quite curious experience when that sort of thing happens in real time.
So now Masaharu Fukuyama is Professor Yukawa. He looks and talks that way, and his office is the television set. Even though they're not the same character, Yuriko Yoshitaka becomes Kaoru Utsumi because they essentially fill the same role.
Sort of the reverse thing happens if there are multiple data sources to choose from. When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, as soon as I'm done watching Robert Downey Jr. (whom I quite enjoy), Sherlock Holmes flips back to Jeremy Brett.
James Bond always reverts to Sean Connery.
Oh, and about that set. In Bones and Tokyo Broadcasting's Mr. Brain (the consulting detective is a neuroscientist), the sets are designed to look cool, not real. But Professor Yukawa's office looks like an honest-to-goodness applied physics lab.
As a bonus, now and then they do a real physics experiment or demonstration, such as racing a supercooled puck around a track.
Season 1 streaming on Crunchyroll.