Since I have been in an Asian mood lately, I decided to watch a popular Japanese TV miniseries entitled “Baian the Assassin” starring Ken Watanabe as Baian Fujieda, an acupuncturist by day and an assassin by night. His preferred method of dispatching his prey is inserting a long needle into a certain place on the victim’s neck. His friend Hiko, a toothpick artisan by day, is also an assassin by night and often teams up with Baian to assist in their complicated and diabolical deeds. The series comes in four parts and while it was made for the general audience of television it nonetheless contains many elements of the more violent assassins like Zatoichi and the Lone Wold.
Another interesting technique used in this miniseries is a fair amount of narration. Some found the narrator to be annoying or otherwise unnecessary, however I found it quite helpful and appropriate given my general unfamiliarity with the subtle rules of assassination.
The entire series consists of four DVDs each containing several episodes lasting about 90 minutes apiece. I must say for a TV show this isn’t too bad at all. I don’t have a problem watching one of the episodes over again particularly when I’m with somebody who has never seen the series.
All in all it’s worth a watch, but it is not always the easiest flick to find. It certainly is not crap. Plus I never knew anyone could make a living making toothpicks by hand as our friend Hiko does in his day job.