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[Japanese Drama 2018] Signal, Shigunaru, シグナル


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@q1010 Thank you for your kind words. Yes there are a few C-subbed versions out there, and it's thanks to their translations that the English subs came about. 

There have been polarizing views of the finale be it in the original, and from what comments Google translate showed me, in the remake as well. I would love to see how you feel about it once subs are available.

However, I am so gratified that after ratings that kept dropping up to Ep7, it finally ended on a ratings high at 9.2%, which is the 2nd highest since its opening episode (9.7%).

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@liddi glad to hear the ratings increased back up,although I don't know how these things impact since most Japanese tv shows are standalone shows that don't expect a 2nd season (unlike the US)


*SPOILER *RE: Episode 10




So can I clarify, Ooyama disappeared after Nakamoto's body was found? And his disappearance was soon after the events at the hospital (April 2000??), and he remained in hiding for 18 years?

I read somewhere that the Korean version ends in a similar way, which really seems to open up to a season 2... (Are korean tv shows also standalone?)


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It is with a sense of déjà vu as I watched Ep10 play out... familiar yet dissimilar scenes taking us to the closing shot. Despite my initial concerns about how they would cover so much in just an hour, the remake has, true to form, given us a condensed version of the original 3 hour footage that answers all the questions in a pacing that does not feel hurried, and diverged enough in terms of the conclusion so that it will be intriguing to see how each version handles the next installment, should there be a Season 2.



On the whole, the resolution of the final case is a familiar one, with minor changes to details. Here, we have two different sets of evidence - the cassette tape for the Musashino case, and the blood stain on the glass for Ryōta's death, as opposed to a single piece of evidence in the original. Considering the fact that Nakamoto would have held on to the cassette tape as future leverage rather than dispose of it, it makes sense why a 2nd piece of evidence needs to be introduced.

I am pleased to see how the new timeline is executed, particularly how it deviates from the original. In this version, the same Cold Case team still exists with the exception of Saegusa. It does raise some questions which I hope will be answered in the event of a season 2. Does this mean that the statute of limitations for murder is still abolished, despite the fact that Yoshimoto Keiko was already arrested in 2000? I am inclined to think so, since in Ep2, its abolishment was never implicitly tied to any uproar as a result of the Tashiro Ayaka case which remained unresolved due to the law. However, I must then wonder who established the Cold Case team, seeing Nakamoto died in June 2000? What triggered its formation? Questions questions.


What is a little disappointing, but understandable in view of the lack of time, is how Nakamoto and Ōyama's fates in 2000 are relegated to just a news article. Safe to say, Nakamoto's killers were sent by Congressman Nozawa in an attempt to retrieve the incriminating floppy disks that he had with him when he fled. What remains unanswered is how Ōyama survived the attacks and managed to hide out in a hospital for 18 years without being detected, considering the police, and surely Congressman Nozawa were looking for him.


In the same vein, since the statute of limitations for murder has been abolished, Ōyama would still be the prime suspect in Nakamoto's murder, even 18 years down the road, thus still a fugitive unless he finally finds a way to clear his name. Would that be possible with the renewed investigations into Congressman Nozawa's wrongdoings? Perhaps. Certainly food for thought.



I question why Ōyama was part of the investigation team that combed Ryōta's crime scene, since he was from Josai Precinct, and this took place in Musashino. Does Musashino also fall under the jurisdiction of Josai Precinct? My impression is that they are separate, since in the original rape case, their assistance was requested, which implies two separate jurisdictions. 


The other question I have is the postmark date of the letter sent to Saegusa from Cape Ryūgū. Unless I understood wrongly, the "15" in the date 15.8.3 refers to Heisei 15, which is actually 2003. However, Saegusa's mother clearly said that Ōyama contacted her not long after Ryōta's case was closed and sent the mail after that. Is it conceivable that it would be 3 years before he sent it, or should the year have been Heisei 12 instead (2000)? 




The finale is defined by what is probably the strongest ensemble performance of the entire series. Kitamura Kazuki is absolutely stellar in bringing Ōyama's full range of emotions to life - his anguish, guilt, self-blame, gratitude, resolution. For me, the pinnacle of his performance lies in his confrontation with Nakamoto after Ryōta's death - barely controlled calm, followed by an outburst of devastation and fury intermingled as he demands to know why Nakamoto would not even spare a boy whose only desire is to be reunited with his family once more. Ōyama's tears as he awaits the next transmission with helpless grief and self-recriminations for failing the boy who begged him to save his brother, has me tearing up as well with him. And his interactions with Sakurai were spot on - from the moment he realises that she loves him, and loves him still, 18 years hence, his every response to her is geared to reassuring her, promising not to let her wait in vain. His "thank you" to her is aching - his overflowing gratitude and reciprocation of her love contained in two simple words coming from a normally taciturn man. Powerful.


Likewise, Sakaguchi Kentarō delivers Saegusa's every nuance beautifully - the moment he realises why Ōyama died, in his relentless pursuit of justice for him and his brother, determined to the last to give him closure and a chance at happiness. And his poignant cry even as he flatlines - willing the older man to survive; as well as his final musings as they set out in search of the man to whom he owes so much. Immeasurably moved.


By the same token, Watabe Atsuro conveys Nakamoto's chilling side with absolute ease, switching from superficial niceties to sinister glint with just a subtle change in expression. In that moment, my heart sank in dread even as I already knew from the original, what was coming. Likewise, his measured composure when Ōyama burst into his room, fobbing off his accusations with deceptive calm, before roaring out in fury after Ōyama finally pushed him too far. Perfectly executed.

For the last time,

Timeline comparisons:

Case 4 (Case 6 of the original) [Part 4 and 5 (complete)]







The HUG. In both versions, this scene perfectly depicts the turning point in their relationship, and speaks louder than words why she would wait for him for so long, and why he is a man worthy of such a love.



How fitting that as with the original, the curtain finally closes with this final shot of the man without whose indomitable will, boundless compassion and uncompromising righteousness, the transmissions would never have begun. Perfect.




This has been an extremely eventful, memorable journey. For the first time, I find myself in the novel position of fansubber, translating from Chinese subs to English. I've pored over details in both the remake and original, as I did my side-by-side comparisons in terms of timeline and narrative, and in the process, found even more to love in both versions. While the remake does suffer in some aspects, ultimately it has carved its own place in my heart alongside the original, and I already miss this universe and the characters that I have come to care for.


And now I am left with a familiar sense of loss, echoing how I felt more than 2 years ago, when its K-counterpart finally ended. Please let the transmissions start again in both universes...


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Thanks very much, liddi, for the detailed summary of the final episode and comparisons with the original Korean series. I watched episode 1 of the original series, but I didn't continue since it seemed so similar to the Japanese version. I find the resemblance of the cast members to each other somewhat eerie! I've seen Cho Jin-Woong in a number of movies in the past and liked his acting style.


The final 10-15 minutes of episode 10 seemed rushed to me and the final resolution was somewhat unsatisfying. Obviously, I'd feel better if I knew that a season 2 (or maybe, more reasonably, an SP) was in the works to tie up some of the unresolved issues.


But, overall, I really enjoyed the series. I read a number of comments that some people weren't that impressed with Kichise Michiko's performance,  at least compared with Kim Hye-Soo in the original. But, I really enjoyed Kichise's acting in this series.


Thanks, again, for the subtitles!

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@q1010 I too am thrilled to see the ratings bounce back in the final episode. Hopefully this will pave the way for a S2, like another excellent J-remake Cold Case.


Back to your question. The events at Tanihara Memorial Hospital was on Apr 15, 2000. According to the news article that Saegusa was reading, Nakamoto's body was found on 6 Jun 2000 (which means he had been on the run for 1.5 months after the events at Tanihara), and Ōyama disappeared in the same month. This implies that he was last seen with Nakamoto before the latter died, and had been missing since then. 


The Korean version has a similar ending, with slight differences, which works well as a standalone, at the same time opening up the possibility for a Season 2. After 2 years, there are positive hints from original scriptwriter Kim Eun Hee last month that Season 2 will happen if the same cast and production team return, and that she is already preparing for it, which has us very excited, and praying that it will finally materialise. Similarly, I am hoping that we will see a 2nd season for this version as well. With both versions raising different sets of questions in its conclusion, it will certainly be intriguing to see how each version handles the next installment. Either way, definitely rooting for it to come true.

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@jefftiger Hi there! I see you're not a stranger to Soompi... wish you'd dropped by this thread and discussed the drama earlier! No matter. What's important is that you're finally here :) 


You're right. I did notice the similarities of the cast in both versions too. I've loved Jo Jin Woong since Tree with Deep Roots, and even more after his Lee Jae Han in Signal. As for the original drama, while the cases are similar, there are differences between the two versions, including 2 additional cases, so I hope that one day, you will decide to pick up the K-version once more. 


As for the finale of Ep10, I think it inevitable that some details are glossed over, since they had so little time to explain so much. To be honest, considering how the remake managed to compress the core narrative from 3 hours to 1, I am impressed as it is that they have kept faithful to the essence of the narrative with very little in terms of pacing issues. But certainly, it would have benefited from at least another 15-30 mins, if not another episode. 


I love your idea about an SP in lieu of a Season 2, if the latter never materialises! I forget that SPs are quite the norm with Jdramas... while not as common (as far as I can tell) with their K-counterparts. Certainly, I would be glad for any chance to revisit our intrepid trio in this universe once more.


The conclusion of the drama, be it in the original or remake, has always evoked polarizing views. I would have loved to see all three of them together in the same frame at last... but ultimately, I think this is the road less travelled, and for me, more apt than just a perfectly wrapped up ending. Time and again, their intervention has consequences, often outside their prediction or control, and fate will demand its victims - we see this with Kudō, and even in the Josai women serial murders when an innocent bystander dies in custody in lieu of Nakajima Ryōko. Although Ōyama survives, I believe that because the timeline has changed, the Josai serial murders revert back to being unsolved, since that is the case which was solved in the present. As such, it makes sense that another round of transmissions will start again, perhaps to right what had been undone due to their intervention. My 2 cents :P 


To be honest, apart form Kitamura Kazuki whom I had only seen in Neko Zamurai (so not Ōyama! :D) , I have never watched any of the other cast's works so I really have no basis for comparison. For me, Kichise Michiko's performance felt uneven, especially in the earlier episodes, but her Sakurai grew on me towards the later part of the drama. I was really hoping that they would adapt the Hongwon-dong serial murders because that would have given her room to shine and deliver a performance that covered a wide spectrum of emotions - from a traumatised victim, to facing her fears and source of her fears head on. Unfortunately, they chose to skip over that case, which is a real shame.


Thank you for always being so supportive on D-addicts! The encouragement is a major motivating factor that enabled me to complete the subs. Thank you!

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@liddi I'm sorry that I didn't join the discussion earlier. While I'm not new to Soompi, I haven't been active in some time. Almost all of my forum activity was associated with the 50-episode drama, "Glamorous Temptation", from 2016. I was going through a Choi Gang-hee phase at the time, watching almost all of her movies and dramas!

I think that I will give the original Korean version of "Signal" another chance. In light of your analyses of the two series, it will be interesting to examine the differences between the two. Thanks again.

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@jefftiger That's great! It will great to hear your opinions on the two versions. If you do watch the original, do drop by its drama thread here:



The ratings of the J-version concluded at 9.2% for its finale, after a steady dip from its opening episode of 9.7% and increasing again from Ep7 onwards. Do you know if these are considered decent ratings for jdramas, and would warrant at least an SP, if not a S2?

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I somewhat agree that Kichise Michiko's performance was a bit fluctuating, but she was great in the final two episodes. I've only seen her play a villain in the 24-like 'Bloody monday' and she was really good as a villainess.


I recently watched Sakaguchi Kentaro as a support in a drama about Manga editors 'Juhan shuttai' which was overall a fantastic drama especially with the lead from Kuroki Haru.


Pardon my ignorance, but what does SP mean?

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@q1010 I never pegged Kichise Michiko as someone who would play a villain - that would be really interesting to see. Must check it out.

From my understanding, SP refers to 特別編 (Special), which usually serves to tie up the loose ends of a drama, particularly those that end on a cliffhanger. The most recent that I have watched is Border:Shokuzai, which brought some form of closure in terms of Oguri Shun's character arc after the cliffhanger ending of its drama.

Having only known Kitamura Kazuki from Neko Zamurai, I was very concerned that he was cast as Ōyama. Truly pleasantly surprised to have him prove me wrong. His strong performance defined the drama's emotional resonance for me, and I am sorry for having ever doubted him. 


Director Akira Uchikata's tweets on the final episode. If Google translate serves me well, he pays homage to the original masterpiece, and feels emotional that this is the end. :tears:





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Actually an SP does sound like a good idea. I'm even ok to accept this open ended finale.

Nevertheless, I think the Japanese producers/studios would not dare to create a S2/SP before the Korean version.

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im about to watch the last episode.

got rather teary when they discovered what happened to Oyama and the chief! Saegusa also had a rough and such a sad childhood :(

was i finished episode 09, im wondering if Saegusa can really help Oyama change the past? Or sometimes some things has to be sacrifice to correct another?


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@lee-chan I think as viewers, we have always had an inkling what Ōyama's fate must have been, but finally seeing his remains drives home the price he paid for his relentless quest for justice. What's more, Ep9 truly showcases the bond between Saegusa and Ōyama, which is made even more poignant when Saegusa realises the lengths to which Ōyama would and did go for him, his compassion driving him to watch out for the lonely boy whose life has been so cruelly torn apart by the trumped up charges. And I tear up each time I revisit those scenes.

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I have finally finished the drama series!

what a roller coaster ride.

the last few episodes were the most exciting ones.

i am glad that a part of the past has changed and am holding on to the hope that Saegusa, Oyama and Sakurai will meet again soon.

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@lee-chan Same here. The finale is one of hope, since we know that in this new timeline, Ōyama is still alive in present day, while leaving questions unanswered, not the least of which is "Who is on the other end of the walkie-talkie this time?" And for me, that is the beauty of the conclusion, because it can very fittingly end on that hopeful note, something Saegusa repeatedly emphasised in his thoughts; at the same time, opening the doors very plausibly for a sequel, in whatever form. Really rooting for the possibility that we will be reunited with them again one day in the near future. 

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