Strawberry Night is a Japanese 2012 TV series featuring a female detective leading her own team to solve cases.  I did not watch the TV series, but since the 2013 movie follow-up to the series got pretty good reviews, I watched the movie (Blu-ray release 2013-7-17).  Adapted from the novel Invisible Rain, the movie can be understood completely even without prior knowledge from the TV series, although I’m sure the TV series must have provided more background for the supporting characters.

In spite of the many good reviews, I’m disappointed with it.  I look for detective work in a detective movie, but this is not a standard detective movie.  A significant part of the movie deals with police politics and their cover-up of an old mishandled case, and the authority preventing the protagonist from investigating a suspect for fear of exposing the old case.  It seems that Japanese is really fond of this style of police movie, but I do not.  When the movie is not showing oppression, it shows the female protagonist and a gangster getting really attracted to each other. I suspect female audiences may like this good woman fall for a bad guy plot much more than I do, and is therefore impressed by the character development of both of them.  This leaves very little screen time for really doing detective work.  In fact, the ultimate villain shows up without being investigated at all, or any clue about him being found.  I also cannot see anything from the movie that can reasonably lead to what happens to the police management at the end of the movie.