VIVANT

VIVANT

An ordinary accounting error leads to a grand desert-set adventure in this thrilling Japanese drama

7.4

TV Show

Japan
Japanese
Drama
2023
KATSUO FUKUZAWA
Fumi Nikaido, Hiroshi Abe, Kazunari Ninomiya
60 min

TLDR

Vivant is such a long drama, but it’s so hard to stop watching, especially as it goes into crazy car crashing escapes and dangerous desert treks.

What it's about

After Marubishi Corporation accidentally transferred 10 times the amount of the agreed upon down payment to GFL, Yusuke Nogi heads to the Balkan Republic to collect the difference of $90 million– which leads him to an unexpected overseas adventure involving diamonds, explosions, and a secret organization possibly named Vivant.

The take

With an accounting mistake leading to being stranded in the desert, it’s hard to predict where VIVANT would lead us to. As corporate employee Yusuke tries to undo his supposed accounting error, he gets into a series of surprising events including having to negotiate with a terrorist, being accused of a bombing, and escaping to a Japanese embassy… and that’s just in the first episode. But rather than feeling overly complicated, the story feels exciting, like something akin to a spy thriller, with its large-scale sets, multi-country stakes, and the mystery of a secret organization. Vivant feels totally unexpected and out of left field, but it’s definitely a unique and entertaining watch.

What stands out

Starting from what feels like a mundane accounting mistake, VIVANT seems like it would be a regular corporate-related show, but it unfolds into a large-scale, multinational adventure that feels inspired by classic American spy thrillers. The stakes of this journey would affect the rest of the world. But where other spy thrillers would have a nationalist, epically competent agent that can control everything at the helm, Vivant’s Yusuke is not even a spy. He’s a regular salaryman just looking to clear his name, trying to adapt to the countries as he does so. Eventually, his goal, and his own journey, shifts as he joins forces with an overseas medical doctor and Foreign Affairs Inspector. However, even as the goal changes, Vivant remains compelling because it leans into the fantasy of being an everyman that can make a global impact, if only given the chance. And like Yusuke, and the mysterious Beppan, it’s also an intriguing fantasy to see Japan as a bigger mover and shaker in today’s geopolitics.

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