Series Review: Tokyo Vice

Back in 2022, I kept getting Youtube ads for a TV show on HBO called Tokyo Vice. It was the only place I saw ads for this show, and I didn't see anyone talking about it on my Twitter timeline. Normally, a show with Ansel Elgort, card carrying member of the Very Punchable Face Club
wouldn't sway me, but something about it did. 

Now here we are in 2024, and the finale of season 2 just aired last night. It's safe to say that Tokyo Vice has become one of my favorite new shows of recent memory. If you love journalism stories, this might be for you too.

A quick run down of who's who and what actors are involved.- Jake (Elgort) is an American journalist living in Tokyo. He becomes the first foreign reporter at The Meicho. He's our lead. Then there's Detective Katagiri (Ken Wantanabe) who Jake begins to work with on a story. Other main players include Samantha (Rachel Keller) another American living in Tokyo working at a club. Her Yakuza love interest Sato, (Shô Kasamatsu) Jake's boss at the Meicho Emi (Rinko Kikuchi) and his two friends/fellow reporters Tin Tin (Kosuke Tanaka) and Trendy (Takaki Uda) The big bad for both seasons is a rival Yakuza leader Tozawa (Ayumi Tanida)

Season 2 picks up literally right where season 1 leaves off. I definitely needed to watch a recap to bring me back to speed since there were 2 years between seasons, but you fall back in very quickly. The stakes this season are higher and you almost, ALMOST get to see Jake and Samantha make good decisions for the people around them.

I think that's what I find so fascinating about this show. Jake and Samantha are meant to be the American audiences' avatars, but they are easily the two most annoying characters in the show. They're always asking for favors, putting their friends in danger, and in more than once case, tanking other people's relationships. Yet, I'm still interested in their stories. I think this show could easily exist with just its Japanese cast as well. All of the named characters above are played by great actors and have an interesting presence.

I'm not sure sure if there will be a season 3 of Tokyo Vice. I hope there is, but if they decide to end it here, the season 2 finale was very satisfying. I hope we see this show catch on a bit more with Emmy voters. Watching it in tandem with FX's Shogun this year has been interesting. 


  1. My only interest in this is that it has a few episodes directed by Michael Mann but since I don't have MAX right now. I can't watch it and yes, Ansel Elgort has a punchable face. There's a list of pretty-boy actors that I have right now that I'd like to beat the shit out of because they suck.

    1. Elgort is actually pretty good in this! I might have to start giving him a pass soon lol


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