Title: Tight Rope
Length: 2 x 23 minute episodes
Genre: Romance, crime
Year of release: 2012
Perhaps it’s an artefact of me watching a recent video release, or simply a poor encode, but as I was smacked in the face with washed out colours and tinny audio, my gut had me thinking this was far older than 2012. But with the writing leaning equally on the schmaltzy as on the saucy, Tight Rope generally feels like a stepping stone to more recent, positive queer romantic writing. But not always is that a good thing.
At only two episodes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the ‘series’ is one to barrel through the motions. While there’s sensual make-out within the opening 5 minutes (with tongue and sloppy saliva noises to boot!), the pacing actually feels rather eloquent. The characterisation and romance is largely outsourced to the opening crawl and as the series begins the couple are merely a confession away, so there’s no need to rush. There’s some comic skits around a very quotable script as we overcome the most classic romantic hurdle within the first, stand-alone episode; it’s relatively nice and easy, drawing on the silly-but-sincere tone to sell the huge romantic gesture that it ends its first half with. It’s gooey, if a little unearned.
However, the second episode feels like an unneeded sequel. Functioning as something akin to an epilogue, half the run-time began to feel bloated. Worse than that though, one of those dated BL tropes reared its ugly head. Even if the inclusion of the classic rapist antagonist was framed correctly… it was still there, flailing around like a bull in a china shop. The good feeling was escaping, and while consent was later discussed in a heartfelt way to build a solid ending note, the series felt infected.
Despite the yakuza backdrop threatening negativity, the series’ outlooks are undeniably positive and posited with a pleasant sense of humour; Tight Rope is feel-good slush. But with the inability to maintain relevance beyond its snappiness, and a major black mark to its name, Tight Rope never feels particularly remarkable.