Friday, October 02, 2009

Anata no Tonari Dareka Iru eps 1-3

When a show starts with a happy family, you know what's going to happen next. :)

As I said when I first heard about this dorama, Anata no Tonari Dareka Iru has casting to die for. ATDI is basically a suspense thriller set in a very weird suburb with neighbours from hell. We're not talking your typical neighbours from hell. We're talking really weird neighbours who are more like caricatures of your suburban housewives. They have two preexisting cliques and shun anyone who doesn't join their group to the point of bullying the child.

Why did Takashi Miike cast Kitamura Kazuki as Kiryuu Kazuma is Ryuga gotoku? He looks nothing like him. :(

What I really don't enjoy its how fake and extreme these neighbours that it becomes a parody of a parody of suburban mums from hell. Its like its set in a completely alternate world which would still be fine as a dark comedy if it did not clash with the main thriller story. Natsukawa Yui's character, Azusa has a very dark secret that comes back to haunt her. Its a very serious and actually quite brutal past. Most of the time, jdoramas always have some lame past but Azusa's is really intriguing and scary.

Why couldn't they have cast decent looking housewives in this show?

Although what happened has been revealed, I'm eagerly anticipating the why and hows. I just find the thriller part too much of a contrast with the otherwordly neighbours from hell bit. Its like Azusa is living in two completely different roles. I feel like Azusa's first reaction should be 'what the fuck is wrong with these people' instead of worrying about pleasing the neighbours.

The old cop's story has me intrigued...

I get that the neighbours bit is important to show how much pressure she is under. And her mental state has lots of potential as well. The doctor's claim that her past incident could cause her to develop schizophrenia is very suspect. I know its caused by chemical imbalance and I don't think traumatic incidents could cause it. I'm no expert anyway but her mental state brings a lot of interesting questions.

Wet Shiraishi Miho!!! Yes, we get to see what she's wearing underneath!

What if a lot of what she sees is exaggerated by her mental state. What if the neighbours were not as bad as she thought they were? It would be the perfect explanation as to why the neighbours seem more like overacting villains in a suburban comedy. Imagine if for most of the series, you are constantly questioning whether what Azusa is seeing and hearing is real. Now that would be a very good concept to run with.

Why Japanese salarymen always work overtime.

Santamaria Yusuke's character Otaro is of course the cheating husband. He unwittingly falls in Kazuma's (Kitamura Kazuki) trap. I'm eagerly waiting to see how his relationship with Aiko (Shiraishi Miho) develops though. At this stage, Otaro is more plot device and though Santamari Yusuke is master of playing flawed characters, Otaro is too flawed or does not have any redeemable qualities so far for me to have any empathy for him.

I keep hearing the Scandal theme song everytime I see her.

The suburban thriller bits are done pretty well. The neighbour in a mask and signs of someone else in the house. The twists are are easily foreseeable but one hardly gets jdoramas that try to do this genre. While I did find the first three episodes sort of uneven, I enjoyed them and the potential that they bring. Someone mentioned that the show falls apart later because it takes a different direction but I'm still willing to give it a shot. There's way too many unanswered questions in ATDI that has gotten me hooked on this show. Not a must watch but better than the doramas this season.

No comments: