Thursday, February 24, 2011

Youkame no semi eps 1-4

Youkame no semi tells the tale of Nonomiya Kiwako (Dan Rei) who is having an affair with a married co-worker, Akiyama. Akiyama keeps promising that he will break up with his wife Etsuko and Kiwako believes him. Kiwako finds out she is pregnant but Akiyama convinces her to undergo an abortion on the basis that he would lose more money from the divorce and it results in Kiwako not being able to bear any more children. Akiyama finds out his wife is pregnant soon after and the divorce is off. Etsuko confronts Kiwako and declares that she has known about the affair and mocks her for having the abortion. One rainy day, Kiwako enters Akiyama's home and steals away the baby Erina/Kaoru.

The main reason I decided to check out Youkame no semi was that its suppose to be like Mother. In the sense of a woman running away with someone's child, it is. However the huge difference is that in Mother, the woman is saving the child from her abusive mom while in Youkame no semi, the main protagonist is committing a very serious crime with no moral justification. Just because Akiyama lied to her indirectly causing her to be barren and his wife mocking her does not in any way, shape or form give Kiwako any sort excuse for stealing Akiyama's daughter.

The question must be asked, can the main protagonist of a story not commit crimes or be a villain? Of course there are many stories where the main character is a bad guy and the story is either an examination of the bad person's character or a worse person appears therefore making the main character the hero by virtue of being less evil. However, Youkame no semi does not portray Kiwako as a villain. In fact it very similar to mother in that it is about the 'adopted mom' learning how to be a mother while on the run from the law.

I'm watching Kiwako trying to survive and connecting with Kaoru and all I can think of is 'you just fucking deprived a family of their daughter and you deserve to go to prison for a very long time because of the suffering and pain they must be going through'. Its like she's a nice person who made a very vile decision but the show tries to portray Kiwako as a nice and sympathetic protagonist when her major crime just cancels out whatever good things she does.

There is a sort of side story set in the present of a grown up Kaoru (Kitano Kii) who has become pregnant and Kiwako is in prison. I think its suppose to build up some sort of parallel story with Kiwako's journey but I don't see it. Kaoru seems to make a big deal of her father's affair with Kiwako but all I can think of is 'so what?' This series is based on a popular novel and they are going to do a movie version with Nagasaku Hiromi but for the life of me I cannot bloody understand the point of the story!!!

It is impossible for me to feel empathy for Kiwako. It is impossible for me to hate her because the dorama portrays her as a nice person. Youkame no semi is not a character study show dealing with her emotional pain as she tries to justify her actions. The show could work if she did it out of vengeance. In fact ,Youkame no semi would have been a lot more interesting if Kiwako abducted Kaoru out her hate and her desire to cause pain and suffering to Akiyama. Fuck, they could have easily made it so much better but for some reason she has to be boringly nice, having no discernable reason for kidnap when all that was required was her to do it out of spitefulness. A story of a hateful crime leading Kiwako to learning to love Kaoru works so much better for me than the 'heroic journey' or a child kidnapper who's excuse was she just couldn't put the baby down.

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