Thursday, April 07, 2011

Youkame no semi ep 5

As I said in my review of eps 1-5, my biggest problem with Youkame no semi is that there can be no justification for child-napping unless its like Mother where the kid was getting abused and the authorities are slow to act. No matter how nice Kiwako is and how much she bonds with Kaoru/Erina, it is a relationship born of deception.

Ep 5 starts off by delving into an interesting part of the story, the difficulty of Kaoru/Erina integrating back into her family that she never really knew. Its like someone who was raised by society of zealots having to learn to live in modern society. This of course creates a lot of tension for Erina's mother who missed out on 5 years of her daughters life and now had to learn to connect with her daughter who had been raised by someone else.

Kaoru's mom is the interesting character here because she has been yearning for her daughter but in front of her stands a stranger. A child speaking with an island accent who has no bond with her beyond blood. Ultimately, the show is about Erina as she slowly regains her memories of her five years with Kiwako. Her happy childhood that she suppressed because she needed to hate Kiwako in order to make sense of her life.

Kiwako meanwhile is just a delusional woman who is so hung up about her five years with Erina. She has nothing to live for and her only source of happiness is found in her past. I thought the ending was appropriate but at the same time I just wonder what the point of Youkame no semi is? Erina coming to terms with her hatred for Kiwako? To show the audience how pitiful Kiwako is? Erina's mother doesn't get enough screen time to be called a major player. I just cannot see what the build up and purpose of Youkame no Semi is.

At the same time, I can't really hate it. Usually when something is as horrible as Taisetsu na koto, I watch with a lot of fast forwarding. With Youkame no semi, I paid attention to the whole show probably cause the acting was good but also trying to figure out how to appreciate the story. Storyline wise, its kidnapping dorama where the villain is portrayed as the heroine of a run away show. The only real tension and build up in the dorama is the anticipated 'reunion' of Erina and Kiwako which didn't give any real closure.

At the end of 5 episodes, I just could not find anything about Youkame no semi to latch onto. I think its some sort of emotional connection that probably only women can feel towards Kiwako. I'm interested to know what others have gotten out of this dorama.


Jung said...

I have a feeling this is gonna be another lonely post since no one watched this show.

You're the master of screencaps.

Someone please give her an oscar for that expression. Just spectacular.

Anyway, regarding your question about Taisetsu, just fastforward through all scenes with Shuji and school principal, and it will be alright. Hrm, wait, that's like 70% of the show.

The only reason why I'm going to finish the series is because I'm hoping that Toda will end up with the new guy. And Shuji will just marry the kabe onna. I know it's a pipe dream at this point, but then again, how is it any worse than hoping Obama would bring actual change? lolz..

Jung said...

I just (almost) finished Taisetsu.

F*king terrible. This show makes Bloody Monday look like The Usual Suspects.

But because I actually didn't mind the first few episodes of it, I decided to cut the show creators some slack and watched it until 46:03 of 46:04, and didn't finish the last 1 second.

I'm going to imagine that in that last 1 second, the creators managed to squeeze in a Kaiser Sose moment. lolz...

Anonymous said...

Well, I liked this show, but I am a woman. I had to keep asking myself WHY I was sympathizing with a kidnapper, when I could totally side with the birth parents rationally. It was interesting that in every episode there was a situation that had to make her reflect on what she had done: the "Oh, she looks just like her mother" from the stranger at the restaurant; Kumi's lament about her son's stepmother acting like she was the real mother when Kumi was the one who gave birth; Bunji saying that a couple who has lost a child is torn apart & can never get over the loss. At the end, she is the one who has lost a child and can't get over it.

I also wonder if this isn't part of the Japanese government drive to increase the birth rate. Characters in dramas keep deciding to give birth in less than perfect circumstances, and here we see that it is possible to really, really love a child that is not your birth child. I don't know how easy it is for a single woman to adopt in Japan, but maybe this was a hint that legal adoption might work out better than kidnapping.

Akiramike said...

Jung, thanks for torturing yourself with the rest of Taisetsu so I don't have to bang my head against the table.

Anonymous, thanks for your comments. I think male viewers are unable to 'get' the essence of this show which is feeling empathy for a despicable person.

Antspace said...

Having just watched this series, I must say that I do understand both parties. If driven to despair, people can do terrible things.

Once she took the baby, there was no turning back. I think Kiwako was delusional, but in heart a good person. She loved Kaoru as her own daughter and then it's not so easy to let go. I think this series is essentially about love and the imperfection of life.

I sympathise more with the culprit, because the real parents (especially the disgusting father) had a fucked up attitude and couldn't have made good parents that way.

Kiwako meant good, but did wrong.

The real victim is the child. Kaoru had problems through all her youth because of it.

I think this series is wonderful for not being judgemental and showing that life is about love and pain, and about ways of coping with it...