Monday, September 16, 2013

Woman Ep 11

Kind of sad its finished. Only one episode left? I'm going to rewatch Soredemo Ikite Yuku for my Sakamoto Yuji fix. The end of episode 10 teased that Koharu was going to die. Usually when doramas tease someone dying, it never happens. The overly happy dancing in the rain scene had me thinking Koharu was definitely going to die.

Then we had the sister talk where Shiori said if her bone marrow matched for Koharu think of her as her sister. I was convinced Koharu was a goner. What better scene than Koharu calling Shiori sister as she lies dying and what better punishment for Shiori than to raise the kids she deprived of a father?

I like the tension as they were waiting for the phone call. As Sakamoto said in the interview, no need to over explain. You could feel the palpable tension in the room while the kids are just being kids. When the phone feel, I was thinking Koharu was a goner. Took me a second before I remembered Shiori's injured hand.

This is Sakamoto trying to fuck with the audience. When they showed Shiori's weird not smiling expression I thought is this the reason Sakamoto wrote her like this stoned character? So she would no sell the good news. Even with the nod from Koharu's mom, I wasn't entirely sure it was good news until we had that lovely slow-mo of the doctor falling from his chair. What an awesome sequence that was. I don't agree with Sakamoto's story choices but he knows how to put my heart in my mouth.

The welfare husband and doctor wife ending was meh and pointless to me. Oguri Shun showed up again to give Koharu an answer about forgiving her sister. Since Sakamoto said in the interview that he doesn't write nor plan doramas out beforehand, was Oguri Shun simply waiting at home for the phone call to come to set? I would have thought since he's used so sparingly (but still too much IMHO) that it would have been more efficient to shoot his stuff in one go.

The whole thing about not wanting Koharu's kids to resent Shiori is acecptable but her character exploration and what she did wasn't done well enough for me to buy. We get a nice scene with Koharu and her mom and our happy ending.

Overall, Woman is still a must watch, just not perfect or close to it like Soredemo Ikite Yuku or Mother. Sakamoto wanted to go for a happier dorama than I was hoping for in terms of storyline choices and Shiori I feel is still a weak point despite me getting the epiphany that we were suppose to hate her throughout the series. Not to mention too much Oguri Shun. Good dorama with really good execution I'm looking forward to Sakamoto's next one.


Antspace said...

Heh! Even with the doctor falling of his chair I wasn't sure that it was a match, since he had been smiling as he delivered severe diagnoses earlier... And when I finally understood it was a match, I got nervous that Shiori would collapse under the stress/ depression she was in before she could give her bone marrow.
The ending was according to the cliche, so it's quite incredible that I just couldn't believe this was happening. there were so many beautiful moments again in this episode, but best was maybe the dance in the rain. I agree that it wasn't as good as Mother or Soredemo, but it still is the best series I've seen this year. Correction! Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi was the best series I think

Anonymous said...

I thought the directors of this series did a great job since some of the aspects of this series (the children's book, the graduation song,the flowers blooming after the rain, etc.) would have ended up being schmaltzy if they had not been executed properly. I was very surprised when I learned that one of the directors was the same guy who directed Maiko Haaan! Go figure!

Overall, I agree that is is the second-best series of 2013 so far. However, the first on my list is Saikou no Rikon -- another masterpiece from Sakamato. Writing 2 fine doramas in just a single year is quite a feat, if you ask me. :)

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

I lost interest somewhere around episode 6 or 7, but I'm glad it has gotten good ratings since it'll make Mitsushima more well-known. I'd like to see her try a comedy next, she was quite funny in Sawako Decides.

Anonymous said...

Great drama, terrific. Loved the way the finale was executed. And yes, such a big tease, especially with the doctor's scene.
Very likely the best drama overall for me this year. No lie... Flaws n all.

Welfare dood I felt was Sakamoto's own need to adhere to his own golden rule of slagging off the system. In every dorama. I think he kept him around as a handy device. The resignation part was hilarious and summed up why he was handy -- atleast to the writer -- point noted. Haha!

Anonymous said...

Rootabega sez:
JCS, my first "exposure" to Mitsushima was seeing Sawako Decides at the VIFF - it was a hit of the festival. Since she was a big screen revelation, she's pretty special to me. I hope she gets plenty of quality work in the future.
sulovesdrama, I totally get what you're saying with the ubiquitous Sakamoto "slagging off the system" rule;)) To me, it is still a million times better than the reactionary slop served up in mega-hits like Hanzawa Naoki, which basically consists of an almost worshipful stance towards Japan Inc. (we're supposed to cheer when the poor mega bank manages to hoodwink the big evil tax bureaucrats - hey, that's your money your getting screwed out of, middle Japan) wrapped in a cheap sarariman "revenge against the higher ups" fantasy. The high ratings scare me, because this can only mean more of this sort of uncritical dreck. I don't expect teevee to be educational or morally edifying, but I'm not signing up for "whoa, I just lost a bit of self-respect and a whole bunch of brain cells" either. If I can help it, anyways ;))

alundiss2 said...

LOL @ Antspace! I actually think the director forgot to get the doctor to do a take 2 on the 'delivering of the diagnosis scene' which has just rendered him to be a creepy/ mysterious character throughout the entire series because we just can't trust that he has good intentions.

On ep 10, although Nozomi was strong and portrayed her character and the emotions very well, Shiori just messed up the realism of the drama once again so I felt that ep 10 was not as memorable as it should have been.

The thing is I have watched Mother till ep 10, and I have got to say, Woman and Mother are pretty standard stories to me (script and execution wise).

While watching Woman, it was pretty much impossible for me to not compare it to Soredemo. Therefore I was pretty disappointed with where Woman went (as the story progressed) and in the end. The scene that I could not forgive was when Koharu called Shiori "imoutou". I'm sorry, but it takes a VERY enlightened individual to forgive the person that took your husband's life away. I couldn't buy it. I don't feel nor see enough remorse from Shiori to warrant her that "imoutou" from a naturally stubborn and upright Koharu. It pretty much didn't/ does not make sense to me and therefore Woman lost a little credibility because the Sakamoto wasn't thinking real enough. Which also doesn't make sense because if you're going to come up with such a story, you have to KEEP it what you aspired it to be. Grrrr. I'm also thinking that Woman would have probably been a better series if it didn't promise us so much in the first episode.

If you give me scenes of desperation like going to to the welfare centre and engaging in mundane but important conversations about welfare, I expect the elements of welfare to be featured throughout the series. If you give me a scene of Koharu being so desperate that she had to ask the welfare guy for money, i need that desperation to continue onwards in the drama. This does not mean she has to keep asking people for money, but there were all these different issues and challenges that were presented in ep 1 which actually made me stupid enough to believe Woman was at least going to be as good as Soredemo. It could have even made Soredemo look contrived (I know that sounds like an exaggeration), but it was my honest opinion after watching the first ep.

Soredemo was just excellent because it was interesting. And guess what? No one had to be sick for that to be accomplished. We had themes that were prominent and fixed in the drama and distinctive qualities that were ingrained in the characters. So Eita's brother had social issues, we get a hint of all the kids having gone through a rough adolescence which is always lurking around in the quiet scenes of the drama. We have the parents continually fighting with past in the present with scenes such as the encountering of opposing families, the harassment, the restrained feelings as a result of having to bury the past in front of people who would never understand. We have Eita being a loser. And he STAYS a loser. Mitsushima being naive all the way through, even after she found out about the truth, her love for her brother still remains, and it does not alter how she behaves, because ultimately it is hard to hate your family members if you have shared fond memories with them so you are just inclined to hope and believe they can turn around. I mean nothing felt irrelevant or space-filling. Even the girl who crushed on Eita served to show us how Eita and Mitsu had naturally bonded and felt comfortable with each other despite the unlikelihood and given the very odd situation.

alundiss2 said...

Why was welfare guy and wife, creepy doctor, faux chikan and yes I will say it, Shiori even given all these useless scenes? Someone said they liked the use of the player amongst other things. I am ranting too much but it just didn't work unfortunately. Shiori being a key character to this drama didn't work. the only thing they were able to deliver from the promise was the tension between Koharu and her mother. That was what made this drama a little bit more solid. But the other things that were promised were IMO not delivered.

I'm so mad or I should say disappointed in Sakamoto i even went so far as to think that Soredemo was a fluke??? lol I know that's not possible bc Soredemo was just genius. It was an extreme situation/ story but executed in such a refreshing and natural way. Like I would not have thought of a scene where Eita (at the diner) gets an epiphany and just starts saying things like he can see the day where he'll be sharing a new life with the murderer of his younger sister. It sounds so ridiculous on paper, but you actually believe it. THAT is the difference. Or when Eita's mum tells Mitsu's mum that they can go through the mess together. It's just a different take and there were so many different feelings and angles that were included in the drama.

The fact that Mitsu's dad could pretend he never saw his own son contrasted with Mitsu's unmoving and unconditional love for her brother. The guilt and pain of the assailant's family. The unlikely bond between the 2 protagonists. The need for Mitsu to atone. The loneliness of being removed from the world and not a day has passed where you don't think about the incident.

There were so many allusive elements and strong recurring motifs to consistently move the story along which moved the audience with it. Sakamoto successfully created a sphere whereby when you dived into the drama, you were enclosed in the world of the two families and their tribulations.

I could make a very long list of what let Woman down but ultimately, I think the biggest shortcoming of this drama was that it failed to take the characters to any place interesting. The characters didn't really have to deal with anything. ( I mean in the sense that their emotions weren't that conflicted)/ or if they were, it was poorly executed. Eita->Monk
Mitsu ->attempted murderer
Eita's mum-> encouraging ally
Mitsu brother->lost child
Mitsu dad-> dad of Mitsu's brother

Well I know I'm being hard on the poor guy but that's only because he promised me a gem. I guess I'll just indulge in the new season's drama's offerings in the shape of glass and oujisama. At least there is no Shiori/ Oguri playing a charismatic son-in-law.