Monday, June 6, 2011

Byakuyakou [review]

I recently found out that Crying Out Love in The Center of the World wasn't the first drama both Yamada Takayuki and Ayase Haruka made with each other. They acted together in Byakuyakou before that and while Byakuyakou wasn't as famous as Crying Out Love, it had some really rave reviews, and the dark theme made me curious of it. Also, this year, they made a movie out of it starring Horikita Maki and Kengo Kora. I am looking forward to watch that version because this will be the first time Maki acts as the antagonist. But back to the drama, the 1st episode was brilliant. It was mostly, if not, entirely told in the lead male's point of view, in flashback.

Two of the lead characters, Yukiho and Ryo began as kids of 11 years old but who knew from that moment on, their lives were changed forever. Ryo met Yukiho one day at the library and also at the river in their small town and since then, they became more than just good friends. However, Yukiho's mother, an alcoholic used her to make money. in return, they get paid. And one of the men, was Ryo's father, much to Ryo's surprise one rainy as he followed him and discovered the truth. Out of utter shock and anger, he stabbed him to death. Yukiho helped him keep the secret and somehow made her own mother look like the murderer by faking a double suicide. Her mother was killed, but she survived. So Yukiho was known as the murderer's daughter while Ryo, the victim's son ever since. It's kinda ironic how their positions were changed.

Since then, they decided to go separate paths until the statute of limitation arrived. After 8 years, they somehow met again and things began to happen as they lie their way again and again, just to survive.

Although the younger versions of both leads only appeared in the first episode as a flashback, I have to say, these kids are not to be taken lightly. I am amazed by their skillz! They are compatible to the older versions as I am deeply moved by them. You can't help but love the characters although they're murderers.

Yamada Takayuki - His portrayal as Ryo is very convincing. You feel his pain, his undying love for Yukiho and how he really want to make her happy, at any cost, even if he has to commit crime after crime. He's a 'ghost' that watches over her the entire time. Yamada has always been very good in these type of characters, depressingly sad kind of guy. It's similar to Crying Out Love but in there, he's a protagonist while here, he's the bad guy you can't help but rooting for.

Ayase Haruka - Her looks/image has always been innocent type, until she plays this role. Maybe it's hard to convince the audience that she's evil, but I am. Her glares at certain scenes are very convincing. Hence, she pulls off the character of Yukiho very well. I can't wait though to compare hers and Maki's portrayal in the movie version.

I'm intrigued! Throughout the plot, I am curious, how will they end? Will they be punished? Will they get through and finally live life as normal people? To begin with, the story is very interesting. The protagonist is not anyone of the leads. Both lead characters carry the burden as murderers. They are young and innocent, but the extreme circumstances cause them to commit crimes beyond their age and understanding. But since they did it, they need to find a way to survive.Their short but intense relationship during their childhood is amazingly surreal. I think even until now, episode 1 is one of the best throughout the drama. What they went through, what made them commit other crimes in the future so easily, without any effort, you'd think you'll hate them for their sins. Surprisingly, I didn't. I feel that they deserve to live happily, but in episode 8, when they kill an innocent, I begin to change my mind. Partly because, I just can't justify their act to kill off such an innocent person just to ensure their secrets are kept hidden, whose identity I will not disclose.

This is a dark, dark drama. Don't watch this for cheerful stuffs. It's pretty depressing whereby from the beginning, you know the lead characters will have to pay someday for their doings. But in the same sense, you want them to be happy, because they deserve it. I miss dark Japanese dramas. I wish they can produce something similar again, instead of those formulaic kinds - detective, humor, medical etc. Was it draggy? Maybe from ep3-8...a bit...but still crucial in order to grasp the entire story.One prevalent moral story from this is: The shadow of your past sins will always come back to haunt you, no matter where you run.
Rating: 4/5
P.S. If you're unsure whether you'll like this, then I'll recommend you to watch at least the first episode. After the first episode, I'm sure you'll find the answer whether to continue or not.

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