[No. This is not about the finale. I am yet to watch it.]*
I initially intended to create my first post on Kazoku Game after watching episode 4, to sputter out theories and discuss hunches and speculations, which would be a fun thing to do as the dramastory progresses. However, I succumbed to temptation to continue marathoning the drama until number 6, which didn’t offer much room for a write-up, and now I’ve come to the penultimate episode.
By now most questions have been answered and most puzzle pieces have been revealed (e.g. the mysterious case of the website’s administrator Tachibana Maki, Yuudai’s true face, the double/triple pseudonyms, including the Sanada Shouta’s case eight years ago which started it all). What remains is probably the tutor’s motive – why he must take after Yoshimoto’s name and live as him when the real Yoshimoto wasn’t as noble as our sensei claimed he was in the early episode.
I’ve long suspected that this kind of mysterious drama won’t be easily grasped because everything will make sense, eventually. Nevertheless episode 9 gave me a mixed feeling, whether it is really necessary to lay it all that bare. We may be curious as to what actually happened then, but do we really want to see an episode on that alone? Snippets would be fine, but even if we’re getting the full picture, which isn’t any less appreciated, do they really need to show that many explicit scenes? Given that we’ve gotten many fluttering flashbacks along the way… After moving forward so far, I feel like we’re back to episode 1 or 2, when Shige was still the center of attention.
On the ninth installment itself, I’m so used to associate Yoshimoto Kouya to Sho that it was kinda confusing everytime the name was mentioned – are they referring to Sho’s Yoshimoto or the real one (played by Oshinari Shugo)? I deliberately used Yuudai above to differentiate the two, but after finishing this episode I could no longer call Sho’s character Yoshimoto due to very obvious reason. “Ii nee~” catchphrase is intriguing when said by Yuudai, but is destroyed in the hands of the originator. Labeling the real persona a demon is an understatement. His acts were fiendish and painful to watch; fists alone can kill, but when he starts using sharp object to manipulate others, it was… *urgh* repulsive to say the least.
With this I think we have to clearly define what bullying is. Yes, it is a delicate issue, but I don’t think Sanada and Shige were bullied. The way I understand it, bullying is the severe form of teasing or verbal taunting wherein the target is being singled out and picked on by others. ‘Others’ isn’t necessarily one’s peers although public tends to generalize bullying as the one (quite rampantly) happening within school circles. Yunno, like what they did to Jan-di in Boys Over Flowers. However, when the target is held and then punched or kicked or blasted with water, that’s physical abuse. Or when forced to undress or stripped naked and then photographed, that’s sexual harassment. The outlaw and its accomplices should be brought to court and sent behind bars, regardless of age.
Speaking of that, what happened to Yoshimoto’s minions? Didn’t they speak up after the rolling-down-the-stairs incident (which landed Yoshimoto in vegetative state)? Didn’t they feel guilty after Sanada committed suicide? If anything, it’s good to see that Sanada’s girl friend, Mizukami Sara, isn’t deeply traumatized by it and grows up to be a fine lady. Well, there’s still one last episode to watch, aired yesterday night on FujiTV, which hopefully will settle everything conclusively and be a satisfying end.
Last thing to note: how solid Sho’s portrayal of Tago Yuudai was. Nearly all-series long I always see Sho in Yoshimoto, but during those past scenes, he was Tago Yuudai through and through. I.e. all I saw was Tago Yuudai. Yoshimoto is overacted but Tago was natural. It clinches my hunch that Sho handles emotional scenes well and acts way better in serious roles (like his part in Blackboard: Mirai and to a lesser extent Kobe Shimbun no Nanokakan). He has endless stocks of epic faces he makes/shows during variety shows, but that fluidity doesn’t translate well in dramas/movies. If he stays away from quirky, eccentric characters he’ll play out exaggeratedly, his works as an actor would be taken more seriously. –My two cents.
*) is it “I am yet…” or “I have yet…”? *deliberating*