I finally watched Tenshi no Knife in one shot this weekend.
This drama is infested with crazy kids and draws some similarity from Kokuhaku (2010 movie) where minors committed crimes like murder and such. We have Koide Keisuke as a husband and father whose wife was murdered out of the blue one day. It didn’t take long for the police to find out who did it. They were three 13 year olds and despite taking a life, they were protected by Juvenile Act. (I’m just gonna use the actor’s real names to make it easier). Finding this out was tough for Koide and he was baffled as to why these young boys would come into his house and kill his wife suddenly. Despite wanting to know the reason and the identities of the boys, the police couldn’t reveal anything further than that to protect the minors’ future. Fast forward a few years later, suddenly, two of the boys were killed one by one. So the police began to suspect Koide because he made a threat on TV right after his wife was murdered that he wanted to kill the boys with his own bare hands. Not going to spoil anything further.
Let’s talk about the plot first. At some parts, the pacing may be a bit slow and long-winding, but at the end of each episode, there’s always a cliffhanger that makes you want to continue. The aim afterall is to find out who murdered the boys after all these years. Did Koide really fulfill his words few years ago and starting to hunt them down now? The directing is good overall, though I find some of the flashbacks between Koide and his wife (how they got to know each other etc) were a bit cheesy and reminded me of other normal dramas. It sort of made me wanna push the fast forward button. Like…I get it you know. They’re lovey dovey and such, in fact, this drama could do without those scenes imho.
Another thing I was slightly uncomfortable with was when Koide made small talks with the female worker at his café. Yes, it reminded him of his wife and how they began but it felt a bit out of the place for me. The female worker played by Reika Sakurai (Nogizaka46) actually had a huge part in everything towards the end. Anyways, Koide’s interaction with her especially at the back room at the café just felt awkward for me.
As for the murderers, I did guess two of them correctly but I have to admit, the final one was surprising. Totally didn’t see that coming. So that was a nice twist. I was thinking if the murderers were already revealed at the beginning of the final episode, what more to show for the rest the finale? So that was a good addition.
Acting wise, Koide Keisuke was just alright imo. I really liked how he went on silent-shock mode at the beginning of the episode when he found out his wife was murdered. That was really good. But when he burst into rage mode, I just couldn’t seem to really take him seriously in some scenes. He did redeem it all during the finale though. Kana Kurashina was slightly better especially during the flashbacks when she was a lonely teenager. I also really liked Mayumi Wakamura’s depiction of a distraught mother whose daughter was killed. Excellent portrayal of an emotionally disturbed mother (no, she didn’t go into rage mode like Koide, instead, the silent type bottling everything inside you’re wondering if one day she’d just blow up and kill someone).
What about the young ones? The three boys were fine for the screentime they had. I wish Takumi Kitamura had more screentime but it was pity he was the first to go in the pilot itself. I couldn’t find the name of the actress who played his childhood friend/lover. I thought she did a fine job too, definitely better than the Nogizaka girls by a mile, despite how few screentime she had.
Overall, it’s a drama worth watching, pretty sure the twist will be something to look forward to. Do not expect a lot from the acting department though. But it’s nice to see Koide Keisuke in lead role once in a while. As with any WOWOW dramas, the theme is always darker and slightly disconcerting. Here, we’re asked whether Juvenile Act is really a good measure or not. Is it fine to forgive them just because they’re still young? Will they really turn over a new leaf? Personally, I think a 13 year old should already know right from wrong between taking a life and saving one. So I find it a bit unfair to not punish them like adults. Then again, it’s a sensitive issue so I’m not gonna dwell on it.