*Spoilers will appear as I recap the episodes briefly*
Looking for a dark drama this winter? If Watashi wo Hanasanaide or Itsuka Kono Koi are not enough to make your winter any moodier, try this show. Naomi to Kanako is basically a suspense drama with friendship as the core between two characters who later become murder accomplices.
Naomi (Ryoko Hirosue) is a career woman whose dream is to become a curator but finds herself stuck in a company that doesn’t seem to appreciate or acknowledge her abilities. Her friend, Kanako (Yuki Uchida) is married to a banker, who actually abuses his wife.
The drama opens with a scene where the two of them are gripping two ends of a rope, getting ready to strangle a guy. So we go back in time and see how this unfolds.
Initially, Naomi thinks Kanako is happily married and leading the kind of life every woman dreams of but it doesn’t take long for her to discover that Kanako is actually a victim of domestic violence.
Despite Naomi’s constant advice to leave the husband, Kanako is weak and fragile. She doesn’t think that she’ll ever be able to escape from her husband, Tatsuro.
Naomi has given up on marrying because her own father used to abuse her mother too when she was younger. When her father died, her mother has lived a happier life according to her. She understands Kanako’s fear of feeling trapped and can relate to her.
One day, Naomi sees a man that looks exactly like Tatsuro by the name of Rin, a Chinese worker at one of her customer’s shop at Chinatown. Rin is a shy and quiet guy who is working in Tokyo in order to save money to cure her mother’s sickness back in China. However, a police raid causes him to stop working at Ri’s shop because he doesn’t own a passport, making him an illegal migrant.
In episode 2, Tatsuro asks Kanako to go for fertility treatment but she fears of having kids in this state. What if Tatsuro continues to abuse her and later, her kids? At the same time, Naoko begins to think of how to help her friend. After few meetings with Ri (the Chinese customer) who after hearing about Naoko’s friend’s DV husband, she bluntly tells her to just kill the husband. According to her, a man who abuses any woman doesn’t deserve to live.
Naomi is shocked to hear such blunt remarks from Ri at first but it’s starting to dawn on her that it might actually be a good idea. Finally, she figures a plan to kill Tatsuro without getting caught by the police. So she conveys the plan to Kanako. They’ll kill Tatsuro, make it as if he has run away to China after embezzling money from a customer (Naomi has a customer who has dementia and entrusted her to deal with the internet banking for her). In order to make it more convincing, they’ll have Rin to take over Tatsuro’s identity and go to the ATM and withdraw money and let the security camera capture all that.
In episode 3, Rin is asked by Naomi to think about it because he needs a passport and money anyway. She doesn’t tell Rin the real reason behind this or who Tatsuro is. Rin eventually agrees to go with the plan as he thinks he’ll be helping Kanako. So Kanako assists Rin to imitate Tatsuro’s signature and dressing him up like her husband.
At the same time, she and Naomi tries to search for a place to bury Tatsuro once they carry out the plan. In episode 4, they rehearse the plan. Naomi is suddenly asked to join Tatsuro’s sister, Yoko to Kyoto to meet a customer. So Rin has to withdraw money on his own while Kanako distracts her husband over lunch. Naomi is racing against time to return to Tokyo and carry out the murder plan.
I find it pretty unnerving because here she is, sitting together with Tatsuro’s sister and later that night, she’s going to murder her brother.
A lot of things can go wrong on the actual day itself. This and they’re both ordinary people, trying to carry out a murder plan.
And so we reach the scene we saw in episode 1.
That cliffhanger at the end of episode 4 though…but judging from the the preview for next episode, they seem to have successfully killed Tatsuro. But the problem now is with Yoko. She seems to have some inkling that something fishy is going on. Coupled with the voice mail Tatsuro sent Yoko (I presume) saying he might be killed. Can’t wait to see how both Naomi and Kanako hide their crime.
First of all, it’s nice to see Ryoko Hirosue return with a prominent role. I really like her character and the way she shows concern for her friend, Kanako is very genuine.
Yuki Uchida is also convincing as a DV victim and DV scenes are never easy to watch. That said, kudos to both Ryuta Sato and her for making those scenes as realistic as possible to the point of very unsettling and eerie. But really, Ryuta Sato plays two different characters in this drama and it’s almost uncanny to see polar opposites of the two roles. Initially, I thought Yoshida Yo is kinda wasted in this drama because I think she deserves bigger roles, but judging from how she’s growing suspicious about Naomi’s conduct in the previous episode, she might be the one who will find out the truth behind her brother’s death.
As for the plot, I have only one gripe. Escaping or confronting a DV husband is tough and I understand Kanako’s fear that Tatsuro will relentlessly find her even if she separates or runs away. But isn’t planning an actual murder and carrying such an elaborate plan even more complicated? They’ll always live in fear of being caught by the police, no? Anyway, I’m still enjoying the show so this gripe, I’ll just shove it to a side and carry on. All that aside, I do recommend giving this a go. No english subs are available yet unfortunately.