Naomi to Kanako ep1-4 [review]


*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 to Kanako EP03 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_44.18_[2016.02.10_14.18.25]

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP02 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_47.32_[2016.02.10_16.10.28]

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP04 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_16.31_[2016.02.10_15.36.40]

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 to Kanako ep01 (848x480 x264).mp4_snapshot_47.48_[2016.02.10_10.34.22]

Feels weird watching a Japanese playing a Chinese character with accent haha

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP02 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_25.28_[2016.02.10_10.51.13]

I like how Ri keeps planting ideas for the murder into Naomi’s mind

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP04 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_36.50_[2016.02.10_16.25.42]

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP04 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_39.13_[2016.02.10_16.28.43]

Crap she knows something’s fishy! I think Yoko will be a huge obstacle in their plan in the future.

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP04 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_41.03_[2016.02.10_16.33.42]

What does he mean when he says “I might be killed soon.” Has he found out Kanako’s plan?

And so we reach the scene we saw in episode 1.

Naomi to Kanako EP04 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_44.37_[2016.02.10_16.37.31]

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.

IMPRESSION

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.

Naomi to Kanako EP02 720p HDTV x265-ER.mkv_snapshot_21.16_[2016.02.10_10.46.10]

Love every doggie scene she has

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.

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5 thoughts on “Naomi to Kanako ep1-4 [review]

  1. Yoshida Yo definitely has a more important role in the later parts of the drama. They hinted that in the promo poster where she was the only one standing behind Naomi and Kanako while starring intently at their backs. Yoshida Yo’s character was really important in the novel too.

    We have been taught to fear the consequences of getting caught when committing crimes since young. However, what happens when there’s something even scarier than the consequences of getting caught?

    【ON KANAKO】
    Kanako was on the brink of committing suicide by the time Naomi suggested they killing off Tatsuro. Just check Kanako’s dictionary and you’ll realize Tatsuro has replaced the word FEAR in her dictionary.

    Her fear of Tatsuro has already surpassed everything that will spook normal people, from the living in the most haunted places alone to the cruelest torture combined, in real life.

    Sounds illogical? But in reality, Living with Tatsuro has caused her to be slightly damaged mentally. Her fear has taken root in her heart. Kanako will continue to live in fear as long as she knows Tatsuro is alive and breathing. Knowing Tatsuro might take revenge on her, her friends and family as a man who has lost it all if she were to report him to the police.

    Especially when Tatsuro has taken great pains to build his career and get to where he was today. It didn’t take much to agitate Tatsuro to abuse Kanako then. Kanako knows Tatsuro well enough to fear of what Tatsuro might do when he loses it all.

    Japanese laws seemed to be rather slack. All Tatsuro will get is perhaps several months to a few years of jail. Who knows? He might be released early because of good performance in jail.

    Several months to few years of freedom simply isn’t enough for Kanako. She can’t possibly hire bodyguards to protect herself and all her family and friends. There might be cases where the bodyguards aren’t able to protect their masters too. She wanted an end to it. Killing off Tatsuro wasn’t simply about ending a life. It was also an act of getting rid of the demon of fear in her heart. She wanted to be able to live without being scared even when she sees someone who resembles (or dressed like) Tatsuro at first glance.

    Plus, both Kanako and Naomi were going along the lines of executing a plan where they wouldn’t get caught.

    Even so, to Kanako, the consequences of getting caught was something she would have chosen over having to live in fear (of Tatsuro) forever. What’s a few years of jail (she might get an even lighter sentence if they look on the fact how she was physically and emotionally damaged) or say a death sentence to Kanako? Let’s be honest here. Kanako was ready to end her life in order to escape from Tatsuro in the first place anyway. Death doesn’t scares her anymore.

    Kanako’s choice to murder Tatsuro was perfectly logical to her if you consider her current mental and physical state when she made that decision then.

    【ON NAOMI】
    To me, Naomi is an interesting character. Even more so than Kanako.

    Friendship plays an important part for Naomi to carry out her plan. Kanako is her best friend and naturally she wanted to help her.

    However, Naomi has clearly went beyond the extent where what best friends would be willing to do for their friends in real life.

    Why is that so?

    I believe Naomi’s childhood has a huge influence on her resolve to help Kanako no matter what.

    Remember why Nishizaki was so adamant on helping Naoko to escape from her husband? This is happening to Naomi too.

    Deep down inside, Naomi is still consistently blaming herself for not being able to stand up against her abusive father and protect her mother when she was young, and later when she grew up. She simply moved away to work in Tokyo isn’t it? Running away from her problem.

    Naomi’s resolve to help Kanako while unconsciously using it as an opportunity/ritual to redeem herself from what she wasn’t able to do in the past. To protect her mother. Plus, this was a chance to inflict harm on Tatsuro, an abusive man, using him as a outlet to vent her hatred and anger towards her father who was already dead by then. There wasn’t a way to redeem herself and punish her father when he was already dead.

    Naomi wasn’t merely saving Kanako but also herself at the same time. She understands the limitations of the Japanese law, unable to protect victims during their lifetime, and how she wouldn’t be able to forgive herself if she ran away again.

    Well, these are all merely my speculations to begin with anyway.

    🌟CONGRATULATIONS! You have finished reading my post successfully without falling asleep!🌟

  2. I actually read everything! haha
    That’s a really detailed and elaborate analysis on the characters, so good! I agree that Naomi is influenced by her own childhood too having an abusive father (to the point of being afraid to marry even). I’m somehow more convinced after your justification on Kanako’s mental state because initially, I keep thinking won’t it be easier to sue the husband or get restraining order, put him in jail or something but guess you’re right, there’ll never be an end to it unless he died. I just wondered whether there’s a need to actually commit a crime as huge as a murder to get rid of a DV husband. I think you did a good analysis on a DV victim’s mental state so I’m more convinced by their action now.

    I suppose they’ve gone beyond being afraid of committing a crime or prison time. They’ve reached a resolve and no turning point. I’m now curious how they’ll hide the crime from Yoshida Yo’s character ^^
    Ah…yes, you mentioned Nishizaki and I just recalled the similarities with N no Tame ni.

  3. Hehe~ Thank you for your compliments and for not falling asleep! ٩꒰。•◡•。꒱۶

    That’s why I enjoy dramas with such realistic characters with depth. I had the same thoughts as you initially when I saw the CMs and synopsis for this drama. Was there really a need to go that far? But I tried putting myself in their shoes and started understanding the reason behind the choices they made.

    Yes! It’ll be even more interesting now with Yoshida Yo’s character suspecting they had something to do with her brother’s disappearance. I wonder if they will follow the ending for the novel for this drama or change it. Hmm~

  4. I read all your posts after finishing the drama, nice analysis!
    And yes, I agree with all of what you’ve said xDDDD
    (too bad I found the site after I watched all the episodes, else I would have joined the fun in speculating too..!)

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