Suna no Tou ep1 [impression]


We’re blessed with a lot of dramas featuring seasoned and strong female characters this fall. Just to name a few, Ryoko Yonekura is back with Doctor X Season 4, Amami Yuki in Chef and Yoshida Yo (her first lead drama). Not forgetting the younger gen, Aragaki Yui and Ishihara Satomi. But perhaps, the most anticipated return is Kanno Miho who went on a hiatus since 2012 to focus on her marriage and motherhood. Even better, she’s paired up with Matsushima Nanako in this family suspense.

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While it’s still early to judge, this drama is worth checking out just for Kanno Miho alone. Who else is overjoyed by her return? Do I see hands? Yes, of course I do. Since her hiatus, her previous small roles had all been ill mothers (I lost count). I haven’t the foggiest why they reduce her to those roles. It’s like when you’re married and have a child or reach a certain age, you just automatically start playing motherly roles. I don’t see that happening to Ryoko Yonekura (then again, her aura’s too strong to play a loving mother lol). She can very well still kick asses even at age 70 for all I care, I would still watch it XD

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I’m not saying playing mother roles are bad, there are good memorable ones, mostly at the mercy of screenwriters. At least Kanno Miho’s not playing a sick mother here.

While I’m really happy to see her back on screen with a lead role, my interest somehow shifted to Nanako’s character towards the end of the pilot (will explain later). Both of them are great so far, Kanno especially looks like she hasn’t even been gone. Lovely as ever and nails the character flawlessly.

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She plays Aki Takano, a housewife, dubbed as ‘plain’ by the other rich egoistic housewives at the luxury apartment. Instantly, she is thrust into housewife politics who organize lunch gatherings and ‘housewife goukon’. After being warned that socializing is key to their children’s happiness, she struggles to keep up appearances even though deep down, she feels helplessly alienated.

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Aki also has a mother who abandoned her and ran away with a man when she is little due to debt. Her mother has never really taken care of her, instead, focused on their cleaning shop. Thus, their relationship is brittle and strained. Her mother still appears every now and then for money, which Aki gives reluctantly.

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She then meets a kind neighbor, Sasaki Yumiko (Matsushima Nanako) who does flower arrangement. They hit off instantly and Yumiko even helps Aki when the other housewives decides to make an impromptu visit at her apartment. For that, Aki feels grateful for Yumiko’s generosity and kindness.

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During the budding of this friendship, there’s a background case involving 3 kids who are abducted and still missing. This sets a disturbing tone throughout the episode as Yumiko is seen following Aki’s children one day.

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In the beginning of the episode, Yumiko is seen washing stark red stains in the bathroom, which we can only suspect as blood at this moment. At the end of pilot, Yumiko is watching several CCTV in a locked room and we know she plants bugs in the flowers she give to the housewives.

(Though…doesn’t it occur to anybody that it’s just plain weird to have a CCTV in the apartments…I mean, I wouldn’t want that even for security purposes because obviously, anybody can hack into the system and your privacy will be violated in an instant)

Dark Nanako who is creepy and a potential abductor is very intriguing and I can only hope they don’t waste the potential. She needs a proper comeback after that godawful drama last season.

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This pilot is not without cons though. I think the whole rich housewives/mothers versus middle income/poor ones are getting a bit old at this point. I did have a slight déjà vu because they remind me of Mother Game.

Another thing is the route I hope the screenwriter would spare Kanno Miho because I seriously do not want and not the least interested to see an affair here. I can’t help rolling my eyes during those scenes where she’s with Takanori Iwata. The severe lack of Aki’s husband in the pilot is worrying.

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Overall, I wanna keep my expectations moderate for this just so it won’t come crushing down if they decide to ruin it later. Other than that, the pilot is good and I can’t wait to see more menacing Yumiko.

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One thought on “Suna no Tou ep1 [impression]

  1. I finally was able to watch the first episode with subtitles. I pretty much agree with everything in your review, down to the deja vu with Mother Game. I also dislike the rich/poor divide…down to excluding those using the wrong elevator from the Halloween party. And, yes, having security cameras in the individual apartments seems just wrong. When they first mentioned it, I even said that Yumiko was going to hack onto them.

    However, I do like the mystery behind Yumiko and wonder if this is going to be a bait and switch. I hope Kanno’s character will not devolve into some weak woman who needs help all the time. I definitely will keep watching and hope that these 2 great actresses will be given a script worthy of their many talents.

    (I hope you counted my hand!)

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