Rakuen ep5-6 finale [review]


You can get subtitles here.

I’ll start with non-spoiler review and move on to the spoiler one but I’ll put up a WARNING so you can safely read the first part.

NON-SPOILER REVIEW

If you like crime/mystery, give this a try. This show does need a little patience as it may be slow for some. Personally, I think it’d have been better paced if they made it a 5-episode drama instead of 6. Bear in mind that this is not a police drama. Instead you have an investigative journalist struggling with a past case gone awry who starts digging around a new case after the death of a child. On the surface, there are two ongoing cases and audience will be wondering whether both of them are connected or not. You’ll be in for further surprises especially in the finale. Accompanied with some provoking scenes (attempted rape, beating) there’s no space for any humor at all, in fact, I’d say it’s very grim throughout. I thought the scenes with that young girl was very well done in particular due to its disturbing atmosphere. The cast are great and though Nakama Yukie is the main here (needless to say, she shines) I’m more captivated by Kobayashi Kaoru whose every move and facial expression is so magnetic, I truly felt for his character from beginning to end.

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As for the case itself, it’s not plothole free. I found myself questioning several actions and scenes throughout the show, hence, do not expect a perfect crime show. For example, the neighbors not calling the cops despite hearing screams originating from a known ex-convict’s house is terribly questionable. Bottom line is the show is watchable, can be quite slow but utterly tense at times, great acting, good cinematography (love those vibrant night scenes!) but not without its flaws.

Time for spoiler review so do not proceed any further if you haven’t finished the drama.

SPOILER WARNING

Not a flawless show but I gotta give credit for presenting some very disturbing scenes and keeping me engaged throughout. I thought it’s clever to involve kids as well because though I’m not a kids’ person, I still wanted the young girl to be okay especially in the finale.

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That was pretty intense like white-knuckles especially the scene at the beach house. At the same time, it’s also frustrating because I thought the girl is smarter and would not succumb to such seduction. Also, if only she gave the note to the police earlier, the kidnapped girl might have stood a chance of being alive instead of being bludgeoned to death.

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They tried to justify by showing how unloving the mother is or how she favors the younger daughter. Hence, the negligence pushes Masako to find affection somewhere else and it happens to be Miwa, a captivating psychopath who seems to have his way with children.

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One thing that bothers me is how Kanekawa actually allows his nephew to continue such atrocious activity for so long. It’s true he hasn’t visited his sister or keep in touch but still, having an ex-convict relative who extorts money from him so often, you’d think he would keep tabs. That part seems a bit weak for me so I didn’t care much for his fate when Miwa pushed him down the stairs.

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As for the 16 year old case, I knew there was a twist behind Doizaki’s firmness to stay secluded and separated from his daughter, Seiko. My guess was within the ballpark but misses the mark a bit. I knew he was definitely protecting someone in the family (my wild guess was Seiko) but it turned out to be the wife and also Akane’s crime.

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With the wife’s confession and flashback, it came to light that Akane was strangled by her mother because she came home one night and told her parents that she and Miwa accidentally crashed into a woman. Even though the woman may still be alive, they buried her at a beach house owned by Miwa’s uncle. Overwhelmed by her daughter’s crime, she strangled her to death as Doizaki watched in shock.

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The twist is fine and all but at the moment of the revelation, I thought the case had somewhat faded to the backdrop and not as engaging anymore. If they revealed this before the capture of Miwa, it might have been more thrilling and shocking. Miwa also seems to surrender a bit too easily which is unlike him.

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Kaneko Nobuaki is convincing as a creepy psychopath

For someone who has escaped the police for years with caution, I can’t help but think that scene was rushed and too simple. But thank goodness the girl is safe and I sure hope she learned the universal lesson of “Never go anywhere with a stranger.”

Well, if anything, this goes to show that there are some very twisted people living among us that goes unnoticed or ignored. Some families may have very dark secrets too. So never judge a book by its cover.

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It’s nice to see Hitoshi’s mother having a closure at the end of the show. I do respect Shigeko’s persistence to find the truth and even though her connection with Hitoshi was brief, it was impactful. I’m glad Seiko still has her husband to support her. One thing for sure is this show piqued my interest in investigative journalism.

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You will never be forgotten

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4 thoughts on “Rakuen ep5-6 finale [review]

  1. I have recorded but not watched this drama yet. I find it rather implausible that the mother strangled the daughter with the father watching ” in shock”. It takes a while to cause death by strangulation. Though maybe it was a case of carotid sinus reflex, where unconsciousness happens quickly. My feeling is also that a woman’s instinct wouldn’t be strangling. Oh well, I am quibbling.

  2. I also love wowow’s drama. Does this Rakuen have ghost scene? Coz if it does, I’m not going to watch it haha. Oh btw, have u ever watched Tsumi to Batsu? It’s also a great drama :3

  3. No ghost scenes, just slightly creepy thriller scenes and expect some beating/attempted rape scene. I’ve watched Tsumi to Batsu, I liked it ^^

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