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anone is about strangers meeting and start building some sort of unconventional relationship. This reminds me of other Yuji Sakamoto works such as Mondai no Aru Restaurant (which is really good) or the more recent Quartet. Both have several characters who come together (each with their own motive or by coincidence) and start living together under one roof. Personally, I think that’s one of Sakamoto’s strengths, giving each character their own life story, sprinkled with random but also familiar script such as arguing about whether a certain food is nicer with/without certain ingredient and whatnot.
Although the lead as advertised for anone is Hirose Suzu, I never really once felt she’s the star of the story. Perhaps Yuko Tanaka’s presence is so strong she just sort of overshadowed Suzu. Some people may not agree with me regarding this, but that’s just how I felt throughout the drama. Well, the title itself is anone, which is Yuko’s character’s name so there’s that. Yuko has appeared in previous shows written by Sakamoto; Woman and Mother. She’s a really good actress so I’m glad in a sense that Suzu has a chance to work with veterans like her, she’s bound to learn more.
The Plot and Characters
I have mixed feelings during the first episode because the coincidental meeting between all the characters felt forced and bit far-fetched. There’s also the soap opera-ish side plot between Harika and Hikoboshi which I honestly did not care for. I understand that’s a necessary plot for Harika as a solid reason to join the counterfeit money plan; it gives her a purpose. However, I’m just not sold on this part of the plot. Call me cold hearted if you will, I ended up not caring about the disease guy. Apart from these, the other characters’ motives felt more real to me. Although I didn’t get Aoba’s intention at first and hated her for the initial 3 episodes, once they revealed her past and broken relationship with the son, I was sold. From a character I hated so much to actually liking means Sakamoto has done a great job. Episode 4 was beautifully done and captured a mother’s love.
Speaking of mother’s love, Anone is another one, though in a different sense towards her daughter and grandchild. It hurts to watch someone who cares so much for someone but that someone is just immune and consumed by so much hate instead.
As for both Nakaseko and Mochimoto, both have pretty good reasons too which I can understand. Coming from a stable and good social position and having it gone all at once can drive a determined person like Nakaseko to prove something, not to anyone but to himself. He may be selfish, putting his own family on the line and others at risk just to fulfill his own self-satisfaction, but I get it. It’s wrong but I get it.
Mochimoto didn’t have long to live so all the more reason for doing something out of the norm. Which is believable. I had some reservations about his actions initially but as time passed, I’ve come to understand and empathize him. I thought his relationship with Aoba is really sweet, despite it not working out. But at least they got to spend precious time at the onsen.
Lastly, Anone’s relationship with Harika is probably the main attraction in the plot. Anone’s concern and warmth towards a stranger is lovely beyond words. Her treating Harika like her own child and protecting her with all her will.
Oh, also the old lawyer who likes Anone and tried to get closer to her with the frequent fish visits are quite amusing.
By the way, why did Nakaseko keep wearing the same clothes? So much for trying hard not to be caught, it’s defeating the purpose when he keeps wearing the same jacket, pants, shoes. Also one of the reasons his wife easily recognized him through the security footage. This plot hole… I wish it was written differently.
As a whole, it has Sakamoto’s trademark written all over. Human drama, slightly quirky and heart-warming. I’m glad Eita joined the cast, he nailed the role perfectly, as always. As for performance, I thought everyone did well. Yuko Tanaka definitely stole the show for me. Surrounded by veterans and more experienced cast, it’s only natural for Suzu to be overshadowed but she held her own in some parts so I’ll give her that. I’m actually quite bothered by how her hair kept blocking her eyes in the first few episodes. When you can’t see the character’s facial expression, it bothers me because unless you have powerful acting skills, whatever you want to convey may not come across.
Speaking of which, do I like Harika in this show? Well, it’s more like… I’m a bit indifferent towards her? She’s self-less, always think of other people, never had a clear dream/direction of her life and easily content. Hell, she’s even working day and night for a dying guy who she has not met for years. There’s nothing to dislike about her. But maybe that’s also one of the reasons I felt like… she’s too good to be true. But I don’t hate her, like I said, just indifferent.
For the most part, this show is watchable, not a must watch. But if you like Yuji Sakamoto, give it a shot. I’ll admit Eita is my first reason of checking this out lol