Caution: May contain spoilers but I’ll try to minimize them 🙂
2012 was one of those years where you just saw a lot of Emi Takei. This is one of the four dramas she had in that year and the only one I watched. Not that I hate her, no no. She just appears so much, it feels like she is being squeezed so fast to show her still raw potential. It’s quite telling when they try to fit in two of her in ONE drama. Haha. I’m also watching her new drama currently, Zero no Shinjitsu. Off to the review!
W no Higeki, according to Wikipedia, is a 1984 Japanese film directed by Shinichirō Sawai, based on the novel by Shizuko Natsuki (published in English under the title Murder at Mt. Fuji). Source from DramaWiki also tells us that this is the fifth time it is adapted for screenplay. That’s a hell lot of adaptations from one country. Japan sure likes to remake dramas that are kind of eternal for our audiences (see Itazura na Kiss, Hana Kimi)
The ending song, Kokuhaku by Ken Hirai. The song is chillingly appropriate for this drama and the MV in the drama is beautiful as well. Ranked number one for weeks in Oricon and one of those unforgettable kind of song.
Mako still Watsuji’s heiress
W no Higeki tells of a prince and the pauper story where Mako Watsuji lives in comforts of the Watsuji mansion whereas her doppelganger, Kurusawa Satsuki lives a poor life and experiences hatred for being unwanted. One day, they both discover each other and decides to exchange their lives. Satsuki finds herself in trouble for being a suspect of murder of a man that patrons her for ‘special’ services. Mako makes her offer to switch their lives and saves Satsuki with her alibi. However, Yumisaka (Kiritani Kenta), a persistent detective refuses to believe that Satsuki is guiltless. He becomes the man who threatens to reveal the switch.
More on our characters’ backstory. Satsuki is an orphan and has suffered abuse at the hands of her adopted parents. She works in a show pub as a cleaner and the only one who treats her like a decent human would be the mama of the pub. Mako lives in the Watsuji mansion with her grandparents, mother, and stepfather. Her granduncle and his son often attempts to flatter the patriarch of the family aka her grandfather for inheritance. Both exchange their lives for what they believe is what they yearn for; Satsuki thirsts for money and love while Mako wishes to have freedom.
Note: Mako’s mother actually calls the patriarch uncle which makes him Mako’s granduncle. However, for the sake of differentiating the patriarch of Watsuji with the other younger brother of his (Which is also Mako’s granduncle by right), I’ve decided to call him grandpa instead.
Satsuki donning Mako’s identity
Satsuki finds herself living the upper class life but does not thoroughly enjoy things like tea ceremony or flower arrangements. Her lack of skill in piano or English often catches her off guard but she improvises and no one suspects a thing. However, she strives on with the knowledge that she could be the sole inheritor of 200 billion yen. Shrewd Satsuki also made use of the fact that grandpa practically lust after her as well to leverage his trust towards her.
Meanwhile, Mako finds herself mesmerized with the cabaret show they have every night in the show pub. Mama notes that she has changed. She endures the bullying from the dancers for her pursuit of freedom. However, is her sweet escape plan really the freedom she wanted? How long could she last believing that her so-called freedom was what she wanted most in her life?
After the switch, a murder occurs in the Watsuji home. Mako’s mother had murdered the patriarch. In order to ensure that the inheritance is not lost (it is intended to be inherited by Mako’s mother), Satsuki takes the blame in front of the family. She fabricates the story that her grandfather forced himself on her and it garnered trust of the W family as grandpa’s harassment did not go unseen. It’s one of those moment where you feel disgusted to know that everyone knew that she was molested but no one does anything about it. They go on living their fairytale lives and allow it to continue happening. The whole W family thus believe that their dear granddaughter had committed the murder and concoct a plan to protect her. Even the family doctor is involved and they try set up an alibi for Satsuki.
Detective Yumisaka continues his stalking not that I mind because they have exploding chemistry together (Kiritani and Takei). There are a few occasions we see hand grabbing and kissing but they are so intense, I raped my replay button. Despite their age difference, I’m surprised their chemistry pulled me in. Definitely one of the reasons W no Higeki is worth watching.
I’m going to spoil you guys with this scene.
There’s a slo a complex family with the Watsuji basically dominated by the patriarch. He controls everyone and Mako’s mother who wishes to protect her daughter, does everything to please him. However, she is helpless when grandpa ensues to control Mako’s life as well. There is also Mako’s grandmother who is well aware of what her husband does but is also powerless in the situation.
Major Spoiler: Satsuki is actually Mako’s twin. It could come as no surprise really but it’s still a spoiler right? Watsuji had a legend that twins in the family would bring ruin thus grandpa ordered one twin to be murdered. However, Mako’s mother could not bear to kill her child and engraved the iconic W tattoo on Satsuki’s heels before leaving her somewhere to be found. Satsuki was enraged to have found out the truth and she wondered why her, not her sister that was thrown away. She subsequently continues on her power hungry plan to inherit Watsuji’s asset, empowered by the fact that she was entitled to it from birth but had it taken away. And you cannot help but wonder if it was the superstitious belief which actually ruined the family. In many aspects, Satsuki bears more resemblance to her grandpa then anyone else. For example, they both are the only ones in the family who loves butter cookie. And their very lust for money and power is the same. It’s a shame grandpa never knew the truth.
All in all, W no Higeki was interesting to watch because Satsuki’s course of action was quite unpredictable. It’s entertaining to see how see fights all odds to get hold of what she wants. Mako would be the less shining character portrayed by Emi Takei due to her softer nature. But it sure doesn’t hurt to see her and Detective Yumisaka on screen together. All the hots Kiritani Kenta emit here definitely makes this worth the watch.
Kiritani Kenta awaits.