MOZU (Season 1): Eps 3-6

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

**Don’t read this if you haven’t seen episode 6! Major spoilers ahead!**

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First things first……am I the ONLY one who didn’t see this twist coming?   So, there are two siblings–Shingai Kazuhiko (brother) and Shingai Hiromi (sister).  We thought all along that Kazuhiko was the killer was on the run, while Hiromi was his missing sister.  Well, it turns out that Kazuhiko is actually dead, and he wasn’t the assassin we thought he was.  Hiromi is the actual assassin, while Kazuhiko used to be the intermediary between her and her clients.   Except here’s the OTHER big twist…..Hiromi is a cross-dresser…meaning that he is Kazuhiko’s brother, not his sister!! *in shock* I think a lot of people already predicted this because they commented about what  big hint it is that Kazuhiko is androgynous…but I didn’t see this coming at all. T_T”  I’m also still divided over whether I should refer to Hiromi as a man or a woman because it’s hard to tell whether he considers himself to be a female, or if he’s cross-dressing out of habit.   There are a lot of flashbacks in ep6 showing that Hiromi was sexually abused (it’s hinted it, not explicitly shown) as a child, and was also forced to dress up as a girl by her father.  So it’s possible that Hiromi was conditioned to prefer dressing up as a girl during his childhood, but he may not consider himself to be a woman?  For now I will try to refer to Hiromi as a girl (although I keep on getting mixed up because I still remember when I thought that Hiromi was Kazuhiko.  T_T).

Anyways, after Hiromi recovers her memories (which are definitely not pretty memories.  They probably only added to Hiromi’s trauma in addition to all that has happened so far.) she basically wipes out all of Nakagami’s minions to get revenge for Kazuhiko and Ami’s (the reporter) deaths.  What makes it even scarier is that she does this in a white nurses outfit, in an ABANDONED HOSPITAL.  Don’t watch this in the dark!! X__X  Here we finally see why the drama is even called ‘MOZU’–that Hiromi’s killing style is characteristic of a Mozu’s hunting habits.

My favorite moment in ep6 is when Hiromi finishes the massacre..she then places Ami’s dead corpse on a hospital bed and carefully, almost lovingly, arranges Ami’s hair and hands so that she is laying in a peaceful position.  It’s basically showing a glimpse of Hiromi’s humanity, ironically just after she had mass-murdered all of Nakagami’s men.  It struck me that Ami is one of the only people who ever really cared about Hiromi.  Even when Ami realized that Hiromi (she didn’t know it was Hiromi, she thought it was Kazuhiko) was mixed up in some bad business and that she would be killed, she never blamed or questioned Hiromi.  Before Ami’s death, I was neutral about her character; I felt like she didn’t add much to the story but I didn’t mind her either…but now I see that she was basically a means through which we got to see Hiromi as a human, not just as a criminal or an assassin.

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Tsuki, Miki, Kuraki, and Ryota finally partner up starting in episode 4.  I have to say that I really love Tsuki’s character even though we’ve only seen him a few scenes so far.  Kohinata Fumiyo is totally perfect as Tsuki; part of him is so charismatic and convincing when he says something along the lines of ‘let’s fight corruption together!’ but another part of him makes me feel that we cannot trust him one bit!  I think that Kuraki, Ryota, and Miki also don’t really trust Tsuki either..but then again do they even trust each other?  From the start, these three have never really trusted each other much, which is part of what makes their partnership so interesting.  They are together purely for pragmatic purposes, because they have a common goal and they know that they need each other to achieve it.  But they will always monitor their speech, carefully choosing which pieces of information to share and what to omit.  All of them have their conflicting differences and ulterior motives; nothing is explicitly said but there are hints that none of them are investigating this case purely out of their sense of justice.  Kuraki could get revenge, Ryota could get satisfaction out of taking down the PSB, and Miki?  Well, I still don’t see how Miki will benefit from this, that is how good she is at hiding her motivations. O_O

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^Miki is often shown in very dark lighting with a lot of shadows, and from side angles.  All of this points to her duplicity/hidden side.

For a couple episodes, I had this feeling that Maki Yoko’s portrayal of Miki wasn’t quite cutting it for me.  I don’t know what it was but it felt like she wasn’t fully conveying Miki’s duplicity, nor was she showing why Miki felt so conflicted over lying to Kuraki, etc. It just felt like I couldn’t really understand where she was going with this character.  For instance, Miki will sometimes seem to have feelings for Kuraki..but I don’t think she has any feelings for him in the first place?   Or she says she only lied to Kuraki once, but she still looks like she feels guilty about manipulating him, when in fact he’s the one who’s been manipulating her the most?  It’s hard for me to describe it exactly, but it just seemed that something about Miki was not really adding up.  This feeling diminished more in the recent episodes though, as I realized that she is purposely not letting anyone know anything about her past.  The reason she looks so conflicted all the time is because she is constantly trying not to slip up or appear vulnerable to anyone.   Kuraki and Ryota basically know nothing about her except that her dad died while in the PSB and that she’s working for Tsuki.   I wonder how much Tsuki knows about Miki though, considering he’s like..the secret all-knowing boss of the PSB?  😛  Anyways, I think Miki has a reason to be so guarded; she may have an ulterior motive in joining the PSB such as trying to investigate further into her father’s case.  I also think it’s possible that she might’ve gotten close to Tsuki precisely because of his connections to cover-ups in the PSB!

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Episode 4 is really Ryota’s episode, considering how much it focuses on his backstory and his reasons for hating the PSB.  He has a bit of a cliched family story with a rebellious daughter, etc.  but Kagawa Teruyuki really did a great job at portraying Ryota’s pain and guilt over how much he hurt his daughter through his stubbornness in the past.  He used to be a very narrow-minded and biased detective, someone who concluded that someone was guilty and thus investigated the case with that bias in mind.  Ryota blames the PSB for showing him faulty evidence and pushing him towards accusing the wrong suspect, but his hatred is basically out of his inability to accept that he himself trusted the PSB so much.  I think his disdain for the PSB is very intertwined with his own hatred for himself, his subconscious self blame for contributing to the break down in his family and his bad relationship with his daughter.

Anyways, even though Ryota’s characters sounds very heavy with his emotional backstory, he actually helps liven up the mood whenever he’s on screen.  Miki and Kuraki are always in serious super-agent mode, which makes it kind of hard to not view them as super-human heroes, heh.  Ryota, on the other hand is more believable since he has very open reactions to everything that’s happening and actually is not super invincible.  i.e. in ep5 there is this awesome chase scene.  Miki & Kuraki do get injured and have some set-backs, but they are still in super-agent mode.  They’re basically all, *perfectly and swiftly knocks out opponent without a sound*.  Ryota though, is more like “HAIYAHHH!” *struggles to pin down one guy while Miki and Kuraki run off ahead without him*.  LOL.

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Kuraki is a bit more toned-down in extremity in comparison to eps 1-2.  There are still moments that make me think he is really reckless and just blindly going forward without any regard for his own health & safety, but so far he hasn’t been as out of control as before. Kuraki is still in mourning, but it’s hard to tell where he is in the grieving process.  I don’t think he’s in shock & denial (maybe he skipped over that stage?), since it seems like he’s already accepted his wife’s death.  But at the same time, it seems like he is numbing his feelings, not really showing the full extent of his grief and pain over the loss of his wife.  In fact, it’s hard to tell whether he ever really got over his daughter’s death.  Chances are, he didn’t, especially since it’s only been a year since her death.  There is also something really existentialist about him, as though he has nothing to live for.  His only reason for living on is to find out the truth behind his family’s deaths.  This contrasts a lot with Ryota and Miki, both of whom still have family to live for.

Anyways the main mystery behind Kuraki’s family’s death is the IC chip and the daruma that appears in people’s dreams.  I guess the daruma has to do with the case that Kuraki’s wife was involved in..but I don’t get why the daruma had to show up in his daughter’s dream?  Did the daughter know something too?  It also seems like Miki might have seen the daruma too!  If the daruma is really connected to the PSB or something though, I wonder what it’s purpose is!

Overall

I am really invested in the storyline and the mystery, but a part of me also feels sort of detached from the characters.  I’m interested in the suspense and storyline, but I find it hard to get emotionally invested in the characters.  As I said before, even though all the characters are flawed, I sometimes feel like they are just these superhuman super-agents who are totally invincible no matter what.  As such, it’s hard to really empathize with them all throughout the drama.  I think it will take me more time to grow more fond & attached to the characters, which I’m sure will be possible by the time I get through SEASON 2 this summer season!  BWAHAHA!

Theme Song by Kanno Yugo

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • After the reveal, my mind started buzzing though–*who* had we been seeing this whole time? I thought it was a flip between Hiromi and Kazuhiko until they said he was dead. (I’m perplexed about the two of them though. Why did his eyes go black before he fell? How’d Kazuhiko die and Hiromi survive that fall? Who survived the fall? Are we sure it was Hiromi?) I didn’t see the twist coming until the hints starting coming in that episode, but it was more like I realized it in time with Osugi and the rest of the cast? Still though…D8

    As to He or She–I’d say She for now. Remember what their science teacher said? That “If that was what he felt was what he identified as, then fine. But if you’re being forced, [then that’s not ok]” (something like that) but Hiromi was “fine” with being a girl. I thought that whole thing was interesting, actually. Never seen that addressed in any shows I’ve watched. Also, Japanese being the language it is, unless a cast member refers to Hiromi as “she” or “he”, we’ll never really know.

    But oh man! I made the mistake of watching eps 3-6 in the dark–big mistake! Episode 6’s battle was crazy X____x. I don’t think I had spent that much time holding my head or looking away or muttering “Oh good go–! OMG!” so much, ever!

    Ah! Another Kohinata fan. Yay! I have to say, half the time I think he’s an ally after all and the other half of the time I’m still thinking this man has major ulterior motives. (Something bugs me about him and Dharma)

    Oh and I actually enjoyed Osugi’s (Ryota) episode with episode 4 and his daughter. You’re right about episode 5’s chase scene though–Osugi goes for a more rusty fist-to-fist take-down whereas Kuraki and Miki are more “super-agent-swift-moves-kick-head-through-glass-shot”. I thought it was really exciting though! Was definitely on the edge of my seat during that scene. 😀

    As for Kuraki and his emotions, he is starting to appear numb. Doesn’t he say in the mish-mash of clips that in order to continue he will become empty (or hollow I suppose?)? Suppose that explains why he’s just going head-on into things without considering his own well-being.

    And I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels attached and invested in the story but not so much the characters. Osugi’s starting to really grow on me though after episode 4.

    I’m super excited to see how the rest of this season develops and what’s in store for us in Season 2!

    • I KNOW I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it..because for so long I’ve always thought that it was Kazuhiko..and Hiromi thought she was Kazuhiko too until she recovered her memories. O_O So it’s hard to make the sudden switch into Hiromi, especially when she is not cross-dressing since she looks like Kazuhiko. T_T But yeah, there is definitely something more to these twins because of how Kazuhiko’s eyes went black, and also how Hiromi miraculously survived. Plus I think her super agility may have something to do with this mozu mystery?

      Hmm I think the most emotional reaction I felt was to Osugi’s story actually. I actually teared up during the car scene when he was telling Kuraki about his troubles with his daughter. :'( And it was even sadder when Kuraki talked about how lucky Osugi is to still have a wife & a daughter around.

      Kohinata’s character Tsuki is actually my favorite right now, ehehehe. He’s just so enigmatic and interesting to watch whenever he’s on screen. And for Kuraki, yeah there is an awesome scene in ep7 (this isn’t spoilery or anything) when he mentions about how he is hollow. I didn’t think of that word before but it is perfect for him.

  • I didn’t see the twist of twin sibling coming at all!! I think his story was my favorite part in the whole drama, I like that he is a psychopath but with a sense of humanity in him, especially when it’s about his brother and the girl who is so kind to him. I still feel detached from the characters but usually, I always have this kind of problem with most of the J-dramas I watch. I don’t usually connect with the characters in cop stories :p

    • There are a lot of jdramas where I can get emotionally invested in the story. But I think you’re right that it’s harder to get emotionally attached to characters in detective genres…since the focus is more on the mystery and the action, after all. I think Mozu is developing each character’s back story and showing their mindset…but they still feel so distant..

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