MOZU (Season 1): Eps 7-10 (Finale)
If you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Kuraki, well you thought wrong. First of all he finds out that his wife is actually the mysterious woman who met with Kakehi (the guy who had the bomb in his bag)! Not only that, his wife was probably the one who placed the bomb in Kakehi’s bag, and she might have been in possession of the detonator. I actually didn’t see this coming, but the very moment when Kuraki holds up the picture, I felt it in my gut that it had to be her. There is just no way that the drama would pass up such a good twist! Kuraki is a character who is constantly searching for the truth, always questioning reality and the people around him, so this kind of twist is very fitting for him. He never really understood his wife Chihiro; he can’t understand why she died, nor does he understand who she really was before her death. Chihiro is always shrouded in mystery due to the suspicious death of their daughter, the Glarke Alpha Mission, her daruma dreams…and now her involvement with the bombing incident. Unfortunately, I don’t think Kuraki will ever be able to truly understand Chihiro’s motivations or feelings, no matter how deep he digs into her past or the bombing mystery.
The other big reveal that hits Kuraki hard is that his longtime friend, Muroi, is actually the mastermind behind the bombing. AND he was the one who made Chihiro plant the bomb in Kakehi’s bag. I think this was supposed to be a really shocking revelation, but it falls flat for me since I never really cared about Muroi’s character in the first place. It would’ve had a greater impact if the audience actually empathized with him beforehand. Muroi also would’ve been a more interesting antagonist if only the drama had explored his motives for the bombing rather than making him go into full crazy bad-guy mode. Ironically, even Hiromi is easier to empathize with than Muroi is. O_O” Anyways needless to say, Kuraki’s reaction is very violent. He is literally 1-inch away from pulling the trigger on Muroi (such an intense scene!)..but the thing that struck me most is that he’s more concerned with getting answers than getting revenge.
“Why?” is the question that Kuraki is always asking all throughout the entire drama. As I said before, Kuraki is very existentialist; everything that happens in his life just seems so absurd and hard to comprehend that he is always left asking ‘why?’…and this is why his search for the truth is all-encompassing in his life. It is his only purpose now, because other than finding answers, he feels he has nothing else worth searching for.
Kuraki: “Those people who have become hollow, why do you think they go on living?”
Hiromi: “Isn’t that obvious? They only go on living for the hatred and suffering, like you and me.”
I was having trouble finding other words besides ‘existentialist’ to describe Kuraki, but it turns out that Kuraki himself offers the perfect word that sums up his entire character: Hollow. Totally true. I love the scene when Kuraki asks Hiromi whether she is hollow inside, and how people like them can live on. Until this scene it never occurred to me that Kuraki and Hiromi were alike, but after this conversation I was fascinated by how well they could relate to each other despite their incredibly different backgrounds.
MOZU’s existentialist tone also extends to the other main characters. I wouldn’t say that Miki & Ryota are existentialist like Kuraki is, but they still have this sort of ‘today might be my last’ mentality. Miki and Ryota seem to have a purpose, people to live for–Miki for her family and for her missing father, Ryota for his ex-wife and daughter–but there is also something about them that feels aimless and uncertain. I guess the thing that Ryota, Miki, and Kuraki have in common is that all of them have to face the possibility that everything they’re doing could be for nothing. The threesome always has the awareness that they are just one peg in a giant system, that an unknown enemy could crush them at any time. In this sense, sometimes their efforts may feel futile but I think MOZU is all about how they can go against the larger system to find their own truths.
In ep9, there’s a really great reference to the story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas that describes Miki, Ryota, and Kuraki’s situation very well. The story is about Omelas, a utopian city that can only exist based on the condition that one child is kept in misery for his entire life. Most of the citizens of Omelas accept this condition in order to maintain their utopia, while those who do not end up leaving Omelas. In this reference, Japan is equated to Omelas, while the PSB is tasked with preventing citizens from finding out the truth about Japan’s darker side, the ‘child’. I’d say that Miki, Ryota, and Kuraki are just like the ‘ones who walk away from Omelas’ because they are rejecting the utopian lies of the PSB…Or perhaps they are the ones who are not walking away from Omelas, but rather, are confronting the PSB & the reality of the ‘child’.
Anyways, I was able to write a lot about Kuraki but not so much about Ryota and Miki. The problem is that Kuraki has the most character development, whereas Miki and Ryota barely have any. Kuraki’s portrayal could be better (he repeats “I want to know the truth” way too many times) but at least we can infer & understand his motivations and feelings. Miki, on the other hand, is the most disadvantaged by her lack of character development because we know close to nothing about her. Ryota is more fleshed out than Miki, but is also stuck with the same line “The truth is shrouded in darkness” over and over again. T_T” These three are interesting characters, and they are fun to watch…but I also feel like the drama isn’t really using them to their full potential.
Although the finale is gripping and suspenseful, overall it is not enough to pull the entire drama together. There are just too many loopholes and unbelievable moments. For one, Muroi somehow weasels his way out of every situation by manipulating everyone with his blatant provocations. i.e. He reveals a shocking truth to Miki and it catches her off guard so much that Muroi is able to disarm her of her gun. *facepalm* Miki should’ve known that he would try this on her in the first place! The other problem with Muroi is that he has 9 lives. The guy is still able to dominate Kuraki in a fight even after he gets stabbed multiple times. =_= As for Hiromi and Kazuhiko, I think there is still an unexplained mystery about their super-strength and resilience, like how Hiromi survived falling from a cliff. O_O Unfortunately the drama never explains this, so I was only left in disbelief when Hiromi somehow survives after being shot many times AND getting impaled. If Muroi has 9 lives, Hiromi must have 3x that. T_T” Also, the ending clip in ep10 shows that Kazuhiko is
rising from the dead coming out of the sea? What the heck!?!?! How is he still alive? Another thing that irks me about Hiromi is that she’s supposed to be a professional assassin, and yet she never anticipates that her opponents are armed. Maybe Hiromi’s judgment is clouded so she’s not considering the consequences..but still, it’s a fatal mistake.
Lastly, I just wanted to comment on the very last scene with Ryota and Kuraki together. It is so simple & understated but very satisfactory despite all of my other gripes about the finale. Kuraki breaks into a smile at the ending. A SMILE! I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever seen him smile in the drama (aside from his flashbacks). O_O I take this to mean that even though Kuraki hasn’t gotten to the bottom of this case and isn’t over his wife & daughter’s deaths, he’s still gotten to the point where he can finally genuinely smile once again.
MOZU is a good drama, but not a great one. Unfortunately I cannot call it ‘epic’ like I did for Double Face and Gaiji Keisatsu. A lot of us went into MOZU expecting a Double Face 2.0, but that is obviously not how MOZU turned out..and I’m fine with it. I don’t view MOZU as an utter disappointment or a let down, because I still think it has solid cinematography, OST, and acting. I also love its overall tone and the cast. But it also has a lot of room for improvement, particularly with its script and pacing. I feel like the drama would’ve been much tighter if only it had combined everything into one season rather than dragging out the story into season 2.
Of course, I will still be watching season 2 to find out the FRAGMENTS OF TRUTH, but without super high expectations this time. I fear that the mystery behind daruma and Hiromi/Kazuhiko’s ‘mozu’ power will end up being too cheesy and unbelievable. But I also hope that the second season will be an improvement now that we only have 5 episodes left to wrap everything up. Plus I’m really looking forward to seeing Aoi Yu join the cast for season 2!! (Note that this is just like how she joined the cast for the second part of Double Face!)
Fragments of the Truth (Shinjitsu no Danpen)
Quote Translation Credit: Miharu-Rush