[Discussion] Shokuzai

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antspace
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[Discussion] Shokuzai

Post by antspace » Jan 22nd, '12, 01:35

Image

Shokuzai is a brilliant new drama by Kurasawa Kiyoshi. A girl has been murdered and now there's atonement. I would call this cinema by a great cast and director.

http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Shokuzai

jell_o_jello
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Post by jell_o_jello » Jan 22nd, '12, 03:12

I'm watching it as well. It's quite dark and depressing. I wonder what the mother wants from the 4 girls cos from what I see, there are 5 episodes and it seems that each will be about the girl so that makes 4 eps. And at the end of each episode,
each girl somehow atones her sin in her own way (which I still don't get how Aoi Yuu's character atones her sin, by killing someone, have a miserable life in the prison? Although I kinda get the second girl's atonement, still don't get why the other teacher killed her
I wonder what ep5 will be about - the mom's life since the incident or will it feature all 5 main characters finding the culprit?

antspace
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Post by antspace » Jan 22nd, '12, 12:07

I think the last episode will be about the mother and the culprit.
They might just be the only ones left standing :P

I don't really find this series depressing, but it's a very grim fairy tale. It's beautifully shot and the music is cleverly used. In that sense I really enjoyed Kurosawa's direction. The story is fascinating, but seems a little incoherent at the endings of both episodes.
you could say that by killing her husband Sae killed a warped mind, but you could not really compare her husbands deviation with that of the culprit. At the end of ep 2 the teacher knocked Maki down, probably out of the humiliation. He left her speech early. He didn't hear her explain why she did it and could have interpreted the first part of her speech as her feeling superior to a person like him with a normal reaction to the incident. both endings were a bit unclear, but not enough to call it a major plot hole. The only real problem I had with the ending of ep 2, was that Koike Eiko was not good enough an actor to play her death scene convincingly. Until that point she was doing well I think. I've no complaints about Yu Aoi though, she shines!
Still I found the series very interesting till now and looking forward to the next episode!

totally_0bsessed
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Post by totally_0bsessed » Jan 23rd, '12, 02:32

I LOVE THIS DRAMA!!!

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Post by emma-ba » Jan 26th, '12, 20:06

Episode 1
Did anyone else think she bled an abnormally large amount? And why was he completely silent when she killed him? All I can think is that he didn't mind dying because he'd lost his doll.

ChootiB
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Post by ChootiB » Jan 31st, '12, 00:04

Not sure what the make the third episode.
I felt really bad for Akiko, since she was clearly suffering from depression and ptsd after what happened to Emiri. Even though she killed her brother, he was doing things to the little girl. Then again, we're going by her eyes and not the eyes of those around her so I dunno.

Even though Asako is in pain, I don't know what she really expects from these girls. At least with the first two, she seemed calm but with Akiko she got angry at the end.

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Post by jell_o_jello » Jan 31st, '12, 02:58

emma-ba wrote:Episode 1
Did anyone else think she bled an abnormally large amount? And why was he completely silent when she killed him? All I can think is that he didn't mind dying because he'd lost his doll.
About the blood, isn't it her first time getting the period so I don't think that's necessarily abnormal.
ChootiB wrote:Not sure what the make the third episode.
I felt really bad for Akiko, since she was clearly suffering from depression and ptsd after what happened to Emiri. Even though she killed her brother, he was doing things to the little girl. Then again, we're going by her eyes and not the eyes of those around her so I dunno.

Even though Asako is in pain, I don't know what she really expects from these girls. At least with the first two, she seemed calm but with Akiko she got angry at the end.
Yeah, at first they made it look like the brother was abusive to the girl (and he kinda was?) but in the scene on the bed, the girl seemed to be enjoy playing with him so I'm not sure whether it was all in her head or it was real.

And about Asako, I agree, I mean why the different reaction in the third episode and I don't understand what she wants from the girls either. I mean if she wants them to find the culprit, then why did she let the first and the second girls off the hook so easily (not to mention the second girl did remember the culprit's face, although she died right after her confession). I'm still confused about several things about this drama. I hope they'll answer everything in the last episode.

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Post by emma-ba » Jan 31st, '12, 11:09

jell_o_jello wrote:
emma-ba wrote:Episode 1
Did anyone else think she bled an abnormally large amount? And why was he completely silent when she killed him? All I can think is that he didn't mind dying because he'd lost his doll.
About the blood, isn't it her first time getting the period so I don't think that's necessarily abnormal.
A first period doesn't mean it's extremely heavy. Plus to lose that amount in one go is slightly worrying, she was standing in a pool of blood!
ChootiB wrote:Not sure what the make the third episode.
I felt really bad for Akiko, since she was clearly suffering from depression and ptsd after what happened to Emiri. Even though she killed her brother, he was doing things to the little girl. Then again, we're going by her eyes and not the eyes of those around her so I dunno.

Even though Asako is in pain, I don't know what she really expects from these girls. At least with the first two, she seemed calm but with Akiko she got angry at the end.
Yeah, at first they made it look like the brother was abusive to the girl (and he kinda was?) but in the scene on the bed, the girl seemed to be enjoy playing with him so I'm not sure whether it was all in her head or it was real.

And about Asako, I agree, I mean why the different reaction in the third episode and I don't understand what she wants from the girls either. I mean if she wants them to find the culprit, then why did she let the first and the second girls off the hook so easily (not to mention the second girl did remember the culprit's face, although she died right after her confession). I'm still confused about several things about this drama. I hope they'll answer everything in the last episode.
My take on it: Girl one uncovered the man behind the French Doll Thefts which occured around the time that Emiri was murdered. She found out that the two events were unconnected which is useful information for Asako. Girl one is then going to turn herself in and presumably atone by going to prison.

Maki became a teacher and protected the school children from being attacked and possibly killed and preventing a repeat of what Asako went through. She was also prepared to spend the rest of her life making sure she was unhappy to atone.

In comparison Akiko did nothing with her life and then killed her brother because of something that he may or may not have been doing, it's hard to know how trustworthy her point of view is.

antspace
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Post by antspace » Jan 31st, '12, 20:36

I kinda felt like there wasn't anything to be trusted entirely in ep 3. What was real what was perception?
Akiko was in a continual identity crisis. She was kuma, then cute, then Emiri died and she decided to become kuma again, she wasn't good enough to be cute/ human. When her brothers wife bought beautiful clothes for her she seemed happy to be a cute girl once more. But then she had to become kuma again so she could try to save her niece. It's unclear if her brother really did molest his stepdaughter, although there were signs. Nothing in this episode was what it seemed though. Even Asako's anger in jail might have been because the conversation was being taped. So ambiguity seemed to be the theme of this episode

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Post by emma-ba » Feb 2nd, '12, 21:37

Episode 4
I liked this one! Finally someone who just ignored Asako's ridiculous comments when they were younger. I found this episode quite 'fun' compared to the others, probably helped by the jaunty music. Only one more episode! The final showdown!

Buchomachete
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Post by Buchomachete » Feb 11th, '12, 19:12

Hello everyone here. New here and having a good root around.

I like this series . The Opening was great and I loved the fact that I spent the first episode wondering exactly where this was going, until the lamp scene. I totally got Ep3, to me that and Ep4 are the best so far. I looking forward to a good finale. I can only watch subbed versions atm until my Japanese improves and a lot of these dramas are helping with word recognition and a lot more.

It's good to be here.

ChootiB
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Post by ChootiB » Feb 11th, '12, 21:20

emma-ba wrote:Episode 4
I liked this one! Finally someone who just ignored Asako's ridiculous comments when they were younger. I found this episode quite 'fun' compared to the others, probably helped by the jaunty music. Only one more episode! The final showdown!
I agree. Even though I don't like that Yuka broke her sister's marriage and even killed her brother in law, I did like that she was proactive and didn't dwell on the past. When she met Asako, I liked that she didn't give in and tried to use her.

Yuka, while stupid, was awesome. She even got away with murder, something that the other two girls should have taken note of.
Can't wait to see episode 5.

ChootiB
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Post by ChootiB » Feb 15th, '12, 19:34

The ending was bittersweet, but fit beautifully with this series.
The last scene with Asako standing in the fog and asking Emiri for help was depressing. Revenge never solves anything, it just ruins lives and makes you even more miserable and empty. They did a really good job conveying that with Asako and Aoki.

I wanted to feel bad for Aoki at first, especially with what happened between him Aike and Asako, but he still raped and killed a little girl. That just isn't right. Plus, he raped Asako too.

I never really liked Asako, but I did understand her in this episode. The guilt of knowing that your actions that cause of your best friend's death, resulted in someone taking revenge on her and killing her daughter. That is heavy stuff. Plus, she also has the guilt of knowing three out of the four girls are either dead or in prison because they took her words to heart.

I liked seeing Yuka again.

antspace
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Post by antspace » Feb 15th, '12, 23:25

Although I said in the beginning of this thread this wasn't depressing, I felt it was. The ending was all about that.
Atonement didn't equal satisfaction. It was clumsy, incomplete and utterly depressing! I found the last episode overly stylised, BUT the message came through. There are many dimensions to a story and the explanation was complex and therefore messy! There's no perfect revenge because we're all a little guilty! I loved the "present" at the end. He stood waiting for the train, but tried to take shelter at the very last moment. I think most people would have done at least that ...
Depressing, but any other emotion would be wrong in this situation... except fear, there was a lot of that going around as well.
You couldn't tell who had the upper hand. Asako resolved to take revenge, but then was shocked to find out who the killer was. She realised he had been dominant before, so she got afraid... and guilty, because earlier she had tried to destroy his love. There was no rightgeous revenge anymore. I guess he felt somewhat the same.
It's definitely an interesting story. It reminded me of Soredemo, ikite yuku, but even murkier.

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Post by jell_o_jello » Feb 16th, '12, 21:15

After the first 2 episodes, I stopped thinking and trying to understand this drama because I didn't quite understand what it was about. But damn, the last 2 episodes were great. I feel that this could have been a good 2 hour movie with just the last 2 episodes (seriously, the other 3 girls don't really have a point).
The whole story is pretty messed up. Poor girl, Emiri, was raped by her real father (who has a strange idea of blood relation. Raping/wanting her because she's your daughter? How did that come up?). There have been quite a few twists in the last episode so yeah that was awesome.
I really liked the use of light and shadows to tell the story and the atmosphere. It was creepy throughout the drama.
Especially the lightning-like light when he found the suicide note and how he has shadows cast on his face after that

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Post by lollercopter » Feb 18th, '12, 11:35

I gave this a spin.

The first episode is indeed nothing like most dramas, but the elements that distinguish it from other dramas are also ones I don't like. I'm not into the desaturated and clinical look, the unbelievably abnormal personalities, and the self-consciously shocking plot twists foreboding atmosphere. It's all been done to death anyway, so the only thing that makes it seem fresh is that it's on television instead of the cinema. It's good for what it is and expertly crafted, but not what I personally like to see.

Episode two:
Starts off more normal and shows promise, but then goes right off the deep end. First everyone applauds Koike's character for protecting the students, but later they arbitrarily decide it was actually inexcusable <i>and she should have let children die?</i> And her psychotic episode during kendo is completely ignored? These are not even approximations of real people, but rather some kind of aliens from a planet where everything is upside down. After the punching scene, my jaw was somewhere in the vicinity of the floor. I just couldn't believe the **** I was seeing. What a damned mess. The first episode was at least competently done and coherent, even if it wasn't my style.
I'm not going to watch the remaining episodes. Even if episode two was just an unfortunate blunder, the overall problem I have with the show is that it's too disconnected from reality, and there's no point in getting invested in the characters when they're...
...preordained by fate to die, go to prison, or go mad, or whatever.
Such an exceptional cast should have been put to better use.

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Post by Akiramike » Feb 19th, '12, 03:25

[quote="antspace"]
yAt the end of ep 2 the teacher knocked Maki down, probably out of the humiliation. He left her speech early. He didn't hear her explain why she did it and could have interpreted the first part of her speech as her feeling superior to a person like him with a normal reaction to the incident. b
Ah, I was wondering for a long time why he punched her. Should have rewatched the speech scene.

lolcopter: I never got invested into the characters and I don't think you are suppose to. Its a story that explores the themes of vengeance and atonement in a dark comedy setting.

antspace
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Post by antspace » Feb 20th, '12, 00:20

@ Akiramike: That scene really bugged me, so I had to watch it again
:-)
@ Lollercopter: Thanks for your comments :-) always good to hear a different opinion. Sure, this series wasn't perfect, but I found the cinematography interesting. It was a painting of gloomyness in bold strokes. Not very subtle but very effective. It's something you either like or don't. I obviously did enjoy this atmosphere. Most of the cast was strong and the story was interesting. I especially felt the last episode was satisfying and clearly stated the theme that was hinted in the earlier episodes.
That is the murkyness and messyness of revenge. It was clear that demanding atonement of the girls was unreasonable, and that it impacted the girls in different ways. It was difficult to see a clear line in the ways of atonement. Every girl had her own history/ character and thus her own way of atoning. Episode 5 gives us the reason for the murder. This reason says much about the mother's character and about her revenge.
I agree that there were some loopholes, but none that spoiled it entirely for me. I found it a fascinating (and very creepy) story, but I guess if you hate it after the first two eps, that won't change by watching the rest.
Last edited by antspace on Feb 20th, '12, 18:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lollercopter » Feb 20th, '12, 10:33

Akiramike wrote:lolcopter: I never got invested into the characters and I don't think you are suppose to. Its a story that explores the themes of vengeance and atonement in a dark comedy setting.
I'm not sure how the first episode relates to those. If Aoi's character decided to stay with Mr. Creepy in order to atone by punishing herself, why did she agree to the marriage in the first place? She was happy about it before the doll thing, so if she was looking to make herself miserable she wouldn't have decided to marry. But if the idea is indeed that she's punishing herself, why does the method have to be so completely outlandish? What do the doll buffoonery and murder add to the theme? Her self-flaggelation could have been realized in any number of ways, such as by simply refusing to marry or date anyone.I wonder if Kurosawa or the novel's author just wanted to include something edgy for its own sake.

The second episode deals with atonement in a more straightforward manner, but what is up with the insane behavior of the parents and teachers, and the arbitrary death of Koike's character? How do they fit into the story? The way the murder had affected Koike's character was very interesting (the obsession with modesty, the ironic scene where she tries to get the bullied girl to spill the beans), so there was potential. But then it devolved into gonzo nonsense, like the writer got bored.

Getting invested in the characters is important because the characters are the story. But if they're all apparently going to be arbitrarily disposed of in some ridiculous way, why keep watching? It's an unsatisfying waste of time.

By the way, is it ever explained why all the girls are unable to remember anything about the killer?

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Post by emma-ba » Feb 21st, '12, 19:31

lollercopter wrote:
I'm not sure how the first episode relates to those. If Aoi's character decided to stay with Mr. Creepy in order to atone by punishing herself, why did she agree to the marriage in the first place? She was happy about it before the doll thing, so if she was looking to make herself miserable she wouldn't have decided to marry. But if the idea is indeed that she's punishing herself, why does the method have to be so completely outlandish? What do the doll buffoonery and murder add to the theme? Her self-flaggelation could have been realized in any number of ways, such as by simply refusing to marry or date anyone.I wonder if Kurosawa or the novel's author just wanted to include something edgy for its own sake.
I thought part of her punishing herself was marrying the guy once she found out about the doll because she knew she wasn't really going to enjoy it. On the other hand she tells Emily's mother at the end that her husband wasn't Emily's killer so maybe finding out if her husband was connected to Emily's death or not was part of her plan all along. Murdering her husband and then turning herself in can be seen as part of her punishing herself and atoning. I'd have to watch the episode again though to give a better answer.
lollercopter wrote:
The second episode deals with atonement in a more straightforward manner, but what is up with the insane behavior of the parents and teachers, and the arbitrary death of Koike's character? How do they fit into the story? The way the murder had affected Koike's character was very interesting (the obsession with modesty, the ironic scene where she tries to get the bullied girl to spill the beans), so there was potential. But then it devolved into gonzo nonsense, like the writer got bored.
Even though she was kind of doing well in life - she'd managed to explain herself properly at that massive meeting at the end, and she'd even got Emily's mother's forgiveness - she still wasn't safe from the anger and jealousy she'd inadvertently incurred in the male teacher.
lollercopter wrote:
Getting invested in the characters is important because the characters are the story. But if they're all apparently going to be arbitrarily disposed of in some ridiculous way, why keep watching? It's an unsatisfying waste of time.
Well the episodes are all individual and I think they're about the effects of the childhood event on each girl's adult life, not about the girls themselves.
lollercopter wrote:
By the way, is it ever explained why all the girls are unable to remember anything about the killer?
I think it's assumed that they were either too traumatised/scared t remember, or like the 2nd girl, just too scared to say anything.

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Post by lollercopter » Feb 25th, '12, 11:36

emma-ba wrote:
I thought part of her punishing herself was marrying the guy once she found out about the doll because she knew she wasn't really going to enjoy it.
But if she was determined to punish herself, she wouldn't have even started "dating" him. She seemed happy before her husband-to-be revealed himself to be crazier than the average TVTropes user. And again, what was the point of this doll business anyway? It's unnecessary overkill, like arranging a character to be late for work by staging an alien invasion instead of just making her miss her bus. It's edginess for the sake of edginess.
Even though she was kind of doing well in life - she'd managed to explain herself properly at that massive meeting at the end, and she'd even got Emily's mother's forgiveness - she still wasn't safe from the anger and jealousy she'd inadvertently incurred in the male teacher.
But she's also not safe from a lightning strike, so the episode might as well have ended with her being struck by lightning. And it would have been equally pointless and irrelevant. As a rule, anything that happens in fiction must advance the plot, reveal character or develop the theme. I just don't see how her death was related to any of them.
Well the episodes are all individual and I think they're about the effects of the childhood event on each girl's adult life, not about the girls themselves.
The show is not a psychologist explaining to the viewer how childhood traumas manifest in adults. It's about how the childhood trauma has affected the characters and how they respond to it. Thus, it is about the characters.
I think it's assumed that they were either too traumatised/scared t remember, or like the 2nd girl, just too scared to say anything.
Seems awfully contrived.

antspace
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Post by antspace » Feb 25th, '12, 22:50

It was a story painted in bold strokes. I think Kurosawa Kiyoshi meant to paint this story that way. There are some slight faults in the plot, but if you watch it to the end, the point he tries to make comes out quite well. It is an interesting story of ambiguity. The characters have there own (part of the) story to tell. The final episode explains a lot of what had been going on previously. Like life, there isn't a perfect logic to the story, but it can tell you something about humans under traumatic conditions.

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Post by prestoli » Mar 11th, '12, 18:39

Overall I really liked this drama. The first ep was killer - Aoi Yu nailed it! Other eps were good but IMO just didn't measure up to the high bar set by the first. I loved the cinematagoraphy and totally agree with another posters' comment about how the cinematography reflected the lack of color in the characters lives.

I have two questions:
In the first ep, when the killer led Emily away, I could see enough of his face to recognize the actor, therefore I knew the identity of the killer right away. Was this a production error? In all other shots they cropped the actor's face and shot him from the back which, although cheesy, is a way to conceal his identity. So why then show a glimpse of this face in that one shot?
I didn't understand when Emily's mother was raped. She described to the police how she was jealous of her friends' relationship and she seduced the guy away from her friend. At what point was she raped? Was she lying to the police? Maybe I missed it because I am completely dependent on the english subtitles. Was there a difference in meaning in Japanese?

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Post by ChootiB » Mar 12th, '12, 16:12

prestoli wrote:
I didn't understand when Emily's mother was raped. She described to the police how she was jealous of her friends' relationship and she seduced the guy away from her friend. At what point was she raped? Was she lying to the police? Maybe I missed it because I am completely dependent on the english subtitles. Was there a difference in meaning in Japanese?
The way I understood it was that she tried to seduce him away, but once her friend died she ran away from the situation and got married to her now husband. While she was married to him, she was raped.

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Post by alga » Mar 17th, '12, 21:04

Hello there!

Just finished to watch the entire series; loved mostly ep.3, even if i don't know if i can trust Akiko's story...

Got a question: do you know who plays young Takano Koji, in ep.3? I've seen him somewhere but I couldn't remember where... :blink

antspace
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Post by antspace » Mar 18th, '12, 18:13

It's Kai Inowaki: http://asianwiki.com/Kai_Inowaki
I thought ep 3 was really confusing. Because of Akiko's mental state you couldn't be sure of anything in that ep. That makes her atonement dubious and highly tragic

alga
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Post by alga » Mar 18th, '12, 18:26

Thanks! I already saw him in "Tokyo Sonata", by Kurosawa himself

About your comment, I agree with you.

Great drama, anyway

rootabega
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Post by rootabega » Mar 26th, '12, 03:13

I was a satisfied customer of this series. That's all I have to say for now. :D

doramaworld
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Post by doramaworld » Jun 1st, '12, 03:43

The first episode raised the bar so much that Ep 2 and 3 seemed a bit lacking in one way or another. Nonetheless, I thought that Ep 4 and 5 were really good and helped to wrap up this dark tale convincingly.

I have posted some reviews on my blog so if you are interested, please take a look and we can discuss further (don't want to flood the forum with long posts...):

http://doramaworld.blogspot.sg/search/label/Shokuzai

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