FACE MAKER: File 1January 17, 2011
I was instantly captivated by this drama when I saw the official poster, plus Nagai Masaru is looking very sleek with his attire. It is pleasant to watch thirty minute dramas since they are shorter and the plot moves quicker. Sadly, when the drama had premiered I found no one had subbed it and my Japanese is very limited. After searching for a while, I stopped, I just could not find subtitles for this anywhere. I am glad I decided to check recently because there she was waiting for me to watch the first episode which I enjoyed watching.
Kirishima Shun (Nagai Masaru, left) is a gifted and mysterious cosmetic surgeon who use to work for United States Marshal Services as part of the US Federal Witness Protection Program. He is known as the “Face Maker” in the underground world. Shun allows his patients to be reborn with no fee, for an alternate payoff he wishes to keep their previous faces. Shun is assisted by Kirishima Kyoko (Hinata Chiho, right), though they may have the same last name, their relationship is a complete mystery.
For the first episode, Shun’s patient is Shimano Kayoko (Ando Tamae, left) who is given the face of Higuchi Reimi (Kato Ai, right). Kayoko is a woman who has low self-esteem and has made poor decision on her love life.
NOTE: On a few summaries, Shun is noted as a plastic surgeon, however plastic surgery involves fixing a body part of facial feature to appear normal. Examples would be broken nose, clef lip, and so on. Cosmetic surgery involves taking a normal body part and improving it such as breast implants or face lifts.
BEGIN . . .
Bandages begin to unravel around a woman’s face. She looks into a mirror and a man echos, “This is your new face”. Just two months ago, Kayoko was searching for the man she wished to marry in a restaurant and finds him with a woman on his arm. Elsewhere, she explains to the man, Endo Hiroaki, about her sudden appearance without acknowledging him. She was unable to contact him on his cell phone.
He is frustrated that she does not understand what just happened – he is seeing another woman and no longer needs her. As he begins to walk away, the woman tries to stop him, but is thrown and he explains that seeing her face “pisses [him] off”. She looks at her reflection in a dirty mirror and she comes to the conclusion that Hiroaki left her because of her face.
She arrives at the Persona Clinic begging Kayoko to consider doing surgery on her. She has been declined everywhere. She wishes to be transformed into someone else and she is able to pay. Kyoko tells her there is a limit to cosmetic surgery, but Kayoko wishes to be reborn and due to her face, her happiness always slips from her.
Kyoko reconsiders and places a black card on the table and instructs her to go to the basement as she walks away. Kyoko goes to the elevator and uses the card to enter the basement.
Kayoko guides her into a room where a man is playing with a Rubik’s cube. The man is Shun and he immediately examines Kayoko’s body for signs of surgical operation. Once he squeezes her breast she exclaims angrily she has not tampered with her body.
Shun informs her that an operation is a delicate issue and without any knowledge of current conditions there can be dire consequences – a life. He continues his examination and he sees she has not had previous operations. Kayoko declares Shun committed sexual harassment, however he is the one operating on her body. She starts to leave, saying:
I’m going back. It was my mistake for coming to this shady place.
She is convinced by Shun when he mentions that a chance has come for her. He is able to see, by the muscles in her face, she will commit suicide once she leaves the clinic. He shows her a wall full of faces of all sorts, and her eyes fall upon a beautiful one. If Kayoko wishes to perform this operation she must follow one condition: she cannot do another operation. Additionally, the operation does not cost anything aside from Shun having her face.
Kayoko recalls rumors that there is a cosmetic surgeon willing to make people reborn. The Face Maker.
The beginning scene begins again revealing it is Kayoko’s one month post-operation. Kayoko thanks Shun for her transformation. As a farewell gift, Shun quotes French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, “Dismantling the face is no mean affair. Madness is a definite danger.”
Kayoko lingers on “madness”. Shun explains when someone obtains a new face, a suppressed desire might emerge. It affects the person and gradually consumes them. Kayoko accepts being a different person because her former face caused her much suffering.
She leaves the clinic and observes everyone watching her. She is than bombarded with men, most of them offering her a job. She realizes that this is how a beautiful person lives.
Kayoko buys an apartment and is no longer Kayoko, but “Higuchi Reimi”. How would Hiroaki think of her now? So, she goes to see him at a bar. She seats besides him and he notices. He introduces himself, throwing in titles to make him look good. Reimi declares she does not like men who brag about their titles. He throws a rather lame punch line, explaining he, too, holds high ideals, but when it’s all put together it forms Reimi.
She begins to go out with him and realizes all the things he never did with her: taking her to restaurants, holding hands, and offering her a jacket when it’s cold. She realizes that only see the face, not what’s inside. If one is ugly, no one pays any attention, however when one is beautiful they are the center of attention.
Hiroaki and Reimi are watching the sea and he wishes for their relationship to lead to marriage. Before they can kiss, a woman stomps on their parade. She has tried calling Hiroaki to tell him she has obtained the money he requested for: 3,000,000 yen (equivalent to $35,992 US Dollar). Of course, he pulls the “no-idea” card and shoves her down when she makes further advances. Hiroaki walks away with Reimi, but halts when she explains the lengths she has gone for him.
She has spent a lot of money for Hiroaki who he has gambling debts. She moves closer to Reimi and begins to hit her, and Hiroaki tosses her. He barks at her for appearing in front of him. Reimi sees her previous self in the woman’s place and screams for him to stop.
Hiroaki bangs at Reimi’s apartment door begging her to listen to his explanation. All Reimi can think of is how she was in the same position as the woman. Hiroaki had thrown her away.
Before she had changed her face, she had used all her savings for him given him 5,000,000 yen at one point. She reminisces that time: he needed more expenses to raise sale orders and promise he’d pay her back. If there were no orders, their marriage wouldn’t be within their grasp. He had persuaded her and she had agreed to come up with the money.
Reimi realizes that Hiroaki used her as a source for his income. Reimi opens the door, “believing” Hiroaki’s reasonings. However, as he hugs her, her emotionless face tells otherwise. This is revenge, baby.
At Shun’s clinic, he gazes at a picture which has one side burnt. He remembers a fire at a house where a dead body was found and he is immediately bought back to reality. Now, what mysteries are you hiding from us Shun?
As Reimi walks, she sees her previous self through a reflection, only to reveal no one there when looking. During her walk, she obtained a file on Hiroaki. The investigator explained Hiroaki visits an illegal casino in Shinjuku and has built his gambling debt. He makes profit from women using “work” as his bait. Some women have accepted his situation and provide him money.
The couple are house searching and Reimi is smitten with the one they are currently in. The price is 22,000,000 yen (approx. 265,056 US Dollars). Hiroaki is astonished as Reimi marveling over the house. If they wish to buy the house they will need 22,000,000 yen by the end of the month, and Hiroaki agrees causing Reimi to smirk sinisterly.
Reimi would like an apartment like the one they visited when she is married. By Hiroaki’s face, she sees he is unsure about their marriage, and apologizes for discussing it since they don’t enough money. He reassures her he will have the money for the apartment and leaves her.
Shun arrives and commends how Hiroaki is a good man, but he has come to question her condition and tell her something. Reimi is quite satisfied with her life, upon hearing this Shun reveals he has sold her face. Reimi wishes to know further information, but Shun cannot reveal information – he only came to report.
Hiroaki arrives at one of his income source’s houses; however she refuses to give him money. She shows him a paper:
Soua Agency employee, Endo Hiroaki is a marriage swindler! He wants 5 easy female targets to do as he pleases. He is a gambling prince smeared in debts!!
When Hiroaki arrives at work, his employees scrutinize him. His boss calls him into his office and asks if there is truth on a paper he had receive. The paper is similar to the one from before. Hiroaki defends himself, claiming it’s fake. We find out that the culprit is Reimi as she types more papers exposing Hiroaki’s true nature.
Hiroaki is off gambling, betting every chip in roulette. The ball fails to land on his desired number.
Reimi and Hiroaki are having dinner and Hiroaki apologizes because the money for the house will be difficult to get. Reimi offers to delay the wedding, but he’lll just borrow the money from his company. Hiroaki does not borrow the money from his company, instead he transfer it, without permission, to the real estate agent.
Now that the house is purchased, it is Reimi and Hiroaki’s. The couple take a stroll outside, and two officers appear with an arrest warrant for Hiroaki. He is being arrested for embezzlement. Hiroaki tries to cover for himself; however his company had received an anonymous tip about his activities.
Hiroaki fails in his attempt to escape, and when he is captured he is in frenzy. Reimi basically tells him to man up. She makes them aware of Hiroaki’s other crimes, so justice can give him a severe punishment. This is her revenge.
Reimi reads an article about Hiroaki’s arrested in a coffee shop. Once she is finished, she sees her previous self at a table, staring at her. She runs to Shun’s clinic.
She arrives and tells Shun she no longer wants him to continue seeing her face. Shun questions if she was seeing things or maybe it was a doppelganger. The consequence of seeing one’s own doppelganger will result in a mysterious death.
Despite being reborn, her past is still attached to her – that’s what her former face came to tell her. Reimi admits that if she could not have taken her revenge she wouldn’t be able to start a new life. Shun questions if her past is settled, no answer.
Reimi leaves and on the news she sees her face – her previous face. The woman that is now her is under arrested for suspicion of embezzling money. Reimi flashes back when Hiroaki needed her help for sale orders. Reimi, or should I say Kayoko, had committed the same crime Hiroaki did. She had transferred 30,000,000 yen. Reimi sees her previous self try to plead with the police that she is not Shimano Kayoko.
In the clinic, Kyoko predicts that Reimi was seeing her previous self due to her guilt, if so will she turn herself in? Shun concludes that there is a possibility that they won’t believe her to be the real culprit. Whichever road she chooses; the one who decides is her heart.
Reimi walks into the police station…
Comments, rants, and other things:
So far, so good. I’m enjoying FACE MAKER since it’s an easier to watch since it’s so short. I like how this first episode highlights how easily people wish to change their appearance. I would’ve liked some attention on Shun because he appears so mysterious. Especially with that scene with the burnt picture. Very intriguing.
Reimi did a complete switcho-roo with that scheme she plotted. She did the exact same thing that Hiroaki did with using the money from his company, though Reimi, I mean Kayoko, took more. Though it would have been awesome if Hiroaki knew exactly who Reimi was. His flabbergasted face would have been worth seeing! I do wish that Reimi had not fallen so easily for Hiroaki’s scheme since whoever has her face is suffering because of her crime. No one cannot exactly prove that Kayoko is actually Reimi.
I am curious about the other cases Shun will have and will try to watch the rest of this series when I can.