Guilty: Drama ReviewJanuary 23, 2011
Description: A pet groomer at a salon in Shirogane, Nogami Meiko (Kanno Miho) has a lot of celebrity dog-lovers as customers. She cheerfully serves customers with care, and her skills are tried and tested. The salon’s owner, Kotomi, has a strong faith in her, and she is admired by her colleagues. Meiko leads a quiet and fulfilling life… however, there is another side to her. She has a plan for revenge that she must accomplish. In truth, when she was 19, she was imprisoned for murder but there was also another side to this case. And just as she’s about to execute her plan, she meets a man named Mashima Takuro (Tamaki Hiroshi). She acts mysteriously around him and for some reason, he makes her feel better. Is he the only miscalculation to her? Or a reckoning?
The New Classics – “ギルティ” (“Guilty”)
Guilty, Akuma to Keiyaku Shita Onna , or Guilty for short, is a suspense and mystery show contained in 11 episodes. Guilty was broadcasted on Fuji TV and KTV and premiered on October 12. 2010. It ended on December 21, 2010. The show has a number of familiar faces including Kanno Miho, Tamaki Hiroshi, Michiko Kichise, and Kensei Mikami. I read the description for Guilty back in October and was curious about it, but never checked it out until last week. After the second episode, I was hooked on this story of vengeance.
The screenwriter took Kanno Miho’s simple character, Nogami Meiko, and made her complex and realistic. Immediately, you’ll start questioning her morality: innocent or guilty, murderer or victim. Kanno Miho’s performance was outstanding, and she stole the limelight from everyone to be honest. She caught Meiko’s emotions and projected them with ease and poise. While Kanno Miho stole everyone’s thunder, the acting from the other cast members was grand! Tamaki Hiroshi played the damaged cop, Mashima Takuro, fairly well. I couldn’t help but wish the screenwriter had developed his character a bit more. At times, I found that he was just a little awkward in a few scenes. One of my favorite characters was the eccentric journalist Dojima Kiichi played by Karasawa Toshiaki. Some may find him annoying and over the top, but I thought he was a brilliant add to the cast. He has his serious moments, but he tended to be the comic relief I needed. I often was laughing at his random acts of craziness. Also, I enjoyed that Michiko Kichise as Enomoto Mari. I had no problems from her; Kichise was convincing in her role and showcased Mari’s strong view on justice. Though, viewers may be irritated with her decisions, I admit I was, she doesn’t do it for herself, she does it to protect Mashima. I swear she had the same expression on her face the entire 11 episodes…. I spend 5 episodes trying to figure out whose character Kensei Mikami was. He plays as the bartender, gosh, I wish he had a more significant role because I spend a long time during to figure out who he was playing, and totally spaced out on the bartender. Gosssh!
Yes, there is a little romance; however it seemed to me it was touched on briefly, but I liked it. The romance side constructs as Meiko and Mashima become more involved with each other. The small chemistry between the two begins to create a moral predicament for them. A cop being involved with a likely murderer is never good. I did fret because I wish there was a bit more and that Mashima did not make it so awkward. I always seem to want a bigger plate of romance in dramas.
Guilty is not just asking whodunit, the screenwriters made it more than that. It was more who caused it and why. After each episode, the layers of mystery and apprehension start to add upon each other. As I moved faster to the core of Meiko’s case, questions were answered, but more were starting to form. Why did no one aid her through her conviction? Who was behind the murder of her brother-in-law and nephew? And how was the true culprit able to pin the charges on Meiko? I applaud the screenwriter for making the plot intriguing and unforeseen. I kept coming back for more. I was so caught up in the anticipation and obscurity as Meiko and Mashima seek the truth behind what happened 15 years ago. While it does reveal who does it, the show also reveals who caused it. However, I felt that they did not do enough foreshadowing to have viewers suspecting who was part of the cause. I mean they did show who the instigator is, but the screenwriter could’ve elaborate them more so we could question their actions throughout Guilty. If you reach the last episode, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. I understand that the show was trying to prove that revenge can effect many people and create more vengeance, but it would have been nice if it didn’t feel out of place. It seemed a lot of people did not like the ending at all, but I did. Guess I am one of the black sheep in the bunch.
The soundtrack is marvelous, which features The New Classics “ギルティ” (“Guilty”) for the insert song, which is in English, and JUJU’s “Kono Yoru Wo Tometo” as the ending song! The New Classics “Guilty” was inserted in the beginning of the first episode, and it was a splendid open to Guilty. The track is simply awesome and the lyrics represent Meiko. The instrumentals throughout the drama were put together beautifully. I also loved the symbolism used on the crows (or maybe it was ravens), since they symbolize bad omens. It conveys the message of revenge and death rather well. They appear frequently throughout the series and Meiko is even wearing a feathered necklace.
OVERALL: Guilty is definitely one of my favorites Japanese dramas from 2010. The acting was superb especially Kanno Miho’s performance. The soundtrack was amazing with tracks by The New Classics and JUJU! The show is layered with suspense and mystery that continue to pile upon each other until the last episode. The plot is intriguing; leaving the viewers wondering what will happen next. Unfortunately, the screenwriter failed to have enough foreshadowing for viewers to see who exactly caused the false charge to fall upon Meiko and there were spots of plot holes here and there. Also, Kensei Mikami could have had a more important role; I mean he is in the promotion picture afterall! For romance fanatics like myself, there is a side dish of it that creates a moral dilemma for the leads. This is a must watch for mystery and suspense lovers and fans of Kanno Miho.
Loved it? Liked it? Loathed it?