Synopsis: An incident is talked about all over Japan. The case involves the Doisaki couple that killed their 15-year-old daughter and hid her body under their house for 16 years.
One day, housewife Toshiko Hagiya visits Shigeko Maehata (Yukie Nakama) who works for a small editing company. Toshiko tells Shigeko that her 12-year-old son Hitoshi might have a special ability to see other people’s memories. She pulls out a picture drawn by Hitoshi. The picture has a girl with a grey colored face lying in a house that has a bat shaped weather vane on its roof. The picture seems to depict the incident involving the Doisaki couple. Shigeko decides to do some research, but Hitoshi dies in a car accident.
Meanwhile, the attorney for the Doisaki couple tells their second daughter Seiko that the couple has cut off all ties with her. Around that time, a female high student is confined.
In six episodes, Rakuen weaves a disturbing tale of murder, abuse and the struggles that parents and children go through, the underlining theme in the story, at least to me, is how doing the right thing isn’t always the right thing.
Good intentions sometimes cause more hardships and suffering, even when all you were doing was trying to help.
What I was expecting: I’m going to be honest here and say that I had no idea what the show was about when I first saw it. I just clicked play because Nakama Yukie and Kaho are in it, so I guess I’m expecting greatness since I like the two actresses.
This is only six episodes, so I have a feeling that this will have a lot of drama and psychological moments in it.
How it really was: So within the first three minutes a middle aged man, who just lost his home due to a fire, walks up to a police officer and says this:
16 years ago I killed my daughter and buried her under the floor…
Why did he bring this up? And why did he wait 16 years to mention this? As the episode goes on we learn about why he killed his daughter. Let’s just say that she wasn’t exactly easy to deal with and that after she disappeared her parents and neighbours were all thankful.
The drama here has multiple layers that seem to tie into each other nicely. Despite this episode being almost an hour long, it was mainly used as an introduction piece to help set up the story and introduce you to the key characters. A lot of stuff happened, but it feels like things will be getting crazier for the remaining five episodes.
And that ending….tragic. The show started with an old death and ended with a fresh one.
Overall: The show has a great cast and the story seems like it will be right up my alley. The only downside is that this is a jdrama so it may take some time before the show is subbed.
If you are planning on watching this, I’d recommend going into it blind and not reading the synopsis found on most sites. It pretty much spoils the first episode and no one wants to be spoiled.