Japanese Drama: May I Blackmail You?

Have you ever heard of a blackmailer for hire? Or of someone who gets wads of money in the mail and hides it in the closet? That’s what we’ve got here. It’s an interesting mix for sure. Was I the only one who had a hard time getting a handle on this show? (Clkytta: Poking my head in to see what Telzeytalks thought about this drama because I started it and dropped it. Is it worth a revisit? Let’s see what Telzeytalks has to say!)

The First Twenty Minutes

A while back I tried out the Japanese drama May I Blackmail You? It begins with a man who is kidnapped and tied to a chair, and a dead woman who is spattered in red. At first I thought this might be too violent of a show for me. However, the main girl seemed way too naïve for that, and the blackmailer seemed too flippant. When the third episode ended in what I thought was an illogical way I put the show on hold, but picked it up again recently. (Clkytta: I did the same thing!)

Mio Kanesaka is a college student who receives a package from the blackmailer, which was intended for the previous owner of her apartment. She calls him to say that he’s threatening the wrong person. He asks for a photo to prove she’s the wrong person and she agrees. Then she offers him the money stashed in her closet and they start bickering about puns. The first time watching this I thought they were just stupid, but the second time through I realized that although yes, she is really too trusting, this guy is not your standard criminal.

Kanji Senkawa is the blackmailer. He releases the man he had kidnapped and tied up, and meets with an elderly couple at a restaurant. We discover that they got scammed and hired him to blackmail the scammer and get the money back. He only got about seven dollars (from a wallet) and kept seventy cents as a fee. In an almost throw-away scene, we see that the “injuries” on the kidnappee were painted on. What kind of kidnapper is this?

The Style

The style of this show is that for a couple of episodes, they drop in short scenes that are unrelated to the main case of that episode, and then, later on, they show us more. For example, in Episode 1, we see a mysterious elderly man who sends money to Mio. At the end of Episode 2, he meets briefly with a young politician. We see a little more of both of them in Episodes 3 and 4, and Mio isn’t pleased to see either of them. Then in Episode 5, they become a part of the main plot.

There are two characters who remain the comic relief as the story progresses and becomes more serious. These are Kanji’s partners in crime. Tochiotome is a hacker who decorates her fingernails and her laptop with craft gems, and can break up a charged atmosphere by reminding Kanji that he hasn’t done his chores yet.

The other one is Meguro, a burglar who considers breaking and entering an art form. He’s the one who comes up with the evidence they use to blackmail people with. He is the oldest of the trio and reprimands the others when they speak to him too informally.

There is also a mafia boss who Kanji meets occasionally to get information or to negotiate a settlement. This guy is surprisingly casual for someone in his line of work, and lets Kanji get away with more than you would expect.

The Last Half

In Episode 6 we get a new plot that will take us through the rest of the show in a tangle of related cases. There’s a quick scene of Kanji brooding over a woman under a sheet in a morgue, and by now we know that it’s a heads-up for what is coming next. We are about to find out Kanji’s history and his reasons for becoming a blackmailer.

We also get a new main character who flirts with girls a lot, and whose favorite pick-up line is to show them a three-minute timer and ask to just talk for three minutes.

To watch or not

The show kept me interested – the second time around! There are plot twists and unexpected developments with different cases for most episodes; I haven’t really told you much about those. There is a fair amount of suspense with a light touch; the darkest part is the first thirty seconds. Kanji, while not really a Robin Hood character, nevertheless tries to choose clients that he can feel good about working for. Mio, while being generally fearless, tries to get people to accept a higher standard of behavior. It’s not a romance, although there is a touch of it here. This is one of the Japanese shows on Viki and is an enjoyable watch. I hope you like it!

(Clkytta: We have been chatting a lot lately about how sometimes a drama just doesn’t appeal to you at the time for many reasons. I think all of us have started revisiting some of the dramas we watched and dropped. I dropped this one too, but I think I’ll give this one another chance!)

Second Time Around is a Success!


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

2 thoughts on “Japanese Drama: May I Blackmail You?

  1. I was lukewarm on this show; it was sufficiently diverting but there were opportunities for more depth (and romance, but I believe that I read that the female lead actress was actually pregnant at the time, so perhaps that would have felt “wrong” to the production). I confess, what kept me going was Dean Fujioka. He is so easy on the eyes and had the potential for the most story (even if it wasn’t suitably fleshed out).

    • Interesting! I felt there was a definite room for a romance, and saw a glimmer. I didn’t realize the lead actress was pregnant. I agree about Dean, he was so charming. I need to look out for more of his dramas. I did see him in a cameo role in Frankenstein’s Love.

      Mio kind of got on my nerves but in time I appreciated how she stuck to her principles and made better people out of them all.

Leave a Reply