When is a mystery not a mystery? I’m dying to know because I was totally intrigued by the title of this Japanese drama. Here’s a hint: it’s a mystery! Okay, sorry for the bad Dad Joke, but I’m almost finished with this drama, and it’s totally a mystery. Based on the famous crime-mystery manga Mystery to Iunakare by Tamura Yumi, this drama revolves around college student Kuno Totono. Heads up: spoilers ahead! Also, this is a review and not a recap, so while there are spoilers, it’s not a full summary of what happens.
Totono Kuno (Masaki Suda) is a university student. He has curly hair, which he has a complex about. He doesn’t have any friends or a girlfriend. His memory and observation skills are very good and he is also skilled at making conclusions from a given set of facts. A murder case takes place in a park near Totono Kuno’s home. The victim is a university student who attended the same school and Totono Kuno becomes a suspect in the murder. He is interrogated by detectives at the police station. During the interrogation, Totono Kuno becomes aware of hidden clues behind the student’s murder and also the personal worries of the detectives. But a weapon, which contains Totono Kuno’s fingerprints, is found (AsianWiki).
The title already hints that this is a mystery, but it’s also a story of human nature. The plot twists and turns as Kuno is first the suspect, then an informal part of the police team as he finds connections to the case. All he really wants is to eat curry and admire art, but somehow he is connected to a murder. As the story grows, so does his circle of friends and frenemies. Note: Some of the plot is out of sequence, episodes 11 & 12 are very Garo (antihero) centric and actually fall earlier in the plotline. I’m not sure if they were setting up a season two or what was going on.
Clkytta: I love that Kuno is just this simple guy. He’s someone who seems happy but lives a lonely life. When he starts helping the police, he starts making friends and even romantic links! The plot feels like an Agatha Christie novel with all its connections and assumptions, and it really kept my interest.
Telzeytalks: I enjoyed the way Kuno wasn’t intimidated by the police, and understood little clues about them that nobody else noticed. For example, the one woman detective had a resignation letter pulled up on her computer, and then he saw her reaction to the chief yelling at her for being late just because her pet died. Kuno surprised everyone by asking her what seemed to be irrelevant questions, but then figured out the thing that was her biggest worry, and shared his thoughts in a very compassionate way.
Reasons to Watch:
Clkytta: Watch this one for all the character growth. No one in this drama is who they seem when we first meet them. Each episode is part of the whole story, yet could stand alone. The characters are well-written and well-acted. I especially appreciated the story arc of Seiko, the female detective, as she learns her worth. Another character of note is Garo. Is he a bad guy or a good guy? I love that the lines are so blurred!
Telzeytalks: The detectives think Kuno is annoying because he rambles on and on, but he eventually connects his thoughts to some home truth that they can’t ignore. When a weapon with his fingerprints is found, he suggests different things that could have happened and feeds them questions that need answering. He really opens their minds to consider different possibilities, which is a skill they continue to use.
Should You Watch?
Clkytta: Yes, if you are like me and love a good mystery, this is the drama for you. I’ve been in a bit of a slump, and this was a good drama to get me back on track. I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns as the story wove on. They tease for a season 2, and I really hope they follow up with a second season.
Telzeytalks: I really liked the first couple of episodes, then thought the next two were boring and stopped watching for a while. Then I went back and zipped right through the rest because it was so good. One story led to another; sometimes characters from one case would be involved in another one. Some cases were creepier than others. We recently reviewed a Japanese book called The Honjin Murders, which had a detective that was very similar to this one. They both excelled in analyzing people’s feelings and motivations, and both were disheveled and had frizzy hair, only Kuno’s is frizzier.
Hoping for a season 2!
Clkytta and Telzeytalks
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi