Utsukushii Rinjin

Reviewed by: sukting

June 27, 2011

Rating: two

How long
10 episodes

A very attractive woman Saki Meyer becomes friends with Eriko. What is her motive to do that? How much will Eriko know about her mysterious neighbour?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Meyer Saki – Nakam Yukie
She is a very attractive woman and is a successful interior designer but she becomes mentally unbalanced to be aggressive after her son drowns. She leaves home after torturing Kakei to stay in a small motel. Very small indeed as it is only a small cubicle with a bed and a locker. This is where she surfs the net and finds something interesting. Eriko has said that it is good that her son isn't the one dead when Saki watches the news. That angers he – what about her who just lost her own son?

Before this, she keeps blaming Kakei for his death and often kicks him even though she sits on a rocking chair. Upon knowing that his death on that day is also the day when Shun is saved, she comes to stay beside Eriko. She claims that her husband is working in the U.S.

She seduces Shinji to become his mistress. She knows who he is by looking at his family photo. She goes to Osaka and meets him in the bar. With her wavy long hair, she is simply too attractive. She deliberately leaves clues for Eriko to discover and to confide in her over this.

Her initial intention is to kill Shun but later she likes him so much that she changes her mind. She decides to replace Eriko to become his mother. However, her plan isn't successful but she remains to haunt them. Yukie is very beautiful and also plays the evil part well.

2. Yano Eriko – Dan Rei
Eriko is a simple and easily contented housewife whose wife is centred on Shinji and Shun. Her only hobby is looking at fireflies and joins a club. Her quiet and peaceful life makes a dip when Saki arrives.

She is at first friendly with Saki. After knowing the affair, she becomes very desperate. She can't ignore that nothing has happened and wants a divorce. But Shinji is willing to change so she agrees to it. Yet, Saki keeps harassing her which gives her no choice. Her shadow is there although she moves away later. She takes a knife and wants to kill her. Saki chooses to jump out from a window. Strangely, it isn't said if she survives or she is dead.

To forget the past, Eriko and her family moves into a new neighbourhood. However, she gets photos from Saki and she burns them. It is not indicated if this is the end of it. I feel shortchanged – this actress has nothing much to offer except to show how weak Eriko is.

3. Yano Shinji – Watabe Atsuro
He is Eriko's husband who is a manager of an electronics company. He is sent to Osaka to work for a year. He takes care of his subordinates well and doesn't succumb to temptation easily. However, Saki is his first and he has a shock upon knowing that she is his neighbour.

He normally returns home on weekends but not often after being with Saki. Eriko finds Saki hair in his dorm bathroom and fusses over it. He has to admit to it but he doesn't want his family to break up. He tries his best to win Eriko back and begs Saki to let him off.

For goodness sake, can't the tv station get a younger man for this role? He looks as if that he is more than 50 years old with his almost close-to-shoulder-length hair!

4. Yano Shun – Aoyama Kazuya
He is the cute but timid only son the couple has. He learns swimming and is grateful to Saki for teaching the bullies a lesson for him. Saki hints that she is his mother and he believes this to isolate Eriko. This is the last straw that Eriko can take to decide to kill Saki to maintain her position.

5. Yano Toshiro – Soda Ippei
He is the grandfather who grumbles of having only a grandson.

6. Yano Mitsuko – Kusabue Mitsuko
Mirusiko is the grandmother and dotes on Shun. She has a good impression of Saki as she visits her in hospital when she is ill. She doesn't bear Eriko and Shun to move to Osaka with Shinji but she has no choice as this is to save their marriage.

7. Aida Mayumi
She is Eriko's friend and is also a member of the firefly club. Eriko has entrusted Saki to fetch Shun after school when she needs to take care of Mitsuko. She also rejects Mayumi's help to bring Shun to learn swimming with Mio. She starts drifting away from Eriko and gets closer to Saki. Saki lies that it is Eriko who tells her that Mayumi is a divorcee in the past. She starts to become hostile to Eriko.

8. Aida Kazufumi
He is Mayumi's husband who opens Mickey café. He is very helpful and notices Mayumi's hostility towards Eriko. He is aware of how Eriko is and tells Mayumi to check the facts first.

9. Aida Mio
She is Kazufumi's only daughter who is very close to Shun. Both attend swimming lessons together.

10. Kakei Mashahiko – Takachi Noboru
He is Saki's ex-husband who meets Eriko by the pond where his son drowns. He feels equally tormented over this but Saki is right to say that he has forgotten their son. He is a henpecked husband who bears with Saki's beatings as he also blames himself for not taking care of their son to cause the tragedy.

Saki moves out one day, taking everything with her – including the furniture. He gives up looking for her and he gets involved with another woman. As she is pregnant and is about to give birth, he wants a divorce. Saki will never hear of it and keeps dragging it. Upon knowing that Saki becomes Eriko's neighbour, he drops hints to her to be wary of her.

11. Mashaita Ami – Fuji Mina
She is Shinji's subordinate in Osaka and always tries to seduce him. She often cuts off Eriko's calls to him. She fails as he often makes excuses to be in a crowded place. Sharks – what is so attractive about this man?

12. Mtatsui Rio – Minami Keisuke
He works in the café and is mysterious like Saki. He seldom talks and keeps to himself. 1 year ago, Shun climbs up a tree and can't get down from there. He is the one who rescues him. Eriko's family consider him as their benefactor and Shun is the only one who will open his heart to.

On this very day, he sees Saki here with her son. Both have met so he finds her familiar looking when she moves in. Unlike others who trust her easily, he has doubts on her. He checks on her and discovers her past. He often observes her from a corner.

Most favourite character
None, Eriko is nice but she is too perfect and who can bear with a husband who cheats on her for so long?

Most hated character
Saki, she deceives everyone with her innocent looks. That is why Eriko doesn't look like a suffering party to them and she has to endure all kinds of stares from the public.

It is sung by Tohoshiki why- keep your head down. I have no idea why the music is so loud initially with the constant raps. But later, I discover that it fits as the drama gets dark and evil. It rings a bell that warns you that Saki is up to something again.

Interesting facts
Yukie loved this role immediately after reading the script. She took it up instantly and she started to craft the details. She had been involved in too many comedies. She was excited that Saki was the exact opposite of Eriko. She describe Saki as a cold woman whose inner feelings were complicated.

The two actresses took 3 hours to shoot the poster with a famous photographer, 蜷川实花. The three women were perfectionists. Many thought it showed their personalities well and how Japanese dramas should be presented in a professional way.

蜷川实花 had wanted to show the beauty, the scary, the soft and tough sides of both women as a strong contrast. The theme of the drama is how a woman wishes to see how another woman suffers. She used a black background with red petals floating on water. Flowers were beautiful and had thin stems. The appearance hinted that something bad was going to happen soon.

Their dressing in white shows it. The actresses also had confidence in it.Rei smiled to lie on the flowers showed how Eriko wanted to get close to friends casually. Yukie's Saki held on to her shoulder and there was a mad twinkle in her eyes. It was like she had her eyes set and she would never let her go. I thought the poster was beautiful too – faring so much better than the drama.

The lowest rating is 10% while the highest is at 14 for the first episode. It was shown in Singapore in 2011. Japanese fans were excited as they had not watched a Japanese drama over local television for 5 long years. However, their expectations were dashed after watching it.

So am I. This drama is supposedly to be an attractive one with the theme. I feel bored after the first episode. It takes too long – the scenes of Saki's son being drowned can drag a whole 15 minutes! Shun parents can spend this time looking for him – this is too much! Some people gave up after watching a few episodes.

When Saki creates havoc for a long time, we all shake our heads. She could have been sent to a mental institution to seek treatment right from Day 1. She is not just being jealous of Shinji's happy family to ruin it. She is already fantasing to be Shun's mother to nearly call him by her son's name! How can Kakei put up with this for so long?

Saki isn't just a devil. She is a dark temptress and a psycho. When she starts, she will not stop. Oh my, she reminds me of Yam Tak Wah in his scary movies to butcher his victims although Saki here doesn't arm with a knife to kill.

After the tragedy, her personality twists completely so it is too late to seek for the cure now. Yukie wins me over although the script is terrible. She is creepy and also mysterious. She makes all feel disturbing with her presence so she is at her best. Seeing how she laughs whenever she hurts Eriko can send chills to you.

Eriko is also foolish to put her trust on the wrong person. How can she be so weak too to accept her fate quietly? However, Rei plays well in the part of the love for Eriko's son. This drama isn't as scary as it seems. I must confess that I almost sleep through every episode. It is too slow. It doesn't tempt me to continue but I have no choice but to do it to write a fair review to inform others.

The characters' motives and reasons are clear for the mistakes. Shinji proves that he is just an ordinary man who will lose steam when he is too bored or alone. Kakei can't bear with Saki's indifferent nature.

This drama isn't my cup of tea but if you are a strong supporter of both actresses, you may watch the drama. If you are looking for a thriller, you will have to look for another drama. Yukie's fans find it catchy and exciting so I must say that the drama survives due to her.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : ** (Scale of 5)

On songs : **** (Scale of 5)

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