Drama Review: アリスの棘 (Alice no Toge)
In the Spring of 2014, TBS brings us a hit new drama starring of my favorite actresses: Ueno Juri. This drama is Alice no Toge and after finishing it, I can say I was very satisfied with the drama.
Thinking this was acutally a medical drama, the storyline presented in the first episode was interesting, but I wasn't completely sold on it. It really wasn't a medical drama, as it was more a plot about revenge. Mizuno Asumi is starting at a University Hospital and starts to target some of her fellow doctors. She plots to kill two of them in the first episode alone due to some failed medical procedure 15 years ago that caused her to lose her father. Basically, it's a woman that will get revenge at all costs!
I really like the cryptic usage of Alice in Wonderland references, although not all of them were from Alice in Wonderland. For example, the first card that she pulls out is a reference to Humpty Dumpty. It's still a cool concept. This drama felt dark and the protagonist seems very evil. Her second act of revenge ends up scarring a doctor with this photo on her stomach. Se7en anyone?
Again, this is not a medical drama, but a story about revenge. However, Mizuno does seem pretty adept at surgery as she has a couple successful surgeries in this drama. This story is more about how far should one go for revenge? What is the point of revenge? At what point does revenge seem more like self-satisfaction? Some acts (like what happened in this movie) may be so awful that they are unforgiveable, but that may just mean they need to be forgiven. Many people think the rule of "eye for an eye" is valid, but just creating more unforgiveable acts does not really solve anything.
These are the takeaways while watching this drama. Although these philosphical ideas are not key in watching this drama. You can just enjoy the mystery and suspense. With each villain, there is a new villain behind the scenes. At the end, you really are guessing who the ultimate bad guy is. I think the plot played out very well.
Not sure if I can rewatch this in the future and I will probably not remember it as one of my favorite dramas in 5 years, but I enjoyed watching the drama while it lasted. It is able to keep up the suspense. The seasonal finale was well set up, as has been a big trend in Japanese drama. Even though I was busy, I had to watch the 10th episode because it was getting too good. Normally, the finale is a big letdown, but I would say this drama ended pretty well. I really wanted to know who the final bad guy was! No spoilers sorry, you'll just have to watch it yourself.