The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

魔女裁判 / Majo Saiban

The Witch Trial

April to July of 2009 JDorama that stars Ikuta Toma as Yoshioka Toru, a budding 'designer' (of t-shirts) who is selected as a 'lay-judge' in a trial that involves murder, money, and strange brew.

Toma-chan is cute!

But, his ability as an actor stunned and amazed me since I've never seen him before, so I had no idea what to expect.

Like every, other 'grass eater' from Japan, Toma-chan fits the bill to a T in his hip garb, with his unruly hairstyle, and with the vacancy behind his come-hither eyes.

I mean, who else but a young Japanese actor can pull off rhinestones on a flannel shirt and make it look way-cool, hip, now, and ... wearable???

THAT, however, is where the stereotypical aspects end, because from start to finish, this guy truly amazed me in his performance as the goof-off at first who slowly but convincingly changes to a guy out for justice.

At the beginning of the show, the writer threw in a few lines that were meant to justify the 'Witch Trial' reference of this show, which explained to the viewer that there was a time when paranoia dictated that anyone not behaving according to the norm was suspect and therefore judged unfairly as a demon to be burned at the stake.

In Majo Saiban, this 'abnormality' is a woman whose über-rich, second husband is killed (and since her first husband died, leaving her wealthy) it is presumed she murdered her second husband for his money as well.

Because the event made the headlines, everyone on the jury already knows about the 'witch' case and are quick to assume she is guilty; hoping their stints as 'lay-judge' will be over with little in the way of disruption of their daily lives.

It is Yoshioka Toru who decides that everyone should have a name, and during their first deliberation, the jurors are distinguished by the color of their clothing.

Toru-chan is Orenji, and the Polly Pure-heart of the group is White (of course).

I never understood why the guys behind the scenes pulling all the strings and blackmailing the jurors never went after Mr. Blue - the stuck-up lawyer-in-training who bad-mouthed Toru-chan from start to finish.

I also never understood why the writer chose to create TWO Ms. Pink's when there are so, many colors to choose from!

Ms. Brown was laughable through 3/4 of the show, and then we discover why she is what she is, and suddenly she is no longer a laughable figure but a sad thing in need of a huge hug.

As for Mr. Silver, I think he was thrown into the mix to keep us off-guard for a majority of the time - which pissed me off, but not by much.

Anyway, the dude behind the scenes throwing all the punches and making everyone's lives miserable (at least everyone but Mr. Blue, that is) was hhhhhooooottttt!!!!!

Suzuki Ryohei played Kurokawa Ryuichi, who learned how to manipulate outcomes in (of all places) America - BURN!

He's super-great at his job, too, and he pulled off the dyed white hair to perfection as well, looking hunk-a-licious in shades and exuding sex-appeal every step of the way.

There are so, many twists, turns, and obvious moments that suddenly do a 180 on you that it can't be conveyed in mere words - much less not give away anything, so I won't tell you much more about this drama, other than I highly recommend you give it a go if you haven't already.

I had major issues with Toru-chan's girlfriend, Motomiya Kaori (Higa Manami), who acted totally hip in Episode 1, and then slowly but surely, she went downhill until I wished SHE was on trial for stupidity and thus bound for the electric chair.


Anyway, Majo Saiban was something I hesitated to watch because of the 'Witch Trial' aspect that made me turn up my nose and think silly things like, 'Yeesh, not a modern-day goose chase thingy!' and 'What is up with the odd-looking poster for this show?'

I regret having those stupid inclinations now, and I'm really glad I finally gave in to the temptation, because I thoroughly enjoyed this drama, and I think you will, too.

PS: If you decide to watch this, don't even THINK to presume you know what's going on, why, and whodunit, because chances are pretty great you'll be wrong.


1 comment:

  1. I just finished this drama, and like u said, i totally love and enjoyed it!! and truly don't even presume you know what's going on, because chances are pretty great you'll be wrong, haha...


Please Be Nice