Looking into MAOU: Review

credit: dramawiki

Okay, I know I still haven’t done that review for SMILE, Kimi wa Petto, Ryusei no Kizuna, and the Endless Love Series. But this dorama was such a show stopper, I had to eventually write in my review. Before Nino and Karina’s dorama starts, and Shun and Mao’s.

Alright, to start with, let me remind everyone that 1.) I’m no pro at doing reviews; and 2.) beware of spoilers. If you hate spoilers like me, please go read other stuff on this page. It will definitely kill the suspense this drama boasts of.

Moving on, let me start with the acting of the cast. I’m actually not surprised that Ohno Satoshi got a Best Actor Award for his role as Naruse Ryou/Manaka Tomoo. His crying scenes were brilliant, and the intense glare very passionate. I am at a loss for words for Ikuta Toma, though. His role here is a breath of fresh air, and I’m glad he has taken on such a mature and manly role. He is also a good actor, but I can’t really put myself on saying that this is one of his best performances. There seems to be lacking in his acting, and I can’t put my finger on it. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not blaming his character in the story, because Naoto has that special complex that is not easily pulled off. On the other hand, I think anyone will be confused with the real Ohno Satoshi after watching this dorama. He has taken ‘Riida’ on a complete U-turn.

There is also something that irks me about Kobayashi Ryoko and her Shiori. She played her role well, but similar to Toma, I can’t quite put my finger on what is wrong with her acting. It’s the first time I’ve seen her, so I really don’t know if she did better here or not. The person who took home the Best Supporting Actor award, Tanaka Kei was surprising. I’ve only seen him in Taiyou no Uta, and his performance here was an absolute jump from his previous one. After all, playing someone who hides something like an affair is a hard task. I give him props for his overall acting.

I don’t have much to say about the other characters though. Half the cast died anyway, and their screen time was not enough for me to dissect if they were good or not. But some were quite overboard.

Now the story. I loved the fact that I was kept glued on my seat waiting for the next episode to finish the download. Call me twisted, but I was more excited on who will die next and how. The way Naruse sort of executed the first three victims was brilliant. Kumada’s death fell under a justified self-defense, Yosuke’s death as well. Ikihata’s was more complicated and required more than circumstances to happen. Setting up the warehouse was important of course. Locking all other possible ways out, luck was on Naruse’s side when he fell to his death. While all circumstances point to Naruse, hard evidence is non-existent. Starting with Souda’s death though, it’s as if the victims have taken into their hands their own deaths.

Up to the very last minute though, I kept on thinking what will happen in the end. Before I watched the last episode of Maou, I was watching an episode from Gokusen I. it was pointed out that revenge will never really end unless one party stops it. in Maou’s case, unless someone dies, there can never be an end. I was lost by the fact that Manaka Tomoo wanted his life to end, and bring pain and suffering to Serizawa Naoto along with it. This is a fresh form of revenge for me, and I appreciated the way the plot was molded into something like that. Both of them dying were actually better than having one die because of the other. It’s a safe conclusion, I guess.

With regard to the music, I simply adore the insert songs. I’ve always taken a liking on Gregorian chants, and the way those sheets were used in most of the climactic scenes was priceless. It also gave more solid connection to Satan that Naruse is likened to in the beginning of every episode. Arashi’s truth is also nice to listen to as it’s both intense and suspense combined in one song.

The problems I had with this dorama however were quite a surprise. I don’t think Christian faith believes in tarot cards but it seemed tarot cards play an important role in Shiori’s life. Also, Shiori and Naruse exchanged a lot of deep conversations, which I actually lost track making sense of, it’s frustrating. Also, there’s the gap between the deaths of the second and third victim. I felt that I was waiting for forever before a next person is dead – but this might just be me and my twisted appreciation for deaths in suspense dramas.

Overall, I will rate this drama an 8.5 out of ten. Recommended for Ohno and Ikuta Toma fans, suspense dramas, legal themes, and OhMiya.

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