Kazoku Game

Kazoku Game (2013)

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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 2,492 users
Reviews: 14 users

The story revolves around an eccentric home tutor named Yoshimoto, who is hired to teach the second son of the Numata family. While being tossed around by the weird and unconventional home tutor, the remedial student and his family gradually start changing. Though the previous movie/dramas featured a fiercely competitive high school entrance examinations as its main theme, the 2013 version will also feature some modern problems like bullying and school refusal.

  • Native title:

  • Also Known as:

    The Family Game

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60 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Oct 24, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Those familiar with Japanese culture may readily recognize the terms "honne" and "tatemae," clashing concepts which hold enormous importance in that society. These refer to feelings and wishes held privately ("honne") and the often opposing facade shown in public ("tatemae"). For better or for worse, this standard affects how most Japanese behave and interact with one another. Kazoku Game uses its nominal family as an example, jabbing at the hypocrisies of this read more societal staple with vicious satire. With the addition of bullying as a theme, this drama widens its relatability -- though it is already suitable for an international audience.

A difficult yet riveting watch, Kazoku Game turns the family genre on its head. As it adopts an uncanny, dangerous atmosphere, one is often left with the feeling something is not quite right. Even when things appear to be going beautifully, the viewer can never truly settle into a sense of well-being. This unshakable near-paranoia bolsters the mystery presented by the story, begging one to question why the Numata family is in such a state, and what the home tutor hopes to gain from his actions toward them. Because this is clearly a fantasy, issues are relatively negligible with the plot. Despite this, I could not help thinking that if anyone did a quarter of what is seen in this drama, they would be shackled in seconds. Potential viewers beware: triggers abound. Violence toward and between children (including intense bullying), sexual assault, and suicide, are concepts of varying visual importance displayed on screen.

Powerful performances from the ensemble must be applauded. Of the actors and actresses which comprise it, none are weak. Few seem to rant about Sakurai Sho as an actor, but his portrayal of the tutor was especially memorable. Whether through his manic cheer or vibrant cruelty, the character springs to (somewhat nightmarish) life with ease. One may never forget the way Sensei swings his arms childishly while walking, or the frozen doll-like smile he offers to others. And his catch-phrase, "Ii, ne!" ("That's good!") is simultaneously menacing and catchy.

Young actors Kamiki Ryunosuke and Uragami Seishu are also notable, capably carrying out their roles as the troubled Numata sons. Uragami-san as Shigeyuki has an honesty about his depiction, true awkwardness and immaturity (good and bad) many will see themselves in. Something of a screen veteran despite his young age, Kamiki-san has a meatier, more complex role. His character has less relatability, but remains fascinating and nuanced because of his fine performance.

Most tunes heard in Kazoku Game are used to boost its eeriness. Brass instruments and a lone, creepy saxophone lead almost all instrumentals. One particular track stood out, partially because it was played so often and also because it was somewhat sinister. Whenever it marked a scene, something cruel was realized or a strange event had taken place; but the tone was cheerful -- aside from the purposely off-tune lead instrument. I also rather enjoyed the theme "Endless Game," provided by Arashi, and the very suitable introductory piece. My only problem with the soundtrack was that it ultimately felt repetitive, but perhaps that was also intentional.
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18 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jun 23, 2013
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
When I heard about the casting of Kazoku Game before the season started, I hesitated because I never really heard about Sakurai Sho being a good actor. Although I've seen Kamiki Ryuunosuke before on Tantei Gakuen Q as a budding actor, I wasn't really curious about this recent drama of his when it started.

Then a recommendation came from a friend and the intense need to watch it, and... the rest is read more history.

Now, for my review:

Story: No one could contest that this was a beautifully written drama. I appreciate that they modified the themes to suit that of the modern generation, having bullying as the universal issue these days. I'm sure that at some point of the story we were able to relate to the characters' plights and mirror ourselves to them. I personally did.

Acting/Cast: This department was almost perfect, except for some side characters that felt stiff at some scenes, but the main characters, especially Shinichi and Yoshimoto-sensei, were practically having an acting talent showdown. Everyone in the family were superbly cast.

Music: I'm not a fan of somewhat cheerful music, but I like the satire in every note of the music to the scenes in this drama, thus still the high score. Endless Game's catchy tune got into me after a few episodes, and it was basically Yoshimoto-sensei's character song.

Rewatch Value: Since this is mystery, the enjoyment value goes down since you already know what happens after you've finished watching it for the first time. But watching it with friends, it was very fun observing how they react at the scenes in the drama (and being blown away with it).

Overall: This is a drama that will be etched to my memory for a very long time, and unless I encounter another drama as intense as this (or more than that), this will stay at my favorite drama list's top 1 spot for a while.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (17)Recommendations

- Broken family
- Pathetic father
- Eccentric and mysterious stranger comes to the family for work
Recommended by blueribbon
Both involve families being tested and exposed for what they really are. Both are very dramatic but Kaseifu no Mitazono is more comedic and tackles multiple families whereas Kazoku Game goes deeper and is more suspenseful.
Recommended by Eternalpoem

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Comments (47)

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  • Reply
    AdePutraHabibi Jul 7, 2017

    This drama is SICK (in a good way and bad way)

  • Reply
    eclairargent Jun 25, 2017
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Shichi Jun 20, 2017
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    wolfgirl9 Apr 10, 2017

    well, this is another drama that everyone loved but I simply liked :D

  • Reply
    angeleste Mar 17, 2017

    This was such a crazy ride.

  • Reply
    Maya Jan 25, 2017

    so amazing.. i will always remember this drama.. excellent!! one of the few dramas that made me to always look forward to the next episodes..

  • Reply
    Naxald Jan 9, 2017

    That last 20 seconds... Feeling bad, sad, excited at the same time. I just laughed while crying "No!". Well, other than that the whole drama was one of the best shows I ever watched.

    Sakurai Sho's acting is amazing by the way. I want to write a review about this drama but it may be too long. God...

  • Reply
    HannahWest Nov 15, 2016

    what is this actually about? trailer is very confusing...
    is the tutor like psychotic or something? abusive? or just nuts?

  • Reply
    iris Oct 31, 2016

    one of the best japanese dramas ever! highly recommended!

  • Reply
    Sara alhamadi Oct 11, 2016

    It says You can see this page because the URL you are accessing cannot be found.

  • Reply
    Sara alhamadi Oct 11, 2016

    I'm new could anyone help me I have a problem with my email it's not verified I tried to put my other email when I want to verified it says page error and something about URL

  • Reply
    foreverwitchy Oct 4, 2016

    absolute perfection

  • Reply
    Kikka Jul 19, 2016

    one word.....beautiful!

  • Reply
    ShinRaeJin Jul 19, 2016

    definitely one of the best I've ever watch

  • Reply
    3ngin33r Jul 5, 2016

    That smile in the end


  • Country:

  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Apr 17, 2013 to Jun 19, 2013
  • Aired On:

  • Network:

    Fuji TV
  • Duration:

    46 min.


  • Score:

    8.8 (scored by 2,492 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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