The drama is based on the best selling same-titled novel Minato Kanae, and is about two families that reside in the same upscale neighborhood. Amongst all the beautiful homes lined up in a row, there is a small house that belongs to the Endo family. Even though it is small, but it is a dream come true for Endo Mayumi. Living directly opposite them, is the elite Takahashi family. With their three gifted and smart children and a doctor husband, the Takahashis seem like a blessed and happy family.
One day, Takahashi Hiroyuki is found murdered. The police suspect the murderer is someone the family knows...
Cast & Credits
As implied above, Yakou Kanransha delves into the effects a shocking murder has on two families (and the town in which they live). It is an emotional story marked by highs and lows, much like the ever-rotating path the titular Ferris wheel follows. Other issues tackled over its course include bullying (by neighbors and classmates), ostracization, domestic violence, and societal pressure. Unlike many other Japanese dramas with such a focus, family is not held on a pedestal. Instead we're shown a realistically flawed structure, full of secrets and misunderstandings. Despite this, beauty remains to be found in the connection between friends, brothers and sisters, parents and children; something so imperfect can still be wonderful.
Most incredible might be how deftly these emotive aspects are combined with exciting, cerebral ones. Character development intermingles flawlessly with shocking revelations and startling secrets. Scenes are rarely lingered on; the pacing maintains a seamless stability throughout the series.
Japan excels at the ensemble piece; Yakou Kanransha boasts a large cast which more than lives up to this standard. Suzuki Kyoka clocks in a believable and solid performance as Endo Mayumi. This role is written simply so she might serve as our eyes into this fantastic circumstance; despite this, Suzuki-san completely brings her to life. Among the other adults, Yasuda Shota and Natsuki Mari are of great interest. Natsuki-san plays an especially polarizing part, yet her consistent and complex portrayal makes quite the impression.
But young actors Nakagawa Taishi (15) and Sugisaki Hana (16) completely steal the show. Both deliver honest and affecting performances beyond their years. Particularly Nakagawa-san; it floored me how drawn into his scenes I became as the series rolled along. Definitely a budding career to watch.
If like me, music comprises an important part of your viewing experience: take heart. Yakou Kanransha posesses an immaculate soundtrack, full of richly mysterious strings and hollow piano. There are also fine vocals, such as those from Ai (ending theme "Voice," which exudes action), and Reiko Oshima ("Daydreaming," a hopeful ballad with a bittersweet feel). Other highlights include the masterful use of sound effects; during particularly intense scenes, one can sometimes hear the grinding machinery and clacking carts of the Ferris wheel. Also take note of its use as imagery between scenes; you'll never forget the way it looks, brightly lit at night.
I'm giving this a perfect score in all aspects because I thought it's that perfect. The suspense was held evenly throughout the drama, although the jittery feeling might be felt the most at the first episode (I almost puked to be honest. Such injustice).
It doesn't bore at all and it does not try to preach, like what many other family dramas might do (although to be honest, this is my first time watching a drama directly about family relationships). Rather, it lets you look at yet another (perhaps distorted, perhaps not) side of reality and exposes you to the emotions of the families which may be suffering from any or - goodness forbid - all of the issues tackled in it.
The music is perfect, the sound effects and the music come in and out at the right times and fit every scene appropriate for them. I like the ending so much, and the allusion of life to the ferris wheel really is a deep one, but it fits perfectly.
Gave a perfect score for rewatching because I'd like to see the superb acting and all those raw emotions all over again if I could help it. (To be honest, I'm not much a rewatcher though).
I recommend this to anyone who would like to be reminded that there is hope in spite of whatever storm that comes to your life... just look around and there are people willing to support you no matter what - in totally not a melodramatic way such as what I've just written (because goodness knows we're all sick of it).