“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” — Daphne Rae “For the sake of N”. The title speaks for itself of love and sacrifice. At its core, this drama follows 15 years of Sugishita Nozomi's life. We get to see her grow from a teenager to a woman. We also get to see her weaknesses and strengths, and her frustrations, fears and happiness. Like Sugishita's definition of ultimate love is to share the crime (“not as an accomplice but by sharing... unbeknownst to anyone... to accept responsibility for half of the other person’s crime”), I would justify and broaden that definition to sharing the pain and she chose to share the pain with her ultimate love. Even if you ended up not look at it that way, I do and it does make me appreciate this drama a lot more. | STORY | The fact that its based on a best-selling murder-mystery novel by Kanae Minato (“Confessions”/“The Snow White Murder Case”) is reason enough to give this a shot. 'N no Tame ni' starts of similarly to 'Snow White Murder Case', with a whudunnit scene of a murder and the four suspects, whose names all start with N. One of them is arrested for the murder and tells his lawyer it was all for N. However, the “truth”; is told in flashbacks mixed with the present day (the flashbacks go from 1999-2004 while the present day is 2014). You don’t get any scenes that cover that 10 year gap, but through multiple perspectives and each time the other character takes over, you learn something new about the murder, their motives, their misunderstandings. Everyone acted to achieve something for themselves, but also for the one they call N, but to each the N. Is a different person. All of these incidents bring them together, but is also what keeps them apart at the same time. If you like a perfect balance of mystery, suspense, coming of age, family, and fluttering love story, this is one to watch. | ACTING/CAST | This drama falls under the mystery genre and I did like the suspense in guessing the truth, but to me, ‘N no Tame ni’ is more about eternal friendship between the characters and their own development. With every eposide, you could feel the chemistry as if the actors were really good friends and you could feel the tension between Sugishita, Naruse, and Ando in the romance department. All in all, the four main characters gave excellent performance. They don't need grand gestures or words, their eyes will tell you what they feel! Even the support casts show a very effective performance and manage to bring humanity to otherwise cliché roles. With a perfect ensemble cast, there are so many relationships and groupings that it’s impossible to talk about them all. So here, I’d just like to give my attention to some of my favorite characters of the drama: 1) Eikura Nana / Sugishita Nozomi This entire drama just made me fall in love with her character and her. Nozomi is a strong-willed but vulnerable; calculating but earnest kind-hearted girl who believes has the strength to live within such a harsh world by herself. Also, she is caring for herself so much but for her friends even more. Towards the end of the drama, you can really see how many people she has met and became a support for her. Nana Eikura does such a great job at conveying the feelings of Nozomi. I would say I'm a pretty sympathetic person but seeing her character grow up seriously made me tear up *sniff* *sniff* because of all the hardships that she had to go through. It really goes to show that kind of connection with a well-written character is completely based on the character itself and the actor play the part as well. This is one character I'll never forget. I’m only convinced I’ll look forward to her future projects after 'N no Tame ni'. 2) Masataka Kubota / Naruse Shinji Naruse is probably my favourite character along with Sugishita and that's majorly because of Kubota's portrayal. His quiet demeanour complimented his looks and I too was smiling like a fool whenever he smiled to himself after being complimented by Sugishita because of the pencil-clicking “Su-go-i”. Although his development slowed down a little after graduating high school... I still never forgot about him because of the impression he made while on the island but his absence in a way benefited his character’s dependability. When he’s there I feel the reassurance that everything will be alright. Needless to say, Masataka Kubota has shot of my favorites list with this drama just like several others. 3) Kento Kaku / Nozomi Ando Ando is the typical pure innocent man who really doesn't have a clue about anything. He is also from a small island like Naruse and Sugishita, but he had a happier outlook on life. He quickly develops feelings for Sugishita who also seems to develop an affection towards him as well…but since I loved Naruse so much, I did push Ando to the side a little bit at first. As the story progresses, Ando is pretty much kept out of the main plot while Nishizaki and Sugishita does all the plotting and acting and you would somehow forget about him... Lol. His character also seems to be the only one without too much darkness in his background. But of course, he’s not as innocent as he may seem. 4) Keisuke Koide / Masato Nishizaki As for Nishizaki, his character has one of the worst dark past of the 3 (Sugishita, Naruse and Ando). Koide Keisuke’s portrayal of Nishizaki was interesting. He just knows everything. He was a law school student who wanted to be a writer. He is also obsessed with love and learning what everyone’s “ultimate love” is. He craved a simple life and desperately loved Nobara—the apartment complex where he, Ando, and Sugishita all lived. While he became friends with the other two and even tried to help push them together, he kept his scars and past to himself… while Sugishita did the same as well. | MUSIC/CINEMATOGRAPHY | I really didn't think much about the soundtrack as I began watching it but it really did blow me away. Of course after watching the drama the theme song (“Silly”) by Leo Ieiri went from just okay to outstanding and played a really big role in giving me all the feels even though the environment itself was depressing at times. This is one of the reasons why songs from dramas have more impact for me because I always think back to the drama whenever I hear the song. This is one of those dramas also certainly didn’t let me down with the cinematography during the episodes of Sugishita and Naruse’s hometown, “Aokage jima” shooted at Shodoshima island with its beautiful and wide scenery give off that nostalgic feeling. F.Y.I. my most favorite episodes are when they’re in the island or maybe it’s just me being obessed with for stories like this. Overall, 'N no Tame ni' shows many aspects of life, taking the viewer on a beautifully poignant, vividly evocative and greatly inspiring journey from start to finish. It's been a long time since I watched a drama that held my attention so much. Really enjoyed all the plot twists. It's been an unbelievable ride. I will definitely be keeping tabs on Kubota Masataka’s and Eikura Nana’s future projects. FINAL SCORE: 10/10. *pencil-clicking sound* “A-ma-zing”! This drama is hands down the best drama I’ve seen and rightfully has earned a spot in my 'Forever Favorites' list. No other drama has spoken to me in such a real way. I believe this is a drama that I can re-watch... even if I already know the big secrets. Highly recommended... this, just make sure you follow the dialogue, otherwise you will miss the whole story!
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