Aishiteru - Kizuna (a.k.a. The Movie That Made Me Feel Like A Stone-Hearted Cyborg)

Aishiteru~ Kizuna (I Love You~ Bonds) DVD Cover
It's been a while since the last time I posted my Monday with Masaki reviews. I kind of miss fangirling in public writing about it, and I still have some unwatched Okada Masaki's movies lying around, so here it is!

This is actually a TV special, continuation from the drama Aishiteru~ Kaiyo (2009). I haven’t watched the drama, so I was a bit worried that I could not follow the storyline easily. Turned out that it can be enjoyed on its own. All the needed background information from the original drama was summarized briefly at the beginning by Sano Shiro, who played the father of a murdered child in the original drama.

Er…a murdered child, you say?

Yes, you read that right. Aishiteru~ Kaiyo was about a 5th grader who killed a 2nd grader, and how their families were shattered after the event. It seems like a very emotional drama, and according to Sano Shiro, it made the casts contemplated a lot about the meaning of life. Aishiteru~ Kizuna itself was not that emotional for me, but perhaps that is because I am secretly a stone-hearted cyborg.  Just prepare packs of tissues near you before watching, just in case.

Aishiteru~ Kizuna followed the life of Morita Naoto (Okada Masaki), the younger brother of the murderer, several years after the events in Aishiteru~ Kaiyo. Naoto was born after the conflict was resolved, and he did not know anything about the murder committed by his brother, Tomoya (Mukai Osamu). However, no secret remains concealed forever. Ashamed by the fact that he has a murder in the family, Naoto ran off to live on his own. He often questioned why he was born into such a messed-up family. Kind of unfair, if you ask me, since his mother and Tomoya has successfully raised Naoto in a pretty normal environment until Naoto found out about the murder.
Anyway, Naoto cut off the family ties with Tomoya, although he begrudgingly still kept in contact with his mother every once in a while. Still, his brother’s criminal record followed him everywhere he went. Naoto was convinced that his life is ruined. That was until he met Kana (Mizukawa Asami), the granddaughter of  a leather workshop owner. Naoto fell in love with Kana, they got married, and they ran the workshop together. Everything seemed to work pretty well for Naoto, until he found out that Kana is pregnant.

Naoto never wanted to have any children. He has suffered a lot because of his brother’s sin and he did not want his children to experience the same thing. He asked Kana to abort the baby. He argued that the baby would prefer not to be born at all if he/she could choose. The baby wouldn’t want to be a murderer’s nephew/niece. Predictably, Kana refused. Cue brooding and angsty Naoto screaming and contemplating about the meaning of life (not at the same time).

Asami Mizukawa as Kana
Perhaps it’s just me, but throughout the movie my main thought is, “actually, it is not that easy to spot Naoto as ‘that child murderer’s brother’.” Naoto’s surname has been changed. He has already moved several time as well…perhaps even to different city (unclear in the movie). It would take quite a nosiness and internet-stalking skill to trace Naoto’s background, and later on, his children’s, if he decided to have any. How likely is it that somewhere in le wild internet, someone was keeping le wild blog detailing the life of a child murderer and his family? I raised my brow at the scene where Naoto googled the murder case and found le wild website stating Tomoya’s name as perpetrator, complete with picture. What happen to Child Protection Act, Japan? Don’t you have one?

Aishiteru~ Kizuna tried so hard to be a touching movie. Heck, it is a touching movie at least if you are not secretly a stone-hearted cyborg, like I am. However, as I watched I keep thinking that the focus of the movie should be on something else. I would not discount Naoto’s feelings and conflicts as unimportant, but at times he did seem selfish when everyone around him obviously experienced something more difficult because of the same incident.

I would much prefer the movie to focus on Tomoya’s life instead. How would he continue life after such a dark past? What exactly prompted him to move away from his family? Would he make peace with himself in the end? I swear this is not because I want longer movie/serial with more screen time for Mukai Osamu.

On the bright fangirl-ish side, THIS MOVIE GOT OKADA MASAKI AND MUKAI OSAMU IN THE SAME FRAME. Well, actually only in one scene, but it’s the most important one. Let me have a moment of happy fangirling over here.

But I love you, I love you both!


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