- Title: 家族ゲーム
- Title (romaji): Kazoku Game
- Format: Renzoku
- Genre: Family, school
- Viewership rating: TBA
- Broadcast network: Fuji TV
- Broadcast period: 2013-Apr-17 start
- Air time: Wednesday 22:00
- Theme song: Endless Game by Arashi
Episode 02 Review
So, the first episode had me spewing out a bunch of “wtf!” and “eh?” & it still had me hooked. For this episode, there was less “wtf”/”eh?” going on and more “oh shit!” happening. And I am very intrigued by it all.
It’s just like any other morning in the Numata household, except …
Yoshimoto-sensei is doing radio taisho
… right in front of their window as they are eating breakfast and it’s creepin the f*ck out of everyone, including me. So why is he even there so early? Shinichi suspects that he is monitoring if Shigeyuki is goes to school or not. Why? Remember that wager at the end of Episode 1? If Shigeyuki goes to school for an entire week, then Yoshimoto will quit. Kayoko had told Kazushige that night; however, he met up with Asami and went drinking with her. He tells the family that he went drinking with a subordinate. You lyin’ son of a-. The fact that you’re lying for something like this means the cheating has begun! Kayoko asks him to fire Yoshimoto, but he’s worried about the breach-of-contract fee. Shinichi asks Kazushige why he even signed without reading. Always read the fine print kids! Kazushige tells them how Yoshimoto showed up suddenly at his office and Shinichi figures that was all premeditated. You may be arrogant, but you smart boy -.-; I’m sure any viewer can figure this out lol.
Yoshimoto enters the house just as Shigeyuki comes down in his school uniform. Kazushige and Kayoko are surprised he’s going to school. As Kayoko is preparing Yoshimoto’s breakfast, Kazushige whispers to her that he’s a good guy and that he’s worried about Shigeyuki. She thinks otherwise.
While Shigeyuki walks to school …
Yoshimoto accompanies him.
Shigeyuki can’t get what Yoshimoto had told him the night before .. “I killed someone.” Just outside the school gate, Shigeyuki confirms with Yoshimoto that he will quit if he goes to school for a week. BUT, there’s a penalty if he doesn’t. If Shigeyuki is absent even one day, he becomes Yoshimoto’s dog. That’s right, you read correctly! Shigeyuki, at the tender age of .. what? 12? 13? .. will have to become the psycho tutor’s bitch! He will have to do whatever Yoshimoto says.
As he enters the classroom, everyone falls silent. He notices thumbtacks glued to his seat and his desk vandalized. When the teacher comes in, he forces himself to slowly sit down. One of his bullying classmates pushes his desk causing him to fall onto the thumbtacks. AND THIS IS THE ONLY REASON WHY I DO NOT WANT CHILDREN. I am afraid that my child will be the type that bullies others. Granted I know that it is my responsibility to teach my child what is right and what is wrong. But good gawd, peer pressure is immense these days and other parents don’t teach their own kids properly. I usually never want to smack a child, but THESE BULLIES are an exception. I would smack them so hard, a bump the size of my handprint will appear. END RANT LOL. So as all this is happening, Yoshimoto is taking pictures from the roof of the school with his usual 「いいねぇ。」
As Shigeyuki is about to leave class, one of the bullies purposely bumps into him and drops his cellphone. The bully ..
.. claims that Shigeyuki broke his phone and demands a payment of 30,000¥, claiming that his phone is a new model when, in fact, it’s old. Yoshimoto approaches the bully group outside the school gates and informs them that he knows they are the ones bullying Shigeyuki. He tells them that their way of bullying is wrong. When the mofo tries to brush him off, Yoshimoto grabs him by the arm and says ..
“Hear me out until the end.”
What surprises me the most about this scene is the setting .. right after school, in front of the gates, surrounded by a bunch of other students/peers. And yet, no one is doing a damn thing about it. Anyways~ Shigeyuki asks Shinichi to borrow 5,000¥, to which he gives him, but not without stating “if it’s too painful, isn’t it okay not going?” Shigeyuki tells Shinichi that he’s afraid that Yoshimoto will kill him and tells him about what Yoshimoto had told him. With great timing, Yoshimoto shows up and he heard everything. He and Shigeyuki go to Shigeyuki’s room to start the lesson. Today it’s Japanese writing. The prompt – write down each and every way he has been bullied. Shigeyuki stubbornly tells him, “I was not bullied.” Of course, the great Yoshimoto knows all and says, “If you lie, I’ll hit your butt with a bat. Seems it’ll be effective today.” At that, Shigeyuki writes. As he reads his essay aloud ..
Yoshimoto-sensei falls asleep.
The next day, Kazushige is being picky about which tie to wear and Yoshimoto is outside the winidow doing radio taisho again. Shinichi informs his parents that Shigeyuki may be getting bullied again. And this is what frustrates me even more. Their parents have NO IDEA, NOT EVEN AN INKLING that Shigeyuki is struggling. I know that kids do not tell their parents much of anything these days, but come on! Kazushige thinks about asking Shigeyuki; however, Shinichi states that “if he wanted you to help, he would have asked you.” Just this statement makes the situation even more sad. Their own child cannot confide in them. Shinichi leaves for school, but not without giving Yoshimoto one, last good glare. Shigeyuki comes down for breakfast and the look look at each other awkwardly, seeing if they should say something or not. Kazushige decides not to and leaves for work. Yoshimoto sees all of this and goes 「いいねぇ。」
At the office, Kazushige goes out to lunch with Asami. She flirts with him openly and he doesn’t seem to mind. Once again, the sound of a camera is going off and we see ..
“The father who doesn’t care about Shigeyuki at all.”
“The older brother who pretends to worry about Shigeyuki.”
“The mother that doesn’t want to talk about Shigeyuki.”
As Kayoko leaves her group of “friends,” she stops around the corner when she hears them talking about Shigeyuki, which causes her to bite her nails nervously once more. Yoshimoto shows up again and asks her a bunch of questions. He brings up her husband and he notes that his ties have gotten flashier. He tells her that it’s only his suspicion, just like her neighbors. She rambles that “Everyone wants to say what they want, even when they have no idea.” At that, Yoshimoto asks, “Then what do you know?” He states there is a popular trend where parents want to be friends with their children. “But isn’t that just a disregard of proper parenting?” TRUTH. And that parents are afraid of scolding their children. Kayoko assumes he’s talking about her as well. He doesn’t brush off that notion and simply says, “But now that teachers can no longer raise a hand against their students, who will properly scold them?” You have a point sensei, a good point.In some random warehouse, Shigeyuki gives the mofo and his followers (including Sonoda) 8,000¥, for the time being. They call him weak and states that they were told about an interesting way to make him pay. For each hit, they minus 1¥. Everyone seems to be enjoying the torture of Shigeyuki, except Sonoda.
A look of hesitation is shown when he’s told to hit Shigeyuki as well.
Naturally, peer pressure instantly takes over and he hits Shigeyuki. At the Numata household, Yoshimoto and Shinichi are playing Jenga! I was never really good with this game. If by good you mean knocking it down, then I am excellent! Shinichi asks him if he really killed someone. Yoshimoto states he did.
Yoshimoto: What do you think it feels like to be on the verge of dying?
Shinichi: I wouldn’t know something like that. I’ve never thought about it.
Yoshimoto: As expected. I knew you would say that. -looks at Shinichi- It’s your turn.
Their little game of “Jenga” is interrupted when they hear Kayoko asking Shigeyuki what’s wrong. He’s lying on the ground by the front door. Yoshimoto and Shinichi comes downstairs. When Shigeyuki gets up, Yoshimoto tells him to undress. When Shigeyuki refuses to, Yoshimoto grabs him and lifts his shirt where noticeable bruises can be seen. Kayoko asks Shigeyuki to tell her who beat him. However, Yoshimoto questions what she’s going to do if he even tells her. Call the school? Tell their parents? Nothing will matter because it can only heighten the situation. Shinichi suggests to let things play out and see how it goes. He turns to Shigeyuki and says, “For the time being, you should rest awhile and do things at your own pace.” I’m conflicted here. To me, it sure sounds like ‘Shigeyuki, just give up.’ Especially with those fake caring eyes of his.
Why I oughtta poke them!
Yoshimoto can see right through his bullshit and laughs mockingly at his words.
“Why are you saying these Jpop-like lyric sounding things for?
Do you really think people can become more positive after resting?
People who can start over don’t even stop in the first place.”
No one says a word. CAUSE YOU KNOW DEM WORDS SPEAK THE TRUTH. He turns to Shigeyuki, declares they’re having extracurricular lessons, and takes him to the warehouse where he was beaten. Yoshimoto tells him why he’s the target of bullying. “Because you have no will to fight. If you show your fangs, the opponent may falter,” and head-butts him. Nice, or should I say 「いいねぇ。」 So, what exactly is the lesson? Toughen the little guy up. He tells Shigeyuki to do the same to him and when he refuses to, Yoshimoto pushes/aggravates him until he does so. And ..
Shinichi was observing not so far away.
Looks like his mother sent him to do so. He reports that it is a fighting lesson and Kazushige doesn’t have a problem with it. O.O And the world’s worst father award’s nominees are .. He does not want to argue with Kayoko about it and tries to retire upstairs. However, Kayoko states that his taste in neckties have changed. He brushes it off and heads upstairs, while she’s staring hard at his retreating figure. Shinichi, once again, watching the whole thing.
Back at the warehouse, Yoshimoto is wandering around and suddenly pauses. He imagines/sees a child, reprimanding him about his ways:
“Do you think you can atone for your sins with this?”
Yoshimoto starts to bend over in some kind of pain. He looks up to see a bloody hand and blood dripping from ghost kid’s mouth. This is like some kind of horror movie shit right here. Yoshimoto is on his knees as Shigeyuki is calling out for him.
The next day at school, the bullies drag Shigeyuki to the same warehouse for another beating. This time he ain’t taking shit. He head-butts mofo and makes a run for it. The course he takes is the one Yoshimoto showed/told him to run, which leads to his house. Mofo tries to throw a rock only to be stopped by Yoshimoto. At this, Yoshimoto tells him “why don’t you think of another way?” I’ve learned at this point not to even bother questioning Yoshimoto lol. It’s just natural that he’s the one who has planned every single thing happening. He enters the Numata house and gives Shigeyuki a high-five. Looks like Shigeyuki is beginning to trust Yoshimoto-sensei now.
In the infamous sauna, Kazushige and Yoshimoto are “talking” about Shigeyuki. However, Kazushige’s real motive was to ask Yoshimoto advice on where to take a girl in her 20s out. You cheating sack of-. Yoshimoto catches on really quick. Go figure. He asks Kazushige if he’s having an affair and, of course, Kazushige denies such a thing. Yoshimoto eggs him on by stating that he knows a good place near a lot of hotels. Kazushige gives in and asks Yoshimoto where that place is. During their talk, Shigeyuki enters the already-way-too-small-for-two sauna and asks Yoshimoto for an extracurricular lesson. Yoshimoto’s response:
Meanwhile, Shinichi is at his girlfriend’s house, researching about Yoshimoto. As his girlfriend is all over him, he asks her to ask her brother if he can look into Toudai graduates. Honestly, Shinichi looks so disinterested in this girl. Why even have a girlfriend?? LOL. I guess it’s just the norm or something he feels like he HAS to do? The following day, Shinichi follows/stalks Yoshimoto. Naturally, Yoshimoto knows this and tells Shinichi to follow him anyway. Where to? To watch Shigeyuki get bullied/beaten/tasered in a secluded area. Shinichi asks Yoshimoto how he knew about the place. Yoshimoto’s answer:
“I’m the one who told them about it.”
Yoshimoto films the torture and Shinichi panically asks him if he’s just going to watch/do nothing. Yoshimoto fires back with, “So, you’re just going to watch? That cheap sense of justice is just for appearances. If I wasn’t here, you’d just stand there and do nothing.” BINGO! Once again, Shinichi looks like he’s just been bitch slapped by the reality stick. Mofo passes Sonoda the taser, but Sonoda does not want to do it. Shinichi looks pained just watching, so he turns his eyes away and occassionally sneaks glances. Sonoda tells Mofo to stop and they do.
Once they’re gone, Yoshimoto turns to leave and Shinichi asks him why he would do such a thing. Yoshimoto tells him that all he told those kids was, “your way of doing things is wrong. If you don’t bully him worse, Shigeyuki won’t succumb,” etc. The answer isn’t good enough and he still questions Yoshimoto, calling him crazy. No shit. Shinichi runs to Shigeyuki’s side and Yoshimoto walks away.
It’s morning now and Yoshimoto didn’t join the Numata’s for breakfast, like he has been. Shigeyuki does not go to school and Yoshimoto knows this. He enters Shigeyuki’s room and Shigeyuki admits defeat. Now he must listen to Yoshimoto like a good dog and get dressed/ready for school. Shigeyuki doesn’t want to go and Yoshimoto forces him to go, dragging/pushing him all the way there. In front of the school gates, Shigeyuki tries to make a run for it; however, Yoshimoto catches him easily, grabbing him by the hair/head. Shigeyuki screams that he doesn’t want to go and falls to the ground as he shouts, “I don’t want to die,” in tears. He breaks down and asks why he has to go through any of it. Yoshimoto crouches down and tells him “being conscious of death makes you feel alive for the first time. Feeling alive makes you become kind to people for the first time.” Great to know! Now, why can’t you teach those bullying brats a lesson like this! Yoshimoto grabs his face and tells him ..
“You did great! Should I give you a reward.”
In the classroom, Shigeyuki is being dragged in by Yoshimoto and is put, standing, on a chair. Yoshimoto introduces himself to the class and announces, “Shigeyuki said he’ll commit suicide if he’s bullied again.” The look on Shigeyuki’s face is the same as the look on mine, “EH!?” The class thinks he’s lying and Yoshimoto assures them he’s not, “he’s thinking of jumping or hanging himself.” Wow, you’ve really thought this through sensei. What’s even more surprising is that Yoshimoto has prepared a letter addressed to each classmate. Not just any letter, Shigeyuki’s suicide letter. One student tells him, “Stop joking. We haven’t bullied him.” Yoshimoto, in reply, yells, “But you’ve been allowing the bullying!” Silence. Yoshimoto pulls out his cellphone with video footage against Yamao, Sonoda, Takeshita, Ichihara, and Mitsui. One of them is obviously who I like to refer to as “Mofo,” but I won’t bother trying to see just which one he is. He threatens to send the video to the board of education and media outlets should Shigeyuki die. It won’t be just them that will be in trouble. It will be the entire class. The same kid asks, “Are you threatening us?” NO DUHHHHH. He informs them that he is neither a parent or their teacher and he will ruin their lives if Shigeyuki gets bullied again. Complete silence and understanding echoes throughout the classroom. Yoshimoto leaves just as their actual teacher enters the classroom. Class resumes and Shigeyuki notices that his chair is broken. Rather than sitting down and taking it, he tells the teacher that the chair is broken. On his way home, he’s happy/giddy for the first time. At his house, Yoshimoto is snacking away on his couch and Shigeyuki gives him a high-five.
At a lovely/classy bar, Kazushige and Asami are out on their little date. She notes that there are a lot of hotels nearby. At home, Kayoko is doing laundry and notices the lipstick mark on Kazushige’s dirty clothes. Poor woman T_T She muffles her cries into the shirt. Upstairs, Yoshimoto reminds Shigeyuki that he’s his bitch. Shinichi enters the room with a yearbook of Toudai graduates. There’s Yoshimoto Kouya, but it isn’t the Yoshimoto we know.
“Who are you really?”
HAI~ Owari~!! So, Yoshimoto’s past is just getting more complicated by the second. Kazushige is being led into some suspicious crap. Kayoko .. poor thing .. is in pain and bottling it all up. Shinichi is snooping around things he shouldn’t be. And Shigeyuki, well let’s just say I’m glad that at least ONE thing kinda nice happened to him. Even though he was severely tortured by his own peers with a stun gun. I’d like to taser them in the nuts! Where did they even manage to get/buy one of those?
I’m going to try and break down my thoughts/opinions of each of the Numata’s. (1) Kazushige: Don’t like him. He’s so oblivious and nonchalant about everything, it sickens me. And he’s pretty much openly cheating on his wife. As for the girl (Asami), it seems as if she’s been planted by Yoshimoto to tempt Kazushige, and boy is it working better/easier than ever. (2) Kayoko: I’m split/torn. I feel bad for her that she’s been basically emotionally abused; yet, at the same time, she’s not sticking up for herself and just chooses not to say anything about .. everything! (3) Shinichi: Boy likes to dig his grave past 6ft under. He holds himself so high and every time Yoshimoto puts him in check, he brushes the next day. (4) Shigeyuki: I feel so sorry for this kid. He’s blamed for the family’s dysfunction; when, in fact, it is everyone else.
There are a lot of theories spinning around out there and most of them are how Sho is masterminding everything. My close friend has a VERY GOOD theory: Yoshimoto was once a bully and accidentally killed his victim. He was once just like Shinichi as well – smart, good-looking, top in his class, athletic, etc. Now, he’s trying to repent for his horrible past. I am sure we all know that Yoshimoto’s goal is to break and mend this family. I believe his targets are in this order .. Shigeyuki –> Shinichi –> Kayoko –> Kazushige.
Well until Episode 3! Which will most likely be put up tomorrow (hopefully), so I can fully catch up on review this drama.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10