Rating : ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Categorisation: TV thriller/drama series
Availability: Netflix – subtitled
Plot: written by Shunju Aono, and directed by Michihito Fujii, Million Yen Women was released in 2017 by TV Tokyo. Shin Michima is an unsuccessful young novelist, and the series revolves around whether his novels are any good, and the tricky problem of writer’s block. He lives alone, until one day a young woman arrives in his apartment, unannounced and unexpected. Four further young women come to stay, all strangers to each other, and each pay him one million yen a month to stay with him. All the women have responded to an invitation to stay with Shin, written by a mysterious sender. Like the characters, we don’t know who has issued the invitation nor do we know why. There are rules. Shin must look after the women, they must all eat together, but no personal questions can be asked, nor can personal information be shared. Over the series we nevertheless get to know a little of the women as rules break down and consequences occur.
Cast: There are some great performances in this series. Shin plays a wonderful part (despite his over-long fringe) as a somewhat reserved character who finds himself living with five stunning women. Each woman brings a uniqueness to her character, and effectively keeps us wondering why they have responded to the invitation, what role they have in the drama, and what their characters will do next.
Filming and setting: Much of the drama is set in Shin’s apartment, but we also get to see glimpses of Japanese life, including its nightlife, both funny and serious. The film also captures, often poignantly, the nature of Japanese relationships shaped by an Asian social milieu.
I think this is a terrific series, reflecting my 5 star rating. It’s clever, puzzling and intriguing. At the beginning it seems that we are watching a curious domestic drama unfold, then things get much more sinister. This makes it a pretty unique thriller. Its twelve short episodes drive the action, and a lot is packed into each episode. It’s an unusual thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. We watched it in two nights!
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