Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Akai Ito Threads of Destiny

The love that you receive is equal to the love you give & for those rare souls who give with no thought of receipt… only they are worthy of the eternal love

Aria Cunningham, The Princess of Sparta

Title
Akai Ito  (2006)
Also known as
Threads of Destiny
Genre
Melodrama,   Romance  
Country of Origin
Japan
Episodes
11

oh! … brief

This dorama weaves the tragic story of two people who have the misfortune of being born on the same day in the same year to a parent addicted to drugs. The two ‘families’ know each other and the children begin their lives growing up together. Separated in early childhood, the two meet briefly as 8-year old strangers and then once again when they reach 14 or 15 years old.

oh! … talks drama

The narration for this dorama doesn’t translate well, but the premise of the story is unique and captivating by dorama standards. I believe the writers did a great job with the screenplay and the premise and I enjoyed how they developed the characters throughout the production. I was pleased that while there was significant melodrama incorporated into the story, it was not excessive or unbearable and simply portrayed which is far more realistic than the type of melodrama one expects from South Korea.

I was held prisoner by the sadness that is interwoven into the fabric of this story and hauntingly exists within every scene.

The male lead, Nishino Atsushi (Akun) was played by Mizobata Junpei. Of all the roles, I think this was the most complex. Mizobata Junpei portrayed Akun’s devotion to his mother and his studies remarkably well. I liked how in contrast to the other males in the story, he came off as being simple (not simple-minded) in the way he dressed and his mannerisms. He painted a very sad but realistic picture of the life of a child who’s only living parent is addicted to drugs and the lifestyle associated. It was very sad but accomplished with a certain amount of skill.

Takemiya Mei, the female lead was played by Minamisawa Nao. At first, I thought Takemiya Nao’s  acting was a little off, but then I understood that both actors had likely been instructed to play down their roles. I enjoyed watching her interact with her friends and then Akun. I believe she portrayed her gentle-hearted and caring character beautifully. And the angst she suffers from the horrific situations she witnesses and is indirectly involved in was delivered well. All those situations are typical for students living in the current age.

The second major male role, Takahashi Riku played by Kimura Ryo was scarily realistic. The fun-loving comedian one minute and the angry, abusive boyfriend the next. This character was exceptionally well researched and written. And Kimura Ryo did a fine job of delivering both the funny, comical and the scary easy-to-anger sides of his character. The only criticism I have is that men and particularly boys don’t easily and readily draw the conclusion themselves that they are being abusive. It’s more common that the issue of their aggression has to be pointed out to them, and several times at that before they understand that their anger is negatively affecting their relationships.

The cinematography was simple. In fact, the director went out of his way to make this production as simple as possible and it better reflected the real world, rather than a lavish production. That was a skilled decision on his part. There are no fantastic award-winning scenes, the story is captured in a very straightforward manner. It’s as if someone with their phone or portable camera turned the video feature on and captured a real-life story. I liked that about this production.

The soundtrack featured at least one song that I really enjoyed and it’s not surprisingly Akai Ito by Kobukuro and you can find it covered by Aragaki Yui online.

The dorama itself deals with pretty heavy life issues – the obvious being drug addiction and how easy it is to fall into becoming a user, pusher, and dealer, especially with neglected children. I don’t know what the situation is like in Japan for teens, but here in Canada teenage drug use is a huge problem and one that still has a whole lot of taboo involved. In my opinion, the rates have increased tenfold with each year so the approach to educating teens against drug use is failing miserably and needs to be changed.

Another issue in this production that is glazed over somewhat is teen suicide. Yes, the individual, in this case, escapes death, but that doesn’t happen often in the real world. As a child who survived her father’s suicide, I speak from experience. When someone wants to die, they make a solid plan before enacting on it and you if you’re watching closely enough you can sometimes see the clues they leave. You might be able to save a life, but that is rare. Suicide attempts are a desperate cry for help and the last resort when the pain of living becomes so unbearable. If you know someone living like this, just love them, be the reason that they choose to live if you can be. But don’t feel guilty if you survive their death.

An important issue raised is teen pregnancy and I think the director did his best to be dignified about its portrayal for the production. When I was young, I only remember one instance of a girl in our neighbourhood who got pregnant as a teen. She had a reputation of being ‘easy’ so it wasn’t surprising when she ‘disappeared’ for almost a year. Nobody every pointed finger or called the family out but years later I met her. She was my brother’s age. She told me how she had given her daughter up for adoption. Abortion in our country of residence at the time she was pregnant was non-existent and her family were extremely religious. I think she lived with regret but would have made the same decision even knowing she would live with regret. Teen pregnancies and abortion are common. It is frightening to understand that the abortion industry is killing off hundreds of thousands, even millions of unborn fetuses across the globe. Abortion is not contraception. If you’re going to have sex, take the right precautions if you don’t want a baby or are too young to be a parent to a child!

oh! … sidekicks

There are two that I want to write about, but there were others that supported the leads and brought the story to life.

The first is Nishino Natsumi, Akun’s drug-addicted mother, who was played by Yamamoto Mirai. You don’t get to see the bad or the ugly part of being a drug addict, you do see someone involved in therapy and being treated by a really caring doctor. Yamamoto Mirai had a difficult role to pull off and she did a fair job. I don’t think she was great, but her acting wasn’t so bad that it caused disbelief or created a distraction to the storyline. I expected a lot more drama and raging from her and was waiting for it to come, it never did. That is my only criticism, but that is more to do with the writing for the role than it is the acting. I loved the relationship between mother and son and think Yamamoto Mirai portrayed the dependence on her son well. She also delivered realistic guilt-ridden angst. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t awful.

The guy who got it right and seamlessly delivered his character was Ogi Shigemitsu. He played Morisaki Takamichi, a former drug addict who turned his life around and becomes Akun’s surrogate father and support. Ogi Shigemitsu is a seasoned actor in Japan with at least 30 drama and film roles under his belt. I loved that he was cast in this role. I enjoyed listening and watching him play father-figure to Akun and the wise words he shared with some of the other characters. Ogi Shigemitsu didn’t have a huge part, but he seamlessly delivered all his scenes and was a firm favourite for me.

oh! … that’s a wrap

Akai Ito didn’t get rave reviews and many people hated this dorama. I didn’t! But that’s usually the case. The issues dealt with in this production are important and I think the writer and director painted a mostly realistic experience. I love how different the drama is from that of South Korea and China. The entertainment value while being simplified was far greater than expected. I like this one. I recommend this one and I will watch this one again.

You might enjoy this if you can appreciate entertainment that isn’t excessive and deals with real-life issue realistically.

oh! … tidbits

An Asian folklore belief that is central to this dorama is all about the threads of destiny. Two souls that are fated to be together as tied by an invisible red thread of fate. No matter what obstacles stand in the way, the red thread of fate keeps the two souls bound and linked together. The belief is much like the western world who believe in soulmates. The difference is that a soulmate is not necessarily a lover or person you will ultimately be married to.

oh! … soundtrack

oh! … gallery

oh! … trailers

 

Written by