Saturday, March 16, 2013

Jdrama Review: Orthros no Inu (2009)

Orthros no Inu 

It’s a little whim I had: to watch something completely different. Given a choice between several different Jdramas by a friend, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone, and into the territory of supernatural thriller. Orthros no Inu, or The Dog of Orthros, caught my attention, and not only for the stunning gorgeousness of its two male leads. 

The Plot

Takizawa Hideaki is Ryuzaki Shinji, and Nishikido Ryo (1 Litre of Tears) is Aoi Ryosuke – two sides of a coin and each blessed/cursed with a unique power. One wields the “God’s hand” and can heal people with just a touch. The other has the “Demon’s hand” with the power to kill. Where this seemingly basic synopsis veers into the unknown, however, is in the portrayal of these two powerful figures. Aoi Ryosuke may have a devil’s curse, but he is terrified of his own abilities, while his counterpart Ryuzaki Shinji is a devil himself, with the gift of god. When they are brought together through female detective Hasebe Nagisa (Mizukawa Asami), the game begins. It’s a cat-and-mouse thriller, as the two battle and compete against each other and their insecurities, and try to uncover the hidden past. And all the while, the threat of exposure haunts them both. 

Nishikido Ryo and Takizawa Hideaki
From beginning to end, the mystery behind their powers drives the plot of the drama: just how much they know about each other and what are the implications of their gift. Is it a curse or blessing, or both, and how are they to be used? What is their purpose on this world? While a larger mythological background is hinted at, I actually appreciated how the drama focused more on the immediate repercussions. This isn’t a tale of gods and demons. It’s the story of two men who behind their powers are just as human as you or me. Their entanglement with Detective Hasebe gives this even more of a humanly-backing as she struggles to learn more about them - to trust or fear, protect or arrest. 
“If I were able to change this world, would God be the only one who could allow that? If humans were able to hold God’s powers, would they be able to change the world? There is only one problem. To be on par with God, there’s only one way. That is, just like God, to become heartless.” 
Thus begins the story, in voice-over form as Ryuzaki, the devil with a God’s hand, stands overlooking a city drenched in rain. The camera pans down to reveal Aoi, the angel with a devil’s hand, as he walks into the nearest police station and turns himself in for murder. 
“Coming here on my own makes the distinction, of what sort of person I, who has taken away that life, will become.” 
The "devil" and the "angel" 

It should be a story that is black and white, but as the picture above depicts – the demon wears white, and the angel wears black. Only their respective gifts are reflected in outside appearance. While I can’t say that I really agree that to be on par with God, they must become heartless like Him – that that is their image of God reflects the disconnect our characters feel from whatever being gifted them with god-like powers, and then abandoned them to make their own way. In a microcosm it’s the same walk that every human being has to go through: how to live their life, and how to use their own judgments to make or shape the world around them. It just so happens that Aoi and Ryzuzaki have the potential to make even greater impressions on a much larger scale.

The Dog of Orthros

The name comes from Greek mythology. Orthros was a two-headed dog beast (brother of the more famous 3-headed dog Cerberus), and minion to a giant. I'm sure other comparisons could be made between drama and myth, but there's not much known about the dog (other than that he eventually gets slain by Hercules). Rather, it's more interesting to me that nowhere in the show does it say which man, the angel or the demon, is the actual beast. Both are just two parts of the same whole. 

Not to ignore the drama’s political plotline (because, in this kind of scenario unfortunately one just has to exist), but that part was a little more on the predictable side of things – the only questionable outcome is which man, if either, would align with the greedy and power-hungry parties and politicians. What was more subtly done I thought were many of the side characters, including Detective Hasebe’s young daughter (who often seemed to understand important things better even than her mother), and delinquent youth Kumakiri Masaru (Yaotome Hikaru). *Note: All three of this drama's aforementioned male actors were all J-Pop idols. I may not have listened to their music (J-Pop’s not really my thing), but I do so love it when I get to praise idols for being great actors. Good job, boys! 

Or is he really just a devil?

Should you watch it? 

*coughs* Well, just look at my score. I could barely turn away from this drama, and not even the political plotline bored me for more than a few minutes at a time. Like most Jdramas, the romance may be a tiny bit lacking, but the relationship between the three main players was anything but lacking in overall chemistry. The thriller/mystery aspects were also extremely well done (if not completely perfect) but enough that even knowing the outcome, I’d be likely to watch it again.


  1. Tacky!! <3
    erm, anyways ^.^'
    Loved it as well :D
    My dislike (in general) for both leads completely disappeared after watching it ^^ When I watched 1 Litre of Tears, I was impressed by Ryo's acting, but I still didn't like the guy :x

    1. Because of his music? or another reason.
      siigh, I should watch that.. soon, I promise!