That was my first thought of the title when I came across the 2019 Japanese mystery drama starring Haruma Miura. What got me to watch, however, was partly the famous actor and the poster design. After watching the first episode, I was hooked.
There are ways to stay in this world, even if your body is destroyed.Dying Eye, “Ruriko”
A male customer attacks Amemura Shinsuke (Haruma Miura) at a bar in Tokyo, which leads to memory loss. Shinsuke learns that he was responsible for Kishinaka Minae’s (Takahashi Maryjun) death in a traffic accident a year ago. The man who attacked him was her husband, Reiji.
Reiji commits suicide, and Shinsuke is advised by others to forget about the accident. However, something doesn’t sit well with him. One night, Ruriko, Minae’s doppelganger, visits Shinsuke wearing all-black. Since then, Shinsuke starts to lose his sanity and discovers what truly happened on the fateful rainy night.
Besides the acting and music, I enjoyed what this show explored: the ugly side of human greed and how its consequences are dealt with by different personalities. This is what I’ll be focusing on for the rest of this post.
Like every show, Dying Eye isn’t meant for everyone. You may have figured out who-dun-it before the end or expected more suspense/mystery. But in a nutshell, the story was executed well and isn’t draggy. It sticks to the point.
Exploring Dying Eye
I didn’t know what to expect from Dying Eye. Yes, it’s full of mystery, and you wonder whether Minae is a supernatural being or if she’s still alive. By the end, the answer is both.
Shinsuke discovers that he isn’t entirely responsible for Minae’s death. And while he descends into madness, he finds he isn’t the only victim.
There were four people responsible for Minae’s death. In the first episode, when Minae gets killed, she stares at her killer. Blood seeps out of her eye and the camera focus on her intensity.
Later, when Shinsuke becomes attracted to Ruriko, we see a hypnotic trance, a weapon that Ruriko uses to manipulate her victims. As Shinsuke stares into her eyes, he’s more impulsive. This results in him sleeping with Ruriko twice. (The scenes in this are graphic. Both are not full nudity, but one is more “revealing” than the other.)
Shinsuke’s investigation leads him to Haruhiko Kiuchi, who Shinsuke knew is a part of the crime but keeps denying to speak with him.
Kiuchi and his wife are involved in the crime, which his wife is already victimized by Ruriko.
Minae’s “dying eye” in the beginning represents her grudge and desire to live. At the time, Minae was pregnant and was biking home from work before the accident occurred. The four killers took everything from her. And Minae wasn’t going to let them go.
Kiuchi’s wife is unable to live with her guilt, and she starts seeing Minae’s ghost everywhere, which leads to her insanity. However, it doesn’t stop there. The man’s wife actively sought out Minae’s husband in hopes of finding some solace for her guilt. But this ends tragically with her taking her own life.
Each of the four killers has a different ending to this story. Shinsuke is left to bear the guilt by taking a bribe from his “trusted” friend, Eshima Koichi, to hide the details of the accident. Koichi’s life is ruined by greed, with him gouging out his eyes at the end. Kiuchi is in jail since he covered for his wife. And as said before, his wife is dead.
While it may seem that Kiuchi is the only “kind” soul in this show, he harmed himself by protecting others. Ironically, Koichi harmed himself by protecting himself. In the end, I argue that the focus was meant to be on these two characters than Shinsuke. Shinsuke is intended to act as a “puppet” so-to-speak to these two themes.
It also does a clever job of portraying the two sayings: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and “the eyes are the window to the soul.”
Also, it obviously shows how karma eventually comes back to bite you.
Dying Eye only has six episodes, shorter than most Japanese dramas. So, you can binge it in one night. If you enjoy a good paranormal mystery mixed with modern and psychological elements, give this one a shot.
Fun fact: This drama led me to discover Tokyo Bachelor as I wanted to see more from Maryjun. In Tokyo Bachelor, she stars as the protagonist’s ex-girlfriend.
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