Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magick
by Ender’s Girl
Akashiya Sanma, Kimura Takuya, Fukatsu Eri, Shibasaki Kou, Igawa Haruka, Morishita Aiko
In a Nutshell:
Homicide detective Dojima Kanzo investigates the mysterious death of a female college student, while his sister Yuko grapples with her growing attraction to Katase Ryo, an apprentice cook who has started dating Yuko’s heiress friend Miwa.
(SpoilLert: Land mines up ahead!!! Proceed at your own risk!!!)
[Recommended companion track: “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2]
“O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed.”
-Gerard Manley Hopkins, “No Worst, There Is None”
You would expect a drama bearing the title A Million Stars Falling From the Sky (The Smile Has Left Your Eyes) to be nothing short of epic. Images both great and terrible spring to mind, a tragic vision of Miltonian proportions. So you steel yourself for the onslaught, ready to be swept away by the darkness and the doom. (Don’t watch Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi if you’re in the mood for light, breezy fluff, obviously.) The drama’s overall tone is sordid and depressing, and the denouement does NOT go down smoothly. You’re in for a helluva ride down the homestretch, so buckle up and brace for impact. The whole thing has the atmosphere of a Greek tragedy, and you come away feeling dirty, as in deep-down dirty, right after watching it. Where do you even begin to make sense of this morass of malice, manipulation and murder? Everybody here is tainted, a gray area, deeply flawed and complex. When push comes to shove, nobody is above moral compromise. Nobody. “No worst, there is none.”
The jigsaw puzzle is a recurrent theme in this drama, from the opening credits down to the final moments. The college student’s death that prefaces the story is but one piece in this puzzle, with the Big Picture gradually materializing as each (seemingly unrelated) fragment falls into place. Despite the story kicking off with a homicide investigation, and despite one of the main characters being a detective, Sora Kara Furu… is not your action-packed whodunit or garden-variety police drama. It is something else altogether, and you get the feeling that whoever is assembling this puzzle is doing so at a very deliberate and measured pace. This drama is a slow burn for the first ten episodes, and you can only watch and wait in mingled fascination and dread as the story makes its inexorable climb to that unforgettable climax.
You wonder what the two parallel story lines — the homicide investigation and the Yuko-Ryo-Miwa love triangle — have to do with each other, but you realize soon enough that these arcs aren’t parallel at all, but crisscrossing threads in a growing web of lies and lust and secrets, of past sins and new crimes, of suspicion and cover-ups. And at the center of it all is Katase Ryo, with the face of an angel (and the body of, well, something else, heh heh heh) but possessing the deadened eyes of one who has fallen from grace long before the story unfolds, who charms with his smile while ever so subtly ensnaring people in his own machinations — until they are all dead, or broken.
Ryo is arguably Kimura Takuya’s darkest role to date. Like Shakespeare’s Iago, Ryo is the perfect criminal because he never gets his hands bloodied. Both masters at string-pulling and button-pushing, Iago and Ryo play god without a second thought, moving people around like willing pawns in the crimes they have masterminded, disposable pieces in their sick little games. Othello‘s Iago is described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as this “motiveless malignity,” though one can argue that there IS a motive behind Iago’s (and Ryo’s) sociopathy, and that is POWER — over people’s lives and destinies. The lust for power is a potent drug that creates a false patina of invincibility — and even immortality. For in Ryo’s illusory world, blinded by his own hubris, he really becomes a god, vowing to make the stars “fall from the sky” through sheer cunning and will — while spitting in the face of Fate. But nothing lasts forever, and these stars that Ryo has willed to fall from the heavens — these beautiful, unattainable stars that mock him in their splendor — plummet to earth in a deadly firestorm that leaves Ryo’s world in ashes. Trapped in his own endgame, the master of destiny becomes the prisoner of doom.