“It is usually a beautiful goldfish but if you keep it in dirty water, the goldfish becomes dirty too.” This beautiful line from the latest Japanese show airing on Netflix captures the very essence of the show.
The show revolves around an unhappy, rich couple that has fallen out of love. The husband is abusive, almost absent in her life, possessive, controlling, and toxic. Despite all this, he is also cheating on her with another woman.
The wife is a complete contrast. She is submissive, innocent, and longs for love that’s lost between the couple. Sakura, the protagonist, grows, flourishes into a stronger, more independent person and it is this growth and the cute, romantic, and hard journey that the show intends to capture.
Amidst this, the story introduces subplots about other women or couples who feel claustrophobic in their relationships. The show also captures their growth out and their journey to not letting a phase define them but instead using it as a tool to mold themselves to better people.
No wife shown at the start of the film is the same at the end. Each has taken a different trajectory, a path that is right for them.
In addition to the story's beautiful elements, the direction and the execution of the film enhance every aspect of it.
This show has the most talented ensemble cast, starring Ryoko Shinohara, Takanori Iwata, Masanobu Ando, Kyoko Hasegawa, Wakana Matsumoto, and many others. Each actor does a beautiful job in portraying their characters no matter how naïve, romantic, or even toxic they are. Sakura's husband is a riveting character, and without an actor who can pull off such a role brilliantly, the role would have been a waste.
This show has one of the most interesting directions ever. Several scenes show a contrast between a couple, two people, or an experience. These disparities are executed to perfection. From the shift between the background music to silence, or the change in the color palette from warm, soothing colors, to sharp, dark ones – the show does a wonderful job in enhancing the feel of the film.
The love angle between Sakura and Haruto has calm and soothing background music. The color theme is warm colors like yellow, and orange. These denote comfort, innocence, and a sense of warmth that perfectly define their blooming relationship.
The lust of the husband is has a contrasting color palette. It is usually sharp or dark with tone black, red, and even a sharper yellow that strikes with a sense of passion, danger, or sickness.
This is one of the most beautiful aspects of the film that one can not miss noticing.
The camera angles and shots perfectly match what the audience feels about every relationship. Most of the shots with Sakura and her husband are extremely wide shots showing a sense of detachment and isolation from each other.
The use of background music for ominous and even romantic scenes isn’t overdone. There is a beautiful balance that they strike by shifting between background music and silence.
Outside of these intricate details, what really holds the audience is the blooming love story between Sakura and Haruto and its difference from the infidelity of her husband. She feels comforted and longs for a life that her husband no longer bothers to provide. His anger stems from the fact that she is not able to have children. He looks down upon her as a commodity that would stick by his side because of her supposed flaw.
Sakura and Haruto are different. They are loving, romantic, and a couple that every person would root for. Captivating chemistry draws the audience in from the get-go.
Another interesting aspect is the metaphors that the story presents, between the wives and fish. There are obvious parallels between Sakura and the fish, but in a way, every wife is the fishbowl fish who finally releases themselves from the grip of fear, judgment, and resentment and learns to accept themselves for who they really are.
This review would be incomplete without taking a moment to appreciate the dialogues. They fit perfectly with their situation. They are so layered and are metaphorical of love, circumstances, and clutches that they need to break free from.
A few dialogues that I absolutely loved are: “You can’t breathe without letting all the air out” show the importance of letting go of the past to welcome the future wholeheartedly, and my favorite is “When you notice the symptoms of a disease, it’s often too late” to perfectly describe love.
It's a must-watch, filled with heartwarming romance and a compelling storyline that you won't want to miss.
Final Score – [9/10]
Reviewed by – Aalaya Sonti
Follow her @layaarants on Twitter
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