Netflix original Japanese drama The Village revolves around Yuu Katayama, a tortured soul weighed down by childhood trauma and the burden by having to tend to an alcoholic mother. His father, a decent man, had fallen victim to the twists of fate, and The Village sought to lure Yuu down a similar path.
How Did Yuu Turn Into A Murderer?
Yuu Katayama’s father had been a local activist and once led a protest group against the illegal disposal of waste products in Kamon-mura village. In those days, Yuu was a cheerful and charming little boy, much like the village itself, with its scenic landscapes and tranquility. However, as time passed, both the village and Yuu lost their allure. The village transformed into a site for biohazard waste disposal, while Yuu was burdened with guilt and trauma stemming from his father’s actions. Unfortunately, Yuu’s father was wrongly implicated by the influential figure in the village’s waste management plant, Shusaku Ohashi, who had indirect involvement in the illegal disposal of biohazard waste at the landfill. Although the film presented the twist ambiguously, it suggested that Yuu’s father was accused of murdering an officer who might have been actually killed by Ohashi. Ohashi, after committing the crime, burned down the officer’s house and disappeared. Consequently, Yuu’s father became a convicted murderer and either took his own life or was silenced by Ohashi’s associates.
The villagers, oblivious to the truth, distanced themselves from Yuu upon learning about his father’s conviction. Growing up isolated, Yuu experienced immense suffering, gradually adapting to solitude. His once lively demeanor transformed into that of a traumatized, often silent individual, keeping his emotions bottled up. Meanwhile, Yuu’s mother succumbed to alcoholism and gambling, squandering the hard-earned money Yuu struggled to make. Disgusted with his life, Yuu continued to persevere, doing everything possible to make ends meet, including working as a landfill worker during the late hours. However, in the midst of the darkness, Yuu’s childhood friend, Misaki, brought a glimmer of hope into his life. Misaki had returned from Tokyo and recognized that all Yuu needed was an opportunity to prove his worth. She enlisted him as a tourist guide for the school exhibitions at the waste management plant. This was the time when fate took an unexpected turn for Yuu, reminiscent of a dream or a stroke of luck. While the film’s portrayal was very unconvincing, it introduced an abrupt change in Yuu’s destiny. Initially hesitant, Yuu accepted Misaki’s proposal and showcased his potential as a public speaker. His way of talking was articulate and captivating, swiftly propelling him to the position of a tourist guide for the entire village. However, this stroke of luck was short-lived in Yuu’s tumultuous life.
Yuu and the other landfill workers employed by the criminal leader, Maruoka, were all familiar faces to each other. They were all needy, hungry common people of the village, often disconnected from moral standards, desperately striving to earn money. Consequently, no one dared speak out against the illegal biohazard disposal, including Yuu. Toru, Ohashi’s son, a dominant and aggressive individual who viewed women as his possessions, actively supervised these illicit activities. He bullied Yuu, making it difficult for him to have so much as a moment of peace. Thus, Yuu’s sudden transformation was overwhelming for him. Additionally, he harbored a growing desire for revenge upon seeing Misaki and Yuu together, which further fueled his anger. In a fit of rage, Toru attempted to assault Misaki but was interrupted by Yuu. This led to a violent altercation, resulting in Misaki stabbing Toru to death. The shocking turn of events cast a dark shadow over Yuu’s life, making him realize that his beautiful dream was on the verge of shattering.
Misaki’s brother, Keiichi, exposed the illegal waste disposal to the police, and Ohashi pressured Yuu to handle the situation. Towards the end of the film, Ohashi discovers that Yuu and Misaki are the murderers of his son. Simultaneously, Yuu learns the truth about his father’s demise and how he was falsely accused of murder by Ohashi. Presented with the killer of his father before him, Yuu managed to control himself, as he didn’t want to respond like a criminal. However, Ohashi pushed the boundaries, urging Yuu to shift all the blame onto Misaki, essentially repeating history. Overwhelmed by a mix of complex emotions, including guilt, shock, and rage, Yuu couldn’t hold himself back any longer and strangled Ohashi to death. Afterward, he set his entire house ablaze, which also claimed the life of Ohashi’s ailing wife. Upon realizing the mess he had created, Yuu emerged from the house and, while facing Officer Kokichi, broke down in tears, probably on the brink of turning himself in for the murder.
What Happened To Misaki Nakai?
Misaki Nakai served as a constant source of support and love in Yuu’s life. When Yuu was leading a nearly lifeless existence, Misaki held his hand and helped him forget his pain with her positive spirit. Having grown up in Kamon alongside her best friend Yuu, Misaki developed a fondness for Noh, the traditional Japanese drama that captivated her with its otherworldly beauty and remarkable use of music. She cherished every moment of life, having been raised in a village of natural splendor and festivities. However, her experience in the claustrophobic city life of Tokyo was not very enthralling for her. There, Misaki faced a lot of criticism regarding her work, but she never gave up on herself. Although the film did mention a psychological disorder she had, it never provided a clear explanation.
Misaki was a compassionate person who, upon her return to Kamon-mura, dedicated herself to the development of her village and the waste management plant where she was employed. In her role as a public relations worker, she diligently organized school tours at the waste plant, providing students with an educational opportunity to understand the operations of the waste management facility and the significant environmental benefits it offered. Gradually, she transferred her positive nature to Yuu, recognizing his untapped potential. She encouraged Yuu to view life as a dream and consider past traumas as mere nightmares, urging him to focus on the light.
Consequently, Misaki secured the position of a tourist guide for Yuu, enabling him to become a self-sufficient individual who didn’t need to rely on illegal activities anymore. However, Misaki’s attractiveness caught the attention of Toru, who had lecherous intentions. Toru attempted to persuade Misaki to give up on Yuu, but she made it clear that she didn’t want Toru to interfere in her personal matters. Toru’s inability to accept this led to him forcefully trying to engage in intimacy with Misaki. Although Yuu intervened, Toru was on the verge of killing him. In a moment of desperation, Misaki stabbed Toru from behind, saving Yuu’s life. Pressured to avoid legal consequences and fearful of losing her job and peace, Misaki remained silent while Yuu single-handedly buried Toru’s lifeless body.
When the body was eventually discovered, both Yuu and Misaki felt the weight of their happy moments crumbling away. Misaki contemplated turning herself in, but Yuu forbade it, and his subsequent actions only further damaged his own prospects. The film concluded ambiguously, leaving the fate of Misaki open to interpretation. Perhaps she would fight to set Yuu free, but now that he had committed an actual murder, it seemed impossible for Misaki to salvage his life, let alone provide him with another opportunity.