The Village, a Netflix original Japanese drama, centers around the formerly idyllic and serene Kaman-mura village. A resident of the village, Yuu Katayama, burdened by his father’s criminal past, undergoes various challenges throughout the series. While Yuu’s character receives significant attention, the show’s narrative also explores his interactions with other characters who are equally important to the storyline. However, despite the film’s compelling premise, it falls short of expectations, leaving viewers feeling unsatisfied at the end.
Shusaku Ohashi: Did Ohashi Frame Yuu’s father?
Shusaku Ohashi, a resident of the village, served as the manager of the Waste Management plant in Kamon-mura. His family consisted of his ailing mother, his son Toru, and his brother Kokichi. Shusaku Ohashi and his son Toru were engaged in illicit practices, collaborating with a local criminal named Maruoka in the illegal disposal of biohazardous materials within the village. Despite posing as the plant manager during the day, Ohashi’s true involvement was in the nighttime disposal operations, where hazardous waste, including infectious materials, contaminated the soil and endangered the local residents. Indifferent to the consequences, Ohashi continued his deceptive behavior, maintaining a respectable facade in the village. However, Ohashi faced misfortune within his own family as his mother fell ill, becoming immobilized and unable to communicate or express her emotions. She became a silent figure, cared for solely by her son, Ohashi. But despite being in an immobilized state, she was well aware of her son and grandson’s involvement in illegal business.
Ohashi emerged as a criminal mastermind, involved with criminals while also pursuing his own illicit activities. During the village’s protest against waste disposal in Kamon-mura, he cunningly framed the protest group’s leader, Yuu Katayama’s father, for the murder of an officer, a crime that Ohashi himself may have committed. With no remorse for his actions, he continued his illegal activities unabated. The true extent of his villainy was revealed in the climactic scene, where he sought to falsely accuse Misaki of Toru’s murder. Even his seemingly decent smile carried a sinister undertone, demonstrating his complete emotional detachment from his family. He wasn’t even a mourning father who had just lost his son; instead, we saw him dismissing Toru as worthless and moving forward without a second thought.
At the film’s climax, as Yuu, mentally devastated, set the entire house ablaze, a heartbreaking scene unfolded. Ohashi’s mother, who was confined to her bed, faced her imminent demise with a remarkable sense of acceptance. Instead of screaming or resisting the approaching death, she found solace in singing a soothing Japanese song, seeking tranquility in her final moments. Fully aware of her son’s heinous crimes and understanding that karma would inevitably catch up to him, she embraced the punishment and peacefully took her last breath, choosing to depart from this world alongside her son.
Toru Ohashi: Who Killed Toru?
Toru, the younger son of Shusaku Ohashi, was the obvious antagonist in the story, following a downward trajectory toward darkness. Raised with a masculine mindset, he believed that having a masculine physique and a dominating mindset was the sole quality required to be a man. Consequently, he frequently bullied and physically assaulted the lean, skinny laborers working in the landfill, including Yuu, exploiting his macho image. Intimidated by his appearance and his display of masculinity, the victims never dared to retaliate. Toru’s character was shaped by patriarchal attributes, misogynistic attitudes, and deep-seated jealousy. He believed he deserved all the good things in the world, whether it was a good position at the workplace or the most attractive woman in the village. Witnessing Yuu shine in his career while also being with Misaki fueled Toru’s jealousy and rage. Despite Misaki’s clear disapproval, Toru relentlessly pursued her, often confronting her and making her uncomfortable. Men like Toru held the misguided belief that such behavior would attract women, oblivious to the fact that their actions had the opposite effect. At a critical juncture, when Misaki firmly rejected his advances, Toru’s disturbed and frustrated mindset pushed him to cross boundaries and attempt to sexually assault her. However, Yuu intervened, and in the act of self-defense, a perplexed Misaki stabbed Toru to death to protect her beloved Yuu.
Kokichi Ohashi: What Happened To Kokichi’s Family?
While the rest of the men of the Ohashi family were criminal-minded and engaged in several atrocities, Kokichi Ohashi stood out as the sole member of his family who chose to pursue a career in law enforcement. Perhaps he was well aware of his brother’s involvement in the illegal manner of waste installment, but being a part of the family, he remained silent and decided to move out of the village. Despite being a law enforcement officer, he was an admirer of art and drama, particularly the Japanese drama Noh. Several times, he had actively participated in it, leaving an indelible mark in Yuu’s mind with his exceptional performance. Upon his visit to Kamon-mura, he had invited Yuu to be a part of the drama, hoping it would provide him a temporary distraction from the daily agony he experienced, but Yuu remained uninterested in his invitation. However, when Mikasi’s brother, Keiichi Nakai, found the infectious waste in the landfill and shortly informed the police, Kokichi was left with no other option other than to perform a raid at midnight. As expected, he caught the landfill workers red-handed dumping the waste and arrested them all. Consequently, Toru’s dead body was also discovered in the landfill, leading Kokichi to perform an investigation. Before Kokichi could react to the significant evidence found on Toru’s phone and laptop, which had the potential to incriminate Yuu for Toru’s murder, he was confronted with a horrifying reality. Yuu had killed Shusaku Ohashi and burned down his entire house. Upon reaching their house, Kokichi witnessed it engulfed in flames, but he was powerless to intervene. He may have planned to arrest Yuku and ensure justice, but he could never bring back his family, who lost their lives due to the consequences of Shusaku’s actions.
Though The Village, directed by Michihito Fujii, starts on a promising note, the film falls short of presenting convincing character development. Despite the presence of intriguing and complex characters, the execution fails to effectively explore their intricacies and deliver a satisfying portrayal. The film leaves the audience wanting more depth and exploration of the characters’ journeys, which could have added greater emotional resonance and a stronger connection to the story. A successful mystery drama often relies on a well-structured plot that gradually unveils the story, allowing the audience to connect the dots and experience the thrill of unexpected revelations. Unfortunately, The Village falls short of delivering that sense of satisfaction due to its sluggish pace and lackluster climax.