I’m currently rewatching and falling in love with Camouflage’s quirky short-series format. Camouflage is a collaboration between four directors creating something around the theme of “lies”. The first part, called “Life is like a Lie” is directed by Takazaki Takuma, who worked with the cinematographer Takada Masahiro of Honey & Clover (film). What really drew me to the first series is that Kase Ryo and Aoi Yuu are two of my favorite actors. That, along with Shimamoto Marisa as the photographer kind of sealed the deal for me. The first part really catered to my audio and visual taste.
This part is centered around Chika, a young woman who has just lost her boyfriend in a pathetic accident, and how she mourns him while going through the wake and encountering him in her dreams. My issue is that this plotline is paired with another of a couple who is divorcing, where the man wears the only object his wife left behind, a bra. Of course their two stories end up intertwining but the juxtaposition of these two characters ruins the mood. Chika’s feelings of anger and later frustration are overshadowed by a man adjusting his new piece of clothing as he goes through his day, so you’re ultimately never allowed to deeply relate to Chika.
This is a prime example of one of my biggest problems with Japanese shows in general. They focus so much on a (sometimes preposterous) situation that they don’t leave any room for emotional relationships and developments. This makes the emotional scenes come out dry. Chika’s crying scene at the end of episode one seemed more of a “let me contort my face every which way until a tear comes out” instead of what it’s supposed to be: her guilt for laughing after her lover died and the realization that he’ll never be there again. The potential impact this scene could’ve had fell completely flat in Aoi Yuu’s hands, and this is disappointingly common among many Japanese dramas.
The best thing about this show for me really is the great collaboration. Marisa Shimamoto did a wonderful job in her interpretation of each episode with photography (pictured above) showing Chika’s mourning, lucid dreaming, and coming to terms and moving on. Her style really compliments the consistent aesthetic of Life is like a Lie, from the set design to music selection. If anything, this drama gets major production points (and fangirl points for Kase Ryo).