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JU-ON: Origins Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Yoshiyoshi Arakawa, Yuina Kuroshima, Ririka
The idea behind the six-episode limited series JU-ON: Origins is to tell the story of how the house in the JU-ON movie franchise, created by Takashi Shimizu, got its reputation as a cursed home. The house is cursed because of a grudge started when a woman, her son and his cat was killed by her jealous husband. Now, when people see her white-clad visage in the house, they’re haunted for life. But the series is not about how the woman in white came to occupy the house, but how its reputation to haunt whoever has been in the house and seen the woman started.
JU-ON: ORIGINS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: News footage is shown, with a voice over saying “Ju-on is inspired by true events. All of these events originated from one house. However, the real events were far more frightening than the movies.”
The Gist: In 1988, author and paranormal expert Yasuo Odajima (YosiYosi Arakawa) is looking at the footage of a TV show he was on with a young actress named Haruka Honjo (Yuina Kuroshima), who says she heard mysterious footsteps in her home, and even recorded it. After the show aired, she sent Odajima the tape for him to analyze. He’s writing a book gathering people’s ghost stories, and this tape is fascinating to him.
We cut back to the show’s taping. After it was over, Haruka approaches Odajima, curious about his interest in ghost stories. She tells him she moved out of the apartment where she made the recording, because her boyfriend Tetsuya (Kai Inowaki) saw something strange there that freaked him out so much that he said they should leave.
Odajima asks Tetsuya about it, and Tetsuya describes looking at a strange single-family house, with the intention of buying it so he and Haruka can move in and get married. He sees a ghostly figure in white (Seiko Iwaido) there and runs out. But that ghostly figure has followed him to wherever he is, including his girlfriend’s apartment and, as we see later on, his own apartment. When Odajima says he wants to visit the house, Tetsuya refuses to tell him where it is.
Meanwhile, a girl named Kiyomi Kawai (Ririka) is starting in a new school in the middle of the year; her transfer was so sudden, she has to to go to her first days of class in her old school uniform. Her mother (Izumi Matsuoka) tells her teacher that the transfer is “all my fault” and starts to sob. When she gets home from her first day, her delusional mother tells her that she slept with her professor at her old school to “save you,” citing the fact that Kiyomi seduced her own father. Yes, her mom is that mean.
Haruka comes home from a gig and sees Tetsuya sleeping on the floor. He says it’s nothing, but then the two of them freak out when they hear the same footsteps, and then a door is opened and a light is turned on. Tetsuya envisions the woman in white holding a baby and starts screaming, and we see Haruka comforting him.
Two girls, Yoshie (Nana Owada) and Mai (Hitomi Hazuki), befriend Kiyomi and invite her to the “Cat Mansion,” an abandoned house that has attracted a lot of cats. When they go, they bring a boy named Yudai (Koki Osamura) as a “bodyguard,” which Kiyomi reluctantly agrees to. After breaking in and looking around, though, the girls and Yudai turn on Kiyomi and attack her.
Our Take: Even though the episodes of JU-ON: Origins are only 30 minutes or less, writers Hiroshi Takahashi and Takashige Ichise pack a lot of plot into each episode, even though there are times that we had to rewind to figure out the transition from one time period to another takes place. The show itself advances in time, with the first two episodes taking place in 1988 and the third taking place in 1994, with Kiyomi and her son suffering through an abusive relationship. But the jumps in time are handled in a way that’s consistent with the scary nature of the series.
What’s interesting is that the rules of the curse are fluid. Haruka has never set foot in the horror house, but via her boyfriend she’s haunted, as well. And in the case of Kiyomi, the curse changes her life in strange ways, especially in relation to her attacker Yudai. It’s not just the fact that the woman in white, who was supposedly killed by her jealous husband, haunts these people; it’s the fact that what happens in the house affects everyone differently, which is an intriguing idea.
If you’re not familiar with the JU-ON franchise (and we weren’t), the story of how the house got this paranormal reputation is still interesting, helped along by fine performances by Kuroshima and Ririka. But now, of course, we’re interested in going back and watching at least some of the 13 Japanese films and the other offshoots (including the American film franchise The Grudge) to get the entire picture.
Sex and Skin: Besides Kiyomi’s attack, which is shown more at the beginning of Episode 2, there’s nothing.
Parting Shot: We hear Kiyomi screaming for help and for Yudai to stop after Mai and Yoshie pushed her down.
Sleeper Star: Kana Kurashina plays Haruka’s agent, and for some reason she’s there whenever a major revelation happens in Haruka’s life.
Most Pilot-y Line: We see a scene with a missing girl being beaten by her kidnapper, then at Kiyomi’s house, a report about the missing girl plays. We’re not sure how that connects to the rest of the story, and we don’t see the connection through the first three episodes.
Our Call: STREAM IT. If you’re a fan of the JU-ON or The Grudge franchises, JU-ON: Origins will help fill in some blanks with a well-drawn story and interesting characters. But even if you’re not, the stories told in this series will be intriguing to any horror fan.