The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

Checking out a few Japanese dramas this season because you know I love variety. Up first is The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko. I first came because I saw Hiroki Narimiya name in the cast list and then the synopsis caught my attention – about a thief who robs the rich for the poor? Sounds like an underdog story right up my alley. But after episode 1, I’m unsure whether I want to proceed. It started out quirky…then went darker and then got a little bit disturbing by the end.

Kaito Yamaneko (The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko) Episode 1 Impression:

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The story follows our genius thief who goes by the name of Yamaneko or Wildcat (Kazuya Kamenashi). He’s capricious and light on his feet. He steals from the large corrupt companies and exposes their dirty laundry to the world. Sounds heroic? Yes, but he does let us know that he’s not a noble one. He doesn’t kill when he’s working but if you wrong him one way or another after work hours, he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger….or does he? The biggest question episode 1 left us with. He’s aided by two friends when we first meet him – a lady who runs a bar aka lair for stray cats, Rikako Hosho (Nene Otsuka), and an electronics expert referred to as Fat Hosoda.

I don’t really know Kame that well but one can see that he’s clearly relishing, performing all the theatrical moves and facial expressions with visible joy.

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Whether Yamaneko is a righteous thief or a villain intrigues reporter Hideo Katsumura (Hiroki Narimiya) and he’s been tasked by his boss to continue their column of presenting Yamaneko’s adventures to the public. He’s a well-meaning reporter with not much luck because his articles capture the attention of Yamaneko and he likes them. He openly meets Hideo and invites the unassuming reporter to his lair, initiating his invite to the team by cuffing him with a bomb. If he doesn’t do as he’s told, the bomb will blow up. It’s a fake bomb but our dummy reporter does not know this and is forced to work alongside Yamaneko on their first case. He’s not that reluctant.

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The first case deals with a very delicate crime committed by a genius hacker, Mao Takasugi (Suzu Hirose). After finding out that her father cheated on her mother, the high schooler punished him by publishing photos of their affair. However, what she did not realize is in doing so, she inadvertently forced her mother to face the ugly truth about her husband. To push the blame away from him, the father sets up a scene to make Mao believe that her mother tried to commit suicide and is now being treated at a fancy hospital for an indefinite length of time.

Submerged in guilt and fear, Mao allows herself to be used by her father. She uses her skills to collect private information from customers, which her father then sells to another party to “raise” money for her mother’s hospital bills. The truth that Yamaneko reveals is not a pretty one. Her mother is dead and her skeleton is hidden in a chamber where daddy keeps his treasures. Mao eventually shows up to help Yamaneko clears the security system and unveils the treasures behind closed doors.

(Side note: Is it only me that but the actress playing Mai is a dead ringer for Lee Min Jung? OMG.)

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The scene above didn’t sit well with me because I actually don’t understand why he had to do what he did. A grown ass man pushing and grabbing a teenager’s hair to make a point? The fact that she came to help him already shows that she’s been held back by guilt and it’s understandable for a kid to make mistake. The important thing is she didn’t continue blindingly down that road when the truth slapped her in the face. She was just a little lost in the aftermath and could use some proper and gentle guidance. I felt like he was emotionally abusing her, calling her a criminal and labeling her just like himself. That is going too far considering he’s way ahead of her time.

Then of course, the scene immediately changes tune and Yamaneko merely showing her some tough love. Really show? If you want to show me he is darker than he looks, you could’ve done it without him physically and emotionally hurting a girl who has just lost both of her parents.

Maybe you guys interpret this scene differently, let me know! *_*

  1. 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

    just checked this out because of the fun screencaps but then the last scene was weird and yes disturbing? i got lost listening to their back and forth…. lols. i feel like they added that scene for some intensity but it was presented in the wrong way with all the physical hair grabbing and stuff.

    “grown ass man” LOL!

    • 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

      I hope it gets addressed somewhere along the line. Just because you mean well doesn’t mean you can use violence! She’s a high school student for god’s sake!

      Waiting to see if you watch Mars or not Kappy!

  2. 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

    The confrontation between Yamanaka and Mao is actually what got me hooked to the show. It is raw, brutal, and mean. It is not about tough love. It is not about a grown ass man beating up a high school girl. It was a moment of truth brought to you from a self-awared bad ass to another equally morally ambiguous bad ass, tearing away her denials, her lies. Age and gender shouldn’t be free pass for bad behavior. In a way, the show is supporter of equality. I respect that.

    • 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

      equality? im confused? you actually think these two are on equal footing to be considered as equals? im sorry, but that’s not right, a child who is being bullied in school and had to fight the demons at home by working for her father to alleviate some guilt that she feels CANNOT be considered as an equal to a grown ass man who is morally set to do whatever he wants, no matter the process. their mentality is at different levels. he’s experienced and she is not.

      yes it’s not a free pass for bad behavior, but he could’ve been nicer. she wasn’t in denial. she was telling him the truth, there was no one by her side. her mom’s dead, her father doesn’t care, she gets bullied in school. who was there? i think she was scared out of her mind after her father was arrested hence she attempted suicide. she LOST both of her parents. the girl deserves a person who could be kind to her in those moments. is how i see it, personally.

  3. 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

    I’m happy at first to found the recap of Yamaneko and bleh… it’s just about critism. I’m a hardcore dorama fans. And if you want to know my point of view, this drama bring back refreshing feeling of dorama. The proportion of comedy and darkness swoon me already.
    About the confrontation of Yama-san and Mao moved me to tears. It’s why dorama is different than K or C drama. I’m glad the Writer and Director didn’t bother to use violence if it has to. It’s really on point for me.
    At the end, I like it if Yama-san really kill that man. Even I still doubt it. He somehow has dark aura around him. And that was the mistery that I would like for the show to going on. At this point, I declare that I really enjoy the show and respect Yama-san a lot.

    • 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

      I felt the same way. I initially thought Yamaneko is just another Robin Hood wannabe, and I chalked up what he did to the reporter as a spiteful prank. Then the Mao showdown occurred. That was when I see the darkness rippling just below his obnoxiously silly behavior, and it was terrifying (OMG, Yama-san WOWed me with that performance). The man has no delusion about what he is (he is a straight up criminal) and the extend he is willing to go to get what he wants (setting up a surprisingly naïve reporter to take the fall). He coats his viciousness with silliness, a wolf in pig skin. He probably recognized the same darkness in Mao and saw her being swallow up by it. The hair dragging might symbolize him pulling her up from the mire. He imparted to Mao that she might have been victimized but she was no victim: “Get over your victim mentality, little girl. Stop blaming others for your actions. You had the power to say ‘no’ to the abuse, yet you let it escalate. You hacked because you wanted to, not because you had to. What you did was against the law and you knew it! So by definition, you are a criminal, and you will be treated like a criminal.” Of course, underdeveloped brain and lack of social support system are perfectly good excuses for her poor decisions in the past. Yamaneko didn’t help the situation by trying to recruit her to his little merry bandit. But I love the fact that he told her in no uncertain term that, if she chooses to partner with him, she joins the dark side of her own volition and fully understands the price she will pay for her choice. He will trick and string her along but he will never force her to do anything. She can say, “No, I’m not doing it”. That is empowering message: Think for yourself and take responsibility for your choices. Ok, maybe that’s just what I took away from the drama, especially after episode 2.

  4. 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

    waaaaaahh, perhaps im kinda different with you Kap 😀
    I LOVE THIS SHOW! now im on my 2nd episode… i used to feel disappointed with Kame’s previous drama with kyoko fukada… totally meh.. but their own projects now totally hook me up.. this yamaneko and kyoko’s please love the useless me.

    for this yamaneko, i got your point on yama and mao’s scenes. but… sometimes, based on mao’s character, what yama did was the best for her. if you talk to Mao in a very polite-smooth-sweet attitude, she won’t hear anything, she won’t learn… but yama got her with this attitude. well, im not an expert in this behavior ‘therapy’ thing, hehe… but… this is a drama that im waiting for. Just like Ai Sky said above… it brings back refreshing feeling of dorama…currently im watching jdorama, kdrama, c-drama, tw-drama, thai-drama, filipino drama, indo drama, but this one is one of my fave <3

    • 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

      Of course you are different! We are two unique individuals. 😉

      • 9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Thief Yamaneko: Episode 1 “The Team.”

        hahaha.. and i’m lol-ing here… 😀 true..

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