How Cain and Abel is a drama that feminists should lose their minds over—and not in the good way
To start things off, let me introduce to you the drama at hand. Cain and Abel is a 2016 drama that stars Yamada Ryosuke as Takada Yu, the son of a big hotshot owner of a real estate company called Takada Corporation. Long story short, the title comes from the fact that Yamada’s character Yu is someone who lacks in confidence in himself because he craved attention from his Father and was always in the shadow of his more established brother, much like the story of Cain and Abel from the Bible.
I would go on about the complicated relationship between the three, except that’s not really the complicated relationship we should be focusing on right now.
The drama basically has two evident female characters: Yahagi Azusa and Hikari. Azusa, an employee in the company, is the older brother Ryuichi’s then secret girlfriend, before he introduces her to his family. Hikari is a somewhat best friend to Yu, the two of them always eating dinner after office hours.
I would like to focus on these two incredible women.
And how they were robbed off of the characterization they deserved.
Starting with the leading lady, Azusa is first shown in the Takada celebration party, when Yu accidentally showers her with champagne after opening the bottle he had gotten. They meet, share drinks, and laugh together. All is well. She notices him look solemn during his Dad’s speech, when the old man was praising his older brother.
Basically, they get assigned to be together a lot, Azusa motivating Yu to do well. Better, even. She’s there in the moments when he deals with clients. She’s there when he’s in a pinch. They start to grow a partnership and a friendship, finding solace in each other when things go slightly wrong. However, his heart gets momentarily broken when he finds out she’s his brother’s girlfriend. I would like to focus more on this complication, but that would be for a different entry. But she always finds comfort in being with the younger boy, as well. Even going so far as to saying the she was more herself when she was with him.
Hikari, on the other hand, is a different situation.
Hikari was first shown as the girl who Yu is close with. Close enough that she would ruffle his hair whenever she wanted, because it was the normal thing to do. Yu would tease her, and she wouldn’t get offended. They were shown to be quite close friends. Their bond can also be seen every time they would eat at Hirose, a restaurant that they would frequent after office hours. It seems like they had been friends for quite a long time, as well.
But of course, the twist of that would be that she secretly has a crush on her friend. And the whole drama, she doesn’t know how to tell him that, often struggling with the confession. Never mind that this situation has been dealt with hundreds and thousands of times already by all the other forms of media out there.
Anyways, going back, I would like list down a few things why both Azusa and Hikari were mishandled wrongly, and how they could have been so much more than what they got.
Azusa is a strong woman. She’s shown to be quite good at what she does, her mentioning that she was transferred to the current branch of office from her previous one. We saw her handle situations with Yu quite bravely and courageously, even putting him in his place sometimes. But of course, she also has her weaknesses. Throughout the drama, we see her act quite fickle, often indecisive, and can’t stick to something that she really wants.
She says she wants to marry Ryuichi, seems to be hell bent on doing so. But there are scenes of her thinking about Yu, hugging Yu from behind while crying, finding comfort in being with him, not pushing him away when he was so close to kissing her. Frankly, this shows that she did, in fact, have growing feelings for the younger boy. She would’ve rejected him flat out if she didn’t. But this also shows that she didn’t know how to handle them. And was probably too afraid to admit them as well. Because she has to be with Ryuichi. At this point, I’m not even really sure if she wants to be with the older brother. But I know that she thinks she has to be with him. For some reason forever unknown because it wasn’t even explained why, in the end.
To shift topics, I now go onto Hikari.
There really isn’t that much to Hikari, is there? We see her be the sweetest, cutest, smiley-est girl in the drama, even more so than Azusa. She was always happy. Always making Yu feel okay.
But what she does, the whole drama mind you, is stare at Yu longingly. Jealousy. Sadly. Wanting his attention. Fawning over him. Clawing for him to notice. The only other thing she did was give Yu pep talks and all of that. But still. That was still centered on Yu.
And here is why they were both mistreated.
Because of the brothers they both ended up with.
I honestly wanted this to be a different getsu9 drama in which no one ended up with each other. Part of the reason why I hated the ending so much is because of all the unanswered questions, all the plot holes, all the parts that weren’t explained, and how rushed and forced everything was. But another reason?
The girls were used as plot devices. They were used as tools.
Azusa, as much as she also did something wrong, did not deserve to be stuck with a man who had harmed her both physical and emotionally. That right there is a warning signal already. Not even just a warning. That’s supposed to be a red flag. But no, the writers constantly made her go back to her supposed “love” and constantly forgive him even though he didn’t look as sorry as he was supposed to be. Ryuichi did her wrong. He laid a hard hand on her. He left her at their wedding. He made her cry so much and put her in so much pain. But the writers still made them end up together. As if nothing had happened.
Hikari, could have been so much more than just a side character constantly vying for the main character’s attention. I’m happy she was happy in the end. Yu liked her back. Sure. But is that it? That’s all she’ll ever be? A girl in love with the main? I wanted to know more about her. How she fell in love with Yu. How she is at work. What she does in work. How her and Yu got close to Hirose’s owner. If she has a family. Her background. If she does anything else. Sure, we didn’t get that much of Azusa as well, seeing as they’re both not the actual main (I have such a big problem about this as well. It’s a getsu9, for Christ’s sake. And they don’t even put a woman on the promotional material), but we could’ve gotten something else at least. Something so much more than “a girl who likes the main character”. She deserves that.
Women are so much more than the guys they like.
WOMEN ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THE GUYS THEY LIKE.
Yu might’ve been the star, Ryuichi after him. But there was so much unnecessary scenes in the drama that we could’ve gone without. We could’ve used those as screen time for the two lovely ladies who barely got any backbone to their characters, aside from chasing after two brothers who can’t seem to get their shit together and fix their stupid rivalry.
I am so sick of women always being second. Of always being just the “love interest”. Of always being just the “support” for men. Of always being the tools to drive men somewhere.
Of always being mere plot devices.
We are living in 2016, for fuck’s sake.
We are capable of so much more than that.
This script was already bad enough. But as a feminist, I am appalled at how the main women in this drama were treated. Momo-chan seemed to have been a step in the right direction, but even she wasn’t focused enough (not to mention how wrapped she was to her "love" as well). They might’ve gotten a so-called “happy” ending. But not without their characters getting either butchered, underdeveloped, ignored, and used.
All I’m saying is: if you’re a hardcore feminist like I am? 100/10 would not recommend. At all.
But if you can sit through all that unfair treatment, and not get phased by it, then by all means. Go ahead. Watch it to your heart’s content.
P.S. Also: as a feminist, I am completely flabbergasted by how so little seem to care about this, just because they got their so-called “happy” ending. I’m really sorry(notsorry), but I’m not too blinded by my love for the actors and actresses to not care about the issues at hand. While everyone was raving about a kiss, I was here wondering why the women were treated so wrongly. And I regret nothing.
P.P.S. If you have any reactions to this entry, by all means, I’m ready. Hit me with your best shot. :)