Quartet (Jdrama)

Original Title: カルテット

Isn’t it amazing to find a drama that surprises you with its twists and turns? You think you’ve got them all figure out to eventually hit you with something else entirely. That was my journey with Quartet, albeit, I had no idea what the show was about other than it being about classical musicians forming a quartet and Shiina Ringo’s theme song.

The first episode sets up the show like a mystery surrounding the disappearance of the husband of Maki-chan (Takako Matsu), comically named by destiny as Maki Maki, who had been living the simple life of a housewife until her husband went missing a year ago, and then she encountered the trio of musicians who will make her quartet full— the worrisome Beppu-san (Ryuhei Matsuda), the straightforward Iemori-san (Issei Takahashi) and the scattered-brain cello-player Suzume-chan (Hikari Mitsushima); revealing along their journey their stories, their weaknesses, and their ultimate unremarkable purpose in life: Make music that they enjoy.

The anti letter that they get almost by the end of the show really left me shook~

You are the unnecessary byproduct created by the same process that brings great music into this world. Your music is like the smoke coming out of the chimney, it has no value or meaning. There’s no need for its existence. It’s not even memorable in the least. I couldn’t help but wonder; these people are like smoke, but why are they still doing it? They might as well quit right now. What meaning is there in continuing, knowing you’re just smoke? Do you truly think there’s value? Do you think there’s meaning? Do you think there’s a future? Why do you continue? Why won’t you quit?

Despite the secrecy surrounding each of the characters’ backstories, Quartet is ultimately a show about average people that are brought together to be the best possible people that they can be undeterred by their dark pasts and circumstances. Mediocre music-playing skills, terrible career prospects and all.

And Shiina Ringo’s penned song, Otona no Okite (おとなの掟, translated to The Adult Code), performed by the four actors as the fictitious Doughnuts Hole [Quartet], is the perfect companion piece:

好きとか嫌いとか欲しいとか
気持いいだけの台詞でしょう
ああ白黒付けるには相応しい
‥滅びの呪文だけれど‥

好きとか嫌いとか欲しいとか
口走ったら如何なるでしょう
ああ白黒付けるのは恐ろしい
‥切実に生きればこそ‥
そう人生は長い、世界は広い
自由を手にした僕らはグレー
幸福になって、不幸になって
慌ただしい胸の裡だけが騒ぐ
‥おとなは秘密を守る‥

Love, hate, want
They’re all just words to make us feel good.
Ah, it’s appropriate to make things black or white
..Although it’s the spell of destruction..

Love, hate, want
If I could just blurt it out I wonder how it’d be
Ah, I dread making it black or white
..If only I could live sincerely..
That’s right, life is long, the world is wide
We that have found freedom are grey
Becoming happy, becoming unhappy
Only the inside of our confused hearts in panic
..Adult keep secrets..

Lyrics translation via Shane D. Anderson.

I haven’t had these many feelings watching Jdrama in a long time~

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

amy

YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

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