Marks No Yama is a special kind of J-drama. Adapted from a popular suspense novel Marks the five episode series is quick to delve into an engrossing mystery surrounding a serial killer and his past. The show is very ambitious and doesn’t back down from introducing the many characters and forcing the viewer to pay very close attention. I had to rewatch several scenes to make sure I got all the details because there are so many twists and important plot points it would have been easy to fall behind. The plot never slows itself down and right from the get go I knew this show would not disappoint.
While on a hike with his brother in law, inspector Yuichiro Goda (Takaya Kamikawa) come across a horribly decomposed body they suspect has been in the ground for a very long time. Not thinking the case is pursuable the two file the case as unsolved and move on. Later in the day, former gangster Hiroshi Hatakeyama is found dead with a distinctive wound in his head and Goda is assigned to the case, but the trail leads nowhere. Shortly another murder occurs this time involving Ministry of Justice official Koji Matsui (Kenichi Yajima) who has the same distinctive wound. The two cases are too similar not to be related but the two men have nothing in common.
Meanwhile, Hiroyuki Mizusawa (Kengo Kora), a disturbed young man haunted by long-suppressed memories of his parents’ suicide, is released from a psychiatric hospital and moves in with his former nurse Machiko Takagi (Naho Toda). The two are very caring for each other but something is off about Mizusawa. Ever since being released from the institution his girlfriend notices him talking about a dark mountain shadow and scribbling sometimes in a notebook “marks” and we see him brandishing the tool used to kill the Ministry of justice official. While back on Goda it’s becoming increasingly clear that a serial murderer is on the loose but in an odd order from his seniors Goda is told not to pursue the two cases together. He senses a huge mystery behind the case and starts attempting to unravel the clues and capture the psychopath killer now calling himself Marks. Somehow a journalist’s research about a corrupt construction magnate and the unsolved murder that happened in the mountains years ago are also linked to the case.
Marks No Yama is a fantastic ride the episodes are packed with interesting developments and characters that are all exciting. The cinematography is very good, which isn’t something I often notice with TV shows. I watched this in one long go because I had to know how it all would end up. Inspector Goda’s investigation is constantly being blocked from unknown sources and the killer has a well crafted plan so at the end of each episode I was left guessing what would happen next .The conspiracy is extremely interesting to watch and it’s even more interesting to see Goda attempts to juggle it and catching the killer. I was very satisfied with this show it’s a well acted fantastically executed serial killer mystery if you enjoy films like “Silence of the Lambs” and “The Chaser” this one cannot be missed.
- A slightly slow episode but its needed to set the mood.
- The investigation is forced to take drastic measures to link to continue research. This one is great but this is where the details started getting a bit hazy for me as many characters are introduced all at once.
- Goda is more fueled up when a new lead emerges. Episode three ends in a huge cliffhanger and the conspiracy begins to take drastic steps.
- Personally this was my favorite episode from start to finish it changes everything as everyone puts all their cards on the table.
- A conclusive ending at 57 minutes this one is slightly too long for its own good, but it’s satisfying all the same.