No spoilers – so read on!
Netflix's original series, "Million Yen Women" unfolds with 5 mysterious women living with an under appreciated writer named Shin. Through the course of the series, the viewer glimpses the past lives of each character. At times, each mysterious woman provides shocking insight to the extreme and sometimes curious choices they made to survive.
The story begins when Shin (played by Yojiro Noda) walks into his disheveled home to be surprised by one of the mysterious women. She was invited to live with him and was instructed to pay him 1 million yen each month for rent. The same invitation is sent to all the women who show up the same day. The series goes back and forth from the moment they move into Shin's home and 6 months later when they are required to eat dinner together as part of the invitation rules. The other major rule is that Shin cannot ask any personal questions about any of his tenants. This adds even more suspense and mystery. All the female actors (Rila Fukushima, Rena Matsui, Miwako Wagatsuma, Rena Takeda and Yuko Araki) perform superbly. The actors enjoy the ability to limit what the viewer wants to know — who are they, why were they invited, and why these 5 women?!
As the show progresses, the story has many abrupt and emotional turns that deepen the mystery. Shin becomes the central figure. A young man that has dealt with so many tragedies. It draws each of the mysterious women closer into Shin’s daily struggles as a writer. Noda deftly portrays Shin's dark depression. How Shin is emotionally cold with little regard to his appearance and unable to really draw out the prose laying deep within him. Rila Fukushima (known for her part in "The Wolverine" and as Katana on the CW series “Arrow”) brings a very strong performance as the hyper-sexually expressive Minami, who rarely wears clothing while staying at Shin's home. What is so surprising is that no one seems bothered by her nudity other then the youngest of the women, Midori, played by Rena Takeda. Her fine performance shows a timid high school student growing to become the most tenacious woman out of all the tenants. Rena Matsui, Miwako Wagatsuma and Yuko Araki round out the other actors and each provide surprising nuances to characters that often would be considered very stereotypical.
"Million Yen Women" is a thrilling story with wonderful performances by an ensemble cast. With 12 episodes, the show is a perfect Sunday afternoon binge and I recommend this series highly for anyone who enjoys suspenseful mysteries.
Million Yen Women review by benMUSA (a Netflix Original Series)
Based on the manga series "100 man yen no Onna tachi" by Shunju Aono
Starring Yojiro Noda, Rila Fukushima, Rena Matsui, Miwako Wagatsuma, Rena Takeda, Yuko Araki, Yuya Endo, Kaito Yoshimura, Moeka Hoshi, Juri Ihata, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Tetsuhiro Ikeda, Takashi Yamanaka, Tomoya Nakamura, Lily Franky