‘Burn The House Down’: What To Expect From Netflix Series Based On Manga?


Burn The House Down, a Japanese series on Netflix, is based on a drama of the same name that was released from 2017 to 2021. One thing we can say for sure is that when the Japanese decide to take their time to explore the thriller genre, they are pretty much unbeatable. The trailer looks like it has mostly stayed faithful to the manga, from the story to the dialogue to how the characters even look. The manga comprises just 39 chapters; therefore, we don’t expect it to be a long series unless the story has been built upon or there are some new twists that were not present. Additionally, though there was only a glimpse of it, we wish that the scene where Shizuka is manhandled, likely by one of Makiko’s sons, had been done away with. The concept of Kabedon has always made us uncomfortable, no matter what it is supposed to indicate, and it doesn’t deserve to continue being shown on screen.

One thing that we can expect from this drama is the gradual unfolding of the layers, like with any mystery. The villain, the victim, and the revenge-seeking party are clear to us right off the bat like they were in the trailer. What follows are plenty of flashbacks and how the memory of a child has continued to affect her into adulthood. When she was young, she couldn’t voice her opinions or tell her father or other people why she felt a certain way. As a grown woman, she knows she is right and is out to fix the things that went wrong.

Something that you will notice here is how domesticity is at the heart of the series. Makiko and Satsuki meet as friends, and the former gradually integrated herself into the latter’s life as an acquaintance, as an admirer of her life, and eventually, as someone who will take everything she has for herself. Each and every one of these interactions happens in the domestic sphere, mostly in the very house that has proved to be a catalyst for change in Shizuka’s life. Pitting women against each other will never get old, and it doesn’t matter how much we try to show them as “powerful in the domestic setting” or “capable of pulling the strings from behind the scenes” because the keyword remains “background,” which brings with it a special kind of frustration that is only associated with such stories, no matter how good they are. On that note, we expect Burn The House Down to be extremely intriguing, whether or not you have read the manga. There is a certain atmosphere building with the sound and moving visuals that happen only in live-action remakes. That is the exact reason we are excited about this, despite our usual wariness regarding adaptations.

The premise of the story is that Shizuka’s house burned down 13 years ago, and her mother took the blame for it. Her parents divorced soon after, and Shizuka’s father remarried Makiko, whom Shizuka believes is the real culprit behind that incident. Additionally, Satsuki is in the hospital suffering from stress-induced amnesia, and the doctor believes that tokens of her past can help restore her memory. The mystery here is that Satsuki believes that she was the one to set the fire, and Shizuka must get to the bottom of the incident if she wishes to save her mother. There may or may not be some romance with Kiichi Mitarai, depending on whether the series stays faithful to the manga or not. Yuzu Murata might also take an active role right from the beginning instead of being a silent supporter of her sister from the background.

We also expect some serious commentary on the prevalence of the influencer lifestyle. It is no secret that people love to hate them, and our villain, Makiko Mitarai, represents everything wrong with them, right from the lies to the faking of lifestyles and curating an incorrect image. In fact, that is how Shizuka is going to target her to begin with: by exposing all of her lies. Makiko’s influence is in the home and lifestyle space, and Shizuka is the housekeeper, aka the person doing the actual work.

We also expect some exploration of the people known as “hikikomori,” otherwise known as someone who shuts themselves in their room for long periods of time and refuses to come out. Kiichi is one, and since the series will be watched by an international audience, knowing more about this will give an insight into some of the lesser-talked about Japanese concepts.

We have noticed that the most successful non-English-language movies and series have been those that have not tailored themselves to an international audience but retained the regional essence of the stories. Some prime examples are “Money Heist,” one of the many Korean dramas out there, or even some of the more successful Colombian dramas like “The Marked Heart.” One of the reasons expectations remain so high from Japanese or East Asian content is not just because of this but also because they are known to very cleverly intertwine the progressive fantasy with the deceit of traditionalism, and they seldom try to whitewash it unless it is a romantic fantasy of sorts. That is the reason we expect Burn The House Down to be so good.

We recently watched an anime called Kotaro Lives Alone and its live-action remake side by side. There were significant similarities within the story presented, and strictly going by that, we believe that Burn The House Down would be pretty much similar to the manga, except that a few new scenes might be introduced to enhance the story. This is our assumption based on what little the trailer has offered us. Maybe that was for the fans of the manga itself, and for those who haven’t read it, the premise is intriguing enough. We are certainly tempted to check out what the show is going to offer us. Honestly, we just expect some seamless entertainment for a few hours, and we also predict a binge-able quality to it. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we are not disappointed with this.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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