Recently I have been busy watching dramas or movies based on the concept of “Exorcism”.
This supernatural genre is nothing new, but it piqued my interest when I started watching the recently on-air Korean drama “Sell Your Haunted House (SYHH)”. That was followed by a marathon of the Chinese BL anime and movie “Spirit Pact”. Although both franchises have similar base theories, the differences exist in the characters and their variant powers. While the previous focuses on the compatibility between an “Exorcist” and his “Psychic”; the latter is invested in the romantic inclinations between the Exorcist and his Spirit Shadow. Intriguing, isn’t it!!
Adapted from the manga by Yamashita Tomoko, “The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window” follows the SYHH route. Although the romance between the main leads has been significantly toned down (as compared to the original content), that doesn’t dim their attraction. The anticipation for this movie reached fever-pitch because of the paranormal content and it wasn’t unwarranted. While the movie touches on some of the most gory details that plague humanity, the film tries to mold the storyline to fit the main lead’s flagrant tendencies. They are real, raw and yet innately humane. This movie isn’t for the fainthearted. So brace yourself and let’s start with the review, so you can decide for yourself if watching “The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window” will be worth your time!
●Shison Jun portrays the main lead Kosuke Mikado, a timid bookstore clerk who has the ability to see all kinds of supernatural entities.
● Okada Masaki stars as the exorcist Rihito Hiyakawa, who recruits Kosuke to help him on various cases involving the supernaturale.
●Hirate Yurina plays the antagonist Hiura Erika, who later has a change of heart under extenuating circumstances.
The story focuses on the shy bookstore clerk Kosuke Mikado who can see ghosts and spirits, an ability he abhors since he is terrified of his acute visionary powers. Rihito Hiyakawa on the other hand is an exorcist with strong supernatural powers but is entirely anti-social. When Hiyakawa discovers the extent of Mikado’s powers, he tricks Mikado and binds him into a contract. As this odd couple get together to solve the bizarre cases that come their way, they slowly grow closer as Hiyakawa tries his best to allay Mikado’s dormant fears. But his detached attitude starts causing problems in their professional relationship and all hell breaks loose. Will Hiyakawa be able to repair the damage? Or will he lose Mikado to the evil forces forever?
A God In Devil’s Disguise
There is something charismatic about Rihito Hiyakawa and it’s got nothing to do with his insanely handsome looks. He is mysterious, intriguing in a scary way and entirely wayward. Hiyakawa experienced a shocking incident during his childhood, which led to amnesia. As such, he is detached from base human emotions, might sound self-centered and is too conspicuous. You will feel the chills when he smirks like a devil, after cajoling Mikato into signing a contract with him. He doesn’t repent about his actions and as such, Hiyakawa stands on the opposite side of the road when it comes to following Mikado’s convictions. Despite his fervent reminders to mind their own business, Hiyakawa is protective as well as possessive about Mikado. This character has so much depth and layers, that the movie has just skimmed the surface. The childhood trauma coupled with his abysmal upbringing has shaped him into an individual who doesn’t care much about others. That is, until he meets and forms a bond with Kosuke Mikado. He is also well versed with evil curses and their implications. Mikato magnifies Hiyakawa’s visionary powers and together they make a strong couple.
The Shy and Timid Book Clerk
Kosuke Mikado has the most character development in this film. He starts off as a terrified and timid book clerk who is horrified of the ghosts that he can see. Mikado’s spectacles are like a shield and he wears them to protect himself from those heinous sights. When he unknowingly gets entangled with the exorcist Rihito Hiyakawa, survival becomes a taunting task. While Hiyakawa is nonchalant when faced with ghosts, Mikado is the exact opposite. He is terrified and even ends up suffering from panic attacks. However, Hiyakawa grounds him and offers his silent support. There cannot be two individuals who are as different as “Day and Night”; and yet they seamlessly blend to make a compatible team. Hiyakawa draws Mikado out of his shell and teaches him the correct way of handling his visionary powers. Although they do work together quite well, difference of opinions tears them apart. Mikado has huge problems handling Hiyakawa’s selfish attitude and dishonesty. It was a nice experience to watch Mikado grow a spine of steel, as he navigates through the new experiences in his life.
The Fleeting Tension and Romance
The film’s opening credits roll with Hiyakawa’s shocking declaration that Mikado is “Fated for him”. Yes, he is that preposterous. As soon as he meets Mikado, he binds them into a contract unbeknownst to Mikado. Hiyakawa doesn’t know the very definition of social distancing and getting into Mikado’s personal space is his favorite pastime. Also, I don’t understand the significance, but whenever Hiyakawa backhugs Mikado, their senses are shared and magnified. As such, Hiyakawa can see the ghosts better and exorcise them. The movie is filled with sexual innuendos like “letting someone inside you so easily”, “your soul is wide open, to ensure no one else can get in; I bound you to me, so you could be mine”. The implications are quite clear, because Hiyakawa is extremely possessive of Mikado and doesn’t like it when he has contact with other psychics or supernaturale. We don’t have any explicit scenes like most Japanese BL movies, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hiyakawa truly believes that Mikado belongs to him alone.
As their relationship grows, both undergo significant amount of changes. Mikado slowly learns to forgo his fears, as he begins to trust Hiyakawa. Hiyakawa on the other hand is like a locked vault, but something about Mikado tugs at his heartstrings. Although they do fall apart because of difference in opinions, they are still drawn to each other inexplicably. After learning about Hiyakawa’s morbid past, Mikado understands him better. As for Hiyakawa, Mikado’s anger makes him question his past convictions and stringent attitude. They both change for the better and find a middle ground, whereby they come to a mutual understanding. It was a truly fulfilling experience to witness their journey as they face various trials to find their way back to each other.
“You won’t feel scared, as long as I’m with you”
Intriguing Side Characters
Hiura Erika is a name which strikes fear in your mind throughout the first half of the film. She is the unknown entity who goes around enrapturing people’s minds and cursing them. She can very well be placated as the ramification of evil sources and dangers lurking at the crosswalk. You might see them while walking on the road, or they might be sitting right beside you while traveling in the public transport. But you can’t read their thoughts or understand their intentions. Erica comes across as a psychic who has similar powers as Mikado, but is terrifying in her demeanor. If you are wondering why she is listed as a side character, there is a reason for the same. Erica is majorly a lost soul who has been misused by the cult leader of an organization to further his schemes. She doesn’t manifest his wishes willingly. Rather, she is forced to do so. When she is saved by Mikado and Hiyakawa, Erica undergoes a change of heart and even helps them destroy the intricate network of impurities that form the basis for most curses.
Another interesting character is Hanzawa Hiroki, the Police Detective who regularly utilizes Hiyakawa’s services to solve his crime cases. Although they seem to have an indifferent relationship, Hanzawa has saved Hiyakawa in more ways than possible. He is the only one who knows about Hiyakawa’s tragic past and is almost like his foster father. So when Hiyakawa and Mikado’s relationship is on the downward slope, Hanzawa tries to mend the fences. His character has the distinct ability of “Disbelief”, something that makes him immune to evil forces or curses. The film does have an interesting way of depicting fickle human emotions, which is displayed by Hanzawa’s daring attitude. Since he doesn’t believe in curses, they don’t affect him. He is also understanding of Hiyakawa’s inner turmoil and diffident personality. As such, when Hiyakawa hesitates in helping Hanzawa cursed wife, he doesn’t force him. He silently supports Hiyakawa’s decisions.
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window certainly makes for an interesting watch. The subject isn’t easy and as such, most viewers might find it difficult to grasp or digest. Apart from the subtle romance between the main leads, the movie shines the light on various societal stigmas and superstitions. It is carefully grafted and you won’t notice the countenances until you reflect on it. But that doesn’t undermine the script’s quality and it keeps you hooked from the start to the end. I kept comparing this movie to SYHH as well as Spiritpact and finally realised that each of them have a distinct flavor. The palate might not be discernible for those viewers who are either scared of grotesque drama or dissociate from superstitious content. Overall, this movie is steeped in horror that might be subjective to daily occurrences. They might sound mundane and we might not notice them, until they strike us at our worst. It could be a serial killer lurking in the shadows or your friends or foes wishing for the worst. This film is a journey of self discovery as both Hiyakawa and Mikado slowly understand the true meaning of sacrifice and love.
Rating- 4 out of 5
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