First Glimpse of Ningen Konchuki – Of human parasites


Ningen Konchuki (Human Metamorphosis) a manga by Japan’s most influential animator and illustrator, Tezuka Osamu, that draws parallels between human society and the insect world, is being adapted for television and will air on WOWOW’s midnight drama time slot at the end of the month.


At the time the work was published in 1970, Japan had passed the peak of rapid economic growth and entered a phase of stability. It marked a period where Japanese society suddenly came under strain after the economic boom. With the end of soaring growth and consumerism, it was the start of a time to begin considering what would be of foremost importance to mankind. It was against that backdrop that Tezuka depicted through the way of life of one evil woman, how the people around him were so taken by that appeal that they became unhappy by using an analogy from the insect world in his satirical manga. His was an unusual work that probed the dark side of humans.


In the drama, Minami plays the main character, the beautiful, fashionable Tomura Toshiko who watches a stage performance and falls under the spell of the female lead’s acting. She remembers the lines to the extent that she can recite from memory and succeeds in getting into the theater company. Then, she gets close to the director and wrests away the female lead’s position. After that, she even expels the director, and directs and plays the lead by herself. However, she suddenly gives up being actress, becomes a novelist, and then a designer. In a series of resplendent transformations like the molting cycle of a cicada, she sheds her previous identities and makes her mark in various fields. However, it is not Toshiko’s own genius, but a perfect imitation of the talents of the people she approached and which she announces before them for her own fame.


Men are drawn to the beauty and mysterious charm of Toshiko, the femme fatale. Arata stars as Mizuno Ryotaro, a talented designer and one of Toshiko’s succession of lovers who meets her through strange circumstances and is attracted to that charm. Mizuno and Toshiko come to love each other, but when he learns of her true character, he tries to put distance between them.

Ningen Konchuki is a drama which explores human nature and karma and promises to be dark and fascinating. Just the sort of entertainment I need this summer while I patiently wait for WOWOW’s other production, Shitamachi Rocket.

The seven-part drama will be broadcast every Saturday at 12.00 a.m. from 30 July.


About jadefrost

This blog contains information and musings on current and upcoming Japanese dramas but is not intended to be comprehensive.
This entry was posted in Summer 2011 Dramas, WOWOW. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to First Glimpse of Ningen Konchuki – Of human parasites

  1. Lisa says:

    Hey, do you perhaps know where (if anywhere) I can watch this drama? 🙂

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