Manifestation Gone Wrong – Kotodamasou

Ishii Anna had such a strong streak of excellent roles in 2021. I figured Kotodamsou would be another addition to that but that wasn’t the case. Kotodamasou had promising elements, and an intriguing set up that just never reached it’s full potential. Which is truly a shame. I can’t just jump into what went wrong without first talking about the premise, so let’s go!

Utagawa Kotoha (Nishino Nanase) is a 25-year-old small time Viewtuber, and moves into an all women’s apartment building. She attempts to greet the building manager, only to find no response, but is welcomed by the other tenants. However, the building has an odd feel to it, and some strange events occur around Kotoha’s friend and fellow tenant Saya (Miyaoshi Ayaka) cumulating into Saya’s untimely death. From there, the unsettling feeling escalates for all the residents that center around their most earnest wishes…

I’m going to be perfectly honest – this drama was incredibly mediocre. I will admit, first and foremost that this is partly due to a lack of comprehension on my part. I certainly missed a few key moments and that is on me. Even if I knew those elements while watching, I don’t think that would salvage my opinion. Take the rest of this review as a cautionary tale as what not to do when making a horror drama.

Kotodamasou would have worked better if they had reversed a fair amount of events. I normally love being thrown into a story and figuring it out along with the characters. However, the story failed to use any sort of foreshadowing, nor did it set up anything that it would go on to cover. Everything felt like it like it was introduced ten minutes too late to be impactful. On top of so many details being so oddly inserted and referred back to it’s a wonder they even bothered.

It didn’t help that the story had no atmosphere. I do not care that it was set often in the day time, but there was no unifying atmospherical pull that joined everything together. The story flip flopped unnaturally from being a supernatural horror story, part investigation, to suspense thriller with no transitions. It killed off any tension or suspense the series was attempting to create with this flip flopping. Scary stuff happened for the sake of happening, rather then feeling naturally occurring. These set ups were either too long that they didn’t scare, or just cheap jump scares. Too much CGI for most of them, and the remainder being poorly done practical effects leading to more inconsistent moods. Nothing chilled me until the ninth episode, and by then I already had largely given up on it.

Too many actresses, not enough space for all of them to flourish.

Moving on to acting… it was a wash. There are a lot of well known names in here, so the star power is high. However, this is a rare occasion where I think the individual talents were squandered with poor role assignment. Most notably was Nishino Nanase as Kotoha, the lead character. She was simply the wrong choice. Nanase didn’t have enough experiance or presence to pull it off. I would have swapped her out with anyone else in the supporting cast for a stronger performance.

It also did not help that the cast was too large, so everyone’s character potential was watered down. The ensemble cast energy was lukewarm at best on top of it. Too many people to fit into one scene, too many character dynamics that never got fully explored, which lead to a lot of underwhelming deliveries by everyone. This got better the less characters on screen there were; some of my favorite scenes were Asami (Morita Misato) and Saki (Ishii Anna) going at each other, or even Sayaka (Miyaoshi Ayaka) and Kotoha (Nishino Nanase)’s exchanges. But the minute a third character appeared, the chemistry never transitioned to include them. Even Nanao’s eventual inclusion couldn’t salvage the show, another moment of too little too late. There simply should have been a tighter cast in general since the episodes were way too short for everyone to reach their full potential.

For being a collaboration between TV Asahi and Abema the production itself was solid. Dark scenes read well on screen. There was care and consideration for filming, nice set locations and designs. It’s a shame that so many other elements in this story just failed to live up to any sort of potential.

I can’t even say that Kotadamosou was a swing and a miss. This show had so much going for it, yet somehow managed to squander it all. It’s not even a show I could recommend to watch for a laugh. It’s that uninspired. This is one of the few times I will say earnestly don’t waste your time with this, watch something else.



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