Drama Reviews September 3, 2015

The Thorns of Alice

  • Information: Japan • TV Drama • 2014 • 10 episodes
  • Original Title: アリスの棘
  • Starring: Ueno Juri, Odagiri Joe, Kuriyama Chiaki
  • Gents Score :
  • My Rating:

It’s been a very long time since I’ve watched a Japanese drama. Imagine my surprise when I happened to see Ueno Juri in a dark role. Count me in! I always like how Japanese dramas are usually only 10 to 11 episodes — short and sweet so you don’t have to devote that much time into watching it. So here goes my Japanese drama review for The Thorns of Alice.


Asumi’s father was a surgeon at a university hospital who died due to negligent and corrupt doctors. The incident was then covered up by the higher ups. Many years later, Asumi has grown up and is now a doctor. She starts working at the same university hospital with a plan to exact revenge on all the people related to her father’s death.

The Good

  • Good performance from Ueno Juri and cast

The Bad

  • Illogical plot
  • Excessive flashbacks
  • “Fake” build-up


It was a breath of fresh air to watch The Thorns of Alice after watching so many Korean dramas. The biggest difference was that this drama has no romantic plot line. There were a few romantic scenes in this drama but it was purely a plot device. This was basically a revenge story. I have no problem with this type of story… except in this case.

Photo © TBS

Photo © TBS

If you’re going to take revenge on multiple people and plan to continue to work in the same place afterwards, wouldn’t you tie up all loose ends so that word doesn’t get out about what you’re doing? For Asumi, no. She blackmails her targets in order to keep their mouths shut but that won’t work for very long. And as expected, it gets complicated as more doctors catch on and find out what Asumi’s doing at the hospital. What do the masterminds do once they’re found out by Asumi? Nothing. They’re so proud of their scheme that they just allow Asumi to continue her game; you’re trying to blackmail me but it’s okay, you won’t win so just continue to work here at this hospital and try again. There were many such illogical scenes in this drama that it was frustrating to watch at times.

Spoiler alert! Click and read at your own risk.

At the end of the drama, after all that she’s done, she’s still able to work on an emergency surgery. Plus, she’s still a licensed doctor. Wouldn’t you find it scary if your doctor had a past of harboring a grudge and stalking and blackmailing people?

I seem to notice that many familiar editing techniques as those seen in Korean dramas (they may have been used in movies and other media as well but I see them often in Korean dramas because that is what I watch). This drama had excessive flashbacks of Asumi’s past and her father’s death. In each episode, there were multiple flashbacks of the same exact scene. Yes, I get it that your father was killed by corrupt doctors and that is the reason for your revenge, just stop with the flashbacks already. Plus, there were many “fake” build-ups. For example, it would show somebody about to commit a crime, then it cuts to Asumi, then it cuts back to the person who you assume have already committed the crime. But later it’s revealed that he actually didn’t commit the crime and something else happened that was not shown to us. I agree that this is clever editing and is often done (much better in my opinion) in Korean dramas but in this case, it felt like I was tricked. Plus, there was no reason for that build-up at all as the person was acting out of character anyway.

Photo © TBS

Photo © TBS

On the bright side, I enjoyed Ueno Juri’s acting. It was refreshing to see her as an emotionless and angst-filled character. I also liked the portrayal of Asumi’s co-worker played by Kuriyama Chiaki. Despite being a side character, she had some unexpected character development. Asumi’s friend, Nishikado Yusuke played by Odagiri Joe, was a bit boring and uninteresting in contrast.

If you’re looking for something mildly entertaining to pass the time and don’t mind a darker story, turn off your brain and watch The Thorns of Alice. If you prefer a more fun or logical story, then I advise you to skip this drama.

More Information: AsianWiki

This article is purely of my own thoughts and opinions. Your opinions may differ. Any offense caused by my rants and ramblings is unintentional. Thank you for understanding.

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