What is more terrifying? A haunted house or all the violent aberrations human beings are capable of? These questions, the same that established the entire Ju-On franchise – and the same that are generally ignored by American adapters in Hollywood – are the core and driving force behind Ju-On: Origins , the new Netflix series.
With just 6 short episodes of less than 30 minutes each, Ju-On: Origins further expands the vision of what the hell is really going on in the mysterious and enigmatic Saeki House, just before Kayako, Toshio and Takeo get to live there.
Now if you got confused after watching the less-than-three-hours series, sit down and chill, because without further ado, we will explain Ju-On: Origins in detail.
1 ^ Where is Kayako?
Did you understand Dark, but got confused with Ju-On origins, to the point to not being sure Kayako showed up in some point? Don’t worry, Kayako was nowhere to be seen in this series, which makes total sense because it is a prequel story. So, no Kayako, no Toshio, no Takeo. But that didn’t make this series less scary or violent.
But there’s someone that does shows up in this prequel from the previous installments, and it is no other than Mar, Toshio’s black cat. This might confirm that Mar was in the house before the Saeki’s arrival.
Mar usually appears as a warning to anyone who tries to get into that house. Although apparently she has had very little luck with that, because everyone who gets there ends up entering and tied to all the mystery that surrounds the house. Whether they want it or not.
2 ^ What is the song playing at the end of the episodes of Ju-On: Origins?
Before we talk about all the scary things that happens in this series, let’s talk about its soundtrack. The song playing at the end of each episode of the series, and that is both fascinating and terrifying is called SONKAYNO, by a Japanese group called MAREWREW. Curiously, the song is not in Japanese, but in Ainu, the native language of the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan. The base of the word SONKAYNO indicates the idea of destruction.
3 ^ What is the song playing in Episode 2, when Yoshie goes to the nightclub?
One song that attracts a lot of attention is the one that appears in Episode 2, when Yoshie – worried about Mai – goes to look for her at a nightclub where one of the teachers informs her that she has been seen. The song is called «This was meant to be» by Amanda B, and it is a quite unknown song, to the point that when I found it on YouTube, it only had 4 views. It’s a catchy song, very much in the style of the Japanese vibe of the 1980s and 1990s. Just watch the video and enjoy!
4 ^ How many storylines take place in Ju-On: Origins? What is the chronological order?
Although the stories sometimes intersect, we can separate them as it follows:
- The Story of Hakura and Tetsuya, with the intervention of Yasuo Odajima.
- The Story of Kiyomi and Yudai.
- The Story of Keiichi, Chie and Nobu.
- The Story of Tomoku and Yusaku.
The stories span a 9-year period, between 1988 and 1997, before Kayako ended up living in the house, and well, we all know how that ends. Yes, exactly, not good at all.
5 ^ What happened to Tetsuya? Why did Hakura return to the House?
The first story we should follow is the first one we see on screen – Tetsuya and Hakura. Tetsuya is the son of some kind of medium, and he has inherited the ability to see spirits. Tetsuya was looking for houses to live, once he marries her, with such bad luck that he ended up in the house of horror. And once in, the grudge caught him. And it wasn’t letting him go.
Tetsuya stayed over at Hakura’s apartment, and it was she who perceived the curse in the form of steps in her place, which is why she ended up in the tv show where Mr. Odajima also appeared. Tetsuya was chased by the curse, and it eventually killed him, after Hakira dreamed that he was going to introduce her to his mother.
The face of Tetsuya’s corpse shows that he saw something horrifying before he died. Hakura moved on, but some time later she is contacted by Odajima, In order to get closure about the house and Tetsuya, Hakura decides she has nothing better to do than to face the supernatural cause that killed her boyfriend, and join Tetsuya to the house. Maybe japanese people are not that super smart after all.
6 ^ What happened to Kiyomi and Yudai?
Kiyomi arrived at her new school with a reputation as a student who sleeps with teachers, when in fact it is her mother who has that peculiar hobbie. Once they identify her, Yoshie and Mai plan to humiliate her, using Yudai to sexually abuse her. As if raping a girl and taking pictures was not good enough, they also thought it was such a good idea to break into the cursed house to commit the crimes.
At the house, Mai disappears, and Yoshie soon after – at the nightclub where «This was meant to be» is playing. However, Kiyomi blackmails Yudai with revealing his despicable act to the authorities if he doesn’t finish what she believes is the reason for her unhappiness: her mother. Indeed, Yudai murders Kiyomi’s mother and runs away with her.
However, a relationship based on rape and murder obviously cannot end that well. Years later, although they are still together, Kiyomi (now as Kumi Shigematsu) works as a prostitute for foreigners while Yudai (now as Katsuji Kobayashi) works in a recycling plant. Both have serious conflicts that end in fists and blood, which is already quite serious, now in front of her son Toshiko, who in addition to also suffering from Yudai’s fist, he is poorly fed.
Eventually Yudai hits Toshiko with a phone and leaves him in a vegetative state. Despite his condition, Toshiko can communicate to warn that the curse is about to deliver the final blow to her parents.
7 ^ What happened to Keiichi, Chie and Nobu?
Some time after the sexual attack on Kiyomi, Nobu and Keiko Haida move there. And as expected, nothing good comes out of it. First, Nobu meets an old girlfriend of his, Keiichi, with such good luck that he gets her pregnant. The thing is, Keiichi is married to Chie.
Now, Chie, following Nobu and Keiichi discovers that they are indeed cheating on him. Chie even seems willing to rebuild his relationship with Keiichi, believing that perhaps her encounters with Nobu are platonic, due to her pregnancy.
However, Keiichi, tired and bored of dealing with her husband, and also being in love with Nobu, throws a nuclear bomb at him: not only is she in love with Nobu, but the baby she is expecting is from him, and even more, she tries to poison and then kill Chie. Trying to defend himself Chie assassinates Keiichi, and trying to save the baby, he cuts her belly to remove the not fully formed fetus.
But then the fetus dies, and Chie is going to bury it in the courtyard of the house of wonders. And that’s where we see Nobu dead.
8 ^ What is going on with Tomoko and Yusaku?
Already in 1997, a new couple moves into the house. Tomoko is pregnant and Yusaku refuses to listen to Odajima when he warns him that they must leave the house or everyone, including the baby, will end up dead. Shortly after, when the house begins to show signs of not wanting exactly the best for the couple, they decide is not such a bad idea to call Odajima.
9 ^ What is Odajima’s history with the house?
About 40 years before the episode with Tomoko and Yusaku, the Odajima family lived in the dream house. Yasuo’s sister disappeared into the attic, and her father simply vanished. Likewise, Yasuo saw a strange figure as a child who broke into the house breaking one of the windows.
10 ^ What on earth happened in the end?
At the end of the series, as well as in the penultimate chapter we see something that has been very common in the Ju-On franchise, which is that the house finally reveals itself as a black hole where all the aberrations and filth of the past coexist eternally. So Adult Odajima was able to see Kiyomi after she was raped. He also saw his young version being attacked by the adult Kiyomi when she broke into the house… in the future. Yes, that’s weird.
Haruka sees the woman who was kidnapped by the son of the original owner of the house, to rape her and then force her to give birth, although the baby was never found. And although Tomoko manages to get out of the house alive, in an ambulance, her husband Yusaku simply turns to ashes.
Likewise, Tetsuya’s mother is trapped forever in the house, as happened with Yoshie, Mai and then Kiyomi.
11 ^ What does the last scene of Ju-On: Origins mean?
In the last scene we see Haruka burying the recording of the steps she heard in her apartment and that later she took to the TV show, believing that this way she could finally finish the whole madness that took Tetsuya’s life. However we see that the son of the original owner of the house appears and catches her.
What happens to Haruka in this last scene is what happened to Kiyomi too – although the latter did it voluntarily – Haruka was now trapped within the house. Now, something the house does NOT do is time travel, that is, the original owner’s son couldn’t just kidnap Haruka and take her to 1954. What happens to people in the house is that they can SEE what has happened or even what is going to happen there, but it never moves anyone across time. So Haruka, was simply trapped in the house as happened to Tetsuya’s mother.
12 ^ What is the message of the series?
During all the episodes we watch television news clips about horrendous crimes that have happened in Japan and around the world. This is an indication that although the house is indeed a hollow of horror, everything that happens there is based on human actions. We are the human beings who are capable of generating so much violence, aberration and destruction (SONKAYNO) to such a level that all this can stay forever hanging around where these perversities occur.
13 ^ Why didn’t the house kill Odajima?
Odajima suspects that it is precisely for him to tell his story. There may be two theories here. The first, which even has to do with Mar, the house wants the cycle to end, so it warns everyone – you should not go there and uses Odajima for that purpose.
The second is for the opposite. The house wants to generate curiosity, attraction so that everyone who knows about it, ends up wanting to break in. This would be in sync with the fact that the real estate guy is also not affected by the curse. The house simply chooses the best way to sell on the market, always looking for the best way to attract the worst possible signs of violence and aberration until it finally finds its ultimate spirit: Kayako.
Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.