Well, this was kind of a one way ticket to the feels train…Show found a way to bring a bit of its old mojo back, and gives us a pretty good penultimate episode. Let yourself be surprised. I know I was.
Song of the Post: いきものがかり (Ikimono-Gakari) – 心一つあるがまま (One Heart, As It Is)
Episode 10: Overflowing feelings…The answer we came up with together
The episode opens with Yoko facing a swarm of journalists in front of her restaurant. She makes no comment about her brother’s situation, and closes the door on them. The thing is, her employees inside aren’t more understanding and give her the cold shoulder. Sous-chef Nogi steps up and ask Yoko to take a break. Nice way to tell her she’s bringing the business down, dude.
Questioned by a prosecutor, Hyuga discovers that Kosuke was rated out by Tono. Kosuke may not have respected their deal, but Tono wasn’t looking for money anyway. Envious of Hyuga and Kosuke, he wanted to be acknowledged by them.
At the door of the WonderWall office, Makoto is waiting for Hyuga and frantically barges inside when she hears him coming. Pushing poor Yasuoka out of her way, she urges the boys not to panic and to greet Hyuga with smiles. Ha, this girl is desperate. She tries to calm herself down (and fails) and shouts a high-pitched “Welcome!” with a big fake smile plastered on her face. Cue the Trio, foolishly putting on a simpering smile. Why, hello second-hand embarrassment.
Hyuga sneers at them, releasing the tension, and Yasuoka notices a new Youtube video of people touring the empty Next Innovation office. The situation is dire, and the boys comment that the company will likely go bankrupt. Makoto peeks at Hyuga when they add that it’s all Kosuke’s fault, and quickly turn everyone’s attention to work. Soon, the Trio is busy making fun of Hyuga, as he’s being socially trained by Makoto, and boy there’s some work.
Used to speak his mind, often in his rude ways, he struggles to get what Makoto is telling him: respect your client. He’s the one bringing the money, even if he’s an idiot who doesn’t get your point. Hyuga is like: “You’re still an idiot.” Pffft. And after a few attempts at making him apologize, Makoto can’t stand it and screams in english: “Repeat after me!”
They head to their meeting, Junkudo (a Japanese bookstore chain), and Hyuga tries a mnemotecnic trick to remember his client’s name. Ever the mother hen, Makoto gives some last minute advices, like looking at the client in the eye and smile. Baby Hyuga is full of good will, bless his soul.
Fortunately, he’s much more confident when it comes to selling his device and convinces the client. Hyuga goes for the client’s name to thank him but only remembers the first part. Makoto mimes the last part but he royally screws up, and she hurries to take over.
Outside, our Pudding Prince complains that he didn’t know it was so hard to make a living (for real?) and Makoto wishes he said that when they first met. He grumbles that what bothers him is that he has to depend on her for his recent transformation. He asks her to rate his presentation and she gives 75 points.
Prince Hyuga thought that he was perfect (of course you’d think that) and Makoto hilariously bursts his bubble, looking all concerned as she explains that only when the young Padawan will do as told will he be granted the medal he wants. I love how she’s patting him as if he’s an adorable but useless pet. Damn, they’re too cute.
We’re brought straight back to Earth when Hyuga tries to visit Kosuke at the penitentiary, but learns that any visit is prohibited for 22 days. He then focuses on his clients, and impresses Makoto with his new manners: name, greetings, bow…Go, you socially adapted you! And yet, he only scores 89 points. Wow, she looks sweet and all but Makoto sure is severe.
Hyuga complains, but confesses that he admires this one client who humbly serves his job and his employees. Makoto retorts that it’s still not natural for him. Hyuga grimaces but this time, instead of whining, he sighs: “Next time, I want to do it well.” YES! Teacher Makoto is proud and says that of all the times she has seen him, now he’s the coolest. Makoto, Best Cheerleader Ever.
Our penniless couple take the bus, where a tired Makoto falls asleep on Hyuga’s shoulder. Omo, omo, omo. He looks intrigued, but doesn’t dislike it and soon rests his head on Makoto’s. Okay, I need to breathe. Gah, too much cuteness! We’re not even 15 minutes in, and I already suffered two Kawaii attacks.
Their new client is H&M, and this time next Hyuga brilliantly conducts his presentation in front of a whole crowd (and journalists), helped by a way-too-much-excited Makoto. Their new item is a great virtual dresser, and a journalist asks if Hyuga designed it himself. He takes the time to say that it was a team effort, and that he’ll do well with WonderWall. Looking at him from afar, Makoto swoons. Argh. The team splits up after the event, and Hyuga offers to take Makoto to an after party with the client. Oh hum?
She declines, but takes the opportunity to praise his progress. Hyuga is about to get in his taxi when he turns to ask: “And today?” Foolishly in Love Makoto can’t help but laugh, and it’s almost with a pinch of regret that she answers: “120 points! It’s perfect!” Hyuga grins back, and does a cheesy finger gun at her. I’m already clutching at my heart but Makoto reacts the same way. Me and you both. Torn between delight and bitterness, she notes that with him being so perfect, she can’t help him anymore. Oh no girl, don’t do it!
She goes to their office and looks at the magazine covers featuring Hyuga. Success is back. She notices the picture of them he has on his desk, and remembers the time she said that she will be the one standing next to him now. Oh God, no, just no. Don’t!
Hyuga returns to the penitentiary only to learn that Kosuke doesn’t want to see him. We see the warden delivering the daily newspaper but, having noticed that Kosuke doesn’t read it, he added a manga. He notes that Kosuke looks like he’s going to die, so surely Tensai Bakabon could help. Er…Thanks?
Hyuga meets with a defeated Yamagami, who’s begging him to come back to Next Innovation. Haha, too late buddy. Yamagami is sure that this return would put the company back on track and regrets having being an outsider in the conflict between Hyuga and Kosuke. He bashfully expresses his genuine affection for both men but that doesn’t sway Hyuga, who declines, though he does look really conflicted.
At home, Makoto talks on the phone with someone from the laboratory she previously turned down, and seems to be looking forward working with them. She later tells her friend Haruka that she doesn’t feel useful anymore at WonderWall. It’s also the right time for her to distance herself from Hyuga. Sure, they’re a great duo, as long as Hyuga feels down and needs her. Geh, I hate when she says this stuff.
She kinds of make up for that when she adds that truthfully, it’s more like with such a cool and perfect Hyuga, the situation is too much for her. Being so close, but only able to look at him is torture. Is that a metaphor for us, Drama viewers?
News gets around that Next Innovation will be swallowed by a Chinese fund and Hyuga declares to his Trio that he’s going to go back there and rebuild the company. Wait, what? At the sight of the Trio’s ire, he laughs and says that he was just joking. Oh, were you? It’s only then that Yasuoka notices Makoto’s absence (thankz guyz) to what Hyuga casually says that she’s taking a break and sent a message to let them know. But he’s actually quite unsettled by that.
After a long day at the laboratory, Makoto checks her phone and smiles when she sees that Hyuga tried to call her. Twice. But the smile quickly fades, and she moves on. That only annoys Hyuga who goes to her appartment to pound on her door and ring the doorbell more than necessary. He’s even reduced to squint through the door mail slot or press his ear to the window until a worried neighbor makes him run away. What a brat.
He gripes about Makoto’s absence to Yasuoka who suggests that she may be in her hometown. Ding, ding! Time to meet his mother, at least? That night, Hyuga mutters that Makoto is a liar, what’s with her big talk about sticking to him. And she dared made him enjoy working with different people to boot! Yeah, such a rude woman, right? But then he sighs: “What is that? Wasn’t I responding to your feelings?” Ack, my heart!
He whines that it’s precisely why he hates getting involved with others. “Why does she make me feel this way?” Pffft, you’re finally leveling up in the game! Here comes adolescence, little boy. The Head monk comes to bestow his wisdom upon the young hero (that must mean that the final boss isn’t far!), and notes that when one gets close to someone, heart and mind are confused. Sure, Hyuga may hate that part in himself but isn’t accepting the confusion, and the person responsible of it, the meaning of being together? At that, Hyuga concedes that he just want to see her face. Yes, be more honest. TO HER!
The next day he’s ready to get in the Shinkansen to visit Makoto’s hometown but as he’s giving last minute directions to his team, someone runs into him. And wouldn’t you know, it’s Yoko! Ugh. Really, Show? Once in their seats (notice that they’re not in the same row), she tells him that she’s on a break from the restaurant, because of Kosuke’s arrest. When she asks why he’s on the road, he tells her straight that he’s looking for someone who’s gone, so Yoko guesses right away that he’s talking about Makoto. The ambiance gets really awkward for a moment, prompting Hyuga to ask about Kosuke, but Yoko reveals that he has refused to see everyone, even their parents.
Speaking of the devil, we see Kosuke in his cell, and he gets up to give the manga back to the warden when he comes. The old man readily wonders if he found it funny and promises to bring the second volume. Once alone, Kosuke bleakly says that he didn’t laugh. He feels too horrible for that.
Meanwhile, Hyuga wishes Kosuke would one day accept to see him. Yoko doesn’t think so, given his current spirit, and predicts that he’ll disappear somewhere once he’s released. Surely, he won’t go back to the family he brought such dishonor on. Turning to Hyuga, she adds that Kosuke also destroyed the place they made together.
Hyuga remembers the steps both men went through since their meeting: the ambition, the thrills, the joy…This confirms how their bromance is the most poignant relationship of this drama. Show, why did you do that? Kosuke is also thinking back to these glorious times, and concludes: “What a mess. It was fun.” Feeling a tear rolling down his cheek, he’s almost surprised and maybe grateful for these feelings, now letting himself cry while repeating “It was fun.” You mean you finally remember that you’re human too? In the train, Hyuga muses: “It was fun.” OKAY, we geddit. Here, have my tears!
Yoko seems to wrestle with her thoughts, but finally asks if she can come with Hyuga in search of Makoto, saying that she feels the need to help Hyuga. Oh, oh.
Praised by her superior, Makoto would rather know if she’ll improve people’s lives with her work. Her boss assures her that she will, but she doesn’t look convinced.
Hyuga and Yoko enter Makoto’s parents’ familial restaurant where her mother sumptuously serves her guests, with nearly all the food available in the house. Dayummy, I’m hungry now. Makoto’s brother says that she’s still in Tokyo and that she seems to go through a difficult time. Yoko prods him, and he readily explains how she gave up good job offers to follow some guy. LOL. The father is drinking away his frustration, slurring that this guy will surely abuse her kindness. Haha, Pops, if only you knew.
The mother is more clement, thinking that her daughter is doing something she likes and must be happy with that man. The way Makoto spoke about him must mean that she’s in love. What’s with this family? You’re giving too much information to strangers, people! But without that, our little Hyuga wouldn’t know that Makoto loves him. It’s not like the girl was always looking at him with big starry enamored eyes. Oh, wait.
Hyuga is ready to get back to Tokyo, thinking that the trip was in vain, but Yoko has other plans. She manages to drag him to his mother’s place (and wow, she’s also a restaurateur! What a small world, indeed), where he starts to waver, sure that she wouldn’t remember him. But before he changes his mind, his mother greets them. Oh my god, we’re in for the Reveal? We’re gonna have a cry fest, right? Right?
Nope, Hyuga’s mother invites them in, and apologizes for not having much to serve. Ha, is that supposed to contrast with Makoto’s mother? So she offers to prepare Omurice, which just happens to be Hyuga’s favorite dish! My, my…Yoko is holding her breath while Hyuga’s mom regrets serving him such food for kids. We know better as we see that Hyuga is actually repressing his feelings. His mother is about to remember him and his poor heart is so expectant it hurts but no, she just remembers him as “That famous young CEO”. Aw, bummer. Of course she goes on about how his mother must be so proud of him and how she’s going to boast about serving an omurice to such a big shot. Man, that was cold.
Hyuga holds back his tears before leaving with Yoko. He tells her that he really doesn’t have any ill feeling towards his mom. Seeing her living a good life just put his mind at ease, and he’s now wondering what he was looking for exactly. Yoko points out that he’s feeling this way because he now have someone else he wants to see. The one he’s missing is Makoto, she says. Hyuga nods at that and thanks her for coming along with him. This trip made him see something in himself that he couldn’t understant ’til now. Yay~
In Tokyo, Sakaguchi reveals to the Trio that Hyuga wasn’t kidding when he talked about going back to Next Innovation. Wh….at? The boys feel betrayed though Sakaguchi tells them that Hyuga left some money to invest in WonderWall. Truth is, they don’t have the confidence to go on without Hyuga and Sakaguchi has to yell that Hyuga humbly came to ask for him to take care of them. If such a proud guy can bow for them, can’t they give it a try? “How long are you going to ride on his back?” Wow. Well said.
Said proud guy is running to meet with Makoto, who’s waiting for him in front of her office. They’re excited at first, but soon awkwardness sets in. Hyuga quickly tells her how hard it was to get in touch with her and Makoto’s lack of reaction infuriates him, though she gasps hearing that he went to her hometown. She wonders why, leaving us hanging for Hyuga’s confession, but he chooses to say that any boss would worry for his employee. Gaaaaaah. “Besides, I had something important to tell you.” OOOOOOH??
“It’s about the company.” I HATE YOU! Makoto stutters: “I also had something to say to you.” NOT YOU TOO!! Hyuga is hopeful and all smiles (as we all were) but she deflates, asking him to speak first. I HATE YOU BOTH! ARGHH!
He tells her that he’ll return to Next Innovation, confessing that he realized he wanted to preserve a place Kosuke could go back to. She congratulates him as she always loved the duo he formed with Kosuke. Hyuga is comfortable enough with her to concede that he’s a bit skeptical he can rebuild the company but Makoto repeats the words Kosuke once said: “If it’s you, you can do it.” Hyuga grins and says that when she’s the one to say it, he feels like he can really do anything.
Warily, Makoto asks him about his trip and is relieved to hear he met his mom. She wonders if he told her that he’s her son but Hyuga is satisfied enough with what he saw. His mother looked good, no need to bother her. He was the first surprised to realize how mature he is. Pffft, look at that brat. He’s happy he could see someone he wanted to see for so long, but he understoof something else. Go. On. Now. “Now, there’s someone else I want to see.” Seeing Makoto chuckle wasn’t part of his plan though, and he’s taken aback. He asks her about the thing she was going to say and they both stutter like the middle-schoolers they really are.
Makoto also made a decision. She’ll keep working for the laboratory. Watching Hyuga work made her think that she wanted to do something too, and feel confident. Hyuga looks frustrated at first but agrees. Looking at her, he assures her that she never lacked potential anyway. You know that means a lot to her, yet she manages to joke around, repeating his words about feeling like doing anything. She apologizes for not keeping her promise of staying by his side but he plays it cool, swearing he didn’t take her seriously. Lying liar.
Confirming what I saw coming from miles away, Makoto believes that Kosuke is the one Hyuga wants to see and encourages him to get along with him. Ugh. I knew it. Also, that kinda reeks of fake cheerfulness, girl. Hyuga doesn’t set her right, and soon it’s time to say goodbye. For a second, I swear Hyuga is about to run after her but no, he simply stares at her walking away while doing poses, like a Calvin Klein model. He finally goes too, which is right the moment when Makoto turns for a last look. She sighs and resumes her walk AND THEN Hyuga turns too because it doesn’t feel right and yes go to her and no, why are you going the other way? Dammit, how more cliché can you get?
Argh, why waste a good episode why such a cheap trick? They’re just building up angst on nothing. That’s too bad because I really think that Show was getting his groove back. Well, let’s focus on the positive: this episode surprised me on several fronts. I love when dramas manage to twist the viewers’ expectations, which was the case here, at least for me.
First, by making Yoko Hyuga’s travel buddy. I must confess I was literrally rolling my eyes at that, but I came to realize that this was the best configuration. On one hand, I’m clearly disappointed at the waste of her character (what a great figure she would have been, being a boss at a fancy restaurant and all), but on the other hand, I’m glad she decided not to go on the Bitch Highway ride. Hyuga needed a friend during this trip, someone close who knew his issues and could nudge him. In a way, she was the bridge that helped him find closure.
Then, Hyuga not telling his identity to his mom was another surprise. I totally thought this was going to be a huge deal, and I even dreaded that she would recognize him at first glance, K-drama style, but no. And boy if that wasn’t refreshing. I love that he respected her choice to live without her kid, even though he had to suffer from that choice. It takes maturity to accept and refrain from forcing her to acknowledge his own pain. Add to that the LOL factor, when Hyuga was so proud to manage his mommy issue alone he bragged about not being immature anymore to Makoto. HAHAHA. Anyway, maybe some viewers will think that it left the matter unresolved, but I think that it was handled quite realistically, because everything in life doesn’t need to be wrapped up in a neat bow.
Another surprise was Hyuga going back to Next Innovation. More precisely, his reason for that. Once again, I was rolling my eyes, but when he said that he wanted to build a place Kosuke could return to, my heart just about melted. It’s not like he’s morally obligated, he seems to genuinely want to rebuild the company they worked so hard to create. As if keeping the spirit of the Old Kosuke alive, when he himself couldn’t. I came to think that in the end, Kosuke hurt himself more that the others, and I began to feel a teeny bit bad. I feel conflicted about Kosuke’s redemption. It doesn’t feel like he earned his second chance, yet. But the Bromance isn’t dead! Surely, their story was the more compelling point in the whole drama. Sorry, Makoto!
Following this point, Hyuga leaving WonderWall to the Trio. I’m amazed Show addressed the point of them riding on Hyuga’s back without searching their own purposes. Sakaguchi hit the nail on the head when he lectured them.
Now, Makoto making her decision. Again, I was annoyed: does she see herself as a mascot? Does she think her only quality is to support Hyuga? The way it was presented at first was as if she doesn’t have any worth besides being his private cheerleader that she felt the need to leave his side once he got the social rules right. I thought that she was playing the Nice Guy card, but the rest of the episode made it understandable that she wouldn’t want to torture herself being in the presence of Hyuga when she thinks that he doesn’t have feelings for her.
Which leads me to the only (and big) flaw I couldn’t accept.
No, let’s not talk about that pose.
The last minutes were pure torture. I so wanted them to knock their heads and force them to hug. Show got us excited only to piss at us in the end. I agree that the storyline has them separating for profesionnal reasons, but why, why, WHY the need to sever all contact? Yes, Makoto is afraid and all, but as dense as she can be, she should have understand Hyuga’s feelings! Ugh, his eyes…Also, it’s a bit ridiculous to think that they can’t meet after work, really. But okay, Show wants to milk the plot, so be it.
At least, we have the incredible chemistry between the leads. Gawd, my heart squeezed so much I thought I needed to take a pill. Don’t kill me, Show, there’s still have the finale!