YAAAAH! Does this blog still exist? Will I ever bother giving excuses? Erm. How about me giving not one, not two, not three but four RMPW recaps? You may need to check this page, for a brush up.
Song of the Post: Rich Man Poor Woman Main Theme Acoustic Version ~ miwa –「ヒカリヘ」(Towards the Light)
Episode 8: After throwing everything away, with you…Beginning a trip to tomorrow
Chased by a pack of ravenous journalists, Hyuga finally manages to escape to NEXT INNOVATION’s quarters, and beelines for Kosuke’s office. Only then does he pause, still reeling from the shock. Not even turning to face him, Kosuke simply claps his hands, praising the way Hyuga bore up.
Incredulous, Hyuga grasps the whole truth: “Everything…was your doing?” Yep, and it’s just the beginning, sweety. Having a hysterical laughing fit, Kosuke agrees that he indeed planned it all. Adjusting the knot of Hyuga’s tie, he creepily reveals that he carefully took care of this antisocial kid to make him big by letting him play with his favorite toys. See how it ends when you don’t let little boys play with dolls?
Overwrought, Hyuga flips his lid and desperately clutches Kosuke’s arm, but cannot hide the painful turmoil he’s going through himself. By contrast, Kosuke keeps his cool and pats him: “But I do feel a bit guilty. Aren’t you late discovering the truth?” GAH, YOU!
Now using force, he goes for a head-to-head (dayum, that’s oddly getting Foe Yay here). Betraying his inner feelings, he growls: “Spoil a brat too much and…he rots.” I was expecting a headbutt, but Kosuke just intensely stares at Hyuga, as if to convince himself that he’s really the one who made him the way he is.
Still outside, Makoto can’t take her eyes off the screen broadcasting the news about Hyuga’s downfall. She suddenly moves forward, but gets pushed around and drops the files from the laboratory. She hesitates, remembering Hyuga’s words about not letting her emotions get the upper hand, but finally picks up the enveloppe and walks with firm steps towards the laboratory building.
Sitting with Yamagami, Hyuga has to listen to him say that he now hasn’t a dollar to his name after losing his shares. Why do you think shell companies exist for, you fool! To his credit, Yamagami does seem sincere as he deplores Hyuga’s situation but Hyuga doesn’t have the luxury of time to hear him wallow in self pity, and abruptly asks when the betrayal began.
With a sigh, Yamagami confesses that he can’t read Kosuke’s mind. Yeah, you kinda proved that point in the previous episode. He grows more and more uncomfortable when Hyuga wonders what happened to the company’s stocks, and indeed, Hyuga feels something is fishy as he learns that Kosuke bought his shares. He starts to suspect his involvement in the leaking scandal but Yamagami counters that there’s no evidence. YET, I’d say.
Still, the seed of doubt is planted in Hyuga, who’s now asked to relinquish ownership of his Personal File project. Haha, I’d like to see that. Yamagami blankly states that the Board of Directors approved the plan, and it’s the last straw for Hyuga, who blows a fuse and swears they’ll never take this one thing from him.
Barging in his private office, he tries to log in to his project but each time the access is denied. Worse, after a series of failed attempts, the program automatically deletes the data. NOOOO! Powerless, he can only watch the self-destruction, and frustratingly takes out his anger on his desk before pulling out the plugs. Ha, that’s how I used to deal with viruses, back in the days.
Walking in the common room for a change of air, he notices the tensed atmosphere and calls out to Yasuoka when even he runs away from him. The question about his resignation is on everyone’s lips but Hyuga laughs it off and calmly announces that he’s taking the Personal File project (hereafter called simply PasuFile) with him to start a new company. That takes everyone aback, until Kosuke enters the ring.
Sarcastically, he notes that such an outcome is typical of Hyuga, and muses that NEXT INNOVATION must have grown too big, becoming more like a burden. Hyuga contains his anger, but crushes his plastic cup when Kosuke says: “The way Hyuga thinks surpasses my imagination.” The nerve of that guy!
Kosuke scoffs, then turns to the employees to promise them a new future, under his guidance. Pushing the right buttons, he acknowledges their fears and goads them to overcome them. Using Hyuga’s words, written on the wall, he emphatically enjoins them to build their future and enjoy change.
You can do it.
Ah, here comes his catchphrase. It works, as everyone is psyched up and forgets about Hyuga’s presence. Except Makoto, who witnessed the scene from a particularly unique vantage point. In the spotlight (literally), leaning against the symbolic wall is Kosuke, while Hyuga stands dully in a corner. Light / shadow, geddit?
She later goes to see Hyuga, busy clearing out his office, but doesn’t know how to convey her feelings. And when she offers her help, Hyuga rebuffs her. Maybe regretting his rudeness, he asks her about her future job and she ingenuously emphasizes how such an important company treated her with respect. PFFFT. She belatedly apologizes when she realizes that it sounded ironic to Hyuga.
There’s nothing more else to say, except that her future is assured with the laboratory, which pleases Hyuga. But strangely enough, his manners get much more brusque and he now loudly throws his things in the box.
Following Kosuke’s lead, most of the empoyees turns their back on Hyuga, now agreeing that he wasn’t at his place as president. Most, I said, minus the loyal trio comprised of Yasuoka, Ogawa and Hosoki. And, oh surprise, they’re the ones in charge of PasuFile! They gather to discuss whether to follow Hyuga or stay in NEXT INNOVATION, but end up with a massive headache. Oh, the throes of dilemma. Which is when a supra-confident Hyuga opens the door (ha, symbolism, again?) all smiles.
So, are you following me?
Haha, genius. They’re all surprised to see him (“with his lovely smile”, says Hosoki, *snort*) but he explains that he’s happy they unlocked the PasuFile documents for him. Cue puppies waiting for a petting from their master.
Spotting Makoto in the alley, Hyuga grabs her in a headlock to present her to the trio: “Miss Natsui said she’s also joining us!”, and conveniently covers her mouth when she tries to protest. But Yasuoka already knows she’s starting over in an other company, to which Hyuga states that she turned it down. I love his deadpan look, as if challenging anyone to contradict him, while Makoto flails around.
Growing serious, he assures them that they’re the keys to his PasuFile project:
I’m going to need you guys.
Not thinking twice, Ogawa and Hosoki raise hands to join him, but Yasuoka plays coy, pointing that he’s only be the errand boy anyway. BUT, if Hyuga can say his name, he’ll come. Oooh, nice! For some embarrassing seconds, Hyuga scoffs that of course he can remember that, and exultantly shouts: YAMAOKA! Ack, so close, yet so far!
Fortunately for him, Yasuoka is ready to go with any name, and already plans a grandiose farewell party where they’ll all announce their decision. Man, I love the whole scene. Looking at them, Hyuga seems happy…and rather conflicted. Is he wondering if he’s doing the right thing?
Meeting with Kosuke, Yamagami tells him about Hyuga’s obstination but Kosuke isn’t worried. Yamagami is, though, especially concerning the future or NEXT INNOVATION without its creative head aboard, and refers Kosuke to his own word: “Hyuga is the engine of the company.” Ha, take that, Number Two!
Kosuke is taken aback, but quickly regains his poise and does his best to persuade Yamagami that he won’t regret this development. Methinks you’re asking too much.
Yoko is chosen to do the catering, but fears the timing isn’t the most appropriate. Makoto tells her that Hyuga is going to start a new company, thus reassuring Yoko who remembers about Kosuke’s threat to crush him. Yoko shifts the topic by asking Makoto about her new job, and laughs at her awkwardness, noticing that she’s really easy to read. Not coming here doesn’t mean that she won’t ever meet him anymore, she says, as if speaking to herself. Makoto perceives what she really implies, and jokes that Yoko is the one easy to figure out.
Makoto ponders about the end of her internship in the office, when Yasuoka comes to show the slideshow he prepared for the party. Seeing his office crush Risa walking by, he offers her to join their misfits team but she giggles, explaining that she’s a cat type. Read: comfort over loyalty, heh. Puppy Yasuoka returns to Makoto, chirping that she (at least) is a dog type. Darling, we figured that eons ago.
Zooming by, Hyuga gives his segway to Yasuoka before heading out, but looks quite strained. Reaching the lobby, he’s called out by Kosuke who was waiting for him. Seriously, man, seriously? Don’t you have CEO things to do?
He muses that Hyuga sure takes things casually and Hyuga retorts that even if he thinks long and hard, there isn’t a thing to regret. Kosuke tries a last jab: “As expected of Hyuga Tohru. How pure-hearted”, but Hyuga only takes a last look at him and wishes goodbye. Not ready to give up the last word, Kosuke asks for him to give back his ID badge, clearly doing his best to strip Hyuga off everything related to the company. One word: Petty.
On campus, a little clash between Kuga and Haruka mirrors at a smaller scale the main conflict. That leads Makoto to ask Haruka what she’d do if someone she trusted suddenly turned into an antagonist. Haruka agrees that it’d be hard to swallow, but maybe the other person would act so because he’s been unintentionally hurt by her. Here’s your food for thought, Makoto.
Selecting the music for the party, Yasuoka inadvertently turns on the music to full blast and when Yamagami rushes to scold him, our resident puppy retorts that when Hyuga isn’t here, he doesn’t have much to do. Aw. But that’s not a clever thing to say at work. Still, it makes Yamagami understand what the company looks like without Hyuga. And the sight doesn’t thrill him.
Going to see Kosuke for her last internship day, Makoto thinks he’ll reveal a super secret strategy which would explain the way he treated Hyuga, and still clings to the idea that the original duo will still work together. But she slowly realizes that it’s not the case, especially when Kosuke cuts her short to eagerly offer her a job. He tells her she could be an important asset to the company and gives her some time to think about his proposition.
Party day! Hyuga comes as promised, but has to go through the weird process of proving his identity at the security desk of the very company he created. Even the guard is puzzled. While everyone enjoys the wine and food, Makoto waits for her master. He finally appears, bringing once again a cold wind in his wake. Oy, people, being jobless isn’t contagious! (yet) Before Makoto can eke out a word, Yasuoka grabs his arm to guide him to the guest of honour’s seat.
The projection begins, displaying the important dates and pictures of the company’s history. Of course, it means much more than that for Hyuga, who has to see his past bumbly and naive self unfolds in front of his eyes. He quickly wells up with tears at such a happier time, shared with Kosuke, and Yoko comes to the rescues, offering him a glass of juice to cover up.
A picture of Kosuke raises the question of his absence, but they all guess that he’ll pop by later, with a huge bouquet. Uh oh, I’m not feeling it. And either does Hyuga. Makoto hardly contains her tears at the pictures, and tells Yoko that with such a strong bond connecting Hyuga to Kosuke, there’s surely nothing to worry about for the future. God, this girl. Clueless is thy name.
The slideshow ends with the words : “Hyuga Tohru and Asahina Kosuke built NEXT INNOVATION in 8 years. To be continued.” Though the gesture is really sweet and all, I can’t help but feel for Hyuga, who painfully knows this won’t happen.
Yasuoka urges Hyuga to give a little speech, and I take a tissue box just in case. Coming on the stage, he points at the picture, admitting that he was indeed this type of guy: not very sociable, aggressive…But he still met a lot of different people, even though he couldn’t remember their names nor their faces. Which is still the case today, natch.
He now looks forward to what he’ll be able to do next, in this uncertain future. I kinda doubt his assurance here, because his face shows much less confidence than his words. Talking of his PasuFile project, he assures that he can’t wait to develop it, even though it could fail. His devoted trio nods, ha.
Finally broaching the topic of his resignation, he confesses awkwardly that he never thought the situation would go this far. After praising Yamagami for his accounting skills (geh, you sure are forgiving), he tries to mention all the support he received from so many people but the words are stuck. Casting a grieved look at the picture of his partnership with Kosuke, he hangs his head, desperately fighting his tears. His voice starts to crack as he mutters: “Because Asahina was here…”
Regaining his composure, he raises his head to smile at everyone, and declares that he entrusts the company to Kosuke. He thanks them all before leaving the stage, and it’s telling that Makoto smiles fondly while Yoko closes her eyes, conscience-stricken.
Yasuoka takes the mic and the trio prepares for their grand announcement when the general attention turns to the TV broadcasting a press conference. The screen displays Kosuke standing up alongside two big shots. Oh no, don’t do what I think you’re going to do. Speaking as the new CEO, Kosuke presents a joint venture between NEXT INNOVATION and JI Tech: a new centralized indexing system called….Personal File! YOU SCUMBAG!!
A journalist mentions that this is what Hyuga is working on, but Kosuke is unfazed and affirms that Hyuga has nothing to do with the company anymore. The employees whisper that Hyuga is being dispossessed of everything, from money to work, and even Ogawa wonders what they (the dog trio) should do now that he doesn’t even own the project.
Having carefully planned this reaction, Kosuke makes his grand entrance, holding a bouquet in his hands. He made sure to record the press conference earlier in the day so that he could attend Hyuga’s farewell party. Sadism. This is how it’s done. He even adds insult to injury by thanking Hyuga for convincing the Board of Directors to vote in favor of the project, since it greatly helped him to score the contract with JI Tech.
Sitting next to Hyuga, he muses that time flied so fast thanks to him. Read: “Thank you for entertaining me, jester boy.” He then thrusts the bouquet into his arms, with a devilish smile but Hyuga can’t bear his presence anymore and stands up, telling Hosoki and Ogawa to follow him. But….they don’t.
Hyuga scoffs in disbelief and shouts at the top of his lungs Yasuoka’s name. Breaking down, Little Puppy wails that he can’t follow him, even though he finally had his name right. Oh, we didn’t get the memo for Betrayal Day, my bad. Judas Puppy it is, then.
Kosuke pretends to be shocked at Hyuga’s plan to poach employees with him, and claims that Hyuga is supposed to be a lone wolf, making his way by himself. Whispering to his ear, he strikes the last blow: “Was I wrong? If I’m not with you, you can’t do a thing.” Oooof.
Hyuga is stunned, and you can literally see the words sinking in. He finally loses it, throwing throws the bouquet away with all his might, and erupts:
This is my company!
Didn’t he make up from scratch, raising its value to what it is today? Even this office, where everyone is proud to work in, he took care of every detail so that his employees could work in the very best conditions. Violently throwing away a chair, he turns his wrath towards this fickle group. Pouring out raw emotions, he yells that NEXT INNOVATION owes everything to him.
At this point, Makoto’s tears stream down her face, as she’s connecting with his feelings, while Yoko and the others stare helplessly. Seeing that Hyuga catches his breath, Kosuke conveniently plays the peacemaker. How ironic. You’re trying to give the medicine after giving the pain?
He enjoins Hyuga to go, pointing out that it would be an unpleasant sight to see the ex-CEO getting ousted by the security. Hyuga has seen enough of the real Kosuke, but such a farce still sicken him. He turns to go and sees Makoto, who’s this close to bawl her eyes out. Still in a state of shock, he evades her gaze, only to lay eyes on the last picture of the slideshow, representing him and Kosuke in front of the office wall.
Grabbing the ptojector, he hurls it against the wall, resulting in a crack scratching Kosuke’s words. Taking off his badge, Hyuga mumbles that he’ll pay for the damages, adding bitterly that he may not even afford it. Once he’s gone, Kosuke acts as if nothing happened, but his (fake) peppiness is hard to accept after such a show.
The air is fraught with tension, with everyone being equally stunned and on pins and needles, so when Kosuke nonchalantly asks Yoko to serve wine, the room echoes with the sharp slap she serves him. Totally unfazed, he reiterates his request, and she snaps back, boiling with (contained) rage: “I’ll do it…because it is my job.”
A dejected Hyuga enters the elevator when suddenly a hand blocks the doors. It’s Makoto, of course, and she eagerly tells him that she’s going with him but Hyuga barks at her to leave.
Right now, you’re the only one I don’t want to show my face to.
She hurts for him but isn’t deterred and anxiously presses on the button as soon as Hyuga closes the doors on her. But when she decides to hurry to the staircase, Kosuke appears, noting that she’ll never make it this way. Don’t underestimate a maiden in love! Instead she confronts him about crushing Hyuga. More than anyone else, wasn’t it Kosuke who used to hold Hyuga in high regard. Well, yes, a century ago.
Kosuke scoffs that it was what he wanted her to think, and that she should stop being so sincere if she doesn’t want to be hurt. Staring at him with a hint of pity, Makoto curtly says that an insincere person like him shouldn’t talk. Way to twist his words back at him.
He keeps trying to discourage her from joining Hyuga’s side, but she’s clearly unmoved by his words, so he has to resort to the good ol’ wrist grab (well, more like elbow grab) and, in a last ditch effort, begs her not to go. Gently but firmly, Makoto removes his hand and takes the opportunity to reject his job offer. Her emotions made her decide:
I love Hyuga.
Rushing after Hyuga, Makoto literally throws herself in front of his motorcycle, screaming at him to stop. Boldly, she announces that she’ll follow him and doesn’t let him talk back as she assures him that it’s what she decided. He retorts that he doesn’t want her to, but she counters that she already turned down the golden tickets offered to her, and channels her inner Nelson with the infamous “Haha”. Pffft, I love how maniacal she looks like.
She couldn’t care less about his pride, and will force him to see her face since she’s definitely tagging along. My, at long last. I was waiting for you, Bold Makoto. Scrutinizing her, Hyuga seems to gauge her sincerity and finally relents, hiding his glee beneath his gruff exterior, with a curt “Get on!”. Tsundere Style FTW!
They’re about to leave the area when Hyuga stops to let a class of kids go, and turns to have a last look at the building. Makoto clocks his glomminess so she doubles her cheerfulness to entice him to take a picture. It’ll be the keepsake of their first step to a new life.
Today isn’t the day you’re ending something. This is the day of your second start.
And this time, she will be the one beside him. Ufufufu, how crafty. Hyuga grudgingly gets off, but he’s fooling no one and they both smile as Makoto takes the pic. Looking up at NEXT INNOVATION’s tower, Hyuga resignedly comments that it once meant everything to him. Understanding the meaning, Makoto acquieses.
After a long meaningful stare, Hyuga gets ready to go, helping her to put the helmet on. Makoto seems to believe it’s okay to simply put her hands on his shoulders, so Hyuga has to place her hands himself around his waist. Omo, that’s hot. Squeezing him with delight, Makoto enjoys every bit of their ride while Hyuga revs up, his eyes twinkling with renewed confidence.
Oh man, and in that moment I swear we were Makoto.
More than the last episode, this one totally reminded me of Steve Jobs’ commencement address to graduating students at Stanford University, in 2005. I copy here two excerpts, relevant both to the drama, and to anyone going through failures.
Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. […] I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
Seriously, the drama could have ended right there and I’d have accepted that as a finale. But hey, I won’t complain when the cute romance is finally back! Though we’re given so little, so late…but hey!
I know it’s been two years since the real ending, but I managed to not watch the last 3 episodes and even kept myself from any spoiler and such. So, for now, I still don’t know if the fluffy stuff will keep going or not but this is DramaLand so I don’t expect much really. So let me enjoy this for now.
I suppose I should also stop hoping for depth in Kosuke’s character, with each episode making it glaringly obvious that he’s a pathetic baddy, power-hungry and devoured by jealousy. 4 episodes seem a bit short to develop more complexity in his character, so too bad for those (like me) who wanted a multilayered villain. Sigh. Yet, I feel like the writer (or the actor) did try to inject more life in this 2D representation: is he feeling guilt, remorse, pain, anything else than insanity?
Fortunately, this episode offered a much better narrative evolution for Makoto. About bloody time! She still bothered me a bit with her propensity to weep, but how I loved the turn she took during the last 5 minutes! This is how I prefer her: spunky while being hilariously clumsy. She manages to be cute without being (too) grating (see gif above) and that’s already a lot.
So, the NEXT INNOVATION’s chapter has definitely reached its end for Hyuga, right? Now that the office politics are over (I hope), I can say that I’m excited to see Hyuga’s reaction. It was painful to watch how he was stripped off every little things he built. But it was also interesting to note that till the end, his way of reacting to…er, difficulties was through emotional bursts. I wonder if he’ll keep that side to him, or if he’ll manage to grow out of it. If so, I suppose Makoto will play a key role.
Side note to my readers: thanks for those who wrote to me, those who kept checking this blog, and those who simply didn’t forget about me. I’m sorry I’m not the kind of blogger that updates her blog frequently, but I still want you to stay! See, I can understand Kosuke, after all 🙂 ♥