Rich Man Poor Woman – Episode 9

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Prepare for some major cockblocking, the return of a strong female character (who someone should emulate), the destruction of two walls and the rise of another one. There may be a cliffhanger during the last seconds too…

Song of the Post: m-flo♥YOSHIKA — tO yOUR bEAT

Episode 9: Believe in me! I want to break down your wall

The beach, at night. Waking up from what looks like a bad dream, Hyuga realizes that his head is…on Makoto’s lap. His reaction? A chaste roar, because he’s femanly like that. Makoto tries to dispel the awkwardness by boosting his confidence, with a heartfelt speech…until a plastic bag literally shuts her up. HAHA.

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Amused, Hyuga helps her wipe the sand off her face but gets caught in an unexpected romantic moment and can’t help staring at Makoto’s face. He leans in, coming THIS CLOSE to kiss her, and she closes her eyes in anticipation when he …decides not to, and turns his face. #&@ù%£!! Gah, way to bitch slap your audience, Show.

He gets up, stretching as if nothing happened and comments that they should go lest people think they’re reenacting a cliché love scene. But what if those people wanted you to?? STINGY!!

RMPW 9.mkv_snapshot_02.00_[2014.10.16_22.51.14]They better enjoy their cozy time, because the following days hold nothing good. The journalists are busy licking Kosuke’s boots, swearing that they always believed he’d make a better CEO. Meanwhile, Hyuga proudly invites Makoto over to his new office, provided with spanking new furnitures, blissfully unaware that all of this call for money. Which he presently hasn’t.

Embarrassed to see Makoto so baffled by his ignorance, he asks an expert to evaluate his fortune and hears that he actually has none. His condo? Owned by the company. Same fate for the car. *sob*

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From rags to riches to back to rags. Which leads him to the (real) crucial question: housing. Hello Makoto, here he comes! What’s a girl to do when a dorky hunk comes asking for shelter? You’d think that she’d grab him before he changes his mind but alas, MakotoBot wasn’t programmed to understand the perks of sharehousing, and/or never watched Hotaru no Hikari, so she takes him straight to the Zen temple. Sigh. Show, why dangling such a fine twist if it’s to snatch it from us even before we hope for it?

But at least it gives Makoto the opportunity to learn more about Hyuga’s past, as the Head monk expresses his joy to see her with him, when both his mother and his business partner ditched him. Makoto isn’t so sure he’ll accept her but the monk adorably cheers her up, enjoining her to manhandle him if necessary. Teehee, get your mind out the gutter ladies (and gentlemen ;D). Softly, he adds that she has to break down his wall, and for a split second, it’s like she realizes something. Yes, she will.

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Things aren’t going that smoothly for Kosuke, who is told during a meeting with the JI Tech executives that the interface design is too pricey. Without even thinking twice, he agrees to a drastic change, ignoring the Nerd Trio who is positively outraged to see that money rule over quality. The harsh reality is that it does, and Kosuke proves it by handing them a new contract, with a substantial salary raise. Covering up his move under beautiful words, he convinces them that this is the right thing to do. No, don’t sell your souls!

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Having dealt with this problem, Kosuke encounters an other when he gets kicked out of Yoko’s restaurant. She dryly tells him that she’ll leave his apartment, and reveals that she never managed to stand his personality. Hm, must have been hard but you’re turning to be quite the hypocrite now, retrospectively.

Yoko then goes to meet Hyuga, to apologize, though the way she plays with a USB drive indicates that she has other thoughts. Hyuga stops her, assuring that she doesn’t need to, and instead asks her about Kosuke. She can’t believe he still cares about the one who treated him so poorly and wonders if he truly doesn’t want revenge, but the thing didn’t even cross his mind. He’s the first surprised to feel so peaceful, and when Yoko comments that she thought he’d be more pissed, he grins saying that he can’t afford that, now that an idiot decided to follow him. Aw, you lamb.

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Looking at Hyuga’s bank book, Makoto realizes how a spendthrift he is. Time to show off some home economics skills! First: Hyuga must learn to get rid of his rich boy habits. But after spinning around in his chair, Hyuga’s head hurts and he won’t listen to any of Makoto’s sermon. She tells him that there may be an other way, some people don’t know what they want to do at first and grow to love their current work no matter how it is. Skeptical, he wonders if she really wants him to become like that and that throws her off. Feeling guilty for crushing her enthusiasm, he reverts to his child self. More than work, he wants PUDDING!

In the pastry shop, he’s as fussy as he was in the furniture one. Walking out with his treasure, he overhears Makoto talking to her mom over the phone and his smile fades as he sees her struggling to convince her family that she made the right choice by turning down the job offer and starting a company.

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Noticing Hyuga, she readily cuts off the line and points at the sign promoting beer. Yep, smooth move, girl. As Hyuga predicted, she passes out soon enough, drunkenly muttering “Pudding Prince” when he tells her that her phone is ringing. Pfft, perfect name. Hyuga sees that it’s her mom who’s calling, and looks at Makoto with a mix of guilt and apprehension. He quickly turns his attention to the TV show when he hears about Kosuke’s version of PasuFile. The result is…awfully lousy. Hyuga’s face totally twitches as he realizes what happened to his baby, and I’m behind him on this one. Gosh, it reminds me of the old internet, circa ’97.

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Fortunately, he’s not the only one feeling that way, as we see a meeting between NEXT INNOVATION and the representatives of the Ministry of Communications where Kosuke is being ridiculed by…Fujikawa. Yay, she’s back! How did they end up with such a lacking interface, she wonders, when Hyuga previously offered her a much more refined one? With a sneer, she delivers the last blow: Their presentation is no different than the other useless government websites. Ouch.

Kosuke feels the sting though he quickly regains his composure to counter that they have budgetary restrictions and that the previous interface was way too costly but Fujikawa retorts that this is rather the result of kicking out Hyuga from his own company. Dayum, that lady knows her game.

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Back at NEXT INNOVATION, Kosuke enters to see the employees looking wistfully at the company wall being repainted and he comments that it’s going to be beautiful. Err, not sure that’s really convincing. It’s kinda heartbreaking to see everyone’s words slowly disappear but when paint comes on Kosuke’s quote, he suddenly stops the workers. Is there hope? Nope, he simply wanted to be the one crushing the paint roller over this symbol of his past self. The whole room is watching in horror as he furiously rolls until the historical piece of wall is no more.

Makoto is busy contacting potential clients while Hyuga leisurely goof off. Ha, she is so gonna suffer. He happens to see the picture she took of them, and that she preciously framed. He gazes at it, before dejectedly throwing it back.

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Meeting with Haruka, who pointedly notes that it’s crazy to start a company when job hunting is complicated enough, Makoto tries to defend her choice but confesses that she worries about how Hyuga perceives her. Sigh. Checking her bank account, she realizes that she received a whopping ¥1.500.000 from…NEXT INNOVATION?

Kosuke hurriedly exits the office to hail a taxi but changes his mind when he runs into his sister in the street. He approaches her to ask if she’s doing okay, and Yoko snaps back that she’s fine anywhere she doesn’t see his face. It’s definitely not your day, man. He scoffs that now he can bring his girlfriend home, thankyouverymuch, and he’s on his way to meet her. Before hopping in the cab, he throws Makoto’s name as if to challenge her, and Yoko stands there, incredulously.

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And indeed, he meets Makoto in a cafe, where she returns the money to him. Even though he argues that it’s a bonus included in her contract, she doesn’t think she deserves it. Knowing the topic that would interest her, Kosuke asks about Hyuga, pretending that victory without danger is a triumph without glory. Hey, that’s from Corneille! Seems like Makoto wants to confide because she reveals that Hyuga doesn’t do anything and she wonders if he hates being with her. Are you sure you’re talking to the right person?

Kosuke reminds her that this was her choice and she looks at him, maybe realizing that she also had an active part in it. Or maybe it’s only me projecting my thoughts. She gets up to escape the awkwardness but in an almost begging tone, he asks her to do him a favor by staying longer. Hmm. You’re feeling lonely, now?

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Meanwhile, Yoko goes to give Hyuga the USB key containing the evidence of Kosuke’s betrayal and urges him to act on it to recover his position. Thing is, Hyuga is all but interested in these matters now, and rebuffs her offer. Feeling guilty, Yoko tells him that she knew about Kosuke’s plan but Hyuga cuts her short: “It’s none of your business.”

That pretty much says it all, so she turns to take her leave when she notices the wall covered in advice notices left by Makoto. With a curious glint in her eyes, Yoko suggests they visit a place, and I worry she’s veering into Bitchy Second Lead category. OF COURSE, she makes a beeline for the exact cafe Kosuke and Makoto are in, and Hyuga doesn’t get what the deal is until he sees the “couple”, conveniently seated by the window.

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Yoko twists the situation to present Makoto as one of those taking advantage of his trust, and she grabs his arm to leads him elsewhere but he rejects her hand. Distressed by the scene unfolding before him, he can’t help but stare without moving an inch. Gah, go ahead and barge in, you fool!

After a call, Makoto goes to a rooftop parking lot where she finds Fujikawa waiting for her. Omo, are we in a thriller drama now? Fujikawa didn’t forget Makoto’s super memorization skill and gives her 30 minutes to master the updated PasuFile Project, because she’s totally on Team Hyuga. Heh.

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Giddy with excitement, Makoto hurries to tell Hyuga the good news but has to stop to answer a call. Turns out Hyuga pulled some strings to convince a company to hire her. Bummer. Legitimately annoyed, Makoto complains to Hyuga but he’s in no mood to listen. He bitterly notes that it didn’t take much for her to turn around, so if she wants to return to NEXT INNOVATION, so be it.

Seeing that she doesn’t get it, he calms down to demonstrate rationnally that Kosuke is the better choice for her future. She tries to explain herself but he stops her to say that he’s fine with it, and that he’s actually relieved. Forcing a laugh, he notes that they also reached their limits and he apologizes for dragging her into this mess. He walks away but she asks: “Am I a burden?”

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His mask slowly crumbling, Hyuga can’t hide his distress as he murmurs that at any rate, she’s going to leave him too. Ack. No. Don’t! But Makoto won’t let him go like this and yells: “So you don’t trust me?” She’s near tears as she answers her own question: “Oh right. I’m the lying woman, aren’t I?” His back turned at her, Hyuga curtly agrees before (finally) slamming the door like the angsty teen that he is, leaving her alone with her tears. God, you’re both so stupid it hurts.

Tears won’t change anything though, and after a look at their picture, Makoto decides to spring into action, writing frantically loads of notices. Thank You. Even though she still has to cry doing so…Gawd. It’s nightime when Mister Broodypants returns, for some more brooding as we see flashes of all the times he was kicked to the curb by those he loved. He pretends that he doesn’t care, but the droplets coming out from his eyes may prove otherwise.

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He laughs at the absurdity (I hope for some meta, because I was already cracking up) and turns on the lights to find that Makoto redecorated the room with a new wallpaper made from all her notes. Hyuga reads about Fujikawa’s plan, and learns that he only has 3 days to complete his task. I admit that’s a clever way to convey her message, if somewhat time (and paper) consuming.

Dumbfounded, Hyuga realizes what a douche he had been and readily reverts to his nerdy self, surrounded by his screens. But this time, another item is on his table: the precious picture. Teehee. Brimming with confidence, he scoffs: “3 days? Who do they think I am? I can do that in 2!” Haha, I missed that Hyuga.

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As he advances in his project, he collects Makoto’s notes one by one, making a huge pile, until he spots a hidden paper with the words: “I want to break down his wall” Yay, a confession. Kinda. Ah, the nerd language is so hard to decipher.

Some days later, Fujikawa presents Hyuga’s interface to the board and everyone marvels at the simple, cheap and yet creative design. Okada and Hosoki are quick to test it themselves and find the easter eggs hidden in the program. Soon, they unlock a cutscene video featuring three boys looking awfully like….our backstabbing trio! And sure enough, each of them is given a name under the title: “The Little Brats Save the World!” Grinning from ear to ear, and with tears in his eyes, Yasuoka acts offended by the mistake in his name (Hyuga stuck to his “Yamaoka”. At least he’s constant), but we know better. And guess who’s not happy?

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Dashing to the station, our Prince can’t wait to see his (wait for it) Cinderella, dejectedly trudging out. But the second she sees him, the world stops……only to give way to the main theme. *snort*

Makoto enjoys poking fun at Hyuga who had nothing better to do than go hiding behind a pilar as soon as he saw her. This kid, I swear. But he manages to proudly say that the Ministry chose his interface and Makoto realizes right away that she’s the first person he told the news to. Overjoyed, she tries to pass her arm under his, but his Majesty is not ready yet, so we’ll just have to wait like 3 episodes or more for that to happen. Grrmmbl.

They go back to his office, only to hear voices inside, those of our Backstabbing errr, Little Brats! Even Hyuga can’t believe the nerves of these guys, casually organizing their desks as if nothing happened. They do say that Hyuga’s interface made them want to work with him again, but pssh, please! And yet Hyuga and Makoto really are moved by their new change of heart.

Finding himself more and more isolated, Kosuke pretends that the defection of the bumbling trio doesn’t affect him. With his usual savviness, he switches to an other subject but Yamagami has had enough. He bluntly brings Kosuke to face the truth: blinded by his hatred, what good has he brought to the company? Desperately clinging to his facade, Kosuke forces a smile: “So, what I’m doing is that insignificant?”

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Yamagami doesn’t answers directly but muses that he only realizes now that Kosuke did nothing more than destroy everything related to Hyuga. It’s maybe with regret toward his own actions that he says that someone should have stopped Kosuke when he first expressed his wish to get rid of Hyuga. “The you right now is not fun at all!”

Right when Kosuke presents PasuFile to an international audience at the Global ICT Summit, Hyuga declares to his small team that they’re taking it back. It won’t be easy, though, but they’ll find their personal way to present it to the world. But first things first: their company needs a new name for that. Hyuga doesn’t look really inspired, until a closer look at his surroundings. And it’s with a knowing smile at the wall covered with Makoto’s posters that he suggests: “Wonder Wall”, a wall where you’ll find anything. Especially advices on saving energy, but quibbles.

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Since they’re starting anew, this is where they’ll share their ideas and their dreams. All pumped up, Yasuoka is ready to write on the wall but Hyuga is more reluctant to reproduce an ersatz of the NEXT INNOVATION’s wall after all the drama and stuff. Makoto won’t let him escape this time, and puts a board pen in his hand. Taking off her posters to reveal a broad surface, she says that they put them once and can take them off as easily. Looking straight at him, she assures everything will be alright: “We won’t disappear.” Aww, please stay like this!

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Spurred by their support, Hyuga starts to write. His words unsettle his team at first:

Money is the most important. We will do any job for it.

….until he reaches the real point:

We won’t sell our soul!!

Seems like someone learned from his lessons.

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Someone else might be too. Going home, Kosuke finds Yoko crying in front of his door, maybe over the waste of their characters. Now playing the Big Bro part again, Kosuke sits next to her and asks what’s wrong, but readily gets back up when he understands that she’s still in love with Hyuga and regrets hurting him. Ha, did you think she was crying for you? LOLZ

He’s not that bad, though, as he sends her right away the picture he took of the NEXT INNOVATION’s wall, where Makoto wrote Hyuga’s mother’s whereabouts. Kosuke thinks Yoko can make good use of this information, and I wonder if we’re back to the scheming siblings.

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Having ditched the snazzy suit, Hyuga is back to his unkempt self and tries to hide the fun he has watching Makoto playing the perfect secretary. But soon, he takes her aside to address a more important issue. He doesn’t care anymore, whether or not he should trust her, because now:

I trust you.

Kyaaah. That was so predictable, and yet….Squeals. They’re corny as hell but I like it.

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Unfolding her “I want to break Hyuga’s wall” poster, he adds that for she needs to take responsability if she does that. “You’re dragged into it now. You’re okay with that?” I think that her shining, grinning face is pretty much the answer, but she still says “Yes” for good measure. All is well, and we could almost begin to wish for some kissy time until Master Cockblock Yasuoka barges in to bring them in front of the TV. Kosuke has just been arrested for the leak scandal, and it’s all over the news. OMG, is police finally doing its job? Oooooooor, did someone stage that again? Stay tuned, folks!

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Impressions:

Poor Man, Poor Woman. The catchphrase? Let’s be poor together. Hey, crisis time worldwide, it’s trendy as hell!

Now, more seriously (or is it?), picking up my recaps three years after I began watching the drama helped me realize that Show went a tortuous way. I think I keep hoping for it to regain its glory, and for me to feel the old spark again, but frankly I only see some flickers here and there.

This episode spent waaaay too much time dwelling on issues we thought were already resolved, or trying to stir up some stale soap-opera plots. For the love of Drama Gods, how many times will Hyuga will have his broody trips or his toddler tantrums? Yes, I know he has trust issues (I think it was made clear since Day 1), but still. At least, Thank Ye for not dragging the ol’ misunderstanding with the Yoko, Makoto, Hyuga thing. Hell No.

I guess I’m done bitching about Kosuke’s character since last recap, but once again, for shame! I just love Arata, who still manages to deliver, and it pains me to see that he’s not given much. Though that may change with the sudden cliffhanger the episode ends with.

That said, I confess I loved the moments where Kosuke’s isolation contrasted with Hyuga’s magnetism. The more Kosuke played his tricks, the more people missed and/or joined Hyuga.

I shouldn’t be too hard, and I do give this show some slack, since it was simply intended to entertain the viewers during the summer (of 2012 (⊙﹏⊙)) but I hoped it would avoid these traps. And yet, this drama was different from the batch we see every year.

With two episodes left, I’m sure we’ll see someone having his comeuppance, and please after all this wait, don’t screw up the Mommy arc!

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