29 February 2016

Itsuka Kono Koi wo Omoidashite Kitto Naite Shimau Episode 6

Ren is in the background. 
After five years, they finally meet and it's Oto who finds Ren. Actually, ever since Episode 2, it's always Oto who's finding him. This wasn't my favourite episode but after replaying it, I've slowly realized how symbolic this episode was. It mirrors Episode 1 but instead of Ren rescuing her, it's Oto who needs to save him. 

Mitsushima Hikari cameos as Oto’s mother. Oto is now 27 years old, which happens to be the age her mother died. That morning she woke up from a dream where her Mother defines what love means to her: “It’s a place to return to. After losing a home, and losing a job, it’s a place to return to for someone who has nowhere left to go.” To be honest, I’m a little worried about what disease Mom died from. Is it inheritable?

Side note: Mitsushima Hikari was in the director’s previous works: Soredemo, Ikite Yuku (a very very sad drama)

Work for Oto is tough. Her subordinates are useless teenagers and her workload has increased three times but her pay hasn’t increased at all even with her extra credentials. Even ordering a drink out at dinner is a luxury. Essentially, life in Tokyo still sucks for her after five years but there’s another thing that hasn’t changed: her optimism. Despite struggling, Oto faces each and every day with a bright smile.

I don't like neither of their hairstyles
After returning from dinner with her friends, Oto comes across Kihoko at Shizue-san’s place. It’s the first time in five years they’ve seen each other. The two are awkwardly friendly, each taking turns to ask the other a question. 

Kihoko now works at a design firm and they arrange to eat yakitori sometime. It takes a while until they finally address the elephant in the room: Ren. Both of them thought that the other person was dating Ren and neither of them have heard from Ren since the earthquake (he sent messages to them about his safety). There’s another thing to mention: Oto is dating Ibuki. I’m not too shocked though. I knew it was going happen given Ren being gone for five whole years. I also know Oto doesn’t really love Ibuki – I mean how can she betray Ren! I'm more shocked at Shizue-san having a boyfriend, and he’s even younger!

Eventually Kihoko tries to call Ren (Oto had lost his number when she broke her phone) but Ren had changed his number. Kihoko acts relieved but seconds after there’s disappointment in her expression. Kihoko isn’t alone, Oto is disappointed too. Kihoko thinks aloud to herself why she retreated from Ren when him and Oto haven’t even contacted each other (meaning Kihoko still likes Ren?). She admits to Oto she occasionally searches for Ren (e.g. Google search). Oto simply nods. She’s not being truthful; Oto “googles” him too. 

As for Ibuki, his career has improved; he now works for the head office but he’s only in charge of introducing new temporary workers to nursing homes. I love it when that annoying Manager has to suck up to Ibuki but I don’t love it when he’s still mean to Oto.

I think it’s Christmas (don’t quote me on that) and Oto and Ibuki are celebrating it at some fancy restaurant. It’s the first Christmas they’ve spend together since two years they’ve been together and that’s because she was always busy with work (more like her friends wanted to hang out with their boyfriends and she’s fine giving up the special holiday). Ibuki had planned to do a classic romantic proposal at the restaurant but he’s afraid of a rejection. There’s no need to worry though because he doesn’t even get a chance to propose. Oto’s friend, Funakawa, had interrupted. She needs their help ASAP and so the two leave the restaurant and meet up with her. By the way, Ibuki comments on Oto’s necklace, which was a present from Shizue-san, and how rare it was for her to wear any accessories. The only “fashionable” thing Oto wears is her scarf and it seems like every time we time jump, she gets a new “stylish” scarf. I’m a little happy to see her snuggled in her scarf because it reminds me of her and Ren’s fashion talk in Episode 1.

Is it just me or I keep missing out on what the pendant looks like? Is the drama purposely hiding it?

Funakawa has been overworked and underpaid. Her superiors blame her for her lack of efficiency and tell her to write refection letters every day. The poor girl is mentally exhausted and fears that her job is expendable. Ibuki agrees to help because she is Oto’s friend, otherwise it’s really not in his area of speciality. Later that evening, Ibuki invites Oto to be his date for his company’s 10 Year Anniversary dinner. He’s patient in convincing the very stubborn Oto to go (who was making ridiculous excuses like she’ll knock down all the champagne glasses).

I like Sabiki's hair much better this way

After work the next day, she sees the truck from Ren’s old company, Kakitani Transport. She even goes out of her way to ask the Boss for Ren’s whereabouts. Omg their business expanded, they’ve got secretaries. Boss directs her to Sabiki. However, getting information from him isn’t easy. He lies that he taught Usain Bolt how to run. And omg Oto believes him. This reminds me of Ren in the first episode. Oh these two. Sabiki also corners her into admitting she wants to see Ren. Fortunately Sabiki eventually updates her: Ren’s grandfather died and he’s in Tokyo. He gives her Ren’s business card. If I seem curt about updating Ren’s whereabouts it’s only because Sabiki was this curt.

I think Oto is reluctant to admit how much she misses Ren because if she does she’ll be the loneliest of them all. Out of everyone, she cares about Ren the most. Admitting she misses him might shatter her optimism. I think it’s the hope that Ren is out there happy and safe that drives her optimism.

Sabiki was curt probably because Ren’s current job completely contradicts Ren’s character. He and Haruta scams vulnerable individuals into taking jobs they offer in which the pay is beyond meagre. At least I’m comforted that the Ren I know is still there. Ren pats one of the boys, giving him comfort and compassion and that boy cries in his arms. Apparently, there’s something about his tattered running shoes that catches Ren’s attention? It's branded?

Ren only helps recruiting the boys, he doesn’t take part in convincing them to sign any papers. Not that that makes him better, but I’m just grasping at anything here. It’s Haruta who readily convinces them to sign the contracts. Ren is emotionless on the side, constantly looking down and away. Even when the boy thanks him (for rescuing him out of his loneliness), he’s emotionless.

Ren doesn’t take his portion of the pay after scamming the boys. Instead, he grocery shops. On his way back home though, he ignored an old man who fell off his bike after shoplifting. I’m pretty sure the old Ren would have stopped and help. At home, which is an ex-karaoke bar, he cooks curry for two. Apparently, there’s another person living with him but we don’t know who it is yet.

Ibuki meets up with his brother to talk about Funakawa’s case but the brother is disappointed in Ibuki for giving special treatment to his girlfriend when Ibuki was all about changing the world for the better (I believe that was his ‘Tokyo Dream’). Strangely, it’s the brother who’s got the righteous ambitions now. He confesses he’s only his father’s puppet. His sole responsibility is to fire everyone from ruined companies so his father can acquire the property. Consequently, to everyone else he’s monstrous and inhumane. The bother has had enough and wants to change the company; he wants to overthrow his father and he asks Ibuki to join him.

We don’t get to hear Ibuki’s answer though. He’s later summoned by yet another family member: his father. His intentions are clear: he wants to make Ibuki the successor and fire the brother. I’m more surprised that this boy is supposed to be 30 years old. This boy is going to take over his brother’s job of being a monster? This boy? I hope he sides with his brother instead. The father doesn’t deserve family members. Who calls their own son with a withheld number??

Since Ibuki has some life-changing decisions to make, he cancels the anniversary dinner last-minute on Oto. At that time, Oto is already at the bus stop all dressed up looking pretty and expensive. Even pedestrians are eyeing her enviously. With nothing planned on her to-do-list, she searches the internet for “Smart Recruiting,” the company that Ren works for. It’s got awful reviews about being scammers and having ties to the underworld.

Curious, Oto personally goes to the address on the business card and we see it’s located in a neighbourhood full of graffiti. She's a little nervous to enter and opts to leave but she “feels” Ren’s presence nearby. She runs up to him but he’s leaving and doesn’t see her. Her heels limit her running capacity, eventually she loses both her shoes, and is only left with her voice to catch Ren’s attention. Oto has to shout “Mr. Mover” twice for him to hear.

Ren stops in his tracks, turns around but after seeing Oto, he turns back around and walks away. Eh. At least he eventually walks back to her.

Oto pretends to catch a speck of dust
He brings her to his place and Oto is once again, the chatterbox. Ren was always a man of few words, but with Oto he does talk a lot. This time, however, he’s practically silent. Oto is proud of herself when she manages to get Ren mutter a few words, but still he’s curt with her.

Oto pouts at Ren's cold attitude
He asks her if she needed anything, because other than that there’s really no reason she should be here. Well, that’s what he thinks. He even stops Oto from calling him Mr. Mover. Oi. He tells her to address him as Soda. Oi Oi! Oto attempts to call him Soda-san but she quickly reverts back to calling him “Ren” at her own whim. He asks Oto once again whether she needed anything from him and since there wasn’t anything she needed, Ren opens the door for her leave.

They’re interrupted by a shattered window. Someone had thrown a rock at it. Ren takes Oto behind the counter and they wait there until its safe. Remaining optimistic, Oto jokes that it’s a meteorite. At this point, Ren’s not afraid to be honest about his job and how the victims take vengeance on him.

Oto is disappointed in him, but she’s much more bothered by him questioning her on what she needed from him. Oto frustratingly tells him: “I just wanted to see you. I just wanted to hear your voice. I’m glad you’re safe. I’m glad you’re here. That’s all. – Scratches her nose.”

Ren picks up her expensive bag and tells her: “Someone like you wouldn’t understand. You wouldn’t – He points to himself and to her – because we’re different now.”

He signals for her leave and even shuts the door in her face. The things that could be done if you two had just explained everything to each other.

Soon after Oto leaves, Konatsu comes out of her room.  She looks like a mess. To protect the emotionally unstable Kontasu, Ren assures her the window just shattered on its own. Maybe Konatsu saw through the lie because the next second, she hyperventilates.

Haruta comes home and finds Ren tending to Konatsu. He leaves her room quietly, seeming to have understood what had happened. After Ren is done caring for Konatsu, Haruta asks Ren: “You okay taking care of Konatsu all your life? Do you intend to spend your life atoning?”

We don’t get to hear Ren’s answer as we scene jump to Ibuki and Oto. Ibuki appears calm but his insides are probably quivering. He gives Oto a back hug and mutters in her shoulder that he met with his father who finally looked him in the eye. He drops another bombshell: Ibuki proposes to her. This is completely out of the blue for Oto. She can’t seem to be elated or agree to his proposal. Waiting for her answer, Ibuki takes out the ring from his pocket, showing his sincerity.

We also don’t get to know Oto’s answer as the camera pans out and we see the canned peach, safely packed away on her upper shelf. Remember that miming Ren and her did in the last episode about locking their love away secretly? She still loves Ren. 

- - - Comments - - -

I get the ominous feeling Oto might accept Ibuki’s proposal even if she doesn’t love him. Let’s hope I’m wrong. And I guess I shouldn’t have hoped for something bad to happen to Konatsu in Episode 3 because that came true. I just wanted her to be a little more mature… I did not expect Ren to have pay for this, whatever “this” is. I guess Haruta and Konatsu got what they want: Ren to remain at Konatsu’s side for the rest of his life…

Ren in this episode is so impassive. He’s always looking cold, crossing his hands, secluding himself from others. Remnants of the old Ren is still there though; he had fed a stray dog, and helped a lonely boy, or sort of helped. However, he walked away from an injured old man. Even if that man shoplifted, to commit that crime at his age means he’s desperate, no? He’s also emotionless when the boys were signing the contract to sell their body for unfair labour. I know he hates himself right now.

He misunderstands Oto. She should have just explained she doesn’t dress that lavishly on a daily basis. Because of the way she's dressed, it makes Ren reluctant to warm up to her. Ren really cares about the disparity between him and Oto. When he invited her into the karaoke room (his home), the first thing he did was open the curtain to brighten up the shabby place. He wanted to offer her food but there was nothing decent to offer. While Oto talked, he could only stare at her branded bag, which only solidified their class disparity. It bothers him that he’s in such a lowly state in front of the girl he loves.

His reaction to Oto really serves a contrast with how he treated Kihoko in the beginning. There was an obvious class disparity between those two as well, but Ren didn’t mind. The reason being he doesn’t nearly care about Kihoko as much as he does for Oto.

Speaking of the beginning, this episode is like a déjà vu of Episode 1 but reversed. It’s Oto with Ren’s business card, searching for Ren. Is it Oto’s turn to save Ren? Oh man, I can’t wait for that.

Recalling what Oto’s Mom said, I hope Ren can once again feel at home in Oto’s presence. That reminds me, when he confessed to her in Episode 4, he described his love for her was like feeling at home. So Ren and Oto’s Mom are similar? Is that why Oto loves him so much? He unconsciously reminds her of her mother?

Oh dear. I talk too much. But remember that dam story from Episode 1? About how Oto wished her town would be drowned so that she can escape and be reborn as Sugihara Oto. That tsunami in 2011 drowned Ren Soda. Or at least that's my hypothesis. When Ren was staring at the river, I'm thinking he was recalling Oto's dam story and hoping someone would save him. It really is Oto's turn to save the drowning Ren. 

Ren is in the background staring at the river.

Credits to Sanashi (for subbing) and Cubical Noses (for timing).