Even though the first episode left us hanging with the kiss at the end, I still was unsure if Zenkai Girl would be able to pack as much of a punch in the follow-up episode. Romantic doramas, more often than not, tend to get bogged down by the sub-plot employed each episode, so I was wary of how they were going to deal with the aftermath of the kiss, thinking it would merely be tossed aside and the main focus would be put on the sub-plot. So, I’m more than happy to see that Shota and Wakaba’s relationship keeps moving forward because of the sub-plot used in this episode, rather than in spite of it.
Wakaba wakes up the next morning with no recollection of what happened the night before as she is surprised to find she is still in her suit and a note from Shota. She does a quick search to make sure Shota didn’t take anything and tries to remember what happened yesterday. The first thing she recalls is getting fired and she immediately freaks out.
At the Sakurakawa house, Ms. Sakurakawa is just telling Hinata that Wakaba isn’t coming when Wakaba shows up. Wakaba says she wasn’t fired, but merely asked to quit voluntarily, which she refuses to do, stating her motto about how when she takes up a task, she sees it through to the end. Ms. Sakurakawa doesn’t argue with that and allows Wakaba to take Hinata to preschool.
After dropping off Hinata at Mitsuba Mori, Wakaba takes Shota aside and accuses him of breaking into her apartment. Shota tries to clear up the misunderstanding when the other dads butt in. They say she forced a kiss on Shota, but Wakaba doesn’t believe it. If anything, Shota would be the one forcing kisses on her. Shota decides to just drop it, saying it was joke, and Wakaba leaves, yet she wonders if it’s possible she kissed Shota before dismissing it as impossible.
While eating lunch with Soyoko, Soyoko gushes over Shota and Wakaba tells her where he works so she can see him more often, since she’s interested. Wakaba is tasked with running little errands for Ms. Sakurakawa and while doing so, she sees couples kissing everywhere and even kiss marks on clothes, reminding her of what the dads said about her and Shota kissing. She keeps telling herself that it’s only for three months that she’ll have to keep babysitting and meeting the dads. Anything is worth it if it can get her closer to the private jet and Forbes’ list.
When she goes to pick up Hinata, Wakaba finds out that it’s her turn to watch the kids today, much to the dads’ dismay. They have a mini-conference about whether they can really trust Wakaba with their children and turn to Shota for advice, since he’s the only one that’s actually been to Wakaba’s apartment. Shota sticks up for her, causing the dads to start drilling him about what really happened between him and Wakaba yesterday. Just when they notice a suspicious nail mark on his neck, Wakaba takes the kids to her house and the guys follow, interested in where she lives.
After being hassled by the dads for her homely apartment which has a flickering light and seems to be populated by flies, Wakaba starts to take charge of the kids, which quickly become a disaster. Five kids + Wakaba + small room with nothing to amuse them with=no way to get work done.
The kids are worse than the dads, making fun of Wakaba’s analog TV and her kitchen which is just a sink. Even when Wakaba feeds them, boasting that the meal is nutritionally balanced, Hinata just looks down on it since its deli food and she’s used to eating better stuff than that.
By the time Shota arrives to pick up Pitaro, Wakaba is exhausted, though she says everything went well. Shota tells Wakaba that next week is when the kids take a boxed lunch to school and eat it in the park to take a break from school food. Hinata usually gets a lunch from a bistro, but Shota says that a homemade lunch is preferred. Wakaba will consult with Ms. Sakurakawa about it. Pitaro starts to stir and the scratch on Shota’s neck becomes visible and Wakaba remembers the button missing from her suit. In her apartment, she starts to wonder about that night, but firmly says that nothing could have happened.
Wakaba brings up the boxed lunch with Ms. Sakurakawa, inquiring if it would be better that Hinata had a homemade one rather than one from the bistro. Ms. Sakurakawa doesn’t have any time to do something like that, and asks Wakaba if she can do it instead. Wakaba is about to decline since she can’t cook, but Ms. Sakurakawa says she can attend the meeting with their big client, Brighton Company, and Wakaba agrees.
After the meeting with Brighton, Shindo compliments Wakaba on being able to attend meetings and Wakaba asks to have dinner with him when Shota shows up with a delivery. Wakaba is suspicious of why he’s here, but it turns out that the delivery is for Soyoko, who decided to take Wakaba’s advice. Feeling a little scorned, Wakaba announces that she’ll have dinner with Shindo and leaves Shota with Soyoko.
At the French restaurant Shindo takes Wakaba to, we se a picture of the staff, which includes Shota. A quick scene at Ru Chateau reveals that Shota gave up his dream of being a French chef in order to raise Pitaro.
At dinner, Shindo asks why Wakaba wants to be a lawyer. Naturally, for the money. Life is tough and the world’s a competition. Even dating Shindo is all a part of the game for her to better herself. Shindo seems to find this amusing and says that he doesn’t mind being used, bragging about his cool stuff, like his horse, and asks Wakaba to stay with him for the night. Wakaba declines the offer though, not wanting to just give herself away over a horse, and presents the note from Shota as proof she spent the night with another man the other day. What I want to know is why is she carrying that around?
At school, Wakaba is hassled by Hinata and the other dads about making the packed lunch since none of them think she’s capable. They tell her about the chara-ben (character lunches) which are lunches in the shape of famous characters. She looks them up online at work with Soyoko during lunch break and is impressed by the amazing detail of the chara-bens, which are pretty cool. To think I was just happy if I got a pudding cup in my lunch. Wakaba takes a peek at Soyoko’s lunchbox and enlists her unwilling help in making the lunch.
The two go shopping for ingredients and run into Shota. Soyoko thinks he should help, but Wakaba’s against it, still thinking about the kiss that was or wasn’t. Unfortunately, Soyoko is called away at the last minute by Ms. Sakurakawa, leaving Wakaba alone. With no other choice, she goes to Shota and asks for his help.
Using Wakaba’s sketch as a reference, the two start cooking. Since Wakaba refuses to quit until everything looks and tastes perfect, it’s obvious this will become an all-nighter. Being in close contact however, makes the two uncomfortable and Wakaba, fed up, finally decides that she’ll get the story of what really happened that night out of Shota. Shota says that nothing happened at all and even though Wakaba says she can punish him for lying with the law, he swears that nothing happened. Then Wakaba starts crying and Shota apologizes, thinking she’s upset because not knowing the events of that night distressed her so much, but it’s just the onions.
They continue to work into the night, and by the time morning comes and Shota, who had fallen asleep, gets up, Wakaba has finished cooking. So how is it? Delicious, as certified by Chef Shota. Still Wakaba needs to assemble the food, but she doesn’t have time since she has to pick up Hinata. Shota says he’ll do it for her, but Wakaba says she’ll do it herself.
After a meeting, Wakaba rushes to make the chara-ben though she only has very little time left. Soyoko says she’ll help, but Wakaba knows she can do it. Noon comes and Wakaba is still putting together the chara-ben while the kids sit in the park enjoying their lunches. Shota, who had been keeping track of the time, rides by the park to see if Wakaba made it on time. Hinata is sharing lunch with Pitaro when Wakaba rides by on her bike. She calls out to Hinata, but loses control of the bike and crashes, dropping the lunch box and ruining the food.
The only person who witnesses this is Shota just as it starts to rain. The Mitsuba Mori group packs up and heads back to the school and Shota helps Wakaba up to take shelter from the rain under a tree.
He tries to comfort her as Wakaba stares at the lunch, but a call from the firm telling her to come back to work interrupts. Dejectedly, she goes back into the rain to clean up the lunch. Shota says he’ll do it, since she has to go back to work anyway and she’ll take one of his turns in the rotation system in exchange, knowing how she dislikes taking favors from others. As Shota picks up the lunch while Wakaba goes back to work, he examines each piece carefully.
When Wakaba goes to pick up Hinata, she passes the park where she dropped the lunch and sees it’s all been cleared away. She apologizes to Hinata for not bringing a homemade lunch like she promised, but Hinata says she received a lunch. She shows Wakaba a lunchbox that looks exactly like the character Wakaba had drawn. Shota re-made the chara-ben and gave it to Hinata, telling her how hard Wakaba had worked on it.
Hinata thanks Wakaba telling her it’s a cute mouse. Wakaba, trying not to cry, says it’s a bear. What? Wakaba, come on, there’s no way that’s a bear.
That night, Wakaba carefully cleans the containers Shota had lent her to use for the chara-ben. She runs over to Ru Chateau to see Shota and is about to thank him for his help with the chara-ben when Soyoko appears. She’s come to get cooking lessons from Shota. Hearing the other dads compliment Soyoko puts Wakaba in a bad mood and she takes on a haughty attitude towards Shota, saying she only came to return the containers. She starts to pick a fight again, blaming him for making her bear looking like a mouse and saying that food that’s been on the ground should be thrown away. The guys defend Shota and the kiss comes up again. Wakaba refutes it, pointing out that Shota himself said nothing happened, but Samao has proof this time. He took a picture of the kiss on his phone. Well, there’s no denying a photo and as Wakaba looks at it, the events of that night finally start coming back to her.
Wakaba can’t believe she would kiss someone like Shota and starts to have a breakdown. Worried, Shota approaches her, but Wakaba is in such a frenzied state that with Shota so close, she freaks out and punches him in the face, giving Shota a bloody nose.
I was a little irritated that it took the whole episode for Wakaba to find out about the kiss, but that’s negated by Wakaba and Shota’s relationship progress. After seeing Wakaba’s reactiono to finding out she did kiss Shota, I don’t think she would have had that same appreciation for Shota reconstructing her chara-ben if she had known about the kiss before hand. If anything, she probably would have wanted to stay as emotionally,romantic or otherwise, distant from him as possible. Sure, she’s tamped down on those feelings now, but I owe that more to the fact that Soyoko was there instead of finding out about the kiss.
Wakaba isn’t your typical, plucky heroine that’s down on her luck but can still be happy. She takes charge and doesn’t let herself get pushed around, but sometimes she’s a little too abrasive. Still, you can’t help but root for her to succeed in everything she does because she’s so earnest about it. My brain tells me that it’s just the drama doling out sympathy for Wakaba, but I think that aspect of Wakaba is why when she crashed her bike and ruined the chara-ben, I really felt bad for her. I said before that Wakaba is a likeable character, but I think this episode, for me, gives a more emotional connection with Wakaba than the first one.