Soredemo, Ikite Yuku Episode 2

What’s interesting about this show is that it’s called Even So, we will live on, but no one’s really lived on. They’ve tried, sure, but they haven’t really dealt with the problem, which is why it’s popped up again 15 years later. They can’t go on living, at least not this way. No one has gotten any closure about Aki’s death and Fumiya’s arrest so this is the journey how to.

Episode 2: Suppressed Emotions

 

            We pick up right where we left Futaba and Hiroki last episode with Futaba telling Hiroki she’s Fumiya’s sister. They head back to Hiroki’s car and Futaba starts talking about how she used to hang around Hiroki’s family and had dinner with them often, but Hiroki doesn’t care about that. He wants to know where Fumiya is now, but Futaba doesn’t know either, as her family has been out of contact with Fumiya since his arrest.

            Hiroki says leaving Fumiya alone like that is irresponsible, pointing out that he could have killed many people in the last fifteen years. Children go missing all the time, so it’s not implausible. Futaba gets defensive and says there’s no way something like that would happen and Hiroki’s over-exaggerating.

            There’s an awkward pause and then Futaba asks if he was really going to kill Fumiya. Of course he was, if Futaba hadn’t protected him. Futaba tries to say she wasn’t protecting him, but Hiroki doesn’t think it matters. She’s his enemy after all. Hiroki leaves, but not before Futaba gives him her cell phone number, so he can contact her if he wants to know anything else.

            The Misaki family is moving back near Shizuoka, where they lived 15 years ago. Ms. Toyama’s brother has gotten Mr. Misaki a job. Being back in the town where it all started, Futaba remembers the day her brother was arrested. She had been with a friend, chatting about how excited she was to go to the festival and wear her new yukata. She had hoped the festival wouldn’t get cancelled because of the ongoing murder investigation. When she came home, her brother was being taken away and her father was being questioned by the police. Her mom, still pregnant with Akari, had only sat on the couch obviously in shock. The murder weapon was found in the ceiling of her brother’s room.

            While looking at the news articles about a girl who has gone missing, Mr. Misaki comes in, causing Futaba to quickly hide them. She broaches the topic of the Fukami family, asking if her father has met with them since the incident. Mr. Misaki says he hasn’t, and suspiciously asks if Futaba has, which she quickly denies. It’s just that they live closer together now, so they’ll probably run into each other a lot. What should she do if she sees them? Mr. Misaki thinks it’s best to just pretend they’re strangers, but Futaba wants to at least talk with them. Mr. Misaki quickly shuts down that idea, saying that since they’re the family of the murderer, there’s no way anything they say could be accepted by the victim’s family.

            Futaba brings up Fumiya, asking what would happen if he came home. Mr. Misaki looks at his daughter incredulously, at a loss for words. Futaba tries to laugh it off as a joke, saying there’s no room for him now anyway.

            Hiroki and Kouhei hold their father’s funeral and then head to Kouhei’s father-in-law’s house for dinner. Hiroki sets his dad’s remains at the table, but Kyoko has Kouhei remove them from her sight. Kouhei’s father-in-law tries to keep the conversation light, offering Hiroki a job at his company since Hiroki can’t run the shop alone, but Hiroki has no intention of leaving the shop. He turns his attention to his mother, telling her that his dad apologized before dying, for saying that they could have another child to replace Aki. Kyoko remains indifferent, riling Hiroki up. She shouldn’t resent his dad, but Fumiya instead. He spills the beans about Fumiya being out of prison. This actually seems to catch her attention, and Hiroki wants to continue talking about Fumiya, but Hiroki realizes he has made everyone uncomfortable and it is probably time to go.

     

       Hiroki takes his father’s remains as he leaves while Kouhei sees him out. Kouhei begins to tell him about how the Christmas after Aki died, he and their parents were on their way home from shopping when they saw the Misaki family. They were buying a Christmas cake. Kouhei felt, at that time, that he wanted to hurt the Misaki family and make them as miserable as their family. He wants Hiroki to know that he’s not indifferent to Hiroki’s feelings; he feels the same way, but he thinks it better to not dwell on it.

            Kyoko comes out with some food for Hiroki before he leaves. He asks her if she remembers seeing the Misakis buy the cake, but she says she’s already forgotten. Hiroki presses her, knowing that she hasn’t forgotten, bringing up his dad again and how he couldn’t forget, but Kyoko only tells him to be careful on his way home before going inside. Hiroki sits in his car for awhile after his brother and mom leave and finds the paper that Futaba wrote her number on.

              Akari is practicing putting on make-up for school and she asks Futaba why she never wears make-up. Futaba says she’s never had a chance to, but Akari says she’s never given herself a chance to. Akari says she won’t be like Futaba, whose life has been determined by Fumiya; she’ll live the way she wants to. Futaba gives a small laugh at this as her sister leaves.

            Futaba visits Hiroki again, after getting a call from him. He wants to know if Fumiya has contacted her, but she hasn’t heard from him. Futaba pulls out the newspaper about the missing girl, pointing out that where she went missing is near Mikazuki Lake and the figure of the man who took her is similar to Fumiya’s. Hiroki turns on the news where they’re reporting about the missing girl. He says he knows what’s going on in that family now. “In the house, there is this sound when the door clicks, right? It’s merely that sound, but it will make everyone in the family shudder.” He thinks aloud that if Fumiya is the kidnapper, then maybe that girl’s body is also in Mikazuki Lake. He breaks his reverie and dismisses the thought, but Futaba suggests that they go together to Mikazuki Lake.

            Meanwhile, Mr. Misaki gets called back home by his wife. Apparently, the family’s getting bullied again, even though they just moved in and are receiving prank calls every 30 minutes.

            They head to Mikazuki Lake together. Futaba asks if he brought the knife. Hiroki asks if she has a problem with that, but Futaba says it’s fine. He asks her why Fumiya killed Aki; he figures that since she’s his sister, she should know. Futaba responds by saying her brother was kind, then realizes that might seem insensitive and rectifies it by saying he was always kind to her. 

            Hiroki asks how she felt when she found out Fumiya killed Aki. Futaba was only ten at the time, so she doesn’t think it really matters since it wasn’t something she could fully comprehend. There’s a flashback while Futaba does a voiceover of that time. Her house was swarmed by reporters and Futaba was sent away to live with her grandparents. They promised to come get her soon, but Futaba was separated from them for a long time. The only thing she did was her homework and watch the news. She saw her father come on TV one time, but his face was a mosaic, so she couldn’t see him clearly. Futaba trips on a root at this point in the story and falls. Hiroki goes to help her up and Futaba’s about to accept his hand, but hesitates. Both of them draw their hands away and Futaba gets up herself as Hiroki continues walking.

            Futaba relates a story of when she and her brother found kittens floating on a piece of cardboard on the river. Fumiya had swum into the river to save them, but when he got back to the bank, only one kitten had survived. They had taken it to the vet to be treated, but it died by the time they arrived. Fumiya seemed really shocked by this and she says he cried and didn’t eat anything for a week. Futaba tells more stories about how nice her brother was, like how he used his New Year’s gift money to raise funds for poor countries and gave his seat to the elderly. She pauses before saying she only got a letter from Fumiya one time. She got it a year after he was arrested and there was only one line. “Sorry for the summer festival getting canceled.”

            Hiroki, who had gotten interested when Futaba mentioned the letter, is dumbfounded by this. Futaba explains she was really looking forward to the festival and didn’t want it to get canceled.

            Hiroki, fed up with Futaba’s praise of Fumiya, says she really loved that brother of hers that bludgeoned his sister to death and then threw her body away like an object. Futaba protests that that’s not true and Hiroki asks what’s not true. He repeats the question when Futaba doesn’t reply. She mumbles weakly that perhaps it was a false charge. It happens sometimes, after all, so maybe the murderer as someone else because she doesn’t believe Fumiya is that kind of person.

            Frustrated, Hiroki pushes her down and asks her what she’s talking about. He’s yelling now, asking her if her family enjoyed the Christmas cake his family saw her family buy. His family never had Christmas or any holidays since Aki was killed. It’s easy for her family to forget right, since they didn’t lose anything, but he can’t forget. Hiroki’s starting to sound deranged now and he says why not let her experience the same thing Aki did. He jumps her and begins to strangle her. He shouts that if he doesn’t do it this way then there’s no way she could understand. However, Futaba doesn’t even fight back and just gasps for air. Hiroki realizes this and releases his hold on her neck.

            Futaba tells him to do it. She understands how he feels because she and her family have been told the same thing everywhere. The family of the murderer should just die to repent for the crime. “I don’t want to die,” she says, “but I don’t want to live either.” She repeats what Akari said about how she didn’t choose her life, but Futaba asserts that she never thought that way. The way her life is now is how she chose to live and she doesn’t regret it. She tells him to kill her; she won’t tell anyone, she says before catching the irony of her statement.

            Hiroki pounds the ground angrily and gets up to leave, but Futaba has more to say. That Christmas cake, she never ate it. The shop owner gave it to her, but her father told her she couldn’t have it. What his family probably saw was her family returning the cake. Hiroki leaves without saying anything. Futaba is still lying on the ground as it starts to rain and she calls out for Fumiya.

            Hiroki comes home and turns on the news. A news bulletin says that the missing girl was found and the man that took her was her father. Hiroki calls Futaba to tell her, but she doesn’t pick up so he leaves a message instead.

            Futaba is wandering around Mikazuki Lake, remembering the last time she had been with Fumiya. It was after Aki’s death, right before the festival. Fumiya had stopped eating and Futaba had brought some porridge for him to try to eat when she found an empty packet of red poppy seeds. When she asked Fumiya about it, he had only stared at ceiling vent where he had hidden the murder weapon.

            Futaba is walking around the lake when she comes across an area of red poppy flowers and collapses amongst them, crying.

            Akari, who had been going through Futaba’s things, finds a letter addressed to Fumiya which was returned. She gives it to her parents to read and it is read aloud in voiceover as Futaba cries in the field.

          Futaba:  “ Onii-chan, how are you? It’s been really hot these days, right? Are you eating properly? How is your health? Of course, Futaba is doing well. Everyday I take the Ginza line to go to work. Do you know what car navigation systems are? There weren’t many of those when you were a child. I’m working at this company which makes those machines that gives the driver info on the road. I’m now a full-fledged OL. I’ve become good at putting on make-up too and I look pretty good in suits too. I’ve enclosed a photo of mine so you can take a look. It’s a worthwhile job, and I also have the trust of my superiors. I’m also blessed with kind colleagues. I’m still on good terms with my friends from junior high and high school. We often eat out together. I’m often told they enjoy my company. At such times, Futaba will always answer like this. ‘My brother dotes on me and we are both really similar.’ Dad and Mom are both in good health. Dad is still working at that clock factory. This year, he’s finally become head of department. Mom has sharpened her patchwork skill so that she can teach them to her students now. And then our sister Akari…Akari likes Onii-chan very much. ‘Though she’s never met me?’ you may ask. Of course that’s because I tell her about you every day. Everyone is waiting for you to come home. Till the day Onii-chan comes back and says “I’m home”…I’ll sincerely be waiting for it. You don’t have to worry about anything. Please just come back home straightforwardly. I’ll be waiting. Even now, I always have and always will believe that you are innocent. PS: Are there windows at your place? Times when you feel troubled, you can look at the morning sun. Futaba is always doing that, when I look at the morning sun, my hope will gush forth so I can go on living.”

            Hiroki goes back to Mikazuki Lake to see Futaba. He tells her to go home, since there’s no evidence here anymore that would be useful to proving Fumiya’s innocence. However, Futaba is certain now that her brother killed Aki. When those kittens died, she and Fumiya planted flowers on their grave, the red poppies around them now.

            She bows towards Hiroki, apologizing over and over, but he says he doesn’t need her apologies. She voices Hiroki’s earlier worries about Fumiya having killed others and Hiroki says he just exaggerated, but Futaba says she knows because Fumiya tried to kill her before. Whoa. Coming from the girl who lavished so much praise upon her brother, this is a shocker. Futaba thinks that maybe if she had died then, if she hadn’t woken up when he tried to choke her, then Aki would still be alive.

At the Kusuma orchard, Fumiya has been staying out late at night and has strange cuts on his hands. Turns out he was just fixing up an old bike for Yuri to ride.

While working, Kusuma asks Fumiya what he thinks of his daughter Maki, who obviously has a crush on him. Mr. Kusuma, who regularly hires people that were in prison, knows about Fumiya’s past. Though he has come to accept it and thinks Fumiya is a good person that probably didn’t do such a thing, he can’t help but feel a little protective of his daughter. Fumiya assures him that there’s nothing to worry about; he will never love anyone again nor will he let anyone love him for the rest of his life.

Later at night, Maki bothers Fumiya while he works on the bike, asking what he did before coming here. Fumiya doesn’t answer her and holds her arm away when she tries to brush his hair, telling her it’s dangerous. Maki doesn’t listen though and pulls Fumiya into a kiss. He pushes her away from him roughly before walking away.

Hiroki and Futaba stop a store so Futaba can clean herself up and Hiroki mentions the festival is nearby. Why don’t they go? He asks if she still has that yukata. She doesn’t but it would be too short now anyway.

Hiroki says he doesn’t understand this situation; Fumiya was his friend so he doesn’t remember anything except for when Fumiya was his friend just like Futaba only remembers when her brother was kind. He thinks it’d be better to hate her, but she doesn’t look like the type he could hate.

Hiroki changes the topic to last year’s World Cup. A player named Endo made a goal and there was a “We did it!” feeling throughout Japan. He asks if she felt like that when watching the match. Futaba says she didn’t and Hiroki says he didn’t either. He says that’s how they are the same; they’re not that different, though she’s from the murderer’s family and he’s from the victim’s family. He wonders if they’ll ever be able to have that “We did it!” feeling. He mimes doing a “We did it” pose and Futaba does the same. Hiroki throws both of his arms up in the air and they laugh, actually having fun together.

They’re enjoying themselves when Hiroki spots his mom who sees the two of them. Futaba follows his gaze and sees her as well.

Some Thoughts:

I can sympathize with the grief of Hiroki and his need for revenge (though trying to kill Futaba was a bit overboard), but I find Futaba and her family way more interesting. I said before how I was wondering how the Misaki family felt towards Fumiya now and this episode answered my question. It’s clear that, with the exception of Futaba, they want nothing to do with him anymore, perhaps because of resentment, fear, or both.

Futaba’s close relationship with her brother is obviously why she can’t believe that he killed Aki, but it’s pretty mind-boggling that she believed in his innocence for the last 15 years when he tried to kill her before. I mean, when your own brother has attempted to kill you in your sleep, it’s really not that far-fetched to imagine he killed a 7-year-old girl.

I guess it goes back to what Futaba was saying last episode about how if an older brother is kind once, the younger sister will always remember it. When you love someone, it’s easier to remember the good things about them rather than the bad. Now that Futaba’s illusion of Fumiya’s innocence is broken, I wonder if she still has that affection she’s maintained for her brother for the last 15 years.

Fumiya’s still a mystery to me at this point. We don’t know anything about what he’s been doing for the last 15 years, besides the fact that he was in a correction center and now he’s working at the orchard. He’s pretty emotionless and keeps everybody at a distance, in contrast to how Futaba described him when they were children, so I want to know what’s been going on with him since that time, and of course, what drove him to kill Aki in the first place.

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