We’ve reached the end! While I didn’t hate the finale, I certainly didn’t love it either. I didn’t have particularly high hopes going into the last two episodes and while some stories were wrapped up in surprising ways, I’m not too hung up over it.
We pick up with Yu and Emi after he asked her to come with him to America. Emi doesn’t know what to say, but Yu can wait. He’s not leaving till Christmas, so he’ll need her answer after the event is over.
Emi asks the girls what she should do. Of course she should go, but Emi being Emi is too uncertain because of how well her job is going here and not knowing anyone in America, blah blah. Ok, putting that aside, since Yu’s asked her to come with him, she’s finally confessed right? Yeah, this is Emi we’re talking about here, of course she hasn’t. Saki doesn’t understand why she’s taking so long. Why, to drag out a pointless conflict of course!
Emi tells Saki why Takumi didn’t show up that day and advises her to break it off with Takumi. Saki doesn’t agree or disagree, but she’s conflicted and wonders if Misuzu getting sick was her fault.
Misuzu’s better and going back to work so Takumi takes that as his cue to leave. Misuzu asks if he’s going back to Saki. She’s already seen them together so there’s no use in denying it, but Takumi says their relationship isn’t like that. If that’s so, then why is he willing to throw away their marriage so easily? Takumi only apologizes for not being able to give Misuzu what she wants and leaves. Ugh, Misuzu say something, you don’t want him to leave!
Emi talks to Takumi at work and basically tells him to stop leading Saki on as it’s only hurting her. Finally, someone tells Takumi to stop screwing around and make a decision. Takahashi overhears the conversation.
Yu and Emi run into Hikari at work and Emi leaves them alone to talk. Yu tells her he’s going to America and though Hikari congratulates him, she’s noticeably absent-minded when she and her new fiance plan for the wedding. Meanwhile the Starlights guy is doing all he can to bring Emi to their company, giving her the plans for a large event she’ll be in charge of if she joins them.
In the cafe the woman types: “What if you take different paths?”
Takumi finds Saki at the river. He apologizes for not meeting her that day, but Saki already understands what happened. So is he going back to Misuzu? No, but before Saki can get hopeful he says he won’t meet with her anymore either. Saki blows up at him for deciding this on his own. “You think you can’t make anyone happy?…What about my feelings? And what about how Misuzu feels?” She says he’s terrible for pretending to be nice and leaves.
Emi finds Mako with her pregnancy test so when Saki arrives, Emi and Mako are just staring at it. Saki and Emi think it’s best to know as soon as possible, but Mako’s too afraid to look at the results. She thinks it’s unfair that right when she’s decided to become independent, there might be a chance that she’ll have to take care of someone else. She wonders why men and women do the same thing but only women get pregnant. She takes the pregnancy test back with her to her room.
At work, Mako’s a mess, dropping stuff and almost falling everywhere, so the chef sends her home. Mako decides to look at the results of the pregnancy test. It’s negative, much to the relief of all the girls.
Yu and Emi reminisce about their first job together after setting up for the concert. They had only one light that shorted out and a small stage. They’ve come a long way since then; they never thought they’d be able to put on events like Namie Amuro’s concert. Yu says that being with Emi makes him feel like he can go anywhere. It’s so cheesy, but I can’t help but grin as Yu says he anticipates Emi’s answer before leaving.
Emi runs into Takei who’s shopping with his little sister. The two end up talking alone and Takei asks if there’s been any progress with Yu. None yet and Takei guesses that it’s because Emi’s afraid she’ll end up apart from Yu. Still, it’s better to be hurt than to live the rest of your life with regret. Even though it didn’t work out between them, he doesn’t regret confessing to her, so she should tell Yu how she feels before it’s too late. Emi says Takei is a nice guy to which Takei responds that his sister always says nice guys only get to be called nice guys. Sad yet true; you’ll find someone Takei (me!)
Emi’s mom finally makes an appearance; she’s got tickets to Namie’s concert so she’s spending the night. Saki and Mako use the chance to subtly ask Emi’s mom what Emi should do about her dilemma. So what does the older, wiser woman have to say? “You can work hard at work and love or you can work hard at work and love.” Ha, what else would you expect from her? Emi’s mom believes that when you’re in a confusing situation, you should slow down and figure out what’s important to you. “When you find it, then you need to choose if you believe you can get it or give up. You should always believe. If you always go on the path that leads to that irreplaceable thing, you’re sure to lead a successful life.”
Emi stays up that night messing with the chain that Yu gave her and it becomes untangled. Yay for symbolism!
In the cafe: “How about finding that courage and moving forward? When you make that choice, believe in something irreplaceable.”
Namie’s concert goes well and as the crew celebrates backstage, Emi pulls aside the Starlights guy to tell him she’ll decline his offer. She goes off to look for Yu only to find him with Hikari. She hides before they can see her as Hikari says she can’t go through with the wedding. She can’t get over Yu and asks him to take her with him to America. Yu gently pushes her away and says he can’t do that. He wants what’s best for her and he thinks that’s marrying the doctor and running her father’s clinic. He leaves her in tears while Emi watches, looking unsettled.
Mako’s back at work and is cleaning up with the chef when a little kid runs in calling him papa. He introduces himself as Enomoto Keita. Yep the chef is a single dad and Mako doesn’t look too happy about it.
Saki has called out Misuzu to sort out the Takumi situation. She asks if Misuzu still loves Takumi. She reasons that Takumi left Misuzu because he didn’t think he could make anyone happy. If Misuzu feels that Takumi is nothing to her anymore, then Saki would like Misuzu to give up on him so she can be with him. Misuzu can’t do that though because she still loves Takumi and wants their relationship to work. Good, now go tell Takumi that instead of just standing there every time he says he can’t make you happy.
The girls sit around at home complaining about their love lives. Emi feels bad for pursuing Yu even though Hikari’s not over him. Saki thinks she’s in the same position, except she’s sort of not since Takumi’s not in love with her, but whatever. When Mako says she’s upset because Enomoto has a kid, Emi and Saki tease her about liking her boss. Mako denies it, but then supposes she’d have no other reason to be ruffled over the fact Enomoto has a kid. In an echo of the first episode, she wonders why it’s so hard for them to find love.
In the cafe: “Where is the blue bird of happiness?”
When Yu asks Emi about her answer, she admits she saw him with Hikari after the concert. He tells her not to worry about Hikari since she’s not a part of his life anymore. He needs an answer soon since he’ll be leaving in a week.
Mako goes to Momoko for advice about Enomoto. She didn’t plan to fall in love with Enomoto, so why does she care if he has a son? Momoko tells her that no one plans for love; they fall in it. No one loves someone because they plan to, they just do; that’s what love is. Besides, her feelings are the important thing here. If she loves him, it shouldn’t matter that he has a son. Mako agrees, but still seems uncertain about her feelings.
Misuzu tells Emi about meeting Saki last night and how her honesty helped Misuzu realize her own feelings towards Takumi. She gives the same spiel about how she should have been more honest with Takumi, but now she wants to just tell him how she feels, though it may be too late to fix anything. Emi says she thinks they’ll be able to work through it and she repeats Saki’s words about how Misuzu and Takumi truly care about each other.
Takahashi has been trying to talk to Takumi about Saki and finally manages to get a moment with him and Emi. Though it takes him a few drinks before he can say anything, Takahashi says he really likes Saki and doesn’t want her to get hurt so it’s best if Takumi clears up things with her quickly. Takumi has a pity party, saying he’s no good and that he hurts everyone, blah blah. You know what you need to do, so just do it.
Takumi meets Misuzu at the company after leaving Takahashi and Emi. Misuzu finally says all she wants is for Takumi to come back home. She doesn’t care that they can’t have children as long as he’s with her, she’ll be happy. Takumi, unable to hide behind the I-can’t-make-anyone-happy-so-I’ll-leave thing anymore reveals why he’s been acting this way.
Takumi: “It was suffocating trying to be the perfect person for you and not being able to. I thought I had to live my life for you. I decided on that by myself. But I was actually running away from a lot of things.”
They decide to start over.
Emi tells Yu that she’ll go with him to America. I love that Yu’s so shocked and when Emi asks why he says it’s because she thought she’d say no. He knows her so well. He notes that she’s wearing the necklace he gave her for the first time.
Saki calls out Takahashi after hearing from Emi what he said to Takumi. Takahashi thinks he’s going to get scolded, but Saki thanks him for standing up for her. Takahashi explains that love is the only thing a person can be number one at. If you’re in an affair, then you’re really number two and he thinks Saki deserves more than that. Saki says it’s fine, since it’s over anyway, but she wishes she could have said goodbye properly.
Next thing you know, Takumi is meeting Saki at the river after Takahashi told him that Saki would be waiting for him. She says she doesn’t regret falling in love with Takumi. Even though it hurt sometimes, she’s glad she was able to experience real love. Takumi says he feels the same, or he would if he had actually been in love with Saki. He admits that he was just running away by being with her and that continuing to do so would never help him find where he belonged. Since Takumi’s found his seat, Saki says she needs to find hers too. She’ll stop running away too and won’t come here anymore. They return each other’s pens before they leave. Saki: “Tomorrow will surely be a nice day. I don’t need to see the sunrise anymore.”
Emi and Yu are planning their trip to America while walking around a park when Emi works up the courage to tell Yu she loves him. Yu only stares at her in shock, making Emi demand he say something. Yu’s been thinking, ever since the day she comforted him after he broke off his engagement with Hikari, that she could stay beside him forever. He says he loves her too before pulling her into a hug and then kissing her. Whoo, finally!
Enomoto gets a call saying his son is sick, but there’s no one available to pick him up. Mako volunteers to take Keita to her house, if Enomoto doesn’t mind working the restaurant by himself. When Enomoto comes to pick up Keita, Mako asks that Keita spends the night. Though Enomoto protests, Mako as well as Emi who came in with Enomoto, insists it will be no trouble.
As the girls sit around with some late-night coffee, Mako moons over Enomoto and how taking care of Keita made her realize she likes Enomoto. Saki and Emi try not to laugh, but when Mako prods them, they say they knew she liked Enomoto a long time ago and were just waiting for her to realize it.
Emi announces that she and Yu are dating again and that she’s going to America. They congratulate Emi and the mood’s good until Saki proudly proclaims that she broke up with Takumi. This is awkward as Emi and Mako don’t know whether to congratulate her or comfort her. Saki tells them it’s all for the best and they should be happy for her. Anyway, Emi’s finally with Yu and that’s something they should all be happy about. The mood is light again until Mako remembers that her aunt is moving back after New Year’s, which means they need to find new places to live. Though they’re all a little sad, they agree it’s for the best; they can’t stay in one place forever.
The last event Emi gets to do before leaving is the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Hikari comes while she’s working to talk to Emi. Hikari’s called off the wedding and is thinking of quitting her job to work on getting a nursing certification. She wants to keep her father’s clinic open and help people. She kept thinking someone would make a place for her, but she’s realized she needs to make her own place. She admits that she asked Yu to take her with him when he left without thinking, even though she guessed he had asked Emi to come with him. She wishes Emi luck and says she’ll do her best too.
Seeing how ambitious and enthused Yu and Tamu are towards their work, Emi asks the girls about their dreams. Saki’s is already coming true; she’s been hired at a bookstore and her boss, after seeing her proposal, said it has some potential. Mako too is already working towards her dream. She’s a full-time worker at the restaurant now and finally has something she wants to devote herself to with someone she loves. Emi’s envious of them and wonders if she’s doing the right thing by following Yu to America just because she loves him. She doesn’t know if there will be a place for her there.
Yu leaves on the day of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. At the ceremony, a couple is chosen to light the tree and of course it’s been pre-planned that Mako and Enomoto have to light it. They go up with Keita, completely surprised and embarrassed, and light the tree.
After the ceremony is over, Emi decides she needs to see Yu before he leaves, except she has no money for a taxi. Luckily, Mako brought their house bank with her so she uses it to rush to the airport. She’s able to find him right before he leaves. Emi’s realized that she needs to find her own path instead of just following Yu and living his dream, so she won’t be going with him to America. Yu accepts that, saying that’s just how she is. They cry as they hug one last time and Yu gives her their custom air fist-bump before leaving.
The girls pack up the house and have one last meal together. Saki realizes she forgot to take down the house rules. They are as follows: 1. If you let a guy stay over, it’s over. Mako broke that rule when she let Keita sleep over. 2. If you use the house bank, it’s over. Emi’s guilty of that one. 3. If you find true love, it’s over. Saki: “Didn’t we all do this one?” They spend the rest of the night drinking and quoting Chekhov and Shakespeare.
They leave the house the next morning, sad they won’t be able to live together anymore, but they guess it will be fine as long as they meet up every once in a while.
In the cafe: “Love may not go the way you wanted. Love might even hurt you. The feeling called “love” will always warm your heart and help you grow. The blue bird of happiness might have always been inside that positive heart of yours.” The camera pans up as the author has finally finished writing so we can see the her face and of course it’s Saki. She titles it The Reason I Can’t Find My Love.
Mako goes to the restaraunt for work, but Keita wants to decorate the tree with her and strangely Enomoto doesn’t seem to mind. Keita hands her a stocking ornament from which a ring falls out. Whaaat? But before we can get any ideas, Enomoto quickly says it’s only a Christmas present. Whew, good. I don’t think I could handle you two moving that quickly.
Emi’s at work, fooling around with the guys just like she did at the beginning with no regard for her femininity. Tamu says she probably won’t be in a relationship for a while and Emi agrees, saying that love is troublesome. Yet, she doesn’t think love is a bad thing. She believes there will be a time when she can be in a relationship without worrying at all.
Emi’s story has the most frustrating ending. I’m not frustrated by Emi choosing herself over being with Yu as much as I’m disappointed with how it was handled. The whole show has been building towards Emi being honest with herself by telling Yu her feelings and by episode nine, we’ve reached a point where we already know the outcome of her confession, so there’s really no payoff to the story besides thinking, “Oh finally, they’re together.” But we don’t even get that since Emi suddenly changes her mind and decides to not be with Yu. What was the point of refusing the job at Starlights and saying that being with Yu was irreplaceable? Why couldn’t they be in a long-distance relationship (that’s what Yu and Hikari did!)? Maybe if there had ever been a hint that Emi was still trying to find her way in life throughout the show instead of only focusing on it during the last ten minutes of the last episode, I could have bought it, but I can’t.
Saki, by far, had the most interesting story. Though she was always cynical towards love, she fell in love and was willing to do anything to make the relationship work, though it was obvious that it never would. Yes, I’ll admit the “affair” became tiresome when it was obvious that everything would be solved if Misuzu and Takumi actually tried talking to each other, but if WatashiRenai did anything right, it showed how miscommunication could break a relationship.
I do have a minor problem with the fact that even though Saki fell in love, she was never loved in return, but that’s more of a personal gripe than a character gripe. I was sort of hoping that she might end up with Takahashi, but I think it was for the best that she remained single after experiencing love for the first time, though it was a painful one, and managed to get a job that she wasn’t ashamed of.
For once, I don’t have too much to say about Mako. She found a job she loves and a guy she loves that isn’t a jerk, so her story wrapped up neatly. I’m glad that her story got toned down from the crazy as the show reached the end. The fact that Enomoto had a son was a little unexpected, but compared to everything else Mako has gone through, I don’t have much of a problem with it.
Overall, despite all the craziness in the middle and onwards, WatashiRenai wasn’t a bad watch. Not the best dorama of the year by a long shot, but it did what it was supposed to do which was highlight the relationship problems faced by women today. It didn’t thoroughly explore the problems and when it did, it certainly didn’t do it in the most subtle way, but I can commend it for at least trying.