It’s official, this drama is my crack. If I had enough hours in the day, I’d be rewatching this episode over and over, it’s so good. Even if this drama spirals downward after this episode, I’ll still love it because it gave me such a satisfying episode.
It’s hard to find courage when you really need it as our characters learn as they battle with their inner demons and struggle to reveal the truth.
Chihiro sees Toru drop off Yoko at work and she does not look happy about it. Someone rushes past her, knocking her documents out of her hand. Yoko comes over to help her pick them up. Yoko notices her glancing back at Toru and explains she happened to meet him by chance. Chihiro tries to appear disinterested, but Yoko realizes that she has a love rival.
Toru’s in the middle of an interview when Chihiro comes to get him for a meeting. Asahina says the interview will only take a little more time and allows her in to listen. The interview is going well until the reporter asks about Toru’s early life. It’s common knowledge that he was adopted at a young age, but isn’t he curious about his real parents?Though Chihiro stiffens, Toru plays it cool, saying that he can’t remember them nor is he interested in them; they just provided the genetic material. He stops the interview there and leaves, walking past Chihiro without even seeing her.
Asahina tells Toru that he likes that he tells reporters to not use his name when talking about the newest products. Toru doesn’t understand why they try to make him into someone extraordinary and Asahina says it’s because they’re insecure. No one admires them so they strive for professional and academic achievement. Toru asks if Asahina is like that, but he says he’s sick of that type of life. He says Toru should just admit he likes being praised for his talent, making Toru laugh.
Toru gives Chihiro her own business cards which are seriously the cutest thing ever. They have a picture of Chihiro on it, with her saying “Homework please?” He says everyone made their own, but Chihiro can’t so he did it. She’s delighted with them until she realizes that he made them with bad intentions as he holds one up to her face to compare. She tries to snatch the card back and he holds it away from her before handing it back and telling her to do her best. As she leaves, she looks a little shifty and looks back at Toru in his office, busy typing away.
She has lunch with Haruka, showing her the business card and admitting to her false identity. Haruka doesn’t understand why Chihiro would do that, it’s not like a name will get her a job, but Chihiro knows the only reason he’s interested in her is because of her name. It’s too late to do anything now, though she’s starting to regret it.
Haruka asks how she knows Toru. The real Sawaki Chihiro was the owner of a restaurant in her hometown and she had gone to her for advice when she had failed the entrance exam for TokyoUniversity. Toru’s mother had comforted her, saying her family wouldn’t blame her for failing and revealing how she had abandoned her son. Chihiro had asked if she ever wanted to meet him again, but she never wanted to do that since he would ask why she had left him. She made Chihiro promise to say she didn’t know her if anyone came searching for her.
At that time, Toru also had been staying at her family’s inn. He had talked to her after she had broken the news to her family. Back then, he was the same as he was now, saying things in a way that made others feel inferior. He said opening an inn in such a place was economic suicide since there were no attractions to bring in tourists. She asked why he had come then and he told her that this was his mother’s hometown and he was looking for her. Chihiro immediately connected the dots, but when Toru had asked if he knew her, she had denied it.
Back at the inn, Toru is the only customer and is being given a lot of food by Chihiro’s mom. She hopes that if they treat him well, he’ll want to come back. Chihiro awkwardly says that he doesn’t have to eat it all if he doesn’t want to. Toru had complimented her on the food in that ass-backwards way of his, saying he thought it would be plain. With such low costs, the inn doesn’t make a profit. To compensate for Chihiro’s failure, without thinking about consequences, such generosity is stupid. Chihiro gets fired up and says that even if that’s how he sees it, he shouldn’t ridicule them for it. Toru wasn’t laughing at them though, rather he envies them.
He asks if she’s giving up on school. Chihiro says it doesn’t matter, since their family is poor anyway. He tells that if she’s going to give up, she should do it quickly. He really envies her; he came to a place like this and didn’t even find his mom, but he doesn’t plan to ever stop looking for her.
Chihiro’s mom keeps offering Toru more meat and beer, though her husband and son try to dissuade her. Toru wishes that his mom was like that.
Chihiro went to see Toru’s mom to convince her to at least meet her son, but she was adamant. It wasn’t about whether she wanted to meet him or not; she had already decided that she would not meet him.
When Chihiro returned home, Toru was already gone. She ran around, trying to find him, but was unable to.
Chihiro wishes that Toru and his mom could’ve met at that time. Haruka asks if she’s going to tell Toru the truth.
Next Innovation is in a buzz today; it’s contract renewal time and everyone wants to keep their job. If you’re fired, you receive the infamous death mail. With clocks all over the office, everyone counts down the hours until they can breathe freely without worrying about being unemployed. Many of the employees turn to Chihiro for help; though they know that Chihiro is only a new grad now, the fact that the president likes her could help them.
Toru comes rolling in, happy amidst the misery. An employee, Tanaka, runs up with his laptop, saying he has the best idea ever. Toru only stares at him as an email pops up on his laptop; he’s been fired. Toru’s totally immune to the man’s misery, smiling as he says that even though production is down on days like these, he’s still happy.
Yasuoka, who has on some crazy sideburns and a hat today, tries to appeal to Toru with a gag to make him guess who he is. Toru laughs, admitting he’s funny and Yasuoka repeats the gag. Chihiro just watches, muttering to herself that she hates this company.
Tanaka goes to see Asahina, who gives him the means to start up his own enterprise and gives him his business card with his phone number to call him anytime. Toru asks why Asahina treats the people he fires like that and Asahina says he’s just avoiding extra expenses; one person they fired broke the gate when he left. So you’re just pretending to be considerate of others so they won’t screw you over? Hmm, I do not see this turning out well.
Sakaguchi, a hotshot employee that looks down on everyone and is picking on Chihiro, gets the death mail. He barges into Toru’s office, demanding to know the reason why he’s fired. Though his game brought in a lot of money the previous year, he hasn’t been making any profit since then. Asahina tries to use his gentle approach, but Toru is blunt and says that his new programs are boring and that he’s incompetent after all.
Sakaguchi argues that it doesn’t matter since his game was a hit, even if it’s boring to people now, it will still bring in money. Toru dismisses him and starts to reach for his nametag, but Sakaguchi snatches it off and throws it on the table before leaving. Toru balls it up and tries to throw it in the trashcan, but he misses.
Sakaguchi packs up his desk and looks at what he wrote on the wall. “I’ll show you how I’ll surpass you in five years.” Chihiro comes with the coffee that he’s been demanding and noticing how much nicer he seems, she thinks something good must’ve happened. You know, until he says he was fired. He realizes that he hadn’t done anything but make one game since he had joined the company, so he had it coming. The other employees call him a one trick donkey because of it.
Anyone can make a hit program once, but it’s hard to follow up. For Toru, it’s different though. “He’s so good,” he says bitterly.
Asahina meets Sakaguchi on the way out to try and cool him down, but Sakaguchi only throws his box at him. Asahina picks up the spilled contents and Sakaguchi says he doesn’t hold anything against Toru, because he’s still amazing in spite of his personality. The person he doesn’t like is Asahina, making Asahina stop.
Asahina is just like him; he’s ambitious and wants fame more than anyone. Yet he stays in the shadows because he’s afraid of Toru. He knows that if he confronted Toru, he’d lose. “That’s why you’re his sidekick.” Sakaguchi says he’s different though; whatever happens, he’ll face it. “Mr. Asahina, you are the coward who cannot fail.”
As he gets on the elevator, he says he doesn’t approve of what Asahina is. Asahina stands there for a moment after the doors close, shocked before snapping himself out of it and going back into the office.
The other employees that are left celebrate that they get to keep their job a little longer. Toru rides around happily, running over the business cards of the dismissed employees. Chihiro, unable to watch anymore, finally says that this is poor taste. Being fired is very serious; these are people’s lives and he thinks it’s just a game. He likes standing on a hill and watching people struggle; that’s a display of poor taste.
Toru says that she smells like an annoying, homely class committee girl and proceeds to sniff her, irritating Chihiro. He doesn’t understand why she’s upset, having this many employees seems fair to him.
After work, Asahina is amazed that Chihiro said something like that to Toru, but he doesn’t disagree with him. Keeping around employees like Sakaguchi only decreases the resources available to profitable employees. Doesn’t she think that’s unfair to the other workers? That may be so, but not everyone is like Toru; it’s not like everyone can create something amazing. Asahina slows down, thinking out loud what it would be like to be like Toru, but when Chihiro asks, he says it’s nothing. He says he hasn’t been very nice today, but Chihiro says that he’s a decent person. That cheers him up and he says they should go out tonight and takes her away before she can protest.
Toru’s still looking for furniture and has finally settled on a table, except it’s already been sold to Yoko. He tries to get her to sell it to him, but she refuses. That’s what you get for trying to buy furniture for six years.
Over drinks, Asahina says he finally solved the mystery of Sawaki Chihiro. He wishes that it had remained a secret though; he finds the aspect of Toru searching for his mother too ordinary. He remembers what Toru said during the interview and supposes that it was all bravado. Chihiro asks if he doesn’t like Toru being ordinary. Of course he hates it; he thinks emotional dependency should be discarded. “He plays cool and can anger people at will, but it’s just a façade he offers as a role model.” He likes the merciless Toru.
Chihiro prefers the Toru who’s looking for his mother, because she thinks that’s his real self. Asahina slams down his drink and says that it’s probably because that’s the Toru she likes. He asks why she doesn’t tell Toru the truth, about her and where his mother is. Isn’t she being cowardly by remaining silent? Chihiro agrees and thinks she should finally confess. Asahina wonders what kind of face Toru will make.
Yoko and Toru walk into the bar, still arguing over the table, when they spot Asahina and Chihiro. They all drink together and the two relate the story of the table to Asahina and Chihiro. Yoko says it seems that she and Toru have a lot in common, much to Chihiro’s discomfort. Yoko notices that she’s staring at Toru and asks what’s the matter, but Chihiro brushes her off.
In the bathroom, Chihiro says it does seem like Yoko and Toru meet a lot by coincidence. She begins rambling and Yoko asks if she likes Toru. Chihiro tries to clarify that’s not what she meant, but Yoko cuts her off and says that she likes Toru. She thinks Toru’s the one for her and asks Chihiro what she thinks of destiny and coincidences.
Chihiro says they’re not practical and more like teenage girl fantasies. True, but isn’t there some fact to coincidences? Yoko thinks these chance meetings mean that they’re fated, though she’s still in the process of figuring that out. Though Chihiro keeps a smile on her face as Yoko leaves, she says that she met him by coincidence long before Yoko did.
Chihiro and Toru separate from the Asahina siblings and Chihiro decides it’s the right time to tell the truth. However, Toru doesn’t want to listen unless she gets him that table, though she says it’s important. He gets in a taxi, telling her to get the table, and leaves. Chihiro heaves a sigh of relief, before berating herself for feeling that way; she needs to tell him the truth.
Sakaguchi goes to see Chihiro at school. At first she thinks he’s asking for money, but that’s not why he came to see her. He hands her a flashdrive and asks her to give it to Toru. He thought it’d be easy to find a job, but he’s not having any luck. He created something, but the companies he’s showed it to aren’t interested. She doesn’t understand why he wants her to give it to Toru. Of course, it’s because she’s close to him, perhaps his girlfriend?
Chihiro overreacts, knocking over a chair as she denies that they have any such relationship. Sakaguchi says she just doesn’t have any confidence so she doesn’t know the extent of her power. He’s almost begging as he says that she only needs to show it to him and she agrees.
Chihiro gives Toru the game and though he admits it’s good, he won’t bring Sakaguchi back. When Chihiro asks why, he says he wants to watch Sakaguchi struggle. There’s nothing malignant in the way he says it though and Chihiro is dismissed as Asahina comes in. She turns to leave, but turns back around, saying that he should at least tell Sakaguchi that his game is good.
Chihiro:“We around you have no confidence, you make us uneasy. He needs an approving nod from a person he admires.”
She begs him before leaving.
Asahina thinks they can hire Sakaguchi back if the game sells well, but Toru doesn’t want Sakaguchi running around again just because one of his games did well. Asahina suggests that they just buy the idea from him then, since Sakaguchi’s in a desperate situation. Toru shoots a ball into a trashcan and tells Asahina to call him.
Chihiro watches Sakaguchi and Toru talk and judging from Sakaguchi’s expression, it’s going well. They come out of the office and Sakaguchi says he won’t disappoint him. Toru says he’ll have to cover their investment quickly, after all, he wants to surpass Toru in five years. Wait, so he didn’t buy the game but is investing in it? Oh yeah.
Sakaguchi says he was surprised by how hard it was to set up a company. Toru tells him that this is also a game. “And learning, as you grow into that business, is very interesting.”
Sakaguchi asks if that means that there’s nothing else he needs to know. Toru says that whatever advice the investors offer doesn’t add up to anything decent. Though Sakaguchi doesn’t know if he can manage his own company well, he’ll do his best. Chihiro can’t stop smiling to herself as Asahina looks unsettled by this sudden turn of events.
Toru calls Sakaguchi back by name as he leaves. Sakaguchi turns around, shocked that he remembers. Toru tells him that he’ll be okay and that he has a good idea. Sakaguchi says he’s extremely grateful, but Toru says he doesn’t need it. He just bought an expensive toy is all.
As Chihiro celebrates with Sakaguchi, Asahina pulls Toru aside and asks what he’s thinking. Toru uses the same, “It’s my money and I do what I want,” excuse. Toru’s just happy to see that Sakaguchi will have no one protecting him anymore and will have to work hard on his own.
Yamagami thinks that Sakaguchi is a threat to their company; if he’s successful, he could crush Next Innovation. Asahina says not to worry though; even if someone better than Toru did appear, Toru wouldn’t be afraid of him. Yamagami doesn’t understand and wonders what Asahina really thinks of Toru.
Asahina gets his petty revenge by sending an unaware Toru to go meet Tanaka. Annoyed, Toru tries to send Tanaka away, but he sees Chihiro in a restaurant, waiting for someone. Tanaka takes him away before he can see who she’s meeting.
Yoko’s looking into buying another table, but apparently another customer already has his eye on it. Of course, it’s Toru and she asks if they can give it to her.
As he leaves Tanaka, Toru sees that Chihiro is still waiting. He goes inside, saying that since she’s no longer job hunting, she’s taken up husband hunting instead. Chihiro says that’s not the case; she was waiting to see a professor, but she guesses he forgot.
He takes a seat, asking about the prices. She guesses that it’s probably expensive and he says that her whole wallet probably won’t be enough to pay. Since it’s his lunch time, he asks that she tell him about the issue she wanted to talk about earlier. Chihiro is caught off guard by this and suggests that they eat first. He wonders if she’s afraid he won’t pay if she tells him what she’s worried about first, but she says she has enough money. As she hides behind her menu, Chihiro starts to freak out about telling Toru the truth.
Asahina looks at the New Innovation wall, his eyes landing on what Sakaguchi wrote and his words about how he was a coward and a sidekick ringing in his ears. He remembers how Chihiro said he was a decent person and he crushes his drink in his hand.
Chihiro ends up drinking too much because she’s too nervous to tell Toru the truth. She keeps praising Toru for helping Sakaguchi. She asks why did he help him, but he says that he sent him down a difficult path. He wants to watch him hope and despair. Chihiro asks loudly if that’s an S&M play, giggling madly, attracting everyone’s attention.
Toru says quietly that he doesn’t mind it and Chihiro, still talking loudly, says he’s always a sadist in S&M. Toru says she doesn’t have a shred of self-consciousness, but she’s still going on about how he helped Sakaguchi. Toru, unwilling to admit it, says that she has an explanation for everything and that he just wants to try something new. To offer someone a chance and encourage him, it was something new for him. Chihiro makes a pun on Toru’s name, prompting him to call her a sadist too.
In the bathroom, Chihiro is contemplating how to break the news to Toru. They have a good mood going; she doesn’t want to screw it up. She looks at the card again and puts her head against the bathroom stall. She comes out, prepared to tell him until he sees her and smiles. Too dazzled by his looks, Chihiro’s convinced she can’t tell him.
They leave the restaurant, with Chihiro asking if there’s somewhere else that Toru wants to go. He says he’ll treat her, since he has no intenteion of being treated by a destitute person. Chihiro makes fun of him, saying that he’s just pretending to be generous.
Toru says that’s just her imagination. He doesn’t like hanging out with other people and says that he’d rather be alone for the rest of his life.
Chihiro trips and Toru manages to catch her. They’re close, a little too close for either of them right now and Chihiro, still drunk, calls him a liar because he came to her house looking for his mom. She catches herself too late and tries to walk away by Toru pulls her back.
Keeping a tight grip on her arm, he asks who she is and how she knows his mother’s name. Chihiro keeps her head down and apologizes, explaining how she only used the name to get his attention. She looks up at him slowly as he tries to take in what she’s saying. He finally pushes her away from him roughly, making Chihiro drop her purse and her business cards fall out.
Chihiro apologizes and says she should have told him before, but Toru doesn’t even look at her.
Toru: “I don’t want to see your face ever again.”
Okay, let me catch my breath. I didn’t expect for the truth to come out so quickly, but I’m glad it did. Holding out a secret that the audience knows can make a drama draggy, especially if it’s not revealed till the last episode, so yay for Chihiro finally telling the truth, even though it was accidental. I am wondering how this relationship will get back together (such a huge deceit cannot be easily overcome) I like that it’s out there for several reasons. I want Toru to like Chihiro, whoever she may really be, for herself, and not just because of what he believed to be was a coincidence. Also, the last episode focused heavily on Chihiro proving herself capable to Toru and to herself. I don’t think she would be able to do that with that lie hanging over her head. Despite how she didn’t want to admit, that lie was her lifeline, the core of what was helping her move ahead. Now that it’s out in the open, I hope that Chihiro can retain that little confidence that she’s gained and keep moving forward, without having to depend on deceit to get ahead.
Usually, one episode stories don’t do anything but fill up air time, but Sakaguchi’s story line really helped flesh out Toru and Asahina’s characters. I like that someone quickly called out Asahina on his fake sincerity and that Sakaguchi’s words are starting to make Asahina question himself and his relationship with Toru. While Asahina isn’t necessarily the loyal right-hand man, he has a lot of faith in Toru, but for all the wrong reasons. Toru appears to be the man that Asahina has always wanted to be, but can’t be, so he clings to him, wanting a piece of that success. While I don’t think Toru has a soft, gooey inside, discovering that Toru is looking for his mother and willing to help others has definitely altered the image Asahina had of Toru, making him wonder if he really is as inferior to Toru as he thinks he is.
Toru has been a very cocky, superior character thus far, which while entertaining, could probably grate your nerves in real life. Even when we’re told Toru cares about people and that’s the reason he’s doing the public file project, the fact that we know he has an ulterior motive makes it feel like Toru is more interested in playing with people and only satisfying himself. So, I was pleasantly surprised when he decided to invest in Sakaguchi’s company in order to help him develop into a person more dedicated to his work. This is an instance where Toru doesn’t gain anything out of helping someone and while I’m not ready to say he has a hidden heart of gold, it does show that Toru understands people a lot more than he’s given credit for, despite his seemingly indifferent nature.