Rich Man, Poor Woman Episode 4

Seeking forgiveness isn’t as hard as I’d thought it be as our couple is quickly thrown back together, though that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of emotional pain between them. Major conflicts arise and this drama shows that it’s not out of tricks yet as we get more information on the backstory between Yoko and Toru.

Chihiro’s been depressed since she was fired from Next Innovation. Haruka tells her that if she feels so bad about lying, she should find a way to make amends.

 

The personal file project isn’t going well, everyone’s ideas are too simple and Toru wants something amazing. With only four days left, the team is under a lot of stress. After all, they’re just an IT company and bigger electronics manufacturing companies are now starting to cash in on the idea. Yasuoka says they still have the upper hand because Chihiro is close with Fujikawa, but Toru, still in a bad mood, announces he fired her.

 Toru says that against the electronics manufacturers, their strength is that they’re doing something no one has ever done before. He leaves and Asahina tells everyone to take a break.

While they take a break, Toru asks Asahina if he occasionally goes about things the wrong way, but Asahina tells him to do everything his own way. He gestures to the wall, saying these are all the people that admire him. Too bad Toru can’t remember most of them. Asahina says most of them can’t keep up with Toru and half of those remaining will disappear. Toru says that makes it seem like the wall of bitter lamentations. Asahina says the wall is their soul.

 

Flashback to eight years ago. Toru had been pitching his idea to the company Asahina then worked for. They had bought Toru’s portal site business and Toru was the company’s system developer. At that time, they were uninterested in Toru’s idea, but Asahina wasn’t. He had left his company to work with Toru in a small factory, saying that Toru’s site would be able to reach ten million users. They had quickly reached that goal after working together and celebrated.

 

Three years later, Yamagami had joined them, helping to increase Next Innovation’s value. They moved out of the factory and got their current building. They had removed the original Next Innovation wall and put it in the new building.

Yasuoka is cleaning up Chihiro’s desk and Toru picks up the business card he made her. Asahina says firing Chihiro wasn’t a good move, since Fujikawa still hasn’t warmed up to their project. Toru asks if he thinks keeping a fraud like Chihiro around was a good idea, since they’re being entrusted with public data. Asahina agrees that it probably wouldn’t be good for the company image.

 

Asahina wonders to himself if that means the old Toru is returning. He tells Toru that Chihiro said she knew him from before, but Toru doesn’t remember her before the recruiting session.

 Asahina calls Chihiro a poor thing and Toru remembers how she said she knew him. He wonders where he met her before.

 

Chihiro has taken up a part-time job at a gas station when Toru arrives for some maintenance. She keeps her head low, doing her best not to be seen as she fills up his tank and wipes the windows.

 Toru glances back at her through his side mirror as he leaves, but it’s unclear if he’s able to tell who she is.

 

Nogi’s still giving Yoko a hard time in the kitchen, bumping into her while she’s cooking, making her drop all the ingredients. He makes it seem like it’s her fault because she’s a woman and tells her not to waste ingredients by using so much food. Yoko doesn’t call him out on it being his fault, but says she won’t drop them again. As she bends to pick up the fallen food, she sees a burn on her wrist.

 

Toru’s walking by the restaurant when he sees both of the tables that he wanted. He goes in to see Yoko, asking why she has both of the tables that he wanted. She says when she wants something, she goes for it immediately. She’s nursing the burn on her arm with an ice bag, but when Toru asks about it, she says it’s nothing.  Nogi comes in, faking concern that she didn’t go to the hospital. With no other employees around, Yoko confronts him on pushing her. He doesn’t deny it and tells her to stick to interior design and shop for chairs next.

 She tells Toru that they’re busy and shoves the icepack into Nogi’s hands before leaving.

 

Chihiro gets the idea of doing a survey of three hundred people in her area to see what their opinion is on the public file system. Though she starts out energetic, it’s harder than she thought and it seems impossible to survey so many people by herself.

Toru’s given up on his team and decides to design the interface by himself. Yamagami thinks that Toru’s being too harsh on the employees just because his company makes a lot of money, but Asahina says he’s in a sensitive phase of exploration right now, since he wants to make the best design interface possible.

 Yasuoka forces Toru to get some fresh air before he overworks himself. He runs into Yoko who is also feeling stressed. She suggests they go relax somewhere without cooking or computing.

 Chihiro runs into some trouble while asking an old lady questions. The woman’s bank book disappears and a police officer suspects her to be a swindler.

 

Yoko breaks the agreement about not thinking about cooking for thirty minutes as she dissects the coffee that Toru bought her. Being with him like this reminds her of how she used to talk to him nine years ago. For two hours, they sat together and talked, and it made her smile.

 Toru closely examines her face, trying to remember, but he still doesn’t recall. Yoko’s not upset though and she says that they might as well get back to work.

Toru finishes designing the interface and while it’s pretty cool, I don’t think an average citizen would be able to figure out how to use it. One of the team members asks why Toru didn’t just design it in the first place. Knowing he’s stepped on a land mine, he tries to take it back by saying that they’re all just his private victims that are pathetically struggling and another member praises the interface as the perfect product. Their praise only irritates Toru more though; it’s not like they’re kids that need to be praised in order to feel good. He kicks them out, saying they’re no longer part of the project.

 

Asahina tells Yoko about how Toru’s been displaying his power and how he’s only setting the stage. Yoko says that’s what makes him a good number two. She asks again if it’s really true that Toru can’t remember names or faces, prompting Asahina to ask when she met Toru. Yoko says it doesn’t matter, since she only took a trip on her crush on him.

 As she goes to her room, Asahina glances out the window, contemplating Yoko’s words about how he’s a good second.

 

Chihiro’s at the police station until night time when Toru shows up. Apparently when they questioned her, she wouldn’t stop talking and Next Innovation came up so they called Toru. The old lady’s bank book was found in her purse, so they let Chihiro leave.

 Chihiro apologizes for making Toru come to the station and Toru says that since nobody was at the company, he was forced to come. Even though it’s late, he’s still running trials on the interface.

Toru takes Chihiro back to the company to test the interface. She struggles with how to use it and he calls her stupid for not being able to figure it out, pelting her with his snack food. However, Toru realizes that if even Chihiro can’t use something like this, then he needs to make the system simpler to use.

He changes the interface into a simple keypad and allows Chihiro to test it out. Seeing how she can easily navigate it, he gets working again, leaving Chihiro with nothing to do. She waits around for hours before finally saying that it’s about time for her to leave, but Toru’s not letting go of her that easily.

He wants to know what she was doing wandering around the Ward Office. Chihiro tells him about her survey idea for the personal file project. She just wanted to help him out; it seemed that the young and old people’s opinions were completely opposed. Toru says that she put in too much effort for such a little result. Chihiro understands that, but she just wanted to do something for him.

 Toru says that only Chihiro only seems to understand that this project isn’t about what they can offer, but about who’s going to use it.

Chihiro, happy with being praised, sticks around a little longer while he works. When she brings him some coffee, she accidentally taps his tablet, bringing up the profile page for Sawaki Chihiro. He asks if she made that page and she denies it. He doesn’t seem to believe her and Chihiro apologizes. He asks why she’s apologizing, but her answer is too slow so he tells her to go to outside.

 Chihiro hesitates before saying that since the family register is in the personal files, he can use the system to find his mother, but Toru cuts her off with a look.

 

She wanders around outside his office before deciding to do some exercise by walking up and down the stairs. Toru sees her and though she’s slightly embarrassed, she just waves her hands in the air at him in a fighting posture. Toru can’t help but laugh, wondering why she’s doing such a thing.

 

They end up working all night, with Chihiro offering advice based on the people she surveyed and Toru tweaking it accordingly. When Chihiro starts dozing off, he makes her put in the password, and a grim reaper like thing appears, scaring her and she gets mad at him.

Sunlight’s coming in by the time they finish working. He dismisses her without a second glance, though Chihiro’s reluctant to leave.

 

When Toru comes out to stretch, he notices a paper arrow on the Next Innovation wall. Following it all the way down, Chihiro has written the address of his mother and even how to locate it using Google maps. He says she has such strict handwriting.

Toru and Asahina go to a lunch meeting with JL Tech, an electronics manufacturing company whose support they hope to get with the personal file project. When they come in, the JL guys are feasting and just wave them in. Asahina turns to go, knowing that this will end badly, but Toru pulls him back in.

The JL guys seem more concentrated on their food than anything and say they’ve already signed the contract so they can just take it and go. Though Asahina tries to remain composed and accept the contract, Toru snatches the contract and crumples it in a plate of gravy, saying the contract has been refused.

He knows that Next Innovation is more advanced technologically and that sticking to the old-fashioned system the way they do only creates more problems. Though they act high and mighty, they’re being buried. “You’re putting on a brass face while, in fact, you are being buried. I’m not following you in your fall.”

 He leaves and Asahina gives a rather sinister look after him.

Asahina tries to convince Toru to rethink the deal; right now, no one takes Next Innovation seriously because they only have cell phone games on the market. They need JL’s name to get them some credit. Toru doesn’t want to use another company’s cover and tells Asahina to calm down, but Asahina isn’t backing down this time.

He says that Toru only wanted to display his power. Toru admits that’s true, but he also didn’t want to go into a deal like that.

Asahina says he wants to make Next Innovation into a first class enterprise, but Toru blows off his words and starts messing with the new interface. Asahina notices that it’s different from before and asks why did Toru change it; the one before was perfect, it demonstrated the extent of their skill to bigger companies, this one is far too simple.

Toru asks him who’s going to be using this system. Definitely not computer geeks like them. What any normal person can use defines hi-tech. Asahina is unable to say anything as Toru starts to leave. “You want first-class? So that’s your ambition.” He turns to look back at him.  “Asahina…it’s the first time you disappoint me.” I’m not the only person that heard that snap in Asahina’s brain right?

Toru calls Chihiro back to the office. She asks if he’s forgiven her, but he says he hasn’t. If she knows what she did was wrong, why is she still using his mother’s name? More importantly, why did he write her address on the wall?

Chihiro says she wanted to give him the information somehow and she’s confirmed with her brother that his mother still lives there. Toru says she doesn’t understand him; he called her here because he needs her for the project. A common person like her with no talent or self-motivation is just what he needs.

He places the interface in front of her and she unlocks it. He tells her this is the interface she brought out, making her smile. He’s tweaked it some more since last time, but he won’t let her use it until he’s finished.

Yasuoka’s happy to have Chihiro back, but Chihiro clarifies that Sawaki Chihiro isn’t her real name. Toru gathers the rest of the employees around and says that for now, Chihiro will be temporary staff. He asks for her real name (finally!) and she says it’s Natsui Makoto. He introduces her to the staff and he already can’t get half her name out. You’ll remember it in time Toru.

Toru shows the new interface to the team members he had kicked off. He tells one to fix the bugs with it and the other to create a color scheme. He wants them to feel a part of the team and that includes sharing in the work.

Makoto is still working when Toru gets off work. He hands her the new business cards, this time with her real name on it. Though he teases her for being the only person in her department, she’s happy with them. They even come with a new quote. “Powerfully stupid!” though Makoto takes no offense.

Toru asks about his mother, saying that she was in the countryside this whole time. Makoto tells him that when he asked about his mother, she had already promised her that she wouldn’t reveal her whereabouts to Toru. Toru finally remembers asking Makoto about his mom.

Makoto says that she’s been regretting not telling Toru about his mom ever since that day. Toru’s surprised, since he doesn’t remember her from that day at all. Hey wait, I just saw your flashback and her face was definitely visible, you totally remember her.

Makoto’s shocked, but she tries to laugh it off. Of course, he wouldn’t remember, that’s fine with her. Toru awkwardly tries to explain that it’s because of his disability, but then the elevator arrives. He gets on without trying to explain further and tells her to do her best to make amends.

Asahina tells Yamagami about the incident with JL Tech, worrying Yamagami. Is it okay to trust Toru with the company when he’s acting out like this? Asahina assures Yamagami not to worry; whichever way, the company will continue to make money. Uh-oh, I do not like the look of that smile.

Toru goes to eat at Yoko’s restaurant. He tells her not to overexert herself on the burners, but Yoko can’t help it, she hates having idle time. She devotes everything to her career so she wants to use her time efficiently.

She asks how he’s been doing. Toru says he’s been wondering if he’s hurting her too, because he doesn’t remember the first time they met. She asks what happened to make him think that, but Toru doesn’t want to say.

Well then, she’ll just refresh his memory. They met nine years ago on a night train. They got off at the same station and he asks why. Well, they were in that kind of mood. He asks if this is a risqué account and Yoko just tries to rush ahead with the story, but Toru wants to know the details.

Yoko says the important thing is that they got along well. She thought it was great and thought that he felt the same. They had promised to meet again a year later. She says the promise wasn’t “one of those things,”, but a promise they made out of real feelings for one another.

Toru stops her there; he remembers the promise. He went there to meet her a year later, but he doesn’t remember what happened after that. He asks if she came, but she says she didn’t. Toru laughs, saying that he’s the idiot in this story then. He starts to leave, but Yoko grabs for his arm, saying it was a lie. She’s been waiting for him this whole time. She leans in and kisses him which is when we pan away to see Makoto watching through the window. Argh, why? Don’t look, don’t look!

Asahina is looking at the Next Innovation wall. He slams his hand against the original wall, where Toru had written his ambition. He regains his composure and walks away, calling the wall filthy.

Some Thoughts:

And Asahina has officially gone to the dark side.  While I like watching Asahina’s internal conflicts and I’m sad to see that friendship go down the drain, I’m all for seeing him play the bad guy. While Toru has the brains and charisma to draw people in, Asahina’s proven that he’s a master manipulator of people. Not to mention he has the nice guy image that Toru doesn’t, even though it’s fake. This drama has shown that it has the ability to take common drama tropes and twist them in an interesting way, so I can’t wait to see how this fight plays out.

I like that the fallout over the lie was quickly dealt with in a way that helped us move right along. Oh, and gave us more cute time with our couple. Makoto atoning for the lie by helping Toru with the personal file project is believable, because, like Toru said, no one else seems to understand the purpose of the project. While Toru is well aware that Next Innovation isn’t exactly the most prominent one out there, he isn’t trying to prove anything to other companies. He’s confident in his abilities and he doesn’t need to justify that by sucking up to bigger, first-class companies. It’s almost admirable, if he wasn’t so arrogant about it. With Makoto around, Toru is slowly starting to realize that his way isn’t always the right way, but I think Asahina’s betrayal will probably give him the slap he needs to realize that learning to compromise with others is just as important as his own opinion.

Of course, now that Makoto’s back in Toru’s sphere, we have Yoko blocking. Though I can’t see Yoko and Toru’s relationship playing out well with Asahina going around betraying Toru, she is a problem right now. Toru is starting to remember Yoko and may want to explore that further because he realizes his disability is hurting others around him.

Man was I happy that there really was more to Yoko and Toru’s past. It sucks for Makoto, of course, but it makes Yoko way more interesting than she was before. Based on the fact that Toru remembered to go meet her after a year is proof enough that this was no normal fling, but I’m wondering what happened on Yoko’s end to make her not go meet him. She’s practically swooning over him now and it’s been nine years since she last saw him so why didn’t she meet him when she promised to? Is it because of the coincidence and fate thing she was talking about last episode? Because if that’s the case, she’ll be swearing at fate soon when Toru starts to fall for Makoto.

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