It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Episode 11: My Lover is Santa Claus
Kotoko hopes to spend Christmas Eve with Naoki, but he has to work. Yuko, of course, will be working that day as well and rubs it in Kotoko’s face. Kotoko plans to make reservations at the restaurant so she can be with Naoki, but it’s way out of her price range.
She thinks she can at least depend on her friends, but surprise, surprise, Jinko and Satomi have boyfriends! And they’re cute? I approve. Kotoko’s as shocked as I am to learn that her friends have lives that don’t revolve around her, but accepts that they want to spend Christmas Eve with their boyfriends.
Learning that Kotoko will be alone on Christmas Eve, Kin-chan sees this as his chance, but as usual he’s thwarted when Jinko comes running in, crying that her boyfriend is holding a concert out of town so she can’t be with him on Christmas Eve. As they comfort her, Satomi comes crying because her boyfriend has decided to work on Christmas Eve to buy her a present.
Satomi and Jinko grumble about how inconsiderate their boyfriends are and Kotoko decides that they should have a girls’ party instead. They swear to meet up on Christmas Eve and anyone who does otherwise is a traitor. Kin-chan wants to join as well, but they just stare at him blankly before pointing out that since Kin-chan works at a restaurant, there’s no way he can come. Everyone will be making reservations so he’ll be busy all night long. Sure enough, when Kin-chan goes to work, he’s dismayed to see the long list of reservations for Christmas Eve.
Irie-papa is throwing a party for his company’s 20th anniversary on Christmas Eve, and even though Kotoko wants to go, she has to decline. Irie-mama worries that Kotoko must have found a new man, but Kotoko assures her that’s not the case and she doesn’t want to betray the pact she made with her friends. Irie-papa is surprised to hear that Naoki is also opting out of the party to work that day.
Irie-papa calls Naoki out for a drink to ask him to attend the party, but Naoki refuses. He knows his dad just wants to show him off to his clients as the successor to the company even though Naoki hasn’t even decided if that’s what he wants to do. Irie-papa insists that he’s not asking for Naoki to take over the company, but still wants him to consider coming to the party.
When heading back home, Naoki stops at a bookstore and looks over some pre-med books, thinking about how Kotoko said he would make a good doctor.
Naoki comes home unannounced and says he’s decided to go to the Christmas party. Both Irie-mama and Kotoko see this as Kotoko’s chance, but Naoki is already aware of Kotoko’s plans and points out she shouldn’t disappoint her friends. Irie-mama argues you can’t trust your girlfriends (damn straight, especially when it comes to boys), but Naoki being Naoki makes Kotoko feel guilty about trying to bail on her friends and she says she won’t go to the party.
While planning for girls’ night with Jinko and Satomi, Kotoko can’t help but daydream about what it would be like to go with Naoki to the party. But seeing how excited Jinko and Satomi are about Christmas Eve, she convinces herself that she made the right choice.
Christmas Eve comes and the Irie family prepares for the party. Before leaving, Irie-papa warns Kotoko about a thief in the area, though he’s sure she’ll be fine if she’s with her friends.
Kotoko can’t help but wish she could go to the party too. She imagines Naoki dressed in a suit, asking her to dance and the two are the center of attention as they waltz around the room. Sigh, I’m with you Kotoko, why isn’t that happening in this episode?
Meanwhile, Yuko’s sulking at work because Naoki’s not around. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have company; Sudo’s dressed up and come to see her, ordering way too much food and grating her nerves by constantly calling her over.
Kotoko’s set up all the decorations and the snacks and is ready for Satomi and Jinko to arrive. But both of them call to cancel; Jinko’s boyfriend’s concert was canceled due to snow and Satomi’s boyfriend was actually planning to surprise her with dinner. Kotoko assures them that it’s fine, lying so that both think Kotoko’s hanging out with the other.
She’s disappointed at first, but then realizes that now she can go to the party. But when she thinks about how Irie-mama will gloat about how she was right and Yuki teasing her for being ditched by her friends in front of Naoki, she thinks it would be too humiliating to go now and decides to stay at home.
Satomi’s boyfriend takes her to Aihara for dinner where she runs into Kin-chan. She assures him that Kotoko’s with Jinko, but he calls up Jinko and figures out that Kotoko was ditched by both of them.
Kin-chan definitely has something up his sleeve, but Naoki is one step ahead of him; he sees Jinko helping her boyfriend set up for his concert on the street. He thinks back to his mother’s words and something tells me he isn’t going to the party anymore.
Kotoko’s moping at home with nothing to eat but instant ramen and watching Christmas specials on TV. She starts freaking out when she hears someone trying to open the door. She hides on the stairs, thinking it’s the robber Irie-papa warned her about and quickly gets a tennis racket to defend herself.
The intruder finally manages to unlock the door and walks around the house before Kotoko ambushes him. One day Kotoko, you will learn to open your eyes while holding a tennis racket. It’s only when she hears Naoki’s voice and the lights come on that Kotoko opens her eyes and realizes her mistake. She can’t help but laugh because she attacked him in his own house, though the injured Naoki is not amused. Still, he seems relieved to see that she’s in a good mood.
As she gets some ice for his head, Naoki says that he went to the party, but left early because it was boring meeting all those people. He asks in his roundabout way what happened to her friends and Kotoko is forced to explain they bailed on her. She smells food and Naoki has brought…KFC? Yeah, because nothing says Christmas like some good old fried chicken. I’ll let you pass Naoki, only because that’s what Kotoko wanted. She asks if he brought it for her, but he says he only got it because there was nothing to eat at the party. Excuses, excuses.
Aihara is finally closing up, but Kin-chan has decided to stay a little later to make a special lunchbox for Kotoko that says Merry Christmas. Aww, that’s so cute.
Kotoko’s about to burst with happiness since she’s spending Christmas Eve with Naoki after all. She turns on the Christmas lights and some festive music that she had prepared for Jinko and Satomi, saying now it really feels like Christmas. She confesses that since her mom died when she was young and her dad was always at Aihara, she doesn’t remember spending Christmas with her family. She’s been to parties with friends, but this is the first real Christmas she’s had. She thinks to herself that being able to spend Christmas with Naoki is the best Christmas present in her life.
There’s a montage of Jinko with her boyfriend at his concert and Satomi receiving a gift from her boyfriend while Kin-chan is hurrying to the Irie household, dressed in a Santa Clause suit with a sack over his shoulder.
Kotoko wants to go out and buy a Christmas cake, but Naoki says there’s already one here. Kotoko finds the cake and wonders if Santa brought it. If Santa is suddenly a tall, handsome man in a black suit standing next to you, then yes, Santa brought it. Kotoko asks if Naoki brought it because he knew she was home alone, but he says that the only reason he had it is because he was doing a favor for one of his co-workers. Yeah, right. Kotoko doesn’t seem to buy it either, smiling to herself when Naoki’s back is turned.
They light the candles on the cake and Kotoko asks Naoki to make a wish, but he says that’s only for birthdays. She thanks him for bringing the cake, but Naoki says it wasn’t for her. She points out that it’s made for two people, but he says firmly that it’s a coincidence. Suuure. You’re getting pretty bad at lying if even Kotoko can see through you now.
Kin-chan arrives and decides to go around the side to surprise Kotoko. He peeks in the window and his grin slides right off his face when he sees that Kotoko, her face alight, smiling up at Naoki.
Kotoko insists that Naoki make a wish, so he tells her to make a wish instead. She asks if that’s okay and Naoki nods. Kotoko closes her eyes to think of a wish, oblivious to Naoki staring a hole into her head. C’mon Naoki, I know you like Kotoko, but you’re being way too obvious. Kotoko might find out if you keep this up. Oh wait, I totally want that to happen. Keep staring, keep staring!
Kin-chan sadly continues to watch outside as Kotoko blows out the candles and the house goes dark.
Thoughts: Why do you torture me show? Why do you give me an abundance of Kotoko and Naoki cuteness served with Kin-chan sadness? I can’t handle it! I am really curious though, after seeing a scene like that, how Kin-chan’s going to continue with his one-sided love. Are we going to get a Zombie Kin-chan too? I could put up with Zombie Kotoko, but I don’t think I can handle Zombie Kin-chan.
What I love a lot about this adaptation is that the development of Kotoko and Naoki’s relationship feels more natural. I love Irie-mama, don’t get me wrong, and I doubt these two would ever get together without her, but without her meddling all the time, I feel like the relationship can breathe a bit more.
The development is slow (oh so slow, how long can you be in denial Naoki?), but watching them learn about and accept each other, as well as become a person the other can depend on and confide in is really satisfying. I don’t find myself doubting if they can actually work out (or if I want them to work out), because I can see the attraction between them and I can see them trying to figure each other out.
With Kotoko always being so bright and cheerful, it’s easy to forget she grew up mostly by herself. The show touched on the idea that Kotoko desires having a family to come home to when Kotoko moved out, but that little scene where she talks about how she’s always spent Christmas by herself really drove that home. What’s really great is that she doesn’t sound really sad and is actually smiling in that scene, just because that’s how Kotoko is, but it’s obviously something that’s always bothered her. It makes the fact that Naoki went out of his way to make her happy that much more meaningful. And, since she called it her first real Christmas, that means she thinks of him as family *cough* future husband *cough*, an idea that Naoki didn’t protest to.
You poor, emotionally stunted boy, does Kotoko need to make you coffee every day so you can wake up and realize your feelings?