We’re barreling towards the end and I guess the production finally realized that we don’t have time for any more awkward scenes or filler moments. This episode is so good, probably the best since episode ten even with a predictable cliffhanger, so you will probably hit replay as soon as you finish.Fair warning though, have a box of tissues handy, you might need it.
Episode 15: Goodbye Irie-Kun!
Irie-mama tells Naoki about Kotoko’s date and he remembers Kin-chan’s words about how he’ll protect Kotoko. He tries to pretend that it doesn’t bother him, but he can barely concentrate on his work.
Kotoko sees a movie and goes to an arcade with Kin-chan. She’s actually enjoying herself more than she thought and manages to forget about Naoki for the time being.
Satomi and Jinko are surprised to hear that Kotoko went out with Kin-chan, but are glad that she seems to be moving on. She admits she had fun on their date and that they have agreed to go out again. In a flashback, we see that Kin-chan asked that she didn’t take their dates too seriously and only viewed them as a way to relieve stress and he as the person accompanying her.
Satomi and Jinko think that Kotoko also should just focus on having fun with a boy, no matter who it is. Kotoko thinks that would be rude to Kin-chan and Satomi says if she feels that way, even a little, then she must love Kin-chan. Or, you know, she has a conscience. When Jinko presses her for what she thinks about Kin-chan, she only says that he’s a really nice person. Satomi: “You just realized that?”
Sahoko and Naoki go to a concert and Sahoko complains afterwards that the person in front of them fell asleep as soon as the concert started. The thought of Kotoko sleeping at a concert springs to Naoki’s mind, her head falling on his shoulder and he can’t help but laugh at the thought.
Irie-mama’s keeping tabs on Naoki and asks if he’s done “anything physical” with Sahoko. Naoki only shakes her up more by saying it wouldn’t be unusual since he plans to marry Sahoko and is a full-grown man. He reminds her of how she and his dad both said he should decide who he wants to marry, so she should stay out of his love life.
Kotoko comes home at that moment and Irie-mama asks if she had a date as well, catching Naoki’s attention. Kotoko’s started working at Dad’s restaurant and when she mentions how Kin-chan has been teaching her the ropes, Naoki snidely remarks that she really was on a date. She says she doesn’t mix work and love like some people, but Naoki shoots right back that it depends on who it is. Obviously talking about Kin-chan, she asks that he apologize; even if he’s right, it’s not like her love life is any of his business. Of course he doesn’t care, but there’s still contempt in his voice and that doesn’t keep him from getting in her face anyway. Irie-mama jumps in between so fight doesn’t escalate before gleefully saying they’re quarreling like a married couple. Both Kotoko and Naoki say it’s not like that, effectively ending the argument.
Irie-mama complains to her husband about how Naoki and Kotoko are moving apart. Irie-papa only has more bad news however, as Chairman Oizumi wants to hold the engagement ceremony after he’s discharged from the hospital.
Going to visit his dad, Naoki spots a doctor with a patient and remembers how he gave up on pursuing his dream. He passes by another doctor (cameo by Kashiwabara Takashi, the 1996 Irie Naoki), before walking on.
Irie-papa is getting discharged soon and though he knows he needs surgery, he’s decided to fix the problems with his company first. Naoki doesn’t want him to be stressed again, but Irie-papa can’t allow Naoki to go through with the wedding for his sake. He wants Naoki to be happy, but Naoki finally snaps, saying he’ll make his own choices, so his dad only needs to focus on getting better.
When Naoki returns home, he puts away all of his medical textbooks.
Irie-papa returns home and the family has a party to celebrate. Everyone’s in a good mood until unexpected guests arrive; Naoki invited Chairman Oizumi and Sahoko. Irie-mama pulls aside Naoki and tells him this was supposed to be a family gathering and he says that’s why he invited them.
Aww, it’s sad to watch Kotoko move so Sahoko can sit next to Naoki and then stand around awkwardly because there’s no place for her. She eventually pulls up a chair and manages to keep a smile on, though her eyes never move from Sahoko and Naoki. Kotoko becomes the outsider as all the attention is focused on Sahoko who brought a delicious handmade bento for Irie-papa. She seems content to eat in silence until Chairman Oizumi asks if she’s the girl Irie-mama likes so much. He stares a little too long, making everyone uncomfortable until Sahoko asks him to stop.
Sahoko speaks with Kotoko outside, apologizing for her grandfather. She explains that they’re both a little jealous of her because she’s lived with Naoki so long and Irie-mama likes her so much. Kotoko doesn’t think much of it and changes the subject, asking why Sahoko likes Naoki. She fell for him at first sight of course because he was so nice to her. Err, are we talking about the same Naoki? She thought they were fated when she met him at the omiai.
Kotoko realizes her situation isn’t so different from Sahoko’s; she also fell for Naoki at first sight and was able to live with him, but unlike Sahoko, she never felt that they were fated since their relationship never progressed. She says aloud that she wishes she had met Naoki the way Sahoko had, before realizing that that’s not something you should say in front of his fiance and quickly changing her words.
Sahoko’s glad that she went to the omiai because her partner turned out to be Naoki, but she admits that she feels scared. The nicer Naoki is, the further she feels from knowing the real Naoki. “I feel like I can’t tell what he’s thinking.” Trust me, you’re not alone. Kotoko assures her that it’s because she really loves Naoki as scenes of Kotoko and Naoki together flash through. “Even though you’re determined not to give up, you would lose your confidence over little things…Yet, if he is kind to you just a little bit, you are overjoyed and hope for something more to happen. You become the happiest person in the world. But when he acts cold again, you get scared, thinking he hates you. It’s a neverending circle.”
Sahoko realizes Kotoko’s speaking from personal experience which Kotoko denies. At any rate, she thinks that Naoki is definitely in love with her, so Sahoko should be more confident.
Sahoko and Naoki go for a walk after dinner, with Irie-mama glaring after them. Though she can’t find fault with Sahoko, when she goes inside, she says she wants to throw some salt to purify the house. She asks if Irie-papa is really going to let Naoki go through with the wedding and he says that it’s Naoki’s decision to make.
She goes to find Kotoko and apologizes for getting her hopes about Naoki. She really thought Kotoko would become part of their family, but with the current situation, she feels like she only hurt Kotoko’s feelings. Kotoko thanks her for her concern and says that she’s always thought of her as her real mother, and that won’t change, no matter who Naoki marries. Aww, Irie-mama and Kotoko are the best mother-daughter pair. That only makes Irie-mama’s touched by Kotoko’s words and she leaves in tears.
Kotoko’s the only person up when Naoki returns home and she tells him that Sahoko is really a great person. Naoki tries to get a rise out of her as he agrees, praising Sahoko’s many virtues, but Kotoko doesn’t bite. She does turn away from him though, saying that if a girl like Sahoko loved you, there’s no way Naoki wouldn’t fall for her. He tells her that she should also find a nice boyfriend before heading upstairs, not seeing her break down in tears.
Dad talks to Kotoko before work and says they should think about moving out now that Naoki’s serious about the marriage. Kotoko doesn’t protest, though it’s not something she wants. Kin-chan listens from the kitchen as Kotoko says, “I’m really lame, aren’t I? I promised myself that no matter how much I get hurt by Irie, I wouldn’t give up. But yet…”
Dad tries to cheer her up by saying that it’s important to know when to give up and that this is her chance for Naoki to see what an attractive woman she is. Kin-chan broods in the back as Dad tells Kotoko that she should forget Naoki soon.
Walking home, Kotoko sees a shooting star and wonders how many shooting stars she’s wished on. “I should stop making my wish.”
On the day of the engagement ceremony, Irie-mama is still being stubborn, calling it the worst day of her life and refusing to even think about setting a wedding date. Kotoko watches the Iries leave and looks at the picture of Sahoko Irie-mama got.
Kotoko has her date with Kin-chan the same day and though she tries to be cheerful, catching sight of a wedding gown only reminds her of Naoki’s impending nuptials. Kin-chan follows her gaze and seems to know what’s on her mind. He snaps her back to reality and Kotoko is peppy again, suggesting they go to an arcade because there’s a certain doll that she wants.
Kin-chan blurts out that they should get married. It takes a moment for Kotoko to register what he said and then he pulls out the exact doll that Kotoko wanted from the arcade. Swooning. Totally, completely swooning. She asks how he knew. Kin-chan: “I told you. I know what you are thinking.” He gets down on one knee, holding out the bear. “Aihara Kotoko, will you marry me?”
akskslkelkdflgfhslkdjfh! Hold on, I have to pick up my heart which is a gooey mess on the floor. I knew it was coming, but Kin-chan is just so sincere and earnest and his proposal was so cute and perfect. He’s not even trying to force his feelings on Kotoko, he honestly just wants her to be happy and is doing anything he can to make that happen. I definitely think when Kotoko chooses Naoki, he’ll be okay, just because he puts her happiness first, but that ending scene really, really made me wish, for a split second, that Kotoko would choose Kin-chan over Naoki. *Sigh* Why don’t selfless guys ever get the girl?
I’m generally forgiving of Naoki, at least in this version, so this is the first time I’ve actively wanted to strangle him, not because of how he’s treating Kotoko, but because of his attitude towards Sahoko. He’s really just leading her on and confusing the poor girl, not to mention using her to make Kotoko jealous. Sorry Naoki, but you really sucked this epsiode and if you married Sahoko and were miserable for the rest of your life, I would not care because you make your own decisions, right? At least Sahoko isn’t completely blind to the fact that Naoki isn’t as perfect and in love with her as he appears (or as he tries to appear).
Kotoko and Sahoko’s conversation was just perfect. Too often, female love rivals are mean girls, so it’s refreshing to have a girl that isn’t up to dirty tricks. Sahoko’s upfront about the fact that she feels uncomfortable about the relationship between Naoki and Kotoko, but it’s not like she’s telling Kotoko to back off. She seeks out Kotoko’s advice not because she has any ulterior motives, but because logically you would want help from the person supposedly closest to Naoki. I’m sure that if you put Kotoko with anyone at this point, I’d like the pairing just because Kotoko so easily understands people, but when it comes to Sahoko’s uncertainty about Naoki, she can relate more than anyone. Her words to Sahoko were sincere and her speech about how it is to be in love so eloquently described her relationship with Naoki that I can hardly blame her for being hung up on him for so long. We’ve all followed this rollercoaster, soaring when Kotoko’s happy and sinking to the depths of hell when she’s depressed. It’s frustrating, for sure, but those bright moments that make you believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel make the ride worth it.
How disappointing was Kassy’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo? I know there was a lot going on this episode and they were pushing for time, but what the heck, he didn’t even get to talk or offer some desperately needed words of wisdom to 2013 Naoki? Darn you, misleading preview. *Shakes fist*
I was hoping that we weren’t going to throw everything into the last episode (like that scene we’re all waiting for), but unfortunately it looks like it. Ugh, I want it to be Friday and I don’t want it to be Friday, because that means it’s over and I don’t know what to do without Kotoko and Naoki on my screen every week (unless we get a season 2 or an SP. I will gladly take either, but I am firmly against a movie), and though I know what happens, I’m eager to see everything play out. I will probably be obsessively watching the preview a bajillion more times until then.