Dr. Rintaro hasn’t exactly been subtle about the topic of loneliness, practically shouting from the rooftops, “You’re never really alone!” every episode, but with Rintaro and Yumeno becoming closer, it finally learns how to show not tell.
As anyone would have figured, Yumeno is suffering from dissociative identity disorder. Yumeno is the assertive and tricky personality while the meek and quiet Akira is the original. The woman always hassling Akira for money is her mother, Ruriko who also used to work as a geisha while raising her daughter (I messed up in my initial review when I said that Masuda Ikumi was the one hassling Akira for money, Ikumi runs the geisha house and is Akira’s foster mother).
Running after men, Ruriko often left the young Akira alone and eventually abandoned her after becoming addicted to gambling, but when her mother came back into her life, Yumeno manifested as a way for Akira to cope with Ruriko’s demands and receive that motherly affection she never had (even if it’s fake). The line between Akira and Yumeno isn’t very distinct and that was one of the reasons I was reluctant to say that Akira had a mental illness; Yumeno’s sassy and charming, but all of her actions are driven subconsciously by Akira’s wants and desires. It can’t be a coincidence after all that Yumeno is very similar to Ruriko, who Akira used to emulate by putting on her clothes when she was younger. Yumeno’s protective of Akira and as soon as Rintaro starts putting two and two together, she doesn’t waste time in telling him to mind his own business.
Not that Rintaro is the type to listen to others. He’s determined to treat Akira no matter what, even if he doesn’t exactly know how to go about it. In one his chats with Araki, he worries about which personality to support, Akira or Yumeno, and it’s a valid question. Every time we’ve seen Akira, she’s nervous and scared and usually spends her time cooped up reading instead of interacting with people; Yumeno on the other hand is confident, successful, and easily makes connections. Wouldn’t it be better to let Yumeno take over? It sounds fine, in theory, but Yumeno’s existence is enabling Akira’s unhealthy relationship with Ruriko; letting her continue to exist would only hamper any chance of Akira breaking out of that childhood trauma.
As much as I like Yumeno, I’m ready to see more of Akira. Before Ruriko came back, it did sound like she had her life together and she has a strong support system with Ikumi and the other geishas.
I was very happy to see Ikumi tell Ruriko to stay away from Akira.
Akira just needs someone to help guide her towards being independent, and who else could help her but Rintaro?
Rintaro is empathetic to a fault, but it’s different when he’s with Yumeno/Akira and we finally find out why. The show’s been dropping hints for a while now, but it’s confirmed in episode five that Rintaro’s mother suffered from depression and committed suicide when he was in middle school. Like Akira, he’s craved that motherly affection as his mom was barely holding herself together and he beat himself up for not being able to save her. It’s no wonder that Rintaro is so obsessed with helping others and while it’s a way of coping for him, I think Rintaro needs to take a step back and realize that he can’t save everyone, at least not without consequences.
I didn’t talk too much about Chairman Ennouji (Kohinata Fumiyo) in my first impressions because I didn’t know how he would fit into the grand scheme of things, but he’s Yumeno’s sponsor and Rintaro’s boss. Whenever Yumeno’s been in a tight spot for money, he’s come through, but he’s caught her in a lie more than once and knows something’s up. Ennouji’s been pretty level-headed so far and it seems like he has big plans in store for the hospital and Rintaro, but I imagine things won’t go well when he finds out Rintaro is still hanging around Yumeno since he already warned him once, dissociative identity disorder or not.
I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel sorry for Ruriko or not. She’s doesn’t care for Akira at all and even visits Rintaro in the hopes of getting money, but he doesn’t psychoanalyze her like he does with everyone else and flat out tells her she’s a crappy mom. But we spend a lot of episode five focusing on Takahashi’s patient who has a gambling addiction. It sounds like a redemption arc is in her future, but so far she’s been nothing short of horrible.
The cases for these episodes are pretty paint by numbers, but they’re more directly tied to our main characters and don’t feel too much like filler. I already mentioned episode five, but episode four focuses on Miyagawa’s patient, a former prima madonna who’s lost her husband and has started lying to gain attention. She neglects her young daughter, who naturally forms a bond with Akira. Besides giving us some insight into Akira, episode four was fun because there was some bonding between Miyagawa and Rintaro. It was funny watching Miyagawa break down and ask Rintaro for help and I loved the massage scene. In the end, Miyagawa is unable to make progress with his patient and Rintaro swoops in to save the day, but there might be hope for him yet.