At the risk of getting stabbity, I put away all the knives in the kitchen before attempting this recap. That and also chanting the mantra “don’t forget there is episode 11 coming up” that got me through episode 10 of Zenkai Girl. Could two people NOT communicate any less than Wakaba and Shota? That would be hard to top. Frankly everyone in this drama appears rational and logical but for our OTP. Wakaba’s Todai education clearly didn’t go towards raising her EQ, and Shota’s great parenting skills clearly does not extend towards conversing with the woman he loves. I know conflict is needed to reach a cathartic resolution, but damn it I wanted to bean these two so badly in this episode it wasn’t even funny. What saved it all was Hinata and Piitaro and their cute baby love story. That, and knowing how episode 11 manages to reactive my smiles again.
Episode 10 recap:
Wakaba is picking out her wedding dress with Shindo. She looks deep in thought, and then turns to Shindo with her list of requirements. Her veil must be 8 feet long like Princess Di’s and she wants a Cartier tiara like Kate wore marrying Prince William. Shindo is taken aback but then smiles and asks what kind of formal Japanese kimono does she want then? Wakaba wants no less than twelve-layers, and the guest list must be at least 1000 people. The ceremony will be in New York, she wants a horse drawn carriage as well. In fact, the wedding MUST be a grand slam of an event.
Wakaba walks with Hinata and tells her to be prepared to be a bridesmaid. She confesses that she was rejected by Shota, which is fine because now she will concentrate only on the wedding. Hinata correctly points out that missed timing can ruin everything, but Wakaba thinks the missed timing is perhaps her correct fate.
Shota tells the daddies that he is officially dating Soyoko, who has taken to helping out at the restaurant. They tease him for finding the right fit, rather than that she-devil. Soyoko heads out to buy soy sauce and they compliment her on looking like a wife already. After she leaves, the daddies worriedly ask Shota if this is right? He says he will do his best to love her and treat her right. This is his right path in life, his destiny. When asked, Piitaro says it’s his dad’s choice and he supports him.
The daddies pull out some wine, and then change the subject about whether Shota has decided where to send Piitaro for school? Private or public? Shota hasn’t thought that far yet, which is when Piitaro pipes up that Hinata is going to a swanky private school and he wants to go with her. The daddies mention how expensive that private school is.
Wakaba walks down the street and runs into Shota, Soyoko, and Piitaro selling bentos at a stand. She makes eye contact with Shota, and then smiles and walks over. She finds out they are selling bentos to earn tuition so Piitaro can attend the same school as Hinata. Wakaba encourages them and compliments them on looking like a real family. She hands them the wedding invitation, which is all blinged out with crystals in the shape of a tiara. She tells them to come, because Soyoko will be a bridesmaid. Shota’s face freezes for a moment and then he smiles. We see Ririka watching from the side, wondering what is happening?
Wakaba passes out wedding invitations at work. Ririka comes to see her about getting custody of Piitaro. Turns out Piitaro wrote to her in New York and told her about his recent life. Ririka has decided to raise Piitaro herself. She knows it’s unfair to Shota, but she wants to try to regain custody. Wakaba says she doesn’t want to take the case. She’s not a divorce lawyer, and Shota has already dumped her so there is no future for them. Ririka wants to find another lawyer in the firm, but Wakaba drags her back inside. She tells Ririka to just talk with Shota, but Ririka wants to find to the end. Wakaba imagines poor Piitaro caught in the middle of a nasty custody dispute and agrees to take the case.
Wakaba informs Sakuragawa sensei about taking this case. She cautions Wakaba to do her best, especially since custody cases are thorny. Wakaba meets with Shota and tells him about Ririka fighting for custody. She will do her best to represent Ririka, it’s purely a professional decision without any personal feelings involved. Shota wonders why Ririka isn’t coming to talk with him in person.
Shota pauses when he remembers Piitaro missing his mom’s smell, and how he used a low tactic to get Piitaro to choose him. Wakaba says Piitaro is regaining his ties with Ririka. If this custody isn’t resolved, perhaps Piitaro will be placed with a third party. Shota says he will consider it. After Wakaba leaves, Shota sits down in shock at the possibility that Piitaro will be leaving him. Wakaba stands outside for awhile before walking away.
Wakaba and Ririka have taken Piitaro to an amusement park. Wakaba watches Ririka and Piitaro happily spending time together. Piitaro suddenly sees Hinata with her mom. The kids sit to chat while the adults getogether to talk. Sakuragawa sensei asks Ririka if she’s regaining her time with Piitaro? Ririka says she is. She doesn’t mean to steal Piitaro away from Shota, but she can’t give up being a mom. Piitaro is better off with her since she’s conquered many challenges already. Whereas Shota is exhausted from taking care of Piitaro. Sakuragawa sensei says Ririka has a good chance of winning custody.
Shota waits outside the amusement park and sees everyone walking out. Sakuragawa sensei tells Shota that Ririka may look flaky, but she has what it takes to be a mother. Shota agrees, but Sakuragawa sensei chides him for being so honest he’ll lose custody. After Sakuragawa sensei walks ahead, Shota asks Wakaba if he’s a good dad? Wakaba says he is. When asked is Ririka is a good mother, Wakaba also says she is a good mother. Shota looks resigned.
Back at the law firm, Kujo sensei is frantic looking for Sakuragawa sensei because Brighton is looking to drop the firm because of what happened last time. Wakaba asks Shindo if this is true. He confirms it, and thinks Sakuragawa sensei is better suited to be a mother, which appears to be what she’s doing more of lately. He says this is the natural passing of the torch, and Sakuragawa sensei grabbed her current position from her predecessor as well.
Wakaba takes off and finds Sakuragawa sensei along and drinking. Wakaba asks her what is wrong and finds out she is fighting a custody battle with her ex-husband. Today the court awarded her custody, but her ex-husband gets one day a month to see Hinata. Wakaba sees an open photo album with Sakuragawa sensei’s family when it was whole. She knows a complete family is a child’s everything.
Wakaba arrives at the school to pick up Hinata and sees Shota waiting for her outside. He says that he decided already, in fact he decided when he sent Ririka off last time. He decided if she returned he would give Piitaro back to her. He’s going to find the right place to tell Piitaro now. Wakaba says she will look after this matter until the end.
Wakaba goes with Shota and Piitaro back to the amusement park. Shota takes Piitaro on rides, until finally he just tells his son the truth about his mom wanting to take him to New York. Shota asks Piitaro if he likes his mom? Piitaro says yes. Shota tells Piitaro to look into his heart and decide. Piitaro starts crying and says he can’t choose between his father and his mother. Shota says he will treat Piitaro like a real man, asking him who he wants to protect? Who does Piitaro want to accompany and protect? Piitaro starts to cry and cannot answer.
Shota grabs Piitaro for a hug, telling the boy that he’s already given the right answer. He tells Piitaro to stop crying, and Shota himself wipes away his tears and tries to smile. Shota takes Piitaro back to Wakaba, explaining that Piitaro wants to be with his mom. Piitaro grabs Shota and says he wants to be with his dad, stay here with Hinata and Wakaba. Shota steels himself and pushes Piitaro away, telling him to stop whining. Shota cruelly reminds Piitaro that he is not his real father. So Piitaro needs to follow his heart and go with his mom. That way Shota’s life will be easier, raising a child is hard. Piitaro says his dad is lying! Shota cries and says Piitaro is a burden to him. Poor Piitaro’s face just falls and he clenches his hand. Father and son look at each other through their tears.
Wakaba is piggybacking a sleeping Piitaro home. She tells Shota that what he said back there to Piitaro was really quite a stretch, and very cruel. Shota says learning to say cruel things was something he learned from Wakaba. She says Piitaro must know that Shota said all those things on purpose, to make Piitaro hate him. Shota wonders if his acting was really that bad? Wakaba says it’s terrible. Shota laughs about how the first time he piggybacked Piitaro, the kid peed on him. Now that has become a good memory.
Shota and Wakaba arrive back home to find Soyoko waiting outside for Shota. She apologizes for coming over unannounced. Wakaba rushes off, asking herself what the heck is she doing? Shota puts Piitaro to bed and walks outside to talk with Soyoko, explaining he took Piitaro out today. Soyoko confirms Shota has decided to send Piitaro to New York. Shota says he’ll be getting back some peace and quiet again. But then he starts to cry, berating himself for being such a useless person. Soyoko rushes to hug Shota, telling him it’ll be okay, she’ll bear him many children, an entire soccer team. Shota cries and laughs about the description of the Pillbug 11. He does want it, but not right now. Soyoko asks him to marry her. Shota smiles and just nods his head.
Wakaba is rushing home when her heel breaks. She sits down on the ground and throws the shoe, yelling at it for being such a crappy product. I dunno, Wakaba, maybe take this as a sign that your current path in life sucks and maybe you need to rethink it?
Shota meets with Ririka, explaining that he got Piitaro’s passport ready and the boy needs his mother. Ririka asks if Shota will be fine? Shota says he has Soyoko, but Ririka is not buying it. She asks Shota who the person he chose over her was? If it wasn’t for Wakaba, why didn’t Shota just come with her to New York and their family would be together. Shota keeps making excuses until Ririka gets up and slaps him. She asks why he’s being so weak, the man she knew was strong and courageous. If she takes Piitaro, she wants Shota to pursue all his dreams of career and love with abandon. This is the only way Ririka can make it up to him. Shota says he will take her offer, and use it to choose Soyoko.
Piitaro tells Wakaba that he will be strong. They tell each other to be strong, no matter what road they take. Hinata hides and watches this exchange. Shota goes to the restaurant and takes out his knife set. He wants to reconsider his career, not for Soyoko or Wakaba, but for himself.
Wakaba is at work and asks for a moment of Sakuragawa sensei’s time. Wakaba informs her that Shindo is looking to take her place. Sakuragawa sensei asks Wakaba if she isn’t engaged to Shindo? Wakaba says she wants to see a fair fight. Today there is a Brighton board meeting, and she wants Sakuragawa sensei to talk with the CEO before the company makes a decision. Suddenly the phone rings and it’s the principal, who says that Hinata and Piitaro have run away. They left a note saying not to look for them. Wakaba offers to handle it, thinking Piitaro is upset about going to New York and ran away. Sakuragawa sensei says it’s not Piitaro, Hinata must have taken him along. She found out about her parents custody dispute and is upset.
Wakaba follows Sakuragawa sensei to the school where Shota has also arrived. They read the note, which says the kids are off to make a new memory, and not to come look for them. Urara sensei remembers the kids looking at family pictures earlier. Wakaba wonders if perhaps they didn’t go to the beach where Sakuragawa sensei took Hinata before she and her husband got a divorce. We see Hinata and Piitaro alone in a bus headed somewhere.
Shota drives the ladies to the beach. Sakuragawa sensei apologizes to Shota for Hinata dragging Piitaro along. Shota says Piitaro cares a lot about Hinata and would never leave her alone. Wakaba says the two kids have been so honest about how they feel about each other, more than any adult.
Piitaro and Hinata arrive at the beach and run to frolic in the sand and surf. They sit down and watch the sunset. Hinata says she hated seeing her parents fight, but now she’s okay. She thanks Piitaro for coming with her to make a memory together. Piitaro asks if Hinata will be okay after he leaves for New York. She says she’ll be fine, she’ll just look at the North Star when she’s lonely. Her dad told her that no matter how far two people are, if they look at the North Star, it’s the same anywhere in the world. They tearfully agree to both look towards the North Star.
Suddenly the parents arrive and the kids run to join them. Piitaro tells Hinata that he will come pick her up when he’s all grown, and then she will marry him. Hinata says yes. Piitaro tells his dad that he’ll be fine from now on, and for his dad to focus on his own life and future. Hinata pipes up and tells Wakaba to do the same. Suddenly Piitaro points out the North Star already visible in the twilight. Everyone turns to look.
Shota packs up Piitaro’s items into a box to be shipped to New York. Shota talks with a sleeping Piitaro, who learned to laugh from Shota, but instead gave laughter back. Piitaro taught Shota a lot of things, and he thanks him for being his son. Shota leans down and rests his forehead against Piitaro’s.
Wakaba is at work when she gets a call from Shota, who is calling to tell her that he’s decided on his own path. He’s going to France to pursue his culinary development. Wakaba says that’s great and the right choice. Shota asks Wakaba what she intends to do? Wakaba stutters a little, but then answers that her path is of course to be Manhattan’s Eagle.
Shindo walks into the conference room and asks Wakaba why she is crying. Wakaba says she doesn’t know, but her tears are just coming and it won’t stop. Shindo looks concerned. Soyoko arrives at Shota’s apartment, and he asks her if she’ll go with him to France. Soyoko hugs Shota and says she’ll go with him anywhere.
Shindo hugs Wakaba from behind, telling her that he knows everything, and it’ll all be fine. Shota hugs Soyoko back, while Wakaba continues to sob.
Thoughts of Mine:
This episode was needed to get huge plot movement going, but it sure made my blood boil. Yes, I agree that Piitaro needs to go with Ririka for a variety of reasons already mentioned in the drama. I’m glad the custody issue wasn’t drawn out, and instead the episode was spent having Shota and Piitaro come to terms with their imminent separation after a year spent as father and son. I like how time was devoted to Piitaro and Hinata’s separation from each other, and how their close bond will be continued even when they are far away from each other. If these two kids can say farewell and make a memory together so poignantly, it chafes to see Wakaba and Shota waste their time on forcing themselves to be with other people.
I can’t quite figure out exactly where the disconnect is anymore. By telling Shota her feelings, Wakaba has already straying from her initial path. So when Shota called to tell her that he was going to France, why was she so stubborn about sticking to her guns with Shindo and her original ambitions. As for Shota, who felt he wasn’t good enough for Wakaba, did he suddenly decide he wanted to test the waters with her again? I dunno. All I know is the wrong couples were hugging at the end of this episode and that totally gave me a giant headache. Though Shindo’s backhug was mighty nice, and really he’s always been so straightforward with Wakaba on everything. At this point, she kinda doesn’t deserve either guy. Not unless she can first be honest with herself. This drama makes me feel wanting even minor skinship between the OTP is asking for too much.