Rich Man, Poor Woman Episode 4 Recap

This dorama might be the death of me. What can I say about episode 4 of Rich Man, Poor Woman that doesn’t resort to just throwing superlatives at it. It was magnificent from start to finish, an episode that took off from the jaw-dropping cliffhanger of episode 3 and never looked back. I felt like so much happened in a short period of time, but the pace was never frenetic or choppy. Hyuga tells Chihiro that he doesn’t ever want to see her face again, and how does a lying liar like her come back from that. It’s to the credit of Ishihara Satomi that she makes her character so endearing – book smart but practically awkward, a liar but a genuine little thing.

Playing off her is the odd method acting of Oguri Shun, which is so pitch perfect here I forgive him for sleep walking through Hana Kimi. It’s wonderful that the drama refuses to keep the OTP apart, and why should it? I love how the issues are resolved realistically and sweetly, with Hyuga unable to resist roping Chihiro in to help him when he needs her idiotic mind to process how a normal person might think. By doing so, he accepts that he’s not all that angry with her, and that he likes/needs her around as much as she likes being around him. So who is Chihiro? We’ll find out her quite pretty real name in this episode so I can dispense with calling her Chihiro going forward.

Episode 4 recap:

Chihiro is moping in the university lab, clearly unable to shake off the events that ended episode 3 when she accidentally let slip that she used a fake name to catch Hyuga’s attention. Her friend Haruka commiserates over the terrible method by which Hyuga found out, and suggests Chihiro do something to make up for what she did rather than sitting here sighing.

Chihiro’s other friend asks her to take over his part time job shift at the gas station and she wanly agrees. Haruka encourages Chihiro to keep looking for a job now that her internship at Next Innovation has ended so abruptly. Chihiro sighs, her life suddenly back to square one.

Hyuga is sitting in the conference room with a few of his programmers and he’s pissed. He looks at a trio of laptops before slamming the covers shut and sending it sliding across the table and crashing in a heap on the floor. Everyone in the office is tense and can hear the crashing of the hardware, each smash signifying Hyuga’s displeasure.

Hyuga sends the final laptop flying and poor Yasuoka dives to catch it before it lands on the floor. Hyuga rips into his programmers for failing to come up with an eye-catching user interface for the new personal data registry. He reminds them that Next Innovation prides itself on thinking outside the box and they are recycling the same old ideas. They need to create something eye catching and functional, and they only have four days.

Hyuga asks about the server space issue (to keep the vast amount of data that will be in the registry) and Asahina assures him that the team is on top of it. We see Yamagami frantically grabbing an assistant who speaks better English than him and they go discuss with the India cloud computing company about acquiring a gym to use as server space. Land in Japan is too precious and expensive to use as server space, so they plan to move it abroad and all the data will be stored remotely in a cloud. Smart and practical.

Hyuga is told that another company JI Technology has thrown their hats in the ring to create the same network so now they have competition. Yasuoka wants to grab Chihiro since she’s their in with the Vice Minister, but Hyuga curtly informs the team that she has been fired. He storms out and tell them to come up with something better on the user interface.

Later that night when they are alone in the office, Asahina and Hyuga discuss the project. Hyuga uncharacteristically asks Asahina if his method in pushing the programmers to aim higher is wrong? Asahina shakes his head and tells Hyuga to keep going, pointing to the wall filled with scribbles of people who admire Hyuga. Sadly Hyuga doesn’t remember any of those people, and most have left because they can’t keep up with him. Hyuga laughs that the wall has become a wall of hate. Asahina sits down and faces the wall, describing it as the wall that contains their souls.

Flashback to how Asahina and Hyuga met. A tech company wanted to acquire young Hyuga’s website but he declines despite their offer to be hands off on the running of the company. Hyuga says that his website will surpass 1 million users shortly even if he doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t know why this company wants to acquire his website?

Asahina sits in that meeting and then runs out after Hyuga. He asks if Hyuga is interested in growing the site past 10 million users, to aim even higher. Asahina quits his job and he and Hyuga start their company in a small apartment. Asahina hands Hyuga a marker and asks him to name the company, and Hyuga draws Next Innovation on a white wall. The two men pose for a picture next to the name to commemorate their new company.

On the day their website gets its 10 millionth user, Hyuga is thrilled and walks out on the balcony to see Asahina shooting off fireworks in the backyard. Hyuga screams that they did it. The two men attend a meeting with their underwriters on taking the company public and Asahina thinks the company valuation is too low. The other bankers don’t agree, except Yamagami does, which is how finance guy Yamagami ends up joining the company.

The company goes public at the higher valuation and the public eagerly buys up the stock. Haha, Facebook ought to learn a lesson or two from Next Innovation. The two men celebrate by taking a electric saw to the wall where Hyuga wrote the company name and cutting it out. They move the wall into their fancy new digs, which is the current office. Asahina and Hyuga stand in the middle of the office and fist bump, having finally made it. This sequence was totally spine tinging.

The next day, Asahina casually brings up Chihiro’s firing and Hyuga points out that hiring an employee using a fake name doesn’t bode well for a company wanting to manage the personal data of the entire Japanese citizenry. Asahina asks if Hyuga remembers meeting Chihiro in the past but he doesn’t. Asahina says that’s unfortunate and leaves. His comment makes Hyuga try to recollect where he could have met Chihiro before but he still can’t remember.

Chihiro is working at the gas station for her friend when Hyuga pulls up. She has to duck to avoid being seen as she fills up his tank and wipes his windows. Her totally obvious attempts to not be seen are pretty adorable. Only when Hyuga is pulling out does he look in his rear view mirror and appears to recognize her, but he continues to drive off.

Yoko is working in the kitchen and her sous chef Nogi purposely bumps into her and makes her spill the food and burn herself. He mocks her for being a useless woman but she stands up for herself and refuses to be cowed.

Hyuga walks past the restaurant and sees his coveted table inside, reminding him of what he lost and making him pine for it. What’s even worse is when he takes two more steps and sees the other table he coveted also sitting in the restaurant as well. He rushes inside to confront Yoko on why she has both tables he wants.

Before he can talk with her, he notices that her arm is burned but she brushes it off as no big deal. Nogi comes out to condescend to Yoko some more, asking if she needs to go to the hospital or perhaps she ought to just worry about selecting decorations for the interior instead of being in the dangerous kitchen. Yoko is not intimated and tells him to shove it before heading back to work.

As Chihiro is leaving the gas station job, the owner asks for her help on making sense of some government documents. She realizes how confusing it is for people to sort through reams of data the government requires from them. She goes home and researches on how to conduct surveys to get statistically valid data and realizes she needs 300 for this demographic. She vows to go out and get 300 surveys done for the Next Innovation project.

Chihiro heads to a government office building and starts asking people around questions about their gripes with the way the government currently works and their suggestions for improvement.

Back at Next Innovation, Hyuga tosses a few more laptops as he is shown unacceptable interface programs. He declares that if the programmers can’t do it, then he’ll have to do it himself. Yamagami wonders if Hyuga is even harsher on the employees now than ever before, but Asahina says to trust Hyuga will come up with somet hing extraordinary.

Hyuga gets to work in his office and he starts programming without stopping for the night or taking a break, even as the other employees all leave and then return to work the next morning. We see Chihiro is also hard at work sorting through her survey results.

Yasuoka realizes that Hyuga has programmed for 32 hours straight and tries to get him to take a break. Hyuga allows him to wheel him away from the desk but sneaks back to type a few more lines of code when Yasuoka goes to grab his shoes.

Hyuga walks out of Next Innovation deep in thought and he passes Yoko without noticing her, and she doesn’t appear to notice him as well. They both turn back after registering each other’s presence and realize that both of them are looking wan and tired. They head off to take a 30 minute break and not thinking about programming or food.

Chihiro is asking an obaasan about her problems with the government agencies and the old lady discusses how she has problem keeping track of her money. This is when a police officer happens by and hears part of the conversation and wonders if Chihiro is a swindler. Suddenly the old lady screams that her check book is missing, and thus Chihiro is dragged off by the cop.

Hyuga and Yoko sit by the river banks drinking some coffee. She enjoys this chance to just talk with him, which reminds her of their first meeting years ago. Hyuga turns to stare at her and she lets him look carefully, but he still has no memory of her. He apologizes and she looks disappointed but then smiles and drags him back so they can both continue their work.

Hyuga sits in the conference room and shows the team his interface design which is very futuristic with a circle landing page and links surrounding the circle on the side. The team oohs and ahhs over this interface, and one guy suggests that Hyuga should have done it from the get go since he’s the best. This pisses Hyuga off and he dismisses the entire team, telling them that their involvement is no longer necessary.

Asahina goes home and trips over Yoko laying in the entry way resting since she’s so tired. She notes that he’s home so late, is Next Innovation working on something big? Asahina says he’s setting the stage so that Hyuga can wow the world with his creation. Yoko smiles and compliments her brother on being the perfect number 2 to Hyuga. Ouch. Yoko wonders if Hyuga really has memory loss but Asahina explains that it’s not memory loss but an inability to remember names and faces. He asks if Yoko has done anything with Hyuga but Yoko says it’s just her one-sided interest in Hyuga.

Chihiro finishes her meal in the police holding room when suddenly the door opens and she freaks out to see Hyuga standing there. The officer asks if Hyuga knows her, and Hyuga wryly says her face is one he’s been missing for quite some time. Hyuga signs Chihiro out as a former employee of Next Innovation. The officers thought she was lying about working there, and Hyuga snarks that she’s a master liar, this one.

The police learn that the old lady never lost her check book to begin with so Chihiro is free to go. Chihiro turns to give them a dirty look before running out after Hyuga. She apologizes for him coming here, she actually told the police to contact Asahina. Hyuga explains that Asahina isn’t at work in the middle of the night and he’s there to work on a major project. Hyuga suddenly has a revelation and drags Chihiro off with him.

Chihiro sits in Hyuga’s office and is suitably impressed with the snazzy interface he created. But when she goes to use it, she keeps screwing up and Hyuga tosses peanuts at her, yelling that even a kid knows how to use a computer log-in screen. Suddenly Hyuga gets up and realizes that Chihiro did nothing wrong.

Hyuga uses the following analogy – if tomorrow she can only drive a car forever and can’t walk anymore, would she pick a decked out car that only a professional F-1 driver knows how to drive, or a simple car that has all the basic features so that even an idiot like Chihiro knows how to use it. Chihiro grimaces and answers that she’ll pick the simple one.

Hyuga runs and deletes the program he wrote for the sophisticated interface and starts from scratch. Later he has Chihiro check out a simpler interface and she finds it very easy to use. He goes off to program the mechanism for entering the password and that leaves Chihiro sitting off to the side while he works.

Chihiro offers to go downstairs and not bother him but he asks why she was out there conducting surveys. She explains how the information will help Next Innovation with this project. Hyuga says everything hinges on the users and not on what they produce, so Chihiro understands what’s important in succeeding at this project. Chihiro is pleased to have her efforts thus acknowledged and she sits down happily.

Chihiro gets Hyuga a cup of coffee and then moves his tablet and laptop aside. The tablet turns on and Chihiro freezes to see that it shows a homepage with the name Sawaki Chihiro. Hyuga turns and sees her looking and asks if she created that homepage. Chihiro says she didn’t and he dismisses her. Chihiro asks if his desire for his personal file database is to find his mother, but Hyuga doesn’t answer her.

Chihiro goes downstairs to the office and waits for Hyuga to finish. To pass the time, she does exercises on the stairs and Hyuga pauses from programming to look at her. She notices him staring and gives an encouraging wave, which elicits a smile from him.

Chihiro sits with Hyuga and discuss how people constantly forget their passwords, especially the elderly. Hyuga has designed a password encryption method that involves the user setting the method of petting a dog onscreen with finger wipes and that will complete their log in. Chihiro is thrilled that this method is so cute. When Chihiro almost falls asleep, Hyuga has her log in again and then a masked skull guy pops up onscreen to freak her out, which makes him laugh hysterically. I love how his teasing as now gotten to the point where he plays practical jokes on her.

It’s dawn and finally Hyuga has all he needs from Chihiro and tells her she can go. Chihiro slowly walks to the door and tells him that he worked hard, turning around to see if he’ll say anything back or maybe ask her to stay. She repeats it again and he acknowledges it before she leaves, which brings a smile to her face.

Later Hyuga walks out to the main office and sees that Chihiro has written a note for him on the Next Innovation wall. The note is an arrow pointing to the bottom of the wall, where Chihiro has written the address where Hyuga’s mom can be found. Hyuga reads it and mutters that Chihiro’s writing is as prim and proper (i.e. uptight) as she is.

Asahina takes Hyuga to a meeting with JI Technology big wigs. Asahina wants to collaborate with this big and well established company on the personal data registry so that Next Innovation can gain some legitimacy. Hyuga stares disdainfully at the how the suited business men are enjoying their lavish meal and acting so full of themselves. Hyuga walks over and shoves their contract into a plate of food and announces that he’s not interested in slowly dying along with them.

Asahina follows Hyuga back to the office and tries to argue that Next Innovation needs to partner with an established company to borrow their name recognition otherwise the public isn’t going to entrust their personal data to an upstart like Next Innovation. If they can gain the confidence of the government and the public, then they can build the network they want.

Hyuga refuses to hide under the umbrella of a big company. Asahina asks whether Hyuga wants to grow even bigger, and Hyuga admits he does, but this is not the way he wants to do it. They two men go to Hyuga’s office to talk privately. Asahina explains that he wants to build Next Innovation into one of Japan’s top companies.

Hyuga shows Asahina the new interface he created with Chihiro, which upsets Asahina since the other one was better and showcases the company’s technological prowess. Hyuga asks Asahina to remember that this interface is meant for the user, and the most user friendly interface is the best one. As Hyuga walks out, he repeats what Asahina’s goal is for the company – to reach the top – and Hyuga tells Asahina that this is the first time Asahina has disappointed him.

Chihiro gets a call returns to Next Innovation and she uses the opportunity to apologize to Hyuga again. Hyuga wonders why she keeps mentioning using the fake name Sawaki Chihiro if she is trying to make amends, and why she wrote his mother’s address in such a public place on the wall. Chihiro explains that she felt like she needed to tell him where to find his mother. Hyuga explains that she’s only brought back because she’s needed for this project and no other reason.

Hyuga shows her the new interface on his laptop and she swipes to log in. She smiles broadly when he tells her that she helped make this. She wants to look at all the features some more but Hyuga slams the laptop shut and says its closed for business. which makes Chihiro all depressed. Oh god they are so cute together.

Hyuga walks Chihiro out to the office and calls everyone’s attention. He introduces her as the new intern and then turns to ask what her real name is. Chihiro says that her name is Natsui Makoto. Oooh, pretty name! Hyuga asks everyone to say hello to Ms. Natsui….Makoto, and then has everyone clap for her.

Hyuga introduces the new idiot-proof interface to the two programmers he initially dismissed from the project and has them each work on a part of the project. One guy will add color because that is his specialty while the other looks for weaknesses in the system. The two men are happy to be part of the project again.

Hyuga walks pass Makoto in the elevator lobby as she pushes some boxes. He hands her another box of business cards and holds it up high so she has to jump for it. I swear, these two are pushing the boundaries of cuteness.

Makoto grabs the cards and happily opens it to see that it has her real name, with a new avatar that says “An idiot is the best!” Makoto happily thanks Hyuga.

He casually notes that his mother did return to her hometown after all. Makoto apologizes for years ago when he asked her about his mother’s whereabouts and she pretended not to know. That finally makes Hyuga recollect that he did ask a girl about his mother before, but sadly he doesn’t remember who the girl was. Makoto’s face falls but she pretends it’s no big deal.

Hyuga turns and wants to explain that he cannot recognize faces but the elevator comes and he enters without explaining. He tells Makoto to do well in her internship as a way to make amends. She smiles and promises to do all that.

Asahina sits with Yamagami about how Hyuga scuttled the partnership with the big company right when the contract is about to be signed. Asahina smiles and says apparently this isn’t Hyuga’s way of doing things. Yamagami worries that Hyuga will run the company into the ground while he has two daughters to raise.

Hyuga sits with Yoko and polishes off a plate of omurice she made for him, telling her that its delicious. He tells her not to lock herself in the restaurant and work so hard. Yoko turns the tables and asks what Hyuga has been up to? Hyuga suddenly asks if he hurt Yoko in the past, and him not remembering her is probably something really cruel. Yoko explains that they met 9 years ago in a night train and talked for two hours, and then they both got off at the same stop. He asks why, and she says no reason other than they had a connection. He thinks it sounds fishy but she says they really got along and did make a connection. When they parted, they agreed to meet again one year later.

Hyuga suddenly remembers that he did make the promise, and then reveals that he did fulfill his promise and go back one year later. He asks Yoko if she went back? Yoko gets up and walks away, saying she didn’t go. Hyuga stands up and laughs that he’s the only idiot who went then.

Yoko suddenly grabs his arm and tells him that she lied. She’s been waiting for him this entire time. Yoko leans in and kisses Hyuga. The camera pulls back and we see Makoto standing outside staring at this scene.

Asahina stands in front of the Next Innovation wall and punches it in frustration. He calms himself and then walks away, murmuring to himself that this wall is so filthy.

Thoughts of Mine:

Kyaaaaaa, I totally knew RMPW was a K-drama at heart, and now the end of episode 4 proves it with Makoto witnessing the kiss between Hyuga and Yoko. That’s such a K-drama thing to do, but it works so well here because it raises the stakes all around. Yoko surprised me with her forwardness that doesn’t reek of desperation, and her back story with Hyuga is actually even more compelling than Makoto’s. Too bad I’m already rabidly on the OTP ship, otherwise the whole Before Sunrise meeting between Hyuga and Yoko is so utterly swoonworthy. I would love to hear what they talked about for two hours that led to them getting off the train together at some random station, and then promising to meet one year later.

I’m glad Hyuga’s face recognition condition is shown to have emotional consequences as well, and now RMPW is delving into the question of lost memories. Looks like Hyuga doesn’t remember Yoko, but when prompted, he remembers making the promise with her and actually going to the meeting a year later. So why didn’t they meet up? Yoko said she didn’t go, but then she claimed that was a lie and she has been waiting for Hyuga this entire time. What does that mean? Did she show up but then not meet him, or did she not meet him because he didn’t recognize her? It’s impossible to dislike Yoko for liking Hyuga, not when he’s confirmed that they did have a back story that he appears to have forgotten (ouch!), but that doesn’t mean I think she’s right for Hyuga. I want to see both girls fight for the guy they like fairly, and let him decide which one has his heart.

It was thrilling to watch how this episode dropped back story left and right while pushing the big business project forward. Now we know how Hyuga and Asahina met and started Next Innovation, and despite feeling like Asahina is going to go the dark side soon, it was really heartwarming to glimpse how two guys with talent and confidence could succeed by challenging the normative way of doing things in Japan. It’s also nice that even Yamagami joined the group because he isn’t necessarily toeing the line as a finance guy. This segued smoothly into Hyuga being frustrated with his programmers for not creating a more snazzy interface, only to create the interface himself and then come to realization that it wasn’t right. What I love about Hyuga is how his arrogance doesn’t manifest itself to wanting to always be right. He is open to change and doing things differently once he reaches the conclusion that his original path may not be correct.

I was a little taken aback at how Hyuga appeared to have gotten over Makoto’s lie and taken her back, but that’s why I love this drama so, because ultimately he sees past the act of lying and appears to know she’s a good person inside. Once he listened to her explanation, it made sense and he gave her another chance. i don’t buy his excuse that she’s back at Next Innovation because he needs her for the project. He can find an ordinary girl anywhere, but he wants her because she’s extraordinary under the veneer of ordinariness. I swear my knees got weak when he gave her another set of business cards with her real name Natsui Makoto on it, and took the time to design a new avatar and new catchphrase for her. He really enjoys making fun of her, but she intuitively understands that he does it because that’s his way of connecting with people. His bluntness takes some getting used to, but she appears to have gotten quite comfortable with all his quirks and outbursts by now.

Despite the sledgehammer of a title and the references in promotional materials that this is a riff of Pretty Woman, I actually don’t get any similar vibes between the two stories, other than the male lead being filthy rich. In RMPW, Hyuga and Makoto are equals in intelligence in their own strengths, and both have draw backs in their respective personalities. But so far Hyuga’s wealth hasn’t come into play, and a lot of the Cinderella elements are presented in a wink-wink way. Makoto’s make over was company-financed and meant to help Next Innovation. She’s not offered the role of princess to sit in the lap of luxury, she’s a functioning member of the project that will take the company to the next level. She uses her brains every step of the way, and Hyuga notices that as well as absorbs her kindness and empathy for others. They are quite simply perfectly in sync with each other because they are so very different.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.


Comments

Rich Man, Poor Woman Episode 4 Recap — 93 Comments

    • So it seems this will be a love triangle. Well, I vouch for Yoko, both of them are hardworking. I think if hyuga didnt have the facial recognition problem, perhaps he and Yoko are already together.
      As for Asahina, i got chills when he look at that board, and said filthy. I love the flirting in this ep 4, no wonder you had us on the edge in you ep 3 PPS! ^^ thanks, loveet!

      • I am having a hard time figuring Asahina out.

        Is his problem really that he doesn’t want to be a great #2 like sister pointed out? This is the man who recognized how extraordingary a talent Huyuga had nd tied his dreams to the man. It’s not like A is suddenly going to be able to match H’s talent. After 9 years, he changes his mind? A knows there is no Next Innovation without H.

        A thoughtful, caring Hyuga, who wants to help people is still a great business partner and money making entity for Asahina. He has manipulated him before, why would he still not be able to surreptitiously guide him? It isn’t like Asihina won every argument before…
        I guess this episode is showing us that A and H no longer have the same long term goals. They’re reaching a place where they may diverge, and A is panicking?
        The wall of lamentations holds the unfulfilled dreams of many people.
        A says it is their soul and later that it is filthy. Boy, is HE going to dark side, or what?

  1. Wonderful! I loved this episode too! I’m so happy Mrs. Koala picked this up. It’s so great to hear your thoughts. I love how Makoto points straight out to Hyuga his insensitivity and how that hurts other people. But now, he takes the time to think it over and tho awkward, he asks the two programmers that he needs their help. I loved that scene! Hyuga was so sincere. Waiting for Monday!

  2. thanks for the recap!~~~ heheh, this is not “pretty woman” as they tried to describe it. the Japs work on K drama formula and bring it to next level with a freshness that I can’t tell…the groundwork for the story telling is quite solid and its very fast paced that leaves you breathless for more. there is so much to be explained and developed in the next 6 eps? or so….hopefully, it gets better all the way till the end!~

  3. waaaaaaahhhh!! I was squealing so hard during the ENTIRE ‘OTP pulling an all-nighter in the office’ scene. I LOVE the OTP so bloody much. Hyuga is refreshing in that while he’s smart he isn’t a jerkwad…he’s ok with making mistakes as long as they serve the purpose of the project. And, Makoto…omg!! I HEART her SO much….wanna squish her!! Again, while she’s bumbling she isn’t overly naive who can be taken for a fool. It was really heartwarming to see her earnest attempt in gathering the 300 samples. When these two come together their personalities mesh beautifully with each other!! <333333

    Thank you for the recap as always.

    • OMG THEY ARE SO CUTE. That all-nighter scene was daebak. I can’t get over it. I want to shrink them down and put them in an aquarium and feed them everyday and watch them program and tease each other and bicker and this probably would be a horrible idea because I would never leave the house but I’m pretty sure I’d be happy living vicariously through them.

  4. This show is so effing good. LOVED your recap. LOVED the episode.

    It’s like this show took the very best elements of a kdrama and the best elements of a jdrama and put them in a blender on “frappe.”

    This line? That Hyuga “wants her because she’s extraordinary under the veneer of ordinariness”? SWOON. So perfectly put, koala.

    I completely agree with you that this drama is nothing like Cinderella or Pretty Woman except on a very superficial level. Makoto doesn’t need rescuing, nor is Hyuga a Prince Charming. They’re both great people at the core of it, who have some pretty serious flaws (as do all human beings) but are made better through a genuine connection with each other.

    I adore how deeply Hyuga cares about Makoto already, and that he is on some level aware that he wants her around and is not afraid of this or ashamed of it. He’s not a repressed or emotionally stunted character, he’s just largely indifferent to most people. I don’t think he’s yet realized the depth to which Makoto’s changed him by making him care, for once, about something other than coding. It’s like her presence singlehandedly restores his faith in humanity. All of his connections/breakthroughs have been directly linked to Makoto. Even his kiss with Yoko was catalyzed by his realization that his not remembering Yoko must be hurtful to her. And where did this realization come from? The fact that he instinctually felt bad for not remembering meeting Makoto in his mother’s village. Makoto seems to be the only person on the whole show that Hyuga instinctually cares for.

    And how freaking beautiful is that? I could watch this show for a hundred episodes. I’m already dreading the end of it. Do jdramas ever get extended?

    • Loved the recap! I’m so glad you picked up this series and introduced me another liferuiner oguri shun sighhhh… and ishihara satomi too she’s adorb!

      Oh I hit reply bc I loveee this comment lol. You said everything I wanted to say but better! I also love the elevator scene where hyuga tried to explain that he has a medical condition. He really cares about her feelings to even explain that he can’t remember faces. Unlike his fellow employees and yoko too. I think he’s already falling her, just doesn’t know it yet.

      • Aaah, thank you! I can’t get over how awesome this show/these two are. Hyuga is totally already falling for Makoto. I’m so excited for the moment that he realizes it. That will be ELECTRIC.

    • This is so perfectly well said! When he fired Makoto, he’d gone back to being as indifferent and harsh as ever, pushing his programmers out of the project. I love the moment when he pulls them back in- you can see him realizing how much he actually does need people around him to keep him from being one-track minded. It’s so perfect that he has these epiphanies around Makoto.
      And you can see Asahina’s distaste. He wants super-genius Hyuga without the heart so he can basically build an empire on their awesomeness. Which is such a contrast to his heartfelt back story with Hyuga when they first building their company.

      • I love your comment. It’s so telling what Hyuga’s behavior is like when Makoto is in his life versus when she’s not. I think I just realized what is so magical about his connection to Makoto–he RESPECTS her. I think the only other person in his life who he kinda-sorta respects is Asahina, and that’s only because Asahina basically supports whatever Hyuga wants to do. So it’s more that they’re in a symbiotic relationship where it is implicitly understood that Hyuga will have free reign and that Asahina’s role will be to pave the pathway for Hyuga to create freely.

        But Makoto challenges Hyuga, and she is so smart and spot-on that Hyuga has to listen to her–especially since her intelligence is something that complements, rather than competes with, Hyuga’s. Where Asahina is increasingly driven by pride and by his desire to be an autonomous entity (instead of the puppet-businessman that he is now), Makoto is already carving out a name for herself (literally) by devoting herself to the work and to ideas. I think this is what fuels Hyuga’s attraction more than anything, and what makes it possible for him to overlook Makoto’s deception.

        I totally agree with your point about Asahina being threatened by Makoto’s influence on Hyuga. I love how complex their relationship is, and how much it will hurt to see that deteriorate. But also that it’s clear that the status quo for them is not working on a personal level. Asahina’s role is basically just to support his little money-making machine, which is predicated on an absolute trust that Hyuga will always put the company first. Any intrusion of personal feelings might threaten that. Additionally, I think on some level, Hyuga’s lack of a rich emotional life has made it somehow easier for Asahina to accept the half-life he’s been living–always in Hyuga’s shadow, only taking risks for Hyuga and never betting on himself. I think that’s been somehow more ok for him to deal with when he knows that he’s the only person of importance in Hyuga’s life, because that means that Hyuga depends on him for all of his emotional support/stability. Now that Makoto has entered the picture, Asahina has to face the fact that he may well be irrelevant to Hyuga (and more importantly, to himself).

        This is such a brilliant character study, I could write about it all day. It’s everything I wanted The Social Network to be, and so much more!

      • Not sure why I can’t reply to you directly…

        You said it even better :) I love that- that they complement each other. She’s no programming genius but she’s brilliant at what she knows and she thinks outside of his stratosphere. And you’re right, how do you stay mad at a girl who’s so invested in your project that she continues to work on it even after you fired her? Twice??

        You can SEE Asahina’s distaste when she talks about the “real” Hyuga. Like, his little character pieces aren’t following the script they’re supposed to!
        I know Hyuga’s in for some hurting when he starts to realize that maybe Asahina may not be who he thought he was. I don’t think Asahina started off being this power hungry but over time I guess being successful’s gotten to him. He’s started to see Hyuga as a tool. The man comes up with brilliant plans, gets the go ahead from Asahina and does all the work. Now he’s starting to realize he can’t do much manipulating if Hyuga acts with as much heart as he does brains. You put it best though, Asahina coming to realize his irrelevance. I’m curious to see if this is going to play out to make him a bad guy or just to make him a man that needs to find out where he falls in this grand operation independent and outside of Hyuga’s shadow.

        This show is def a great study of characters!

    • Ok, this is going to be very long so just bear with me.

      I think what a lot of people seem to be missing is the fact that Asahina is just as complex a person as Hyuga. Everyone seems to be so caught up in Hyuga and his genius and while recognizing his faults mainly focusing on the foundation that he is a good person.

      I have to say that I disagree with your assessment of Asahina being irrelevant because while Hyuga may be the soul, the head as it were, Asahina has always been the hands and feet. Asahina is the one who deals with people for the most part. Asahina is also the one who does all the legwork. He goes about setting up most of the appointments, etc. So, while everyone is talking up Makoto and how all Hyuga’s “breakthroughs/connections have been directly linked to Makoto” it’s important to remember that Makoto has just stepped onto the scene. Before her it was Asahina who was helping Hyuga make those things happen and if I’m not mistaken their company is coming on its 10th year anniversary. Makoto hasn’t even been there for a year yet.

      The reality is that Next Innovation would not have gotten as far as it has without Asahina because Asahina has always done what Hyuga couldn’t be bothered with. Specifically, dealing with people. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter how much of a genius you are if you don’t know how to treat people. We have seen it time and time again in this drama that Hyuga generally does not talk to people like they are human beings. Case in point, the first group interview where he was giving his speech to the potential new hires and he “made an example” of Makoto for being a brainless hard-worker with no talent. Let’s not forget the way he berated her after the meeting with the Ministry. (It was Asahina who said, and I’m going to paraphrase, that for people who aren’t geniuses hard work and effort is all they have, a concept Hyuga doesn’t seem to get.)

      If it was me, I would have smacked the hell out of him. He upsets his board on a regular basis and without Asahina to go behind him as a buffer and smooth over the damage Hyuga does with the words that come out of his mouth there’s no way Next Innovation would have made it so far.

      Another example is the way he treated his development team for the profiles project. Let’s be honest, would anyone else really take that sitting down? Or is it just me?

      I don’t think the problem with Asahina is so much that he really wants to take over. He just wants some recognition for all that he does. And he especially wants it from Hyuga because yes, he did see something great in him. Hell, he was the only one to take on the risk of following Hyuga before they made it big, before Hyuga was even off the ground with his project. And yet, Hyuga, who takes advantage of the knowledge that Asahina is going to go behind him and clean up his mess, never makes any public recognition of Asahina, and then goes on to tell him how disappointed he is in Asahina.

      I think it’s clear that up to this point Asahina has been battling with feelings of resentment towards Hyuga because of his attitude and that that final shot about his disappointment in Asahina was the last straw that broke the camel’s back and pushed him over the edge. I say all that to say I don’t think Asahina trying to push Hyuga out is at bottom necessarily because he wants control. It’s about getting back at Hyuga for his lack of thoughtfulness as far as Asahina’s work and effort goes and his lack of recognition.

      As for the comment about how Asahina had said the concrete wall with the writing on it was their soul and then in episode 4 said it was filthy, I think it was because as long as Next Innovation was both his and Hyuga’s baby (I mean it is both their company) it was their soul and now that he’s feeling like maybe Hyuga never really saw them as a team it’s filthy because it just means that he was being used. Whether or not that’s actually what Hyuga has been thinking, that may be the way Asahina has interpreted his words and actions. Therefore, he may have come to see the wall as a symbol of betrayal and as such “filthy”. There’s a lot of talk of Asahina’s betrayal, but think about the possibility that Asahina feels that Hyuga had already betrayed him before he started “going to the dark side.”

      I hope what I said is at least understandable. Btw, this is just my perception of things.

      • What wonderful, well-reasoned insights into Asahina’s character! Thank you for taking the time to articulate & share your thoughts. I agree with most of what you said, actually.

        I probably didn’t give Asahina enough credit in my comment. Although I will clarify that when I said that Asahina might be irrelevant to Hyuga, I didn’t necessarily mean in the workplace. I absolutely agree that Hyuga desperately needs Asahina professionally. Hyuga is too cocky, volatile, impulsive, and gruff to survive without a strong people-person beside him who knows how to clear the pathway for his brilliant mind to flourish. Hyuga’s not a leader of people, he’s a leader of ideas. Asahina is a brilliant politician–so brilliant, its actually kinda creepy. He knows how to work the system, and without him, Next Innovation wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is now.

        What I really meant about Asahina facing his irrelevance is that I get the sense that the Asahina/Hyuga relationship is a professionally functional but emotionally dysfunctional one. They are a great team in the workplace but it seems like their partnership is now stunting them both. Asahina clearly isn’t fulfilled anymore with his thankless role, and Hyuga has in many ways been using Asahina as a crutch so that he doesn’t have to learn to grow into someone who actually gives a shit about other human beings.

        I suspect that only reason Asahina’s been content to work in Hyuga’s shadow for this long (without any show of gratitude from H) is that he senses, on some level, that Hyuga relies on him for emotional support (as H’s only friend) as well as professional support–and this gives him in their personal relationship the power/recognition that he lacks in their professional relationship. This is why Makoto unsettles the delicate balance of their friendship–the ease with which Hyuga starts opening up to her and changing his behavior based on advice she gives must make Asahina feel like he’s being betrayed (as you said) by Hyuga.

        Gosh, I hope this response makes some degree of sense. It’s late and I’m not super articulate tonight. BTW have you watched episode 5 yet? There are some BIG Asahina-related happenings.

  5. Great recap, thanks so much Koala! I simply adored all those shippy scenes between Makoto(love her real name by the way) and Hyuga. Those two just have that slow simmering chemistry that keeps me squealing in delight during all of their interactions.

    As for Yoko, I don’t know why but I feel uneasy about her and her backstory with Hyuga. I feel like his condition could be used against him. He seemed to remember what happened but didn’t remember her even though he went back a year later? I don’t want to think that she’s being disingenuous but sometimes the way she acts, especially during that conversation with Asahina in his apartment, seems a little sketchy, like she’s digging for information on Hyuga and playing off his weakness. She noticeably avoided her brother’s question about how she met Hyuga. The whole tables thing seemed really contrived to me too. I might be too used to evil, manipulative second leads(thanks kdramas!) or hung up on the awesomeness of the OTP but I don’t know. Even the relationship with the other chef seems weird. Is he so against her because she’s a woman and she got promoted over him or does he have legitimate reason that nepotism helped her advance in her career and she’s really just there to get closer to Hyuga?(Not that anything excuses his action in the kitchen). I could be reading too much into her but something feels off.

    Anyway, officially addicted and can’t wait for episode 5! Monday/Wednesday come quickly! :)

    • Really interesting observations about Yoko. You bring up some great points that I overlooked. She does have that super breezy “I’m interested in you but in a very cool, independent way” thing down almost too well. And that quasi-remembered train meeting thing is a bit odd.

  6. oh myyy!!! thank you for your recaps!

    I’ve been waiting for it quite (im)patiently. Refreshing your pages in two days full. But THANK YOU koala-san!

    Yes yes yes! Quirkiness and everything! Oh, I think I really need to watch it directly. *sniff* unfortunately my connection is too slow that even the dramacrazy version is halted every other minute.

    Both are so adorable!

  7. Thanks so much koala! Your recap made my day since I still can’t watch it with subs due to pending work! This may be drama but it touches on realism and I love how fast-paced episode 4 was without sacrificing the development of the characters in the story. Again, the story threw another curve ball at us with the whole Yoko kissing Hyuga and Makoto witnessing the whole scene. I don’t really hate Yoko for it now that I knew her back story with Hyuga but still I would have been okay if Makoto did not see it but she did! Awh, my heart hurts for Makoto. There’s no words I can describe how I love this OTP!!! I adore that their connection is not out of grand gestures but is more of quirky coincidences playing them out. This show truly gives me another reason to be excited on Mondays!

  8. And one more thing, since I seem to be incapable of shutting up tonight…

    One thing I’ve noticed from the other one and a half jdramas I’ve watched (I know, such an extensive sample size) is that there seems to be a fundamental difference between how kdramas use second leads and how jdramas use them. Many kdramas use second leads (in addition to using them as conflict-fodder) to reinforce the notion that the main couple is Fated to Be and that capital-L Love is mysterious and confounding, but that that little pitter-patter of the heart is to be obeyed at all costs. The most glaringly obvious example of this can be found in the love triangle between Jun Pyo, Jan Di and Ji Hoo in Boys Over Flowers. It’s not an elegant handling of a love triangle, but I think one that is a perfect example of the second lead trope in kdramas. The second lead tends to be handsome, smart, caring, and perfect in practically every way…but his interactions with the lead lack a certain *something* even though they are objectively well-matched.

    The jdramas that I’ve seen, on the other hand, seem to use second leads to reinforce the logical ways in which the members of the OTP are right for each other/why they “fit” together best. To this end, the second leads tend to be much more realistic and nuanced, and actually seem to share a very strong physical/romantic chemistry with the lead. This forces an exploration beyond romantic chemistry into chemistry and personality compatibility in addition to love.

    • I haven’t watched that many J-doramas either, but I agree on your second lead analysis.

      I would add that when the heroine falls in love with the second lead, he usually fits her ideal man. Her Prince Charming.
      Her love for that man is what she thinks love is, not what it really is.
      The first lead ends up being a person she falls in love with warts and all. The frog, once kissed, remains a frog, but a very loveable frog.

      • Great point about the ideal vs. the reality in kdramas (I’m assuming you’re talking about kdramas?). The takeaway from that seems to be that the heart knows what it wants better than the mind does. The jdramas I’ve watched so far seem to have a little less faith in the ability of the heart to discern what is best (I’m thinking of Buzzer Beat and H2 here). RMPW seems to have the best of both worlds. Hyuga is magnetically drawn to Makoto, and his tangential relationship with Yoko will, I think, reinforce the many levels in which he is more compatible with Makoto than Yoko.

      • @rearwindow
        I am talking about both K and J for first love which is usually the second lead.

        How self-aware do you think H is about his feelings for Makoto right now? I like the image of him being magnetically drawn. Her presence excites and confuses him, but he NOT thinking romance. He is putting her in the “inexpensive toy” category.
        I have replayed their dinner date scene sooo many times. His reluctant smiles and laughs kill me, while she is so adorably thrilled to be with him, he laps up her attention and energy.

      • @jomo: got it, thanks for clarifying. Interestingly, I don’t think I’ve yet encountered a female lead/male second lead dynamic in a jdrama. It’s always the male leads who have a secondary female romantic interest. I wonder if this just because I haven’t watched many jdramas, or if there’s something more at play here. Someone could write a book about the portrayals of love triangles in asian dramas. So interesting.

        I think you’re spot on that Hyuga’s excited and confused by Makoto right now, but that he’s not really conscious of any romantic interest in her. That said, I don’t think he knows quite what to do with her, and for that reason, I don’t think he’s ruling anything out. It’s clear that he finds her adorable and utterly charming (how could he not?). He’s just perplexed by what to do with that, and so I think he’s keeping her around until he stops finding her interesting.

        I get the impression that Hyuga’s used to being pursued, and that finding himself disarmed by a woman (or any person, for that matter) and intrigued enough to want to see more of her is a pretty new experience for him. I think his constant failure to accurately categorize Makoto (as a meek and talentless grad student, as Miss Tokyo University, as someone with book smarts but no creativity, as a representative of the “masses,” as a stern and humorless teacher, etc.) speaks to this. At every turn, he thinks he understands her and can put her in a comfortable little box, but she continues to surprise him.

      • @rearwindow
        When I talk about first and second leads, it could be male or female who lose their first loves.

        Two J’s that come to mind, Long Vacation, which I loved, and Hotaru no Hikari, which I am still watching.

      • @jomo: I am rewatching episodes of RMPW (because I’m an addict like that), and on second watch, I think I can pinpoint the moment where Hyuga stops seeing Makoto merely as a plaything and starts caring for her as something more. It’s when he tries to pay her for her shoes, and looks up at her to find her crying over the money. I doubt he is accustomed to people being vulnerable around him, since he puts on such an impassive front, and her display of emotion and forthright challenge to his dehumanization of her completely catch him off guard. Where most people conceal their feelings from him in an effort to appear cool and collected, Makoto wears her reactions on her sleeve and it’s telling that the more time Hyuga spends with her, the better he is at picking up on her shifts in mood (be they subtle, like her disappointment that he doesn’t remember meeting her years ago, or overt, like her crying over her lost shoes). While I’m not sure how conscious he is of his attraction to Makoto, I do think that Hyuga definitely thinks of her as more than just a source of amusement. He is growing increasingly dependent on her, and he must sense on some level how much he enjoys being around her and how much she influences his decisions. He’s not, after all, emotionally stunted…he just doesn’t care for people, most of the time.

    • Buzzer Beat and Pride follow the same trajectory on sports romance dramas, about both the emotional personal connection tied with the athletic achievement. Both are emphasized so the romance isn’t the focal point, and knowing their feelings doesn’t mean it drives their actions.

      H2 is…….okay, I have a lot to say about it. H2 is a high school baseball story. It’s a Mitsuru Adachi manga, and what does Adachi do the best – sports + first love stories. And for me, H2 marked the beginning of the decline of Adachi’s storytelling mastery. He’s still the god of doing normal everyday kids growing up stories (what with 30 years behind his belt), but H2 profoundly disappointed me and made me realize he was trying too hard to change up his formula.

      Adachi’s seminal work was Touch, and to this day no other manga captures that story’s beauty about overcoming expectations and disappointments, and I can’t think of Koshien without thinking of Tatsuya, Kazuya, and Minami. To me, H2 was an attempt to subvert and redo Touch, and it failed for me. Later on Cross Game was even worse. The problem with H2 is that the OTP throughout the story is Hiro and Hikari. No, I’m not saying I like Hikari more than Haruka, but she is Hiro’s true love. That is how Adachi built up his story, just like he did in Touch. But in H2, he ends it by saying the girl next door and the boy she grew up with just never had the right moment to make it work. Haruka is a sweetheart but I never felt that frisson of “magic” between her and Hiro.

      I’m glad H2 was made into a dorama instead of a movie. LOL, I thought Masami would play the lead in H2 since she has played two Adachi heroines in a row already (she was Minami in Touch the movie, and then she was Ami in Rough the movie – Rough being my favorite Adachi manga of all time, and the movie was actually decent albeit too short). Anyways, back to H2, it doesn’t work because the heart says Hiro and Hikari but the story forces the other pairing IMO. So I wouldn’t use H2 as a J-story template because it’s an outlier. I think Adachi was trying to get out from his own shadow and trying something new, and ultimately didn’t work.

      • Thank you so much for your insightful & in-depth analysis! I’ve gotten through four episodes of H2 and definitely have the “I don’t know who the OTP is” vibes.

        Would you say the romance/love triangle tropes of more traditional romance jdramas are more similar to those in kdramas? I keep hearing that jdramas are more “slice-of-life” than kdramas, which leads me to believe that second leads are generally more nuanced. Have you found this to be true?

    • An interesting observation although using “Boys over Flowers” as an example to prove your points regarding how second leads is portrayed in K-drama is not really legit since that drama is originated from a japanese manga “Hana Yori Dango” which was also made into a J-drama before the Korean variation of it was even made. Oguri Shun, in fact, was casted as Rui, the Japanese version of Ji Hoo.

      • OMG good catch! Very bad example on my part, haha. I haven’t read the manga or seen the Japanese original so I don’t know how Rui compares to Ji Hoo, though that would be a very interesting exercise!

  9. this show is sooo good! i love makoto’s character and i finf her pretty as well..i love her and hyuga! sorry but i dont buy the yoko and hyuga OTP.. =p i think there is something fishy in yoko’s character..hehe.

    oh well, i am so into this drama so much! thanks koala for the recap..love your analysis on this episode! and i definitely agree with you.. =)

    oguri shun, ftw! =)

  10. Thanks, Koala! Such a great recap! And I’m with you, this OTP will be the death of me.

    My favorite scene in this ep was your 2nd to last screencap, the day after their all-nighter. When Hyuga crooked his finger for her to come closer so he could show her his laptop and said, “Omae ga tsukutta interface da”, then they looked at each other and Makoto squealed before saying, “Hai!” She looked so happy and he just stared at her like she’s the most precious thing in the world. Gah…I’m dead.

    But what I loved about it the most is that Hyuga didn’t just start out with the sweet, he had to scold her about writing his mother’s address on the wall, etc. It totally reminds me of how he stormed into her school and yelled at her for relentlessly following the Vice Minister…only to give her back her shoes in a nicely wrapped package and tell her that she’s hired for the project. Its so Hyuga-like to do that and Makoto totally gets it and doesn’t take offense. They are so perfect for each other!!! *Sigh*

    And I want a business card like Makoto’s! ;)

    • I want business cards like that too!
      The moment right before your favorite scene is so funny because EVERYTHING he says is untrue. He says she doesn’t get him, he just called her in because of the project, that she has no self- initiative, that she has no talent and that she’s fresh off the masses. Hello everything is the reverse!!
      No one gets him like she does, he definitely called her in to share the afterglow of their successful all-nighter, she showed plenty of initiative by conducting the survey while not employed at Next Innovation, she has a photographic memory and an empathetic personality that he envies (clearly not talentless), and she is fresh off of the most prestigious university in Japan not the masses.

      The most awesome thing is that he trusts her to decode his language to get his real meaning and she does! So when he looks lovingly at her it because he’s found someone who hears his intentions and not just his words.

      Excuse me while I melt.

      • Wonderful thoughts!

        I have a feeling that Hyuga have never designed anyone else’s business cards before, and he has done TWO sets for Makoto!

        The holding the cards out of reach bit will never get old.
        Wouldn’t if be fun if he confesses that way?

        Love that the director is using their height difference to full cute advantage.

  11. Minasan,

    I realize that probably nobody cares, but if you ever receive a proposal for moving citizens’ personal data offshore, or putting computer servers in a gym, you should quickly divest any interest you have in this IT company.

    The first is signing up for years of wrangling with governments and consumer protection lobbies, and the second is like saying you want to store ice cream in your closet.

    • I agree it’s not the easiest way to go about it with all the political lobbying and such but then having the best product/service working for you should outweigh these obstacles. I think that Hyuga’s idea is good since cloud computing is the norm these days. People do store their personal data (whether they know it or not in the cloud)I don’t really care where you put people’s data whether it’s within the country or offshore as long as there’s excellent security behind it because in the long run if the data is placed inshore but the security is lacking/crappy then it would be better if it’s offshore with the guarantee that they’ll be providing top-notch security in those data centers.

    • I don’t think you have to worry about that. I am from India, and my cousin is working in Human Resource Company (US Base who just signed merger with some European Company). They are managing data for Banks, various Company across the world. Trust me their security is very tight. They cannot use flash drive or open any site from their system. And she is not allowed to bring any of her work at home.

      About the Gymn thing, i am pretty sure that’s just for drama sake. There are many Japanese, Korean companies who own fancy buildings in India.

    • As an IT consultant in the govt sector, in my country data of a high secrecy or privacy level cannot be stored offshore. But it varies country by country though.

      • Agree with this – for example some countries in Europe forbid that sensitive data (like personal information) will be stored in the US/outside of EU. My initial thoughts were, uh-oh, this might be a source of conflict/problem for Next Innovation in the upcoming episodes.

  12. Almost perfect episode, except that tech wise it would make more sense if the setting is 10 years ago. Nowadays usability is king and designed in rather than just an after thought, so that eureka moment does not ring on me.

    Love the OTP, and I like the timebomb in the like of Asahina that provides just the right amount of tension.

    • Totally agree that usability is key, but that doesn’t mean ALL the corporations understand and deliver.
      I work for an IT supplier, we have NEVER EVER EVER figured out how to make an effective, intuitive online ordering tool. We are always at least 5 years behind. Customers tell us that constantly, but we just don’t have the programming talent in house or financial resources to get it right, and we are a Fortune 100 company.

      I would love to have a couple Hyugas to work with, um, and play with.

    • In my opinion, Hyuga’s eureka moment rings true to his character in the story. Why? Hyuga is a programmer by heart and so has that proclivity that programmers tend to fall into which is make an excellent program (which he did initially)often overlooking for whom the program is made for. Hence, the usability issue. I was glad that they used this situation in order to hire Makoto back. since, if he only relied on his employees which are geeks like him to test the program then he wouldn’t have had that eureka moment. Remember, his employees easily tinkered their way into using the program he made unlike Makoto who had problems one after the other in trying to use it.

      • @dramacafe: I agree with your assessment and would like to add that the audience for the government project is totally different from the audience that Hyuga is used to designing for–young people and computer geeks who are into gaming. Usability is of course always key, but something programmers (particularly brilliant ones) always have to be reminded of, particularly when they’re suddenly designing for a completely different demographic than they’re used to.

        In addition to showing me once again how well Makoto and Hyuga complement each other, more than anything this “eureka” moment hammered home that the relationship between Hyuga and Asahina is not nearly as functional/productive as it should be. Asahina should have been the one to point out the flaws in usability of the first design, rather than sitting on the sidelines smiling at Hyuga’s brilliance. Hyuga needs to have someone around him who challenges him. Not someone who reels him in, mind you, or forces him to be less revolutionary or partner up with a bigger company in order to make more money. He needs someone who grounds his brilliance and challenges him to think of the human element in his designs. Asahina, for all his political maneuvering and unbridled support of Hyuga’s genius, is not that person.

      • As a boss of a successful tech company specializing in mobile applications and games, no way in real life he does not develop from the viewpoint of users from the beginning. He’s not at the stage of being a hacker/undergrad com science nerd. That’s my experience being a software engineer/consultant.

    • While usability is key among savvy users, you won’t believe how many managers and non-techie people want something “flashy” and “cool-looking” :)

  13. Thank you for the recap I still haven’t watched it subbed.Hyuga making her jump for the business cards-God she is so cute .

  14. I loved the 2nd business card scene. It was symbolic of his forgiveness and his continued attraction to her. The chemistry strong with this OTP. I was squeeing at his instinctual reaction to get closer to her when she retreated after being hurt that he didn’t remember. The elevator dinged and called him back to normalcy. Was I the only one to shake my fist at the elevator? This scene stayed on his mind and Yoko just happened to be able to benefit from his guilt about how his disease hurts the people in his life. His acceptance of her kiss is guilt driven. I ain’t even mad at Yoko though because she is just a straight forward person and she said when she loves something she moves right in (I would have stole a kiss too).

    • Okay I can’t shut up but I love how they use reflective surfaces to show the reactions of the characters. It is tantalizing because you want to see the character’s face for yourself but instead for a moment you get a reflection. Genius.

      Oh and I love the little bits that Hyuga collects about Makoto. Like his analysis of her handwriting on the idea wall. Who hasn’t looked at their loved one’s penmanship and found something that endeared them even more? Who is producing this show? Because they need to win all of the awards, all of them.

      • NICE this:
        “I love the little bits that Hyuga collects about Makoto. Like his analysis of her handwriting on the idea wall.”

        The strict school teacher comment keeps coming back about Makoto. He says it in a dismissive but endearing way, so it makes me wonder.
        Were the strict teachers the ones who saw his potential and wouldn’t let him get away with minimal effort and who challenged him the most?
        He has problems with ineffective authority, but he prolly appreciates those few in power who have earned his respect.

      • Wonderful analysis, all-around. I was totally cursing the elevator, too. And I agree that the one Hyuga was really feeling guilty towards was Makoto, considering he has had multiple opportunities to register Yoko’s disappointment and never even noticed. But his regret/guilt comes so naturally with Makoto because he genuinely cares about her. Even in the first episode, he feels bad about his outburst towards her and goes back to apologize.

        I love that Makoto treats Hyuga as a regular human being and expects decency from him as she would from anybody else. All the other people around him accept his brusque behavior in exchange for his brilliance, or make apologies for his disinterest in anybody who he doesn’t find immediately useful by blaming his face recognition disorder. But Makoto posits that Hyuga has the responsibility to treat those around him with respect, whether or not he remembers them, whether or not he needs them for something. And because he cares about her so much (whether he realizes it or not), Hyuga has already completely altered his behavior to be more conscious of how he’s treating others. I love that she makes him a better man without trying to change him, while he makes her a better woman by building her confidence in herself and giving her the opportunity to shine.

        It’s also wonderful that he hears Makoto’s real name once and makes the genuine effort to overcome his disability by parroting it back to the office. And even though he struggles, he is able to do so because she is important to him. This makes me wonder how much of his disability is true disability and how much is simply his laziness/disinterest. Makoto makes him want to try–to connect, to remember, to be a better man. Gah, I love these two.

  15. I can’t even. This show…I’m so hooked. The OTP is so cute and the chemistry between them so palpable, I don’t even care what the rest of the story is about (although, to be fair, the rest of the story is actually super interesting as well).

    I think one of the things that’s really telling about how Hyuga feels about her (whether he’s realizing it or not) is the way he felt bad when he realized he met her before but didn’t remember and after her disappointed reaction he immediately tried to explain why (kind of awkwardly and cute at that). He didn’t have the same reaction with Yoko even though the situation was very similar.

    Yeah, so the OTP cuteness factor has me and I can’t wait for episode five.

    /gushing

    • What was different about how he talked to Yoko about not remembering HER exactly is that he references Makoto’s feelings first, and says, “It must hurt you, too.”
      Yoko picks up immediately on the “too,” but Hyuga wouldn’t clarify what or who he was talking about. She knows there is someone else.

  16. 5:00AM… woke up…pacing the room… should i open the computer or not?
    hmmm… lurking in the room… alright… open it up!
    TADAAA…. here it is – eipisode 4 recap. Yipee!
    You made my day! Much thanks! Now, let’s read first…before i forget.

  17. also… is this a once a week episode JDrama?
    any ideas, how many episodes are left?
    is it true that Oguri Shun is already married in real life?

    • Yes it’s one episode per week.
      Dorama is usually 10 or 11 episodes in total.
      Yes Shun is married earlier this year. Check out Ms Koala’s earlier post.

  18. And this dorama makes me visiting the fuji TV website everyday… then I ended up finding they sell goods using the cute avatars of Hyuga and Makoto!!! Gya!!! Damn I want those goodies!!!

    And I found an interesting interpretation of the relationship between Asahina and Hyuga in the interview of ARATA, “I think Asahina is a person who has no idea on what he wants to do nor is he sure about himself. In The Wall of Next Innovation, other employees wrote about their dreams but Asahina wrote ‘If it’s you [Hyuga] then it’s possible’. It’s not written for Asahina himself. Asahina is ‘Asahina with Hyuga’, without Hyuga, Asahina will lose himself.”

    So the love quadrangle is one guy and two girls fighting over Hyuga LOL j/k.

    And I love how Satomi in her interview said that the director asked her to act like a squirrel (she interpreted it as someone who can’t seem to calm down while being a bit cute) and ended up having the director reminding her “please be cuter!!”, making her reflect on how un-cute she has been LOL.

    And how hot is Oguri Shun in suit with sleeves rolled up, smirking? ROAR. Great photo on top.

  19. My understanding of the english subs and the way the scene was executed was that the “train meeting” between Yoko and Hyuga was just made up by Yoko, she said “it was a lie”. The way I interpreted it was that she was trying to weave a shared romantic experience with Hyuga that did not exist, since she knows he can’t remember anyway. Not sure, just my interpretation of that scene and line.

    • There were 2 past experiences that the girls (Yoko and Makoto) were each trying to remind Hyuga in this episode. For Yoko, it was the “train meeting”, which Hyuga unconvincingly said he kinda remembers something to that effect, but I was not sold that he really remembered, I think he was just pretending. Contrast it with Makoto’s past scene from when they first met in the province, where a flashback scene in Yoko’s mind’s eye was shown, which tells me that Hyuga did really remember that incident. Just my 2 cents, haha.

      • I think you are right that he remembers the incident of asking someone, just not asking her.

        But if the train thing didn’t happen, why did he go back the next year?
        How about this?
        She witnessed the train meeting between Hyuga and someone else because she sat behind them. She overheard the plan to meet the following year so that is why she knows.

      • Please, someone still be on this thread and reply!

        When he said he remembered, I thought he meant he remember the meeting with Makoto – not the one with Yoko. Did anyone else get that?

      • @Tammie –
        I thought he remembered going to the countryside, and asking someone about his mother, but did not remember who it was.
        He did NOT remember meeting Yoko, even when she described the meeting to him.

    • I got the impression that her saying “that’s a lie” was in response to her admission that she didn’t show up to meet him a year later. That’s why it was followed by “I’ve been waiting for you this whole time.” My guess was that she showed up, and so did he, but he didn’t recognize her so she chickened out. Could be that she made the thing up though, who knows?

      • Ah! Very well could be,
        I would love to see that in flashback.
        Y walks right up to nerd glasses H, and he completely dismisses her or walks by…

    • That was what I got, as well. My comments down there were written before I read your comment, but I totally agree with you. Am so happy I’m not the only one thinking this way! *high fives

      From the 1st episode, when Yoko found out about Hyuga’s medical condition, think she was already concocting this story in her mind. She cleverly weaves a tale based on Hyuga’s own questions about a forgotten meeting. I would even bet that promise to meet a year later was for Makoto when they met in the countryside.

  20. I simply love this jdorama.
    I need to praise Oguri Shun’s wife – she transformed the shy guy into a man! And Satomi – I have my very first girl-crash on her, she is adorable. And this episode is pure gold. No more words. I need to reach home to re-watch it for the 4-th time.

    • Shun was never shy. He’s an outspoken person. But I must say his marriage has surely given him a calm composure and gives out the sexy man vibe!

    • Oguri Shun’s image in front of camera is a shy guy. But,in real life he’s outspoken, playful and noisy guy. I remember Inoue Mao often scolded Shun to behave like Hanazawa Rui in off-shot. Matsujun said that Shun is the noisy guy that help him to get along with everyone in HYD.

      Married man has a certain charisma. sexy manly vibe.

      Love the all nighter scene!

  21. Wow it’s like TK2H days once again! I’m constantly stalking this drama, watching it raw and reading recaps as well as the comments. Thanks Ms. Koala!

  22. Oh thanks for the recap…love it. I might be the only one…lol…but I always thought that Yoko was just making up a history w/ him from the beginning. It just has never resonated that they have some fantasy love type deal that he doesn’t remember etc. So I will wait of course to be proven wrong, but I think that is why I haven’t ever really connected with those two.

  23. Thank you very much for the recap this drama is so cute, by the way someone realized how tall is Oguri in the recognition scene in the police station? He’s so beautiful and a great actor

  24. The OTP just got cuter. I think my faves were when he scares her awake and when he gives her the business cards. They’re so precious together! And height difference ftw!

    I actually hate Yoko so much less now. I guess I just needed to see her character develop a little more. I still don’t ship her anywhere near Hyuga but I do see why she’d hold onto her interest. There’s a legit story there like you said. But the fact that she won’t be able to challenge him like Makoto does makes all the difference to me. They’re both great girls in their own right and he both equally admire/are in awe of Hyuga but Makoto won’t hesitate to call him out if he’s an ass while Yoko seems like she’d let it slide just because it’s him.

    • That scene is one of my favourite too! I laughed so loud that I scared my hubby too~! Funny how he giggles first, knowing her reaction <3 that is such a nerd jock!

      • Haha I must have watched it at least a few times myself, giggling like a madwoman! Her reaction is spot on!

  25. I actually thought they were going to withhold her real name until the end of the show … to maybe emphasize the point that Hyuga doesn’t remember it (so why should it matter?) I don’t know, maybe I like symbolism. The elevator scene made up for my disappointment, though.

    • I thought it was more symbolic that he actually made the effort to remember it this time around, though. It shows how important Makoto is to him now that he picked it up and memorized it after she said it only one time.

  26. Koalahhhhhh,
    What a nice filling mind meal your recap is! So much to savor and enjoy. I can’t quote what I agree with you on because it is all of the above.

    OK, don’t make fun of me for this, even though I say it all the time.
    Watching this raw gave me a different feeling about the OTP than watching it with subs.
    The body language – smiles, intensity of gazes, closeness – tells a budding romance story, while the dialog tells me they are still in an exploratory phase. There is genuine affection between them. When he is not yelling at her, his face reads delight or concern depending on how she reacts to him. This means he is readng her face very closely.

    She distracts him, but he wants her nearby for when he needs her, even if it is for comic relief. We are still far from kissing, I think, which I like. Their connection, despite her being a perfect idiot, is cerebral more than physical at this point. It is intellectual and emotional.

    I am going to guess the medical condition is totally psychological and tied to the moment he lost his mama – poor little Hyuga puppy. Makoto’s presence in his life is gradually curing it.

    Let’s talk about the tables:
    Something he seached for.
    Something he loves.
    Something he hesitates over.
    Something he loses.
    Something he regrets not acting on sooner.
    My conclusion – GO SEE YOUR MAMA NOW Hyuga. She’s not getting any younger, you know…

    What do you want to do?
    What do you want to do?
    What do you want to do?
    What is the meaning of life?

    • RMPW has two layers – the action (what we see) and the dialogue (what we hear), and its brilliance is deducing what is true and what is just a facade to cover up what is really happening inside the heart. I love it! Hyuga is just the sort of role that Shun is perfect aside (aside from being a gorgeous man) – his method acting captures all the tics and intensity perfectly. In the same vein, that is why he’s the best acting version of Hanazawa Rui.

      • Just so you know, I have been thinking about this idea since I read it, and watching the show with my brain split in half.
        It made me love Shun even more. So.effing.sexy. He oozes self confidence. His attempted indifference to Makota makes me insane.
        I know this is Jdorama and there won’t prolly be a hot kiss, but I can only imagine how that would happen between them. OY!

  27. Waaaaahhhh!!! This episode had me before the opening credits and never let me go. RMPW owns me completely !!!

    I know I am probably the only one thinking about this now. But I have a gut feeling that Yoko is lying. I think she invented this whole back story about meeting up in the train and talking for two hours and agreeing to meet up one year later. She may have seen Hyuga before and they may have met but I bet she embellished everything else to make him feel guilty. She is taking advantage of his medical condition to try to reel him in. And if my instinct is correct, then I will have all the reason to finally hate her. For now, I am waiting to see.

    In episode 1, she learned about his medical condition and found out that indeed, he does not recognize her. In episode 4, she was talking to her brother about it again and her brother asked if she and Hyuga ever met before and she gave this cryptic answer.

    I don’t know, I may be crazy thinking this way, but thought I would just lay it out there.

    Anyway, I am LOVING this drama to pieces. Always loved Shun Oguri, even in Hana Kimi. I think he is such a talented and charismatic actor. Lethal combination indeed.

    I also like the lead actress so much. I think she is cute and charming. I could have shipped this OTP in RL too if SO is still single. Oh well…

    Captain, my captain, my heartfelt gratitude to you as always.

    Oh, by the way, just want to send a shout out to the gentleman who translates at dramacrazy, by the name of Eric Parosienne (not sure about the spelling). He rocks!!!! for the excellent English subs and doing them so quickly. *I bow…

  28. Finished reading the comments and found myself nodding along. <3333

    That main screencap=so HOTTTT!! I was all smiles when he continued looking at Makoto when the elevator doors were closing!! Love 'em!!

  29. Mrs Koala,

    Could you please enlighten me on how pretty her real name is? Because in (my) real life, Makoto is my Japanese friend’s husband name. So I was puzzled that she would get a male name.

    I will probably have a look at this dorama once AGD is over. :)

    • Makoto is both a boy and a girl’s name. I’ve actually seen it more as a girl’s name. It’s like a Jordan or a Jamie.

      The kanji means “genuine”, “truth” or “sincerity” – 誠 or 真.

      There are tons of combinations of kanji to be read as Makoto. Here’s a sample list: 真、誠、允、実、信、慎、真琴、真人、眞、亮、良、誠人、睦、眞人、淳、充、节、命、一、洵、敦、周、丹

      In RMPW, Makoto’s kanji name is 真琴 which means genuine musical instrument.

  30. If Asahina takes control of the companay, I can see H creating a new partnership with M and others just over the horizon. I don’t see the woman who got him to work on her project through cunning accepting a big IT company winning the bid without H onboard.

    Thanks for the recap OcKoala.

  31. What I love about Makoto and Hyuga’s relationship, besides the cuteness, is that while Yoko makes every effort to make him remember their past and interactions, he remembers his interactions with Makoto because it naturally comes to him without force…. Also that Makoto is able to influence him enough that he even makes the effort to get along with others and give words of encouragement. She even influence him enough that he doesn’t like seeing her disappointed when he said he doesn’t remember her, but with Yoko, he just kind of let it go until he remembers how much being forgotten hurt Makoto… Yoko doesn’t influence him like Makoto does… Yoko is there for the sole purpose to make him remember her and for him to fall for her… Makoto is there to help him grow and encourage him, and for him to actually let out his problems… This can be seen on their very first meeting when he told her about his mother. I mean, even Asahina didn’t know about that until he investigated about Sawaki Chihiro…

    Anywayzzz, waiting for the next episode…

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