Episode 5 of Rich Man, Poor Woman was like a brief respite from all the action that was episode 4, and a much needed breather before the coming maelstrom that is episode 6 (based on the previews). I like this episode because it took Hyuga and Makoto out of Tokyo and interacting outside of Next Innovation. They are still working on the personal file project, but they were able to take it from conceptual phase to beta-testing on average folks who live in the countryside. Allowing them to step outside of the fast-paced programming and academic world also harkened back to when they first met in Makoto’s hometown, sitting down to talk without any fakeness or niceties, just sharing their thoughts.
Hyuga is a very complicated character, probably the most multi-faceted one amongst the four leads, and his many personalities tics (some of which feel rather contradictory even) make it hard to gauge how he is feeling and thinking. Sometimes he reacts viscerally, other times he just shuts down and is precise and controlled. Despite being brusque and in-your-face, he’s turned out to be a really decent and fair guy, and has quite a considerate and sensitive heart hidden within. He probably doesn’t even know how he feels about Makoto, which is where she can’t just stay by his side and hope she gets him to confess first. She’s starting to get more courage, and she’s going to need it all to fight for Hyuga and to help him with the problems that are about to besiege Next Innovation.
Episode 5 recap:
Asahina walks through a darkened parking garage and a car flashes its head lights at him before zooming past. The car stops ahead and a man steps out. We don’t see his face, but Asahina looks shocked.
Hyuga stands in an auditorium giving a presentation on the personal file project. His hair is all sorts of even weirder than it already is, what with being permy and rakishly swept to the side. He explains that we know ourselves the best, but the information of our lives is scattered all over and hard to gather and access. The government is entrusted with it, and if there is a glitch in the system, important matters such as social security pension data could be lost just like that, which is indeed what happened before.
With the creation of a personal file registry with a clean easy-to-use interface, all the data is available aggregated in one place. It isn’t just a backwards looking file, it aims to help plan for the future. It can help calculate how much social security one can expect to collect down the line, and even has forms available to fill out and submit to government agencies directly. He explains that the time and money saved adds to money we can spend, joking that a guy can take a girlfriend out to a meal and being able to afford dessert.
Suddenly the lights are turned off and the auditorium descends into pitch black darkness. Hyuga’s voice continues to speak up, asking what will happen if we live in darkness and cannot access anything? He opens his laptop to show the landing page for the personal file, and the light from the laptop shines brightly in the darkness. He explains this is the future and will light the way.
The presentation ends and its turns out to be a mock run through for employees and the Board of Directors, before Hyuga presents to the media. Everyone jumps to their feet to clap, though Makoto is so mesmerized that she has to be reminded to get up and join in the boisterous clapping. It’s adorable how she gets so overwhelmed with emotion every time Hyuga does something inspiring.
The Board of Directors is not as impressed or enthusiastic, declaring that they won’t agree to this project which will sink all the money of the company into one creation. They think it’s a dream and one without any practical value. They leave and Hyuga angrily runs after them. He has to be restrained by Asahina, who says he’ll handle it. Makoto looks on all teary-eyed.
Hyuga throws a fit in his office and tosses computers, screaming about how the Board is diverting programmers from the personal file project to work on other matters. He rages that this is his company! Why does he need to be dragged down by those idiotic old men. Makoko watches Hyuga frustrated in his office.
Makoto gets into the elevator but Hyuga darts in right before the door closes. He stands in the corner and she tries not to look at him. She keeps flashing back to his kiss with Yoko, and finally she hilariously slaps herself to stop thinking about it. Yoko walks in at the next floor and Makoto nervously darts out.
The mood is awkward between Hyuga and Yoko in the elevator, and she speaks up first, dismissing what happened between them as just a kiss. She can tell he’s preoccupied and asks what is wrong? Hyuga says its nothing.
Yoko walks back to her restaurant and sees Nogi tossing unused bags of food out because the restaurant hasn’t attracted enough customers for the quantity of ingredients they buy. Yoko says to order less from the supplier. She walks off, but then stops and apologizes to Nogi, taking the blame for what is happening.
Yoko flips through a magazine article about the restaurant which claims she’s just a publicity vehicle who can’t cook. Yoko tosses the magazine aside and then checks her phone to look at a reviewer website where comments deride her lack of cooking ability. Yoko tells those anonymous commenters to taste her food first before saying anything.
Suddenly a new comment pops up describing Yoko as being depressed and reading online comments in her restaurant right now. Yoko immediately realizes someone is watching her right now. She gets up and looks outside, but she doesn’t see anyone. Oooh, Yoko has a stalker.
Makoto is hanging with her friend Haruka in a Hawaiin theme party in her apartment since Haruka just got back from a graduation trip to Hawaii bearing gifts. Makoto bemoans how she keeps thinking about the kiss she witnessed between Yoko and Hyuga. Haruka says Hyuga is just a guy like all the other guys out there. Haruka says that even the great President Hyuga would check out a girl wearing a bikini in front of him, but Makoto thinks so highly of him and his great project that she says he won’t be distracted.
Hyuga narrates about the life of famed product designer Aoyama Makoto, a man famous for creating groundbreaking product designs for home goods. But one day he just retired from his profession and went back to the countryside to grow tomatoes. Hyuga tells the personal file project team that they are headed to the countryside to meet Aoyama and do beta testing on their interface with the folks who live there.
The goal is to get the people’s approval on their design first so that it doesn’t matter what JI Technology does, they will be playing catch up. When asked why Aoyama is willing to help them, Hyuga shoots Makoto a look. Turns out Makoto met Aoyama on a website for people with the first name Makoto (which is a gender-neutral name). They became online pals and he’s even sent her gifts of stuff he designed.
Makoto gets ready to eat lunch one day at work and Hyuga runs out looking all mesmerized. We all know how Hyuga loves well-designed objects. Makoto thinks he’s awed by the contents of her homemade bento, but he berates her for being thinking anyone would like her silly squid shaped hot dog. He’s admiring the bento box designed by Aoyama, and he’s really in pain knowing someone like her has a bento box designed by Aoyama and can’t even appreciate it.
Hyuga shows Makoto a pen designed by Aoyama and how amazing the design is, but she just munches her egg happily. Back to the meeting, Hyuga decides to take one programmer and Makoto along for the beta testing.
Asahina leaves for work and as he’s walking a man almost bumps into him. Nothing happens but he notes that he’s actually quite a scardy cat. Suddenly another man runs past and bumps into Asahina hard, and this time he tumbles down the staircase.
Hyuga goes to visit Asahina in the hospital, the man is laid up with a broken foot. Hyuga reveals that he met up with Tono, one of their earliest employees who quite the company awhile back. Turns out Tono has taken over the family business, and Hyuga persuades him to invest in Next Innovation again by luring him with idealistic visions of the personal file project.
Hyuga tells Tono that he’s headed to the countryside, but when he gets back, he’s off to India to sign a deal for this project. He asks Tono to go with him to sign the contract and Tono agrees.
Hyuga and Makoto arrive in the countryside and greet Aoyama, who is impressed by how tall Hyuga is. I must say that Shun appears to have grown a few inches in the last few years, because he really is ridiculously tall in this dorama. In the last episode, he was taller than the jail doorway when he went to pick up Makoto.
Hyuga walks with Aoyama into a room to be set up with computer, and he has to duck under the door to enter. Aoyama asks who the girl is, and Makoto introduces herself. Aoyama is super giddy to meet his namesake online pal and starts hugging Makoto over and over. Hyuga turns and stares at them, almost like “that’s mine, don’t be touching her.”
Aoyama hands Makoto a tomato and she offers it to Hyuga, who declines because he doesn’t like tomatoes. Makoto takes a bite and is awed by how delicious it is. Aoyama shows her that a box of his tomatoes can sell for 10,000 Yen. He explains that through the internet, he can sell his products anywhere around the world. Makoto tells Hyuga that this more proof that a well designed program can change people’s lives.
Aoyama asks Makoto to go to the fields with him and she asks Hyuga to come along. Hyuga shoos her off, and Aoyama runs back and picks Makoto up and carries her off. Hyuga adorably smiles and takes a picture of Makoto getting conscripted into working the fields.
Hyuga sits in the control room and finds out less than 5% of the people are testing out the personal file system. Hyuga and Makoto go off to speak with folks and find out that other tomato growers dislike Aoyama because he is arrogant and sells hi tomatoes for much higher price so they don’t want to participate in anything he’s a part of. Hyuga hilariously hands Makoto a cherry tomato and tells her to pelt that farmer.
As Makoto and Hyuga walk back, it’s already dusk out. Hyuga gets a call from Yasuoka to check the evening news. Hyuga checks his phone and sees a news report on how JI Technology is investing 50 billion Yen to develop a personal file registry, which is significantly more money and resources than Next Innovation has. Hyuga takes off running and Makoto chases after him.
Hyuga sits in the control room frustrated that no one is using the program so they can’t collect feedback. Makoto offers to go house-to-house to persuade people to try it out, but Hyuga yells for her not to go. Makoto turns back and tells Hyuga that his presentation was inspiring and she wants people to understand what he wants to do.
Hyuga tells Makoto that she’ll disrupt people, and that is when she realizes that it’s midnight already. Makoto vows to go tomorrow. Hyuga gives a small smile.
In the morning, Makoto and Hyuga makes their rounds. One old lady puts a cloth cover on the laptop saying it’s too expensive to use, but now it makes a nice pair. After she gets up to grab them some tea, Hyuga and Makoto see that she’s put the same covering on the laptop as her pet bulldog wears. Another old man says he doesn’t know how to use computers but he can insert emoticons on his cell phone. Another old woman says she refuses to touch new-fangled things like computers.
Hyuga goes back to the control room and rages over how frustrating it is to deal with people who refuse to try new things. The other programmer needs to go back to Tokyo to handle another project that he’s needed on. Hyuga does a video call with the Board of Directors, who want to pull the plug now and are happy Hyuga can’t collect the data he needs since this will show him this project is doomed to fail.
Hyuga wanted to use the beta testing to validate his project, only know its became a reason to kill it. Right when he’s about to flip out again, his computer turns off. Makoto has pulled the plug and she tells Hyuga that those Board members support him when he’s making them rich profits and now they want to sink the ship they just crossed on. Hyuga storms out and Makoto tries to chase after him, but Aoyama grabs her for a celebratory dinner tonight.
Makoto has no choice but to attend the dinner and she starts drinking and being happy. Then she remembers she’s working and can’t be happy. As she runs off to find Hyuga, Aoyama grabs her and drunkenly tells everyone that he’s going to marry her first so they can all wait in line. Makoto keeps saying she needs to find Hyuga but Aoyama suddenly says very seriously that Hyuga needs time to think by himself.
Aoyama jokes that he needs to go pee, but when Makoto finds him outside, he’s not drunk or peeing. He tells Makoto that Hyuga is still too soft and untried and he needs to figure things out himself. Aoyama walks back to the party and Makoto sees Hyuga hunched in his room thinking, knocking his head against the table in frustration.
The next morning, Makoto wakes up and finds Hyuga, asking if he wants to take a walk with her. He doesn’t answer so she gets up her courage to tell him to take a walk with her. They walk through the verdant green farmland and Makoto happily enjoys the fresh air.
Hyuga says the scenery is so beautiful. He sits down and asks Makoto whether he really needs to give up on this project for the good of everyone? Makoto reaches out to touch him, but she stops before her hand makes contact. She finally touches him by making the excuse that he’s tired so she gives him a few massaging squeezes on his shoulders.
Makoto sits down with Hyuga and tells her what Aoyama told her last night. He went through many companies first before becoming a successful designer. He was derided by his superiors before he finally achieved his first success. A designer, someone who wants to do something groundbreaking, will surely encounter defeats before succeeding.
Hyuga smiles, knowing that she is trying to encourage him. He turns to stare at her, and they make eye contact, before he tells her to cut it out on the pep talk. Makoto makes this excuse that this was what Aoyama said, but Hyuga gets up and runs off because he still has so much to do.
Hyuga calls his programming team and tells them to design as if there was no keyboard. He wants all data to be accessed via voice recognition software. He tells the team to buy the best software company on the market that produces voice recognition software. He wants to buy it all. Hyuga throws out ideas, like it can be an owner conversing with its pet to input the data interface. He tells Makoto to stop smiling like an idiot and go write down everything the villagers said.
Hyuga and Makoto bid farewell to Aoyama, who asks for the company address so he can mail them a box of tomatoes. As Makoto is writing, she asks Aoyama whether the pen she is using was designed by him? He takes the pen and tosses it down to Hyuga as tacit encouragement. Hyuga bows deep to Aoyama, who has already walked away.
As Hyuga is leaving, an older lady tells him that the personal file would be of great help to her since she’s really busy. Hyuga promises her that he’s continuing to work on it. The old lady cheers him on and Makoto sees all of this, which makes her smile again.
On the trip back to Tokyo, Hyuga has fallen asleep on Makoto’s shoulder which makes her nervous and happy, especially when he sleepily shifts his head around her neck to find a more comfortable perch. She turns around and a little boy sitting next to her is grinning up at her. Yes, even little kids approve of the cuteness that is Hyuga and Makoto.
They arrive back in Tokyo and Makoto continues to grin like a fool so Hyuga asks why she keeps smiling. He tells her about his trip to India and she worries he’ll be too exhausted. Hyuga feels well rested and Makoto smiles and agrees, knowing that he slept on her shoulder on the way back.
Hyuga asks Makoto why she has been staring at him quite a lot these last few days, and staring at him with a very vengeful look. Makoto says that she saw him and Yoko, but before they can discuss it, Yasuoka arrives to drop some bad news. Turns out Tono has disappeared. He’s supposedly on a business trip, but his company never heard about the investment nor did that company have the money to invest anyways.
Yamagami tells Hyuga that they can’t borrow money on such short notice and they don’t have enough cash to buy the servers in India. Suddenly Asahina arrives and announces that there is still another solution. Asahina says JI Technology is still interested in partnering on this project, but they want to lead it. Hyuga refuses to sell out his team’s hard work.
Hyuga decides to sell off 5% of his 26% majority stake in Next Innovation, which is worth about 1.3 billion Yen. Asahina worries about what will happen is Hyuga if no longer the majority shareholder in the company? Hyuga isn’t worried, since with Asahina’s 25% stake, together they still have a 46% stake in NI. Asahina looks worried but says he understands and tells him to do it.
Hyuga receives deliveries of tomatoes from Aoyama and he brings a box to Yoko. He shows her the gorgeous fresh tomatoes, explaining that the tomatoes come with a friend’s wishes. But he hates tomatoes, so he wants her to help him enjoy it. Yoko makes a tomato dish for him and he hesitantly takes it bite before proclaiming it delicious.
Hyuga asks about why the restaurant is so empty lately. Yoko confesses that online reviews are brutal but she’s not going to let this stop her. Makoto arrives bearing a set of documents for Hyuga to sign. Yoko goes over to take it from her. Makoto makes eye contact with Hyuga and then quickly leaves.
Yoko follows Makoto out and asks why she’s been so weird lately. Makoto apologizes and reveals she saw the kiss. Yoko says its no big deal, and asks why her reaction is so odd? Is it because Makoto likes Hyuga? Makoto says no, but Yoko doesn’t buy it. Makoto says he’s just her boss, but Yoko asks Makoto to be honest about how she sees Hyuga.
Makoto looks inside the restaurant where Hyuga is eating and says he likes to be mean and belittle people, but he’s an amazing man and she respects him. She wants to help him, even with her limited ability she wants to support him. All she wants is to stay by his side. Yoko hears this and understands how Makoto feels. She smiles and says that is fine, then they can all keep going forward and see what that ends up.
Hyuga walks out and Makoto quickly says goodbye and runs off. Hyuga thanks Yoko for the meal, explaining that now he doesn’t need to lie to a friend about having eaten the tomatoes. Yoko sees him walking away and asks if he can give her a ride.
Makoto stops at an intersection and sees Hyuga and Yoko in his car. Yoko sees her but doesn’t tell Hyuga until after he has driven off. Hyuga looks in his rear view mirror and sees Makoto crossing the street. Yoko asks if he saw Makoto but Hyuga lies and says no.
Asahina limps into a parking garage and meets up with Tono. Turns out earlier Tono had tried to blackmail Asahina. He has in his hands personal data for 500, 000 people that he stole from Next Innovation when he quit. He feels like Asahina and Hyuga pushed him out of the company. He wants Asahina to pay to get that data back since it would be devastating if the data was leaked.
Turns out that Tono was the person who bumped Asahina, but he wasn’t hurt from the fall. Asahina gets up and walks over to a concrete pillar. He grabs it and smashes it on his own foot. Owwwww. Tono visits Asahina in the hospital and he warns Tono that he will have him charged with assault. He pulls Tono over and tells him that the person he ought to be angry at should only be Hyuga Toru.
Back to the parking garage, Tono tells Asahina that he’s bought up the 5% shares that Hyuga sold. He asks Asahina what the next step is in their collaboration. Asahina points to his foot and tells Tono that he can’t forget about this injury now.
Next Innovation is in a complete and utter panic as the news is reporting on the largest personal data leak in history coming out of Next Innovation. Asahina is the only person not panicking as he sits in the upstairs office. Yamagami finds him and asks him what to do? Asahina says not to worry about it, since the only person who will be hurt by this is Hyuga Toru. Yamagami pulls back in shock.
Hyuga watches as the entire office is frantically trying to find out how 500,000 personal files were leaked. Yasuoka offers to handle matters with the police. Makoto stands downstairs and looks up worriedly at Hyuga.
Thoughts of Mine:
When I first watched episode 5 I was a little let down by it, much like a balloon with some air let out. But in recapping, I was able to savor the little moments and quiet beats between Makoto and Hyuga, and that really hits on the guts of this drama. Yes, the personal file project is mildly interesting (better than your average business drama plot line), but it’s still presented in very broad strokes without much nuance. Hyuga designs a fancy interface, Makoto reminds him that it needs to be idiot-friendly. Now Hyuga is frustrated with his pet project facing a bevy of opposition from inside the company and outside forces, and he needs Makoto to tell him the very obvious anecdotes about groundbreaking designers needing to fail many times before attaining success.
I’ve come to the realization that the drama isn’t trying to say that Hyuga doesn’t know these basics tenets about programming or about life, because it’s clear he’s brilliant and he does know it. What Makoto does is pull him out of his tendency to tunnel vision something and reminds him that there is another path. Hyuga knows there is another way, Makoto is the impetus to make him consider it. Hyuga is both smart and obsessive, and he can either dig himself deeper into a world where all that exists is him and his company, or he can be pulled back out to interact with people. Until Makoto arrived, his life was the former limited existence, but now he’s able to consider how people think and feel.
I loved Makoto and Hyuga’s walk in the rice fields and when they sat down to talk, it harkened back to their first meeting when talking on the jetty. Everyone needs someone to care about them, and as an abandoned orphan Hyuga has grown up without the level of affection needed to help him balance life and work. So he throws himself into work because that is all he knows and he’s done fine because he hasn’t faced any real stumbling blocks in his professional life. Aoyama pointed out that Hyuga is too “soft” or “untried”, in the sense that he hasn’t experienced failure before and he needs to in order to truly succeed. And Hyuga can’t do that with Makoto, or others, coddling him.
I find Asahina’s transformation from contented number 2 to scheming betrayer very extreme and sudden, but perhaps the green-eyed monster called jealousy really is that unpredictable and powerful. It’s clear that Tono’s motivation is also jealousy, having left Next Innovation because he can’t match up to Hyuga but blaming Hyuga for forcing him out. When two envious and cowardly men join forces, Hyuga does face a formidable enemy who doesn’t fight fair and is undermining him from within. I just wish Asahina would be smarter about what he is doing, because Next Innovation really IS Hyuga Toru. That company has no merchandise other than sheer brain power and talent, and Hyuga is both the leader and a large part of that talent pool. How can forcing Hyuga out of Next Innovation gain Asahina anything other than a company what has lost its main asset?
I’m glad this story keeps moving so fast, which is a change of pace from the more meandering K-drama style. Makoto and Hyuga’s relationship doesn’t stop for them to exchange lingering stares or bask in some drama moment, though there is a little bit of that. What keeps them circling each other is a feeling of mutual interest and a shared goal. Yoko still feels like a third wheel since she’s not involved in the personal file project, and her own cooking woes are about as interesting as watching paint dry. I like her, but she is just narratively uninteresting for me. I would gladly the drama just stop in its track anytime Hyuga and Makoto interact. In fact, I could watch Hyuga sleep on Makoto’s shoulder for 45 minutes and call it a day.
It’s really very tender and reassuring to see how Makoto’s feelings are developing for Hyuga. It’s honest and without any artifice, which is her personality despite the initial lie that brought her into his world again. I like that their relationship is not predicated on attraction, but rather on two people connecting and seeing things in a new light. Makoto discovers a passion and drive in Hyuga, and Hyuga experiences what it feels like to have someone truly care about him. All the little things she does for him, he can see it, even if he not doing anything about it yet. We’ll have to wait and see if the OTP find their way together directly or take a detour before arriving at the destination we know is fated to be.