Rich Man, Poor Woman Episode 5 Recap

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.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.


Comments

Rich Man, Poor Woman Episode 5 Recap — 57 Comments

  1. I want a ren’ai dorama like what they used to make a long time ago. I was hoping RMPW could be it, but this recap kinda deflates my expectation. @__@

  2. I am really enjoying the pace of RMPW. Even though it is summer fluff, it’s interesting and lets viewers become invested in the characters “other lives” aside from being the OTP. I like that Hyuga & Makato are figuring things out for themselves AND working together for a common goal (personal registry). That little reminder for Makato to give him some space and let Hyuga think through things by himself for a while was golden! He seems like the type of person who needs to do quiet introspection before moving to the next idea or phase of business or a relationship……IF he’s ever had a real relationship (other than meeting “what’s her face” at the train station).

    Anyways…this ep feels like calm before the storm. From the previews, it looks like ep 6 is gonna be a doosey!

  3. I am now an avid reader and stalker of your blog because of RMPW. hehhehe! Thanks for the great recap!

    Oguri Shun and Satomi really shine in this drama. ASide from the countryside trip, I really love the presentation part! Hyuga really owns the stage! The scene for me is beyond PERFECTION! Particularly when the lights were turned off and then when he opened his laptop, the musical score has really raised the scene to another level of emotion! So charismatic and confident! Even the usually antagonist Yamaguchi is impressed! How can Asahina beat the guy like him?!!! NO WAY!

    • Me too! If only corporate presentations in the real world were this impressive then there won’t be people falling asleep.

  4. thank you!!! :) So glad you poured my exact feelings about Yoko into words:

    “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.”

    I don’t hate her yet (depending on her motives I cannot vouch for the future :F :F :D), although somehow at the beginning her whole being just rubbed me the wrong way. Now whenever she appears I start to sigh and get the urge to fast forward, the restaurant drama is boring for me… and now I even hate her brother so seems like I have a problem with the whole family :) Hope she’ll be a catalyst to bring the OTP together and nothing more, like Hyuga realizing that he has more interest in Makoto because of her… please make it so and enough with the misplaced kisses. Rant over, thanks again! :)

    • Japanese drama only broadcast 1 ep per week and last for 1 quarter.Therefore the maximum for one drama is 12 ep. With the except of NHK historic drama, it is broadcast once per week for a year.

  5. I feel like Asahina has been resentful for a long time. Even in the first episode, when he told Yoko he didn’t mind being the quiet second to Hyuga, I felt that it was a lie. So I guess it doesn’t feel all that surprising to me that he’s turning on his partner so soon. I think he’s been doing underhanded things for a while now, but he’s stepping up his game to really try to destroy Hyuga.

    I also love the whole shoulder-sleeping scene. So adorable!

    • I was jut about to write the same thing. You could feel from the very beginning that Asahina was unhappy with being number 2, he just reached his tipping point somewhere around the beginning of the series. For this reason, I really didn’t have any problems with this episode and the pacing.

  6. I totally predicted this turn of events but even so, I too was surprised that there didn’t seem to be one major catalyst for Asahina’s power play. I definitely felt that Asahina had been jealous of Hyuga for quite some time, but this episode left me wondering “why now?” It’s a shame, since there was so much that could’ve catalyzed his journey to the dark side had the production team just given his transformation a liiiiitle more oomph–Hyuga’s character shift brought about by his “softening” because of his relationship with Makoto, a major difference in opinion surrounding this government project, his jealousy over Makoto’s affections (had they decided to have him fall in love with Makoto), etc. The ducks were all in a row for this one, but I don’t think the team committed fully to Asahina’s transformation. It’s ok, since I never found him a terribly exciting character…but I did love his relationship with Hyuga and would’ve liked to see some ambivalence on his part about throwing away their epic friendship.

    I continue to find Yoko SO MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING that I want to throw something at my screen every time she appears. And her restaurant woes? Ugh. Why should we care?! It’s not that she’s unlikable, she’s just irrelevant. Which is, perhaps, worse. I am more than a little annoyed that she and Hyuga share two kisses (next week’s appears to be initiated by Hyuga! Double ugh!!!!!) and the most we got in this episode was a few sidelong glances b/t HyMak.

    Speaking of which, as a viewer, I’m getting a little frustrated at the lack of development in the relationship between Hyuga and Makoto. I love them together and they have insane chemistry, but at this point it seems like Hyuga is more into Yoko than Makoto. Which is frustrating and problematic, obviously.

    The personal file project (and Hyuga’s search for his mother) is only interesting inasmuch as it throws Hyuga and Makoto together. Now that it’s taking substantial screentime away from the two, I’m kind of over the corporate espionage sideplot.

    My comment makes it sound like I disliked this episode more than I did. It wasn’t awful or anything, but it was a bit of a letdown given that we’re halfway through the series. Even worse, given the preview for next week I’m not confident that we’ll get more development int he relationship between Hyuga and Makoto anytime soon.

    • Regarding YOKO.

      Yes, I don’t feel like Yoko is likeable and yes, her story plot is not interesting. But for me, if the case when Hyuga is making the effort to eat the tomato, and his remark on the tomato that “now he doesn’t need to lie to a friend about having eaten the tomatoes”—which he asked Yoko to make it somehow edible for him. Then, I like the way they use Yoko here, so that Hyuga can get closer to Makoto. For me, Hyuga-Yoko relationship is just like a friend who needs the other partner’s ability. That’s all.

      But between Hyuga-Makoto, the relationship is although not yet reaching the romantic sense, but it’s a relationship that is building each other.

      hm, maybe it;s more like hyuga-yoko relationship is more on the take. While Hyuga-Makoto is more on the give.

    • I too was surprised that there didn’t seem to be one major catalyst for Asahina’s power play.

      Here is my guess:
      Asahina was the reason Tono left. Tono says something like “I provided half the capital. You drove me out because you 2 wanted the majority , right?” It is most likely that Asahina was motivated for financial reasons to “drive Tono out” – whatever that means. Current day H renews his employees contracts based on performance, not money.

      Asahina has prolly jealously guarded his close relationship with H since the beginning.

      Why would he want to destroy him now? Could it be Asahina hopes the only person that can lead H back to success is Asahina, and he wants to be needed that much again? Because destroying your cash cow makes NO SENSE whatsoever.

  7. Thanks for the great recap!
    I loved how Makoto said something along the lines of ‘It’s a tough time at work, I should not be so concerned about romance’. Seriously, some drama heroines should memorize that phrase.
    Re: Hyuga – I don’t really think his character traits are contradictory (yes, I know, you said ‘almost’ :)). I would say that he is still a bit of an awkward geek with relatively poor social skills, but at the same time, though he’s short-tempered, he’s also a good guy. When he’s with Yoko, for example, he doesn’t grab her wrists or yell at her. I also laughed out loud when he told Makoto to throw a tomato at the farmer. :D

  8. thank you for the recaps. I now seem to haunt your site waiting for a preview, recap or even a word ragarding Rich man poor woman, so pathetic ,so hooked. Thank you for all you do to help us fans get through the week.

  9. Da fuck?!?

    $^%&%*&(E#$%^% Damn you writers for wasting my time with Hyuga-Yoko NOTHINGNESS. I don’t care if they met on a train, on a plane, or on a freaking unicycle. This needs to stop before I throw in the towel from sheer annoyance.

    I feel terrible for Aibu Saki. Why does she keep playing characters that tick me off to this Nth degree. Off to go munch on squid jerky and down a beer whilst relooping Hyuga-Makoto cuteness in my brain.

    P.S. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I would bet money that Aibu Saki paid off the screenwriter so that she got a chance to make out with Oguri Shun onscreen for once in her life. I don’t blame her, but OMG zee hatred I have of this plot line.

    • When is this nonsense supposed to take place?!?!?! The writers better explain this right away and NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN. She’s taking up valuable Hyuga-Makato screentime. LOL

      • His eyes are only half open,similar with the first kiss, anyway it doesn’t matter since Makoto haven’t got a single kiss from Hyuga instead she will have a hug from Asahina. As Mrs. Koala said Da Fuck?!

      • I saw the longer preview version. After Yoko confessed her feelings, he leaned in and kissed her…eyes closed…i think….wahhhhhhhhh. That’s when Makoto tried to call him back but he didn’t answer. :(((((

        Thanks for recap Koala!! Good thing you noted that Hyuga was bowing to the old man after he threw him the pen. The whole time I thought he was bending over scratching an itch or something XD

    • UUUUGH DIE SIDE PLOTLINE, DIE!

      Even worse: Hyuga INITIATES the kiss, if the previews are to be believed. I’m SO OVER YOKO.

    • I think he just wants to test his feeling for Yoko – like when he tried to remember her in a close watch. In the first episode, when he talked to the priest-friend about the girl with the same name as his mom, he said he feels nervous around her, but not because of the name. And he slept so well on her shoulder hihi:))
      I like the pace of the romance in RMPW, it’s calmer, more natural. And the business part is good. If anyone wants more speed, better watch a movie.

      • OK. I take that back. I’m in rage. WTF?! Watched the long preview. WTF?! Arghhh!

        On other note, it does seem that the staff are suspecting Makoto to be behind the leak. I hope Hyuga doesn’t believe that, though.

        I don’t see how Asahina is drawn to Makoto, but I guess he’s mad because someone care more for Hyuga (it’s so obvious, only Hyuga dont see it, yet, pft) and none for him, that is why I guess Asahina tried to get Makoto on his side? Hunger for attention. Hmmm…

      • Same here, I also watched the long preview of episode , and I’m so upset cause Hyuga initiate and seems to enjoy the kiss.

    • So funny!
      Listen, even this newbie dorama watcher here knows this is how the J love triagles go.

      We are led to believe that the obtuse part of the love triangle is solid, that the attraction between 1stLM and 2ndLF is strong. Our plucky heroine has no chance, right?

      Would YOU turn down this aggressive and sexy female feeding you your favorite foods on you favorite tables? Yuka, btw, is always a coupla steps ahead of M, whose charm is her sincerity. How does that trump scheming in the short-term?

      But doesn’t he look confused more than happy to be doing this? Even if the kiss happens, it won’t stick. Our Hyuga is always thinking about our Makoto, whether he wants to or not!

  10. But I would watch this sucker even if it had absolutely no plot as long as they insert more cute Hyuga-Makoto scenes. Please please please!

  11. “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.” LOL I thought the same …. Thank you very much for the recap, I really enjoyed this episode, moments of Makoto and Hyuga, were very sweet

    • wow, didn’t notice his height until it was mentioned.. I wish I was still growing.. Oguri is so tall and charming.. too bad he’s taken.. BOO! :(

      • Awww, he is so charming, his eyes and smile can kill me. Once again thank you Ms. Koala for this recap. Monday come fast….

  12. Omg! I can’t believe his friend would do that to him. I mean, he knows he’s not the brain in the company so why is he stabbing his own friend in the back? Wonder if he feel he isn’t being acknowlege? errr?
    As for the sister, that preview…I hope I’m wrong but it looks like the brother and sister are in cohoot together? Is money that important? or power? Sooooo sad.

    Awww….

    maybe this plotline will get Hyuga and Makoto closer ?
    Since Hyuga doesn’t remember face and name, is anything yoko told him even true? maybe they did meet on a train..but that’s about it. Maybe yoko getting close to him for her brother?

    Can’t wait for ep 6. ARrgh… read the preview recap and dang… not liking it.

    • agree with you…. i hope next episode will show the improvement of relationship between Hyuga and Makoto. i really hope the kiss doesn’t mean anything

  13. Thanks for the recap!!!
    I LOVE THIS DRAMA!!! So far it’s amazing! I watch each episode twice hehe

    I hated the preview too, but i think it is not exactly what we think it’s gonna be! I hope so!!! Let’s wait and see)))

  14. Thanks for the recap. I’m soooo late to this party because of a day long outing yesterday.

    I like this about H: “Sometimes he reacts viscerally, other times he just shuts down and is precise and controlled.” We are starting to see that WHO he is with predicts how he acts. There’s a “feelings” valve that Makoto’s presence now seems to be opening. I get very excited about that idea because even before he admits that his heart is going towards her, he is allowing his heart to go to her.

    Shun, in the beautiful field moment, made my heart speed up a little.
    You can pinpoint THE moment when he finally sees Makoto. The sincerity in her trust that he WILL succeed – all the more valuable because of her willingness to criticize him openly – moved him more than he expected. I like that she looks gorgeous sitting there in the sun, and maybe H notices for the first time that she literally sparkles near him. I also love that when she smiles back, he gets all shy, like “Ooops! What did my face just say to her? Holy schmit! She is reading my mind!”

    No matter how seductive and driven Yuka is, she will NEVER be important to H as this Makoto.

    • I love the stop and stare moment in the field. SO PRETTY. It’s totally different from that glance in ep 2 during the conference with the minister lady. I guess at the time he was impressed with her memorization skills and/or he’s proud of himself for hiring the exact kind of persona the minister likes. But in the field scene, he looked at her in a new light like “omg she’s so beautiful..she genuinely cares about me”. They are the cutest otp ever! At the end when he ran away, i watched it raw so I thought he said “I’m going crazy” like a kdrama moment hahahah.

      • And there is this other thing she is doing that nobody else is, motivating him. She is almost daring him to live up to the person he thinks and says he is. It’s not hero worship because she also yells a him when he is wrong. Everyone else just tells him how great he is, and waits for him to deliver something wonderful.
        Makoto is actually guiding his progress towards his goal.

        His awkwardness at that moment with her because of his nascent feelings towards her is perfect. Like you said, it’s a little, “What am I nuts?” mixed in with “What the heck is this feeling? When does
        the oak tree fall in love with the squirrel?!” I also feel he may go towards the noble idiocy of “Don’t fall in love with me, babe, I’m baaaaaad news.”

  15. Thanks for the recap.

    Since the start, it seems like Asahina’s already on the edge coming to dark side. Anyway, cut Hyuga off the company. let’s see if Asahina could succeed without the genius that is Hyuga.

  16. I forgot this: “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.”

    The business that Next I has built up over the years grew because of brilliant and fast programming skills. They quickly supply cyber goods that are enjoyed and discarded just as quickly.
    The Perrrrrr -sohn -al File project breaks them out of their slick and fast SOP. His amazing demonstration showed us the possibilities of their PF, but folks just want to access the info easily. To make this a success, it needs to be almost mundane, like the every day ink pen we now take for granted. I like the lesson that creating something long lasting and far reaching is a LOT harder than programming a cell phone game, and that Makoto is the only person who understands Hyuga’s motivation behind doing all of this hard work is not financial, but personal.

    • I think so, it’s a different business line they are creating. It’s like migrating from fun business to serious business. This soon-seem-to-be fall-out with Asashina could be a breaking experience for H, H might even leave the company and out to build a new one, like what the mentor-farmer Aoyama said. Only this time he has a different partner that is Makato ….

  17. I really love this couple. She will temper his desire to “destroy” Asahina and that man should be greatful for her existence in Hyuga’s life if the preview is any indication of the upcoming smackdown.

    The country outing was cool with an interesting cast of characters.

    As for Yoko, I really liked her actions in this episode because she’s direct and seems to want to help Makato. I think Y is more concerned about her culinary reputation than gaining a love life at the moment not that the two are mutually exclusive but she is not chasing after H. If M wants Hyuga, she’s going to have to let go of her inhibitions and “Go for it!” Toss your hairpins into the arena. I love your character anyway girlfriend.

    Thanks for the recap.

  18. Thanks for the recaps! It’s my first time watching a Jdorama that’s still airing in Japan so i’m getting impatient waiting for just 1 (at least Kdramas have 2!) episode per week. But with the memories of my recent Hana Kimi marathon and my newfound love for Oguri Shun, I can face anything. Yosh! Bring on the wait. I’ll be a visitor in your blog in the next several weeks.

  19. I’m so late for this, just finished watching now but I just want to add that I so love how Makoto is openly showing her love and affection for Hyuga but not in a hero-worship sort of way, more like a companion/partner. Girl is not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve and I love her for it. Heck even the little boy saw it!

    Ahhh..this OTP will kill me. Why is it only one episode per week?!! Why?

  20. something isn t right with yoko i don t trust her.here s why:

    Firstly: She makes no qualms about liking Hyuga
    Second: When Natsui and Hyuga met in the past, we still have a flashback to prove it, even if Hyuga doesn’t remember it. However, we have nothing for Yoko’s word on it.
    Third: at the time when Hyuga agreed to remembering the incident, he had just returned from hurting Natsui with his admission to not remembering anything,just before Yoko started talking about the past, he asked her if he was hurting her (Yoko) too by not being able to remember.

    Then Yoko immediately segued into her talk of taking a trip down memory lane. Now Hyuga is nothing but a fast learner, and having just seen his effect on Natsui, and not wanting to hurt two people in the span of a few hours, he readily admitted to remembering something.

    Two things pound out this point for me:
    One is the way he said it, sort of like “Oohh Yeaahhh, I remember that…”. It’s something most people have done at some point.

    Second is the way he played it safe. By saying he doesn’t remember the exact contents of their conversation, he leaves himself some breathing space, making himself able to not offend anyone.

    i don t know that s what i got

  21. The performance of the actors and actresses in this drama has been really good. Everyone is talking about Oguri Shun and Ishihara Satomi but Iura Arata has also been quite outstanding as scheming Asahina. Haven’t been this excited about Japanese drama since I last watched Boss and Boss 2 and it’s time for a Japanese drama to shine in a sea of Korean dramas!

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