Last Friends Ep 02

7 05 2008

So I figured I should give a basic summary for each episode, mostly just to refresh minds. If you’re looking for a more extensive summary, sorry, you won’t find it here, since these are mainly my thoughts on the episode itself. I don’t know if I would even call it a basic summary, just highlights or an outline maybe?

So highlights/outline of episode 2 of Last Friends:

  • first off, no after-math of THE kiss
  • Ruka walks Michiru from the house to the train station so she can go to work
  • Michiru sees Sousuke watching her through the window at work and then goes home with him after work
  • Ruka’s motocross coach tells her she might win the next motocross race with her current lap time
  • Ruka’s dad comes to visit her and she takes him to where Takeru bartends for a drink
  • Michiru finds her graduation year book behind the first-aid kit at Sousuke’s house
  • Ruka does some internet research about surgery on Jyunshin Medical University Hospital’s Urology Department website
  • Eri brings home the 5th housemate, Ogura Tomohiko, who in turn brings a TV from home
  • roommates and Takeru watch movie, Takeru leaves in the middle during a steamy potential sex scene
  • Michiru comes home late from work after telling Sousuke that she’ll be home by 8
  • Takeru goes to Michiru’s work to drop off Ruka’s motocross ticket and to get a hair cut
  • Michiru gives Takeru a protection charm (?) to give to Ruka and tells him she probably can’t make it to the race
  • Sousuke watches from outside and watches as Takeru leaves on his bike
  • Sousuke asks Michiru to cut his hair and silently threatens to cut his ear until Michiru says she’ll never cut another man’s hair
  • Ruka is sad when she doesn’t see Michiru in the stands before the race, but then immediately becomes happy when Michiru arrives just before the race starts
  • Ruka gets pushed off to the side during the race as she attempts to defend her lead and ends up at the hospital
  • Ruka wakes up and as Michiru is about to leave, Sousuke shows up and introduces himself to Ruka
  • on her way to the bathroom, Ruka overhears Sousuke and Michiru arguing, and comes in between them when she realizes that Sousuke is going to throw a chair at Michiru

I actually like the first episode more than this episode. There are too many things about this episode that bug me a little bit. But overall it is still a good episode. This episode is definitely more melodramatic then the last one. Hopefully the drama builds slower than its current pace, because I feel like the climax is going to be ridiculous if this is the set pace.

So something that bothers me, but also something that makes me really happy is the acting and the interactions between the characters. This is twofold and a sort of double-edged sword I guess. What is beginning to bother me is Nagasawa and Nishikido’s acting, but what I’m beginning to love even more are Ueno and Eita. For some reason I’m just not buying a lot of Nagasawa’s facial expressions. I don’t know what it is. I don’t think she is a particularly bad actor, but I’m just not feeling a strong resonance with her character compared to the others. Maybe it’s precisely that Ueno and Eita are doing so well that her presentation seems a bit shallow?

While Nishikido’s acting still bugs me a little, it is definitely growing on me. His creepy factor was bumped up a few notches with the cute wave just seconds after glaring at Michiru when he sees her and Takeru from the window. The hair/ear cutting scene also made me squirm a little bit.

On the flip side, I love the interaction between Ruka and Takeru. Their conversations are some of the only pieces of sunshine in this depressing landscape, especially this episode. Some of the scenes and lines I loved involve Ruka poking fun at Takeru. Her dad says that “he looks a bit weak” at the bar. Ruka says that Takeru rides sloppily as she talks about flying through the air on her bike. My favorite one though is Ruka’s reason for inviting Takeru to the house: to take away any man smell that Ogura might bring. “What do you think am I, an air freshener?” HAHAHA ^_^

Another double-edged sword of this episode was the music. There were parts I loved but others where I thought it was a real miss. I loved most of the piano work of this episode and have decided that the piano version of “Prisoner of Love” is so beautiful and heart-wrenching that I might just cry. There was also that creepy electronic music when Michiru finds her graduation album behind the first-aid kit. I thought it was pretty fitting. But what bothered me was the pseudo ‘80s sounding victory music that plays a little before and during Ruka’s race. What is that?! I’m serious when I say that it was distracting! The beautiful mood that was “Prisoner of Love” was just ruined by a bad part of the ‘80s! At least pick something good from the ‘80s to imitate if you must… T_T

Remember before how people were speculating that Ruka might be dead? Well, part of the narration of this episode leads me to think that isn’t true, but this is still a theory. After Ruka walks Michiru to the subway station (it might the train station… I’m not sure), Ruka’s narration talks about seeing Michiru’s tears that night and then she says, “if I had known maybe I could have done something. Michiru, if only I had known…” This is definitely Future Ruka talking, but is it Future Ruka during Pregnant Michiru timeline or Ruka in a week?

Another question I have is concerning the importance of the keys. As I was taking notes on episode 1, I noticed a key in the box that Michiru opens in the beginning of the episode and then in the opening sequence there is a shower of keys. I wonder what that is about…

There seemed to be more things that bugged me than things I loved in this episode. When Michiru meets Sousuke for the first time after leaving home, he doesn’t say sorry or anything. Rather she’s the one that says sorry. Meanie. That and buying the new lamp. It’s like he’s saying that his abuse of her didn’t happen. GRRR. Evil Sousuke. Well, I guess it’s more character development and not really anything to be really annoyed about. But the one thing in the plot that did seriously annoy me was the fact that after Michiru is asked to stay longer at the studio, SHE DOESN’T CALL SOUSUKE TO LET HIM KNOW THAT SHE WILL BE HOME LATER THAN 8. Are you serious? Even if Sousuke wasn’t abusive, isn’t it common courtesy that if you know that someone is waiting for you to come home at a certain time you tell them if you’re going to be late? And it’s not like she was told in the middle of her shift. She had just gotten off the phone. She could have texted him or something. That was seriously a dumb move on her part. That doesn’t excuse Sousuke’s following actions, but I wanted to shake her for putting herself in the line of danger.

The appearance of the 5th roommate is fun though. He’s kind of pathetic in a funny way. I like him. I loved that he jacked his LCD TV and brought it to the house as a house-warming gift. Too funny.

This episode definitely opened a lot of mysterious doors. They touched upon Takeru’s sex trauma a little and I’m curious to see how that will pan out. Rape? Molestation? Man? Woman? I’m guessing it’s a woman that traumatized him though. I remember the close-up on his caller ID as he was going to work in the first episode. For some reason I remember thinking that it was a woman’s name and that it had something to do with his trauma. Then there’s the question of how Sousuke will react to hearing Ruka call Michiru “my Michiru”. The possessive Sousuke DEFINITELY will not like that.

But for me the biggest question is Ruka looking at Jyunshin Medical University Hospital’s Urology Department website. “Surgical Operation Details”? “Access to the Hospital”? “Register for a Second Option”? “Gynecologist”? HUH?! O_O At first I thought that maybe she was sick. Then the preview for next week throws in a bomb with Sousuke saying, “this person is not a woman” and a close-up of Ruka’s face marked up in the graduation album. Then I thought sex-change and other possibilities along those lines. But there’s also the possibility of that line being taken out of context. He might just mean that Ruka doesn’t act like a stereotypical woman. But part of me thinks that it is definitely bigger than that. I knew that urology deals with the kidneys, the urinary tract and the like, but then I looked it up on wikipedia and it says that urologists also deal with the reproductive system of males. The other part that stuck out to me was that they also deal with “surgical problems such as the correction of congenital abnormalities and the surgical management of cancers.” So many theories on what I currently see as Ruka’s BIG secret.

So, I’m gonna watch episode 3 after my stress levels drop a little. I swear watching this show stresses me out a little…

Geez this post is long…




2 responses

18 05 2008

Just want to say that I did a google search looking for Last Friends reviews and stumbled upon your blog. Your review was well written and thoughtful. I agree with most of what you said about the things that bothered you about this episode. Ueno Juri is probably the main reason why I’m so engrossed. Her acting is so real and intense, I can’t believe she played Nodame Cantabile. Such totally different characters, and Juri nails both characters down so well. Eita also is doing good as Takeru. Like you, I can’t seem to buy Nagasami’s character (her smile is so fake, eh) and am bored by Ryo. I’m up to episode 6 now, and the ending confession left me sitting on pins and needles. Looking forward to your review of the other episodes.

18 05 2008

Thanks shiroja! I’m glad that you enjoyed the entry. I’m hoping to post episodes 3 and 4 soon. Life has just gotten busy this last week. Thanks and hope to see you around.

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