Last Friends Ep 04

18 06 2008

Trying to plow through all these episodes and blog them is really tiring. If only I had kept up before, then staring at a computer screen wouldn’t tire me out so much. Oh well, onto major plot points of this episode.

  • Takeru puts makeup on Michiru to cover-up the worst of her bruising and such
  • Sousuke goes to Michiru’s work and finds out that she has taken the day off
  • Ruka tells her coach, Hayashida, that she wants to be seen as a racer and not a woman, to which he replies that it’s impossible
  • Michiru goes to work with Takeru as his assistant
  • Ogura sees his wife with the other man
  • Sousuke shows up at the racetrack, watching Ruka
  • Ruka invites Hayashida out for drinks in attempt to prevent Sousuke from following her back to the sharehouse
  • Hayashida forcibly kisses Ruka, who then pushes him away and runs off
  • Ruka goes to Takeru’s bar upset about the incident with Hayashida, Takeru comforts her, giving her a shoulder to cry on
  • Takeru buys a set of cups similar to his and Ruka’s for Eri, Ogurin and Michiru, completing a set of matching house cups
  • Michiru’s mom calls, telling Michiru to come home to visit and asking for more money
  • Ruka goes to Michiru’s house in lieu of Michiru, dropping off money and picking up a souvenir from her mom
  • Sousuke was in Michiru’s house when Ruka showed up, trying to get information about Michiru by bribing her mom
  • Sousuke shows up at the sharehouse looking for Michiru
  • Ruka threatens to call the cops if he doesn’t leave
  • Sousuke waits out in the rain for Michiru
  • Takeru stays up with Michiru and she tells him about her meeting Sousuke and their family backgrounds
  • Michiru takes out the trash in the morning and spots Sousuke sitting on the ground, wet from the rain
  • Michiru embraces a pained Sousuke

I definitely liked this episode a lot more than the last episode. A bunch of stuff happened and more character development took place so I’m really excited.

I’m not sure how long I’ll wax poetic about Ogurin, but I really do love his character. I think the feeling is so strong because I didn’t think that I was going to like his character so much. He isn’t featured in the opening sequence and is just mentioned as a mysterious fifth roommate in all the summaries of the series that I had read beforehand. His wackiness coupled with the much more poignant look at his character this episode makes him really loveable. Especially when Eri was patting his head at the café I was like, yep, Ogurin is such a child. The beginning sequence with him commenting on the newspaper that Takeru hands him (“This is yesterday’s paper!”) still makes me laugh. That and his mochi in the sukiyaki. Now I really want to try it… ^_^ But I’m glad Ogurin is more than comic relief. His complex about being unable to make his wife happy seems to run pretty deep. I wonder how his relationship will pan out. I’m not so sure that he and Eri will become a couple. Their personalities are too similar and I don’t think that it would help to ground a potential relationship. That and I think that Ogura is still in love with his wife but is essentially using Eri and the sharehouse as an escape. He doesn’t know how to deal with his wife’s infidelity, especially when she seems to have attained a happiness that he couldn’t give her. Down the line he’ll probably confront her, I mean, he has to right? He’ll probably get a divorce and then bum at the sharehouse until he gets back on his feet. Or something. At this point, it would feel awkward to me if they established an Ogura x Eri pairing.

Okay, let me just say that I did not see that kiss from Hayashida coming. It was so left field for me, and essentially for Ruka. I guess looking back, there maybe could have been signs, but they were definitely extremely subtle. Can I cop it up as being a drunk kiss? I don’t think so. Hayashida was a little tipsy, but he was definitely lucid enough to know what he was doing. But even more than Hayashida kissing her, I think I was thrown off even more by Ruka’s exaggerated response. I’m not really sure what’s considered normal when someone you respect and treasure as a friend forces a kiss on you, but Ruka’s response seemed a little much. Is it just me? For some reason, it seems like Ruka has a strong aversion to male affection. Or was it just because it was just a culmination of all the little things that he did to make her feel uncomfortable? I don’t know, but part of me feels like Ruka is rejecting anything and everything that reminds her and others that she is a woman. She did say to Hayashida that she wants to be seen as a racer and not as a woman, but in the racing context that’s understandable. In a sport dominated by men, of course she wants to be seen on equal footing and not as some novelty. But for some reason, when Ruka says it, it seems to have more meaning. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

Again, Takeru was awesome in this episode. He had a few lines that made me wanna cry though. He really is a sweet guy and unfortunately it gives me a feeling that he’s going to become a tragic figure. I mean, he already seems a little tragic now, and I feel like it’s just going to intensify. He has some sort of sexual trauma in his childhood and he seems to be falling in love with Ruka, who is in love with Michiru, even though that hasn’t been made super explicit, even though I think the kiss at the end of episode 1 pretty much solidified that. Takeru is just a tragic figure trope waiting to happen. Nice guys always get the short end of the stick in dramas. His ability to feel people’s needs is uncanny. He realizes that something is wrong with Ruka within 10 seconds of her walking through the door of the bar. He listens to Michiru talk about Sousuke because she obviously wants to talk to about him in a house that shows no sympathy for the guy. And he helps take care of Michiru to help Ruka out. I think my favorite line of his this episode was about looking out for Ruka after she had been kissed by Hayashida: “I decided that while you were protecting Michiru, I would protect you.” TAKERU! T-T I swear I teared up there.

I’m glad my thinking about the complexity of Sousuke’s character was right. This episode definitely played up sympathy for Sousuke and felt me feeling a bit unsure about how I should feel about Sousuke at this point. Having a lonely childhood doesn’t excuse the fact that he is abusive, but he has become a little twisted and his desire for love has him holding onto Michiru and not letting go. Sousuke needs medical and psychiatric treatment more than anything else at this point. He was such a strong and overpowering figure in the past episodes that it was strange to see him so… small. He was creepy up to half-way through the episode as he stalks Ruka and bribes Michiru’s mom in attempt to get information on her. Then he one ups Ruka with calling Michiru’s cell to prove that she’s at the sharehouse, but once she pushes him out and threatens to call the cops, it seems like he shrinks into a shell. Him sitting in the rain just makes him look more pitiful than creepy. Then the ending scene where he says those ending lines really cut. That and the desperate look that he has. If his character wasn’t abusive, they might have been one hit KO lines. I mean what girl wouldn’t swoon with lines like “Michiru, I will always be waiting for you. It isn’t painful to wait.” Heck, even though he is abusive, they still seem to be one hit KO lines as Michiru is sucked back in.

Geez, I don’t know how many times I’m going to say it, but Nagasawa really bothers me. I really need to stop complaining about her acting, but it really has become distracting. Her pained (?) face as she hugs Sousuke at the end was not believable at all, and not pretty either. In fact it paled in comparison to Ueno’s crying face at the bar and the painfully beautiful face that Nishikido portrayed just seconds before. Hopefully this is remedied in the episodes to come.

I had been wondering about the pairings in Last Friends and had been waiting for some sort of follow-up to the kiss at the end of episode 1 and something concrete on Takeru’s feelings and it seems at least Ruka will be addressed in the next episode. There is a lot of unrequited love in this series, but I’m hoping that I’ll work out for someone. Unfortunately the way things seemed to be set up at this point, I’m not holding out too much hope for it. I mean, Ruka is in love with Michiru who is love with Sousuke, who is abusive, and official sources say Takeru later on, who in turn is in love with Ruka. That and I’m a little curious on the sexual orientation of our characters, especially Ruka and Takeru. I’m pretty sure that Ruka is lesbian, and not bisexual, so my hopes for a Ruka x Takeru pairing seemed to be dashed at the outset. But for some reason, I think that I read somewhere that Japanese people convince being gay little definitely than Westerners: less as identifying as exclusively gay and more being in a homosexual relationship. I’m not sure, I might be making that up. That and I think that my information came from Wikipedia which sometimes is reliable and sometimes not. But continuing about Takeru, there was reference to people thinking that Takeru was gay and then a close-up shot of Takeru uncomfortable face, so I’m not sure what that was all about. But in tandem to that, Michiru seemed really uncomfortable with the fact that Ruka might be in love with her as brought up by Sousuke and by the housemates. That and Michiru seemed weirded out when the model brought up the rumor that Takeru was gay. Hmmm… I guess more to think about…

Well, I think that’s it for this episode. Hopefully I’ll get around to at least watching episode 5 tonight then posting something some time tomorrow. Thanks for reading!




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