nagareboshi: episode two

This has to be my favorite shot in this entire episode. I love watching these two through the view of the tank, reminding us what brought them together. There’s also a serenity that both characters find in these creatures that represent everything they wish they had in their own lives; calm and quiet. In dramas you find yourself rooting for characters, desiring their happiness at all costs and for me these two are no different. Kengo and Risa deserve the freedom and solutions they desire, if only for the earnestness in their hearts. I guess we’ll see if they come to an agreement to use each other to finally get the peace they both seek.

Kengo asks Risa to marry him. Thinking he’s weird she tries to push pass him but he stops her saying he wants her to save his sister,”I want you to give her part of your liver.” She processes and stumbles away, he grabs her to further explain it needs <!–ato be a family member.  She cuts him off and continues on, then stops short, “30 million. My debt is 30 million.” She faces him and asks if he’ll really pay it. Dumbfounded Kengo says, “Yes.” With that, she agrees and invites herself home with him for the night.–>

At home, Mom is shocked to see Kengo with a strange woman. He tells Mom that he plans to marry Risa, for he and Minako broke up. Mom believes it’s her fault but Kengo deflects, “It’s over.” Mom deduces Kengo’s thoughts towards Risa and disagrees. “We can’t do such a thing,” but Kengo tells her it’s an exchange and reminds that they don’t have any other options or much time. Kengo urges her to use her energies to help Maria instead of dwelling in the past.

Risa showers, then bathes like it’s her first time, enjoying the comfort and solitude. She gets a phone call but realizing its her brother hangs up. She finds Kengo downstairs taking care of his tanks and remarks he must really love jellyfish. She moves from tank to tank marveled at how tiny and cute they are. She asks about their next step and Kengo tells her they will apply for a marriage license, then she gets her money. Afterward, she’ll get tested to see if she’s a match. She worries about her payment if the tests aren’t successful and declares either way she’s taking the money. Kengo agrees.

Risa: You’re a gambler aren’t you?

Kengo: You’re our last hope.

Risa: If it’s successful?

Kengo: We’ll get a divorce.

Kengo relays the risks of surgery but to Risa, “I’m not going to die so its fine.” She requests another million if the surgery goes well. Kengo hesitates but relents. She comments he’s wealthier than expected but Kengo corrects that he’s been saving for his sister for awhile now. He asks after her family but she shuts him down denying to have one. Kengo tries to press it but she stays firm. He asks her name and they introduce themselves to one another. Risa extends her hand, suggesting this conclude negotiations. They shake hands.

Dr. Kamiya is  in for Maria’s daily checks. He examines as she asks random questions, “Are you are a bed-type? Bath or shower-type?” He answers generously and Maria offers since he asks her so many questions she’s just returning the favor. She believes he finds her annoying but he says its nothing like that. “So why did you and your girlfriend break-up?” Kamiya ends all questions for the day.

Ryota pops in, for visit, (to Maria’s annoyance) thinking she’d probably be bored alone. He playfully mimmicks her conversation with Kamiya and she throws her pillow at him, leading Kamiya to state they seem pretty close. They both deny it emphatically. He warns Ryota to take it easy eventhough he may feel great and leaves. Ryota catches Maria steal a glance at Dr. Kamiya leaving the room.

Risa wakes up at the Okada’s groggy and walks upstairs. Mom is setting the table for breakfast and welcomes Risa to sit. Risa questions the odd mushrooms on her plate and Mom asks if she’s never had king oyster mushrooms. Risa tastes them and exclaims, saying she loves them. While she’s eating Risa sees a craft on a side table and inquires about it.

Mom: Maria made it.

Risa: Who’s Maria?

Mom: Kengo’s little sister.

Risa: Oh, so her name’s Maria.

Mom looks concerned and sits down across from Risa. She thanks her for giving up such a precious part of her body. “My body’s not that valuable,” she munches and Mom gets up to get tea. Risa gets a call from her boss demanding she come in immediately. Mom asks what type of work she does and Risa answers, “Service.”

At the aquarium, Chizura urges Junji to talk to Kengo, since he’s worries about him. He tells Kengo something must be wrong cause he’s out scrubbing his favorite rock. He suggests marital blues but Kengo denies it. He’s about to explain to Juniji when Yuya pops out of the tank. Risa waves from inside trying to get Kengo’s attention and Yuya mistakenly thinks she’s beckoning him. Kengo notices her and excuses himself.

He meets her outside and she asks for 3 million yen. He laughs, not able to get that kind of money immediately, so she settles for 10 thousand. He reaches for his wallet but she takes it and  lifts the money she needs. She informs him she’ll sleep at his house again after work. He asks for her contact information and  she hurriedly tries to sync their phones. He’s busy trying to type in her number so she grabs his phone and syncs them herself. She asks for his key and he hands her a single key with a jellyfish keychain.

At work, Risa looks up  organ donation on her phone. Her boss tells her she has a new customer and to treat him well. She walks in to find her brother waiting for her. He reminisces about how long its been since he’s seen her in a school uniform. “The last time I saw it was when you were in middle school. You were so cute back then.” He asks why she didn’t return home and tells her not to be worried about his injury, since they’re siblings. Risa believes the opposite. He leans in putting his hands on her shoulders but she screams for her boss, saying he’s trying to force himself on her. Shuichi is taken to an alley and beaten up. Boss tells him he must follow club rules and to never return. Risa peers in to check on him after they leave.

Kengo visits Maria delivering a few things for her stay. Seeing the CD Ryota left, he teases, she’s got a new boyfriend. Maria finds the idea ridiculous. Mom is waiting when he gets home, wondering where Risa may be. He checks the time but offers she must still be working. Mom worries she changed her mind but Kengo says all is fine. “How’s Maria?” Kengo tells Mom that her condition is good enough for her to come home for a visit. In his room, Kengo calls Risa but can’t get through.

The next morning Kengo takes out the trash at work and thinks to call again but Junji asks him to come over again to smooth conversation with his wife. Kengo laughs and readily agrees. Kengo and Junji walk in for dinner and are greeted by Chizura. Once inside, Kengo looks up to see Minako setting the table. Over dinner, Chizura asks about diving and their college years together. Minako, Kengo and Junji relay stories about their time together in Palau. Junji pulls out an underwater video taken at the time, which prompts Chizura to want to see it for herself. “Shall we follow these two on their honeymoon then?”

Junji reveals they should be going to Palau for the honeymoon and Chizura readily agrees to tag along. Minako stiffens and Kengo corrects that they are not going to Palau nor have they changed venues. He officially apologizes and reveals they’ve broke up. Minako apologizes as well saying she didn’t know how to tell them earlier. When they part to go home, Minako calls after Kengo, “I’ll cancel the ceremony hall reservations, okay?” He agrees, smiles and says, “Goodnight.” Chizura asks Junji why they broke up and kept it a secret. Junji doesn’t know but thinks aloud it might have something to do with Clione (or sea angel), the girl he and Yuya saw Kengo meet earlier.

Kengo gets home and his mother rushes to the door hoping he’s not alone again. He is and she concludes that no one is truly willing to do something as invasive as surgery for a complete stranger. Kengo tracks down Risa’s job using the address on her business card. Inside, he asks to see Makihara Risa but her Boss feigns ignorance. He then asks for “Milk” but Boss says she’s absent and welcomes him to come again. Boss goes to Risa’s room and tells her that yet another weirdo had come to see her.

Mizuki walks up on Maria laughing to her Rakugo CD. It’s Saturday so she came for a visit. Maria says she losing track of time and wants to return to school to finish her project. Mizuki sees Ryota approaching and gladly invites him to join them. He notices Maria’s been listening to the CD he gave her and asks which skits she likes best. They begin to chat when Mizuki interrupts that she loves Rakugo. This immediately gets Ryota’s attention and he inquires after how much she knows. Maria looks at Mizuki shocked because her earlier statements “Rakugo’s for old people” and “I’m not interested, suggested otherwise.

Ryota informs that Hayashiys Kinpei’s performing at a local music hall and they should go. Maria declines as not to get in trouble, but Mizuki readily agrees. They get up to leave and Maria stops them. Maria and Mizuki speed inconspicuously by the nurse’s station to the bathroom so Maria can change. They meet Ryota outside and trot off to the performance.

During the performance, Mizuki watches dissatisfied as Ryota studies Maria, gauging her enjoyment. He comments that it’s much better live and gestures for Maria to hold his water as he pulls out his medication. Maria looks concerned as he takes it and turns his attention back to the stage.

Dr. Kamiya is leaving for the evening when a nurse stops him at the door frantic that Maria is missing. They check Ryota’s room and he’s missing as well. Kamiya warns that Ryota’s absence is the bigger problem. Kamiya spiees a magazine on Ryota’s tray with a performance for today’s date circled and gets an idea.

Kamiya finds the performance hall just in time, for Ryota loses consciousness and leans on Maria’s shoulder. She pushes him off and Mizuki notices Ryota has passed out. They shake him as Dr. Kamiya runs in and checks his vitals. He looks to Maria and tells her to call an ambulance.

Dr. Kamiya tells Maria to rest and never sneak out the hospital like that. She asks if she and Ryota have the same illness being she noticed they take the same medication. He understands her concern but can’t discuss Ryota’s condition with anyone except family.

Kengo waits outside the club and is disappointed to see Risa walk out. He follows her home, about to approach her door, when Mom calls him from work. She tells him Maria sneaked out of the hospital. Kengo walks into Maria’s room and apologizes to Dr. Kamiya for her behavior. He asks after Ryota and Kamiya eases that he’s now stable. He accepts Kengo’s apology and says he’s already scolded Maria. Maria apologizes to Kengo and he helps her into bed. Her mind still unsettled.

Kengo stops by to speak with Dr. Kamiya. He lets him know they are still looking for a donor but wants to know what needs to be done for a brain-dead donor as a a precaution. Kamiya agrees that they can register however they need Maria’s approval. Therefore they would have to inform Maria of her current condition.

Kengo returns to Risa’s house. Shuichi opens the door and introduces himself as her brother. Risa comes home from shopping surprised to see Kengo. She grabs and drags him downstairs. Kengo demands to know what’s going on, “He said he’s your brother!” She insists otherwise and looks up at her brother, telling Kengo she will call the police if he comes again.

She returns to her door and pulls Shinichi inside. He wonders about the man outside and Risa denounces him as a strange client from work. Assuming Kengo’s a stalker, Shuichi suggests she just get her boss to take care of him. He tells her he’s not upset about earlier, being its all his fault. He blames his debt and promises he’ll definitely take care of it. He glimpses the grocery bags delighted she still remembers his favorite meal.

Maria comes by Ryota’s room to check on him. He sits up and says he’s fine. She asks about his illness and finds out they were both born with damaged livers. He says its fine though because they will both find a way to make it through and recover.

In the morning Risa packs as her brother sleeps, she leaves the key on the table. Junji comes up to Kengo citing his confusing about he and Minako’s breakup. Kengo apologizes again feeling he should have told him properly. Junji asks incoherently if it has anything to do with Clione when Risa bursts in and brushes passed Chizura. “We need to talk,” she pulls him outside.

Kengo thinks she’s changed her mind but Risa’s affirms, “Of course not,” and hands him the marriage registration, her part filled in. He demands to know why she kept her brother a secret but she doesn’t find it important and tells him to sign. Kengo thinks they should at least tell her brother about their arrangement  but she disagrees and tells him to just sign to papers. She pulls out the papers and hands him the pen.

Kengo: Are you sure? Are you really sure?

Risa: Why are you only asking me now? Don’t ask me if I’m sure now! Then why are you helping me? I can’t turn back anymore. You’re the only one I have left!

Kengo takes the papers in his hands and fills in his name as husband.

Reactions, Ramblings and Remarks

Recapping a drama you’ve seen more than once is pretty difficult. First there is the problem of whether the drama will hold up to rewatch or remain the gem you felt it was during its run and second, knowing what’s going to happen and waiting patiently for it all to unfold. I consider myself a rather patient person, however I find it’s only when I have to be. Therefore it takes a lot of self-control to watch one or two episodes at a time as not to have too many thoughts swimming during my recaps.

I love contract marriages. Though they make no sense in the realm of reality. But somehow they never truly get old. They have to be done well, of course and I think the beginnings of this one is pretty great. Both parties have something to gain(high stakes) and neither has taken into consideration the toll such an arrangement can have on them. Kengo and Risa are so blinded by their own need there is little thought about how this all will play out. Thankfully, as the audience, that’s exactly what we like, right?

There’s alot of miscommunication in this episode along with revealing some areas that need to be set to right. It seems Maria’s wheels are turning and she may figure out her condition before her family is given a chance to tell her. As far as keeping the severity of her illness a secret, I am of two minds. I relate strongly with Kengo, understanding his intention to protect Maria, however, at this point it’s bordering deception. She’s known all her life that she was ill and it’s not right to keep her in the dark about something as invasive and life threatening as surgery. Regardless of a donor being found, Maria is old enough to comprehend what her risks are and should be able to know she will be relying on the kindness or death of another to survive. To me, she is still a child, therefore, ultimate decisions should be made by adults but her input and awareness are key factors as well.

Kengo spends the majority of this episode looking for Risa concerned she had reneged and I completely understand. He desires(needs) to believe in her but why should he? Also Kengo and Risa’s experience and understanding of family crops up several times. Risa vehemently denies having any family ties so when Kengo finds she has a brother and they live together it’s a little maddening. Poor Kengo is crushed, feeling duped, I’m sure. Risa on the other hand, is tying up lose ends, properly ending things with her brother, doing one last kind thing for him. Her plans to return get altered due to her brother still hanging around and learning(from her net research) more about what she’s verbally agreed to. When he confronts her about lying she is genuinely puzzled believing her lie to be more truthful than the reality we all know. In that scene she smiles slightly expressing embarrassed bewilderment that I found very telling.

The parallel between Shuichi(still nameless) and Kengo, continues through keys. Kengo gives Risa a key to house(new life) and she leaves the key her apartment(old life) with her brother. It’s a well known metaphor but its played well here. We don’t really know all that Kengo’s key may hold and according to her it’s a little “lame” but it seems lame is what Risa is after whether she admits it or not.

Also, more so in this episode, we see Risa’s desperation to break free of her brother’s bond. It’s still a mystery what type of relationship they had(creepy at best) but Risa does not seem comfortable with him at all. She’s not just angry but terrified. She doesn’t want him to touch anything in her life and she needs this time contracted to Kengo to make a new start anonymously. I’m also pretty sure she’s done this disappearing act before, however this time, it seems she’s determined to be more successful and their separation permanent.

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