Hard episode kids. Enjoy.
[edit comments fully updated.]
Everyone gets out of the car at home and Maria angrily asks why Risa has to be her donor. She must be getting paid. No one wants to answer and Mom tries to usher her inside but Risa unabashedly admits she is– “But what of it?” Now Maria isn’t about to do the surgery, however that makes no difference to Risa; she still gets the 3 million, surgery or no.
Risa drops by Kengo’s room convinced their contract is over and plans to move out. Despite Risa’s resignation to the contrary, Kengo refuses to give up and wants to try and persuade Maria once more, and asks her to stay.
Mom and Kengo return Maria to the hospital. Dr. Kamiya scolds Maria for skipping out again and demands this be her last outing adventure. She complies but she won’t be doing the surgery because Risa was paid to be her donor.
Risa wants Minako to convince Maria to do the surgery. She clarifies that she only wants to do the surgery and leave. “After that you’ll get back together with him. If you tell her that clearly, I think you can convince her.” Minako doesn’t think it’s that simple but Risa acts nonchalant and tells her she won’t be staying with Kengo or his family forever and wants to get their business over as soon as possible.
Meanwhile after waiting for Risa to leave, Shuichi calls on Mom. He tells her he’s Risa’s brother and knows about Maria’s transplant. Over tea he begs Mom not to allow Risa to go through with surgery.
Kengo finds Maria outside and asks her to reconsider having the surgery. Maria refuses to agree. He tells her to think of the alternative but Maria insists believing Kengo doesn’t even love Risa. She also finds her disgusting, “Would a normal person sell their liver for money? Just get a divorce and make her leave!” With that Kengo slaps her, furious at her assumption and words towards Risa. Maria slams down a pamphlet containing her written intentions for a brain dead-donor and storms away.
Dr. Kamiya catches up to Kengo to inform him the surgery is off. Maria has chosen to forgo the surgery to hide Kengo’s criminal activity. Emotional, Kengo wonders if there is any other way. “Do you want me to abandon Maria?” Kamiya has no easy answers but knows if Kengo and Risa’s arrangement goes public, it will dampen the credibility of the hospital, making it difficult for them to perform surgeries in the future. Kengo believes Kamiya should think about the present and not the future but Kamiya calls him egotistical to only think of himself and what he wants.
Meanwhile, Ryota asks Maria if she made her decision. She reveals she’s chosen to wait for a brain dead donor like him but Ryota isn’t impressed. Agitated he tells her they aren’t the same, she has a donor. Maria is deflated thinking he would understand but instead he hisses, “You’re just acting spoiled!”
When Kengo gets home, Mom is flipping through her bankbook. She stashes it and he informs her that Dr. Kamiya found out about the money from Maria. Risa overhears and later apologizes to Kengo, thinking she’s to blame for giving Maria the information.
The next day, she meets Dr. Kamiya to convince him reaffirming her consent. He won’t budge, considering it selling her body for money. Risa laughs, stating it’s no different from her other job. She concludes he’s only trying to save his own skin and wonders what’s the use in being a doctor if he won’t try and save a life.
Mizuki wants to visit Ryota but won’t go alone. She thinks Maria is hesitant due to their previous overnight excursion and tells her not to sweat it, for she’s not put off but now pumped to win him over. He’s looks increasingly ill and Mizuki wonders aloud what his illness may be. Maria confesses that she and Ryota fought because of their views on their illness and can’t bring herself to see him.
At the aquarium, Chizura bombards Kengo with questions about the surgery and Risa. Junji guides her away and tells Kengo not to overwork himself and let him know the dates of the surgery. He tells Kengo not to beat himself up, for if given the same circumstance, he’s sure he’d make the same choice.
Mom and Kengo drop in to see Maria but she doesn’t want visitors. On their way out, Nurse Rumi tells Kengo Ryota wants to speak with him. Ryota apologizes for asking Kengo come to him but admits walking makes him tired. He thanks Kengo for finding a donor for Maria. He knows that the circumstances are shady but either way he wants her to live— “So please make sure she has the operation.” He confides he made her angry and asks Kengo to do another favor for him.
That night Risa walks into the kitchen for a drink and asks Kengo if he made any headway with Maria.
Kengo: I met with that boy, Ryota.
Risa: Who’s Ryota?
Kengo: The one who went with Maria to Yamanashi. The one with the same illness.
Kengo: It seemed hard for him to even talk. And yet, instead of worrying about his own body, he was only worrying about Maria.
Risa: You’re the same aren’t you? Maria is the most important person to you.
Mom meets Shuichi at a local café. He thinks she’s call him out to say she’s going to cancel the surgery but instead she slides him a yellow envelope. She asks him to take it and leave them alone. At the sight of money Shuichi’s eyes bulge to gum balls but he profusely refuses.
Shuichi calls Risa at home and she meets him near a pier. She tells him to go home, their not related but Shuichi can’t believe she really wants to give away her liver to strangers. Risa is surprised he knows and orders him to leave the Okadas alone. “You can’t be in love him.”
Risa doesn’t answer and Shuichi insists that as her brother he will protect her. After they part, Shuichi takes out the photo he swiped from Kengo’s room and separates Risa and Kengo, then rips Kengo’s side and throws it into the sea.
Maria grabs her notebook and heads to Ryota’s room but he’s been moved to a private room. Ryota touches his face and grimaces at his reflection when she walks in, she’s come to keep her promise of drawing his portrait. As she draws she tells him to keep his promise as well, a long rakugo riddle. He jokes he will only if he’s handsome in the picture. He tells her that once she gets better, she should draw the view from the Sky Tree (the unfinished building they saw in Yamanashi).
Her pencil stops, for knows what he’s trying to say. He grimaces as he slides closer to her, smiles and takes her hand– “It’s a promise, ok?” She covers his hand, leans up and kisses him. He gains his composition and says, “You really do look like a piglet?” She taps him on the shoulder and resumes her drawing.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kamiya is relaying Ryota’s current condition to his family. Being that he’s deteriorating quickly he’s been re-registered to ensure he’s moved up the donor list immediately. However, nothing else can be done beyond waiting for a brain-dead donor.
Maria notices Ryota dosing off and decides to pack it in the for the day. Ryota opens his eyes, “Hey Piglet, thank you.” Maria jokes that isn’t like him and says they’ll pick it back up tomorrow. She lingers a moment outside his room, obviously worried. She turns the corner toward her room, just as nurses run passed her.
Dr. Kamiya and Nurse Rumi perform emergency CPR on Ryota as his family rush to his side. They can’t revive him and Dr. Kamiya leaves dejected, near tears. Ryota’s sister finds Maria on the patio clutching her notebook and relays the news.
Kengo comes in to give Maria something and she murmurs, stricken, that Ryota’s dead. He sits beside her and holds her. He then hands her a cellphone with a video of Ryota. When she clicks play she realizes he’d also kept his promise– rakugo. She watches the video and cries.
Kengo goes out to the shore to think and runs into to Risa doing the same. As they walk, Kengo shares that when he last saw Ryota, all he saw was Maria’s future. It terrified him to imagine her swollen and barely breathing the way he saw Ryota. He admits to feeling horrible for seeing Ryota suffer but only thinking of Maria. He now believes that Kamiya was right, he was pushing his personal feelings onto Maria, perhaps causing her to suffer more. Risa agrees he may be pushing Maria but his intentions to save her real.— “And so are mine. Not for the money. I truly want her to live.”
When they get home, Minako is waiting outside with big news. She tells Kengo that she now wants to be Maria’s donor. Kengo and Risa are shocked at this sudden change but she credits Risa for her turnaround. Risa’s face drops and Kengo looks over his shoulder at her confused. She smiles back at him and says it’s all worked out and walks passed them into the house.
Reactions, Ramblings and Remarks
What do I love about Nagareboshi? Let me count the ways. Ultimately, I love that though this drama has more than two characters that are important, it never let’s us forget who and what this drama is about: Kengo and Risa. There is never an episode where one or both of these characters aren’t nascent with knowledge about each other or themselves. I won’t say that there are huge epiphanies or world tilting phenomena, but we as the audience get the pleasure of watching them development with each passing episode. This last moment was set in motion back in episode five when Risa meets Minako for the first time and then meets the stumbling block of Maria’s stubborn resistance. From Risa’s stance, the best course is to get someone to do the surgery that Maria knows and loves. I’m sure she thinks that Maria believes she’s stealing or a gold-digger, therefore, going to Minako is extremely rational for someone that just wants to help. One thing I abhor in life and dramas is a busybody and though the world is saturated with them, this drama only has one. What I’m thankful for, is that this drama doesn’t fall into the trap of making the female lead that character.
I say that to say that I find Risa asking Minako to talk to Maria the best course of action. I’m sure she didn’t necessarily think that she’d come bebopping to the house ready for the knife but ultimately, like Risa said, this works out. She’s seriously disappointed because this means separation from the Okadas but it remedies the larger issue and tests her earlier words to Kengo.
A few things occur in this episode that Kengo witnesses and struggles with, the largest being, Ryota’s deterioration. Visiting him only a couple days before his death, shook Kengo a bit because it’s so apparent that Maria isn’t too far from this end. I love that he’s honest with Risa about his selfishness and his self-centered thinking. You can’t truly blame the man but it’s wonderful that he’s willing to admit his shortcomings and imperfections. In life, I believe that’s one of the hardest realizations in life, that we are much more selfish than we envisioned.
If you’ve read my posts earlier this week, you’ll notice that I’m a bit on a friend/friendship kick and that was also something pleasant about this episode. Junji shows himself again to be a wonderful mate. He supports Kengo, though he may not completely agree. When he finds out the truth, he’s concerned but not condemning. He gets it. I also believe that he’s genuine when he says he’d make the same choices that Kengo has. He’s honestly a good friend.
To be truthful, this drama has a few great friends but the one that stands out, especially this episode is Sawamura Ryota. Ryota is purely the most heart-warming character and equally heart-wrenching. His death was just as devastating in this viewing as it was in my first, though practically from episode one it’s narratively inevitable. This kid is beatific in everything that he does. From the moment we meet him, he’s a beacon of genuine joy and child-likeness. He’s not oblivious to his state but refuses to allow his personality to be enveloped by melancholy and sorrow. He’s a teenage boy that knows without a miracle he won’t live outside of a hospital again but still hopes for a future.
Ryota befriends Maria and becomes her biggest nuisance but also her biggest ally. He understood her struggle and inner turmoil, and became her confidant. He had no remedies but he had survival tactics that helped her ward off depression and seclusion. Everything he did, he did for her. Sure, he liked her but he wanted to protect her, help her and urge her live as long and best she could. I also believe it was his consistent joie de vivre that convinced her she could dismiss her donor opportunity. [This was to his credit but revealed a naiveté within her that was inherently disappointing. Maria has such a large support system of family and friends that it’s rather ridiculous that she is so resistant about the surgery. Kamiya is correct, I believe about her underlying reasons, and this definitely should’ve been a course of thought for Kengo, but it’s not difficult to empathize with Ryota when he hears her decision.]
Ryota is a character that is hard to forget because he wasn’t playing a part but was authentic and unique. He was a kid I would’ve loved to have known as a teenager. He teaches so much about the substance of a person (regardless of age) yet, isn’t overly sagacious for a teenager. He thought and acted like a boy his age. He wasn’t other worldly in the way of intelligence nor had his sickness matured him beyond his years. He was a kid, dealing with death in a real way. The contrast between he and Maria is vast because next to her he is more skilled in the world of sick kids. However, he doesn’t try to “school” her. Instead, he listens and is transparent about his own experiences and emotions, and through that she learns for herself.
Maria and Ryota’s story is precious because it was natural: Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boys pursues girl. Boy gets girl. It was simple and straightforward, but takes on more urgency and significance because time wasn’t a positive factor. His last present to her is the seal of his awesomeness as a friend, for he yet again, he cared enough to not only keep his promise but leave something behind just for her to remember him by. I truly could spend an entire post musing about Ryota but I won’t. To me, Ryota was far more than a plot device, however, in the end, losing him was a milestone in the drama, for hopefully, his death will do for Maria, what it did for Kengo. Watching her friend die should give her the push she needs to listen and adhere to the requests of those around her to live.