nagareboshi: episode nine

This episode definitely was a long time coming. I apologize for the delay, but we’ve had a few weather issues over here and I’ve been without power and net for a couple days. I truly wanted to have this out days ago. Oh, well…

It’s the penultimate episode, wrought with all the things we need to make us crack a couple coconuts and smear ourselves with ash waiting for the finale.

[**edit R,R & R has been added. I have decided that I will do a Open Mic post about this drama once the finale recap is released. I know there are alot of things that I don’t mention in my R, R, & R section and plenty of things you may want to comment on. So please use the comments sections at the end of the recaps to display any desire to cover things that perhaps I forgot or you just want to discuss and I’ll cover those things in my OMS. Thanks and enjoy :)]

After the hug felt around the world, Kengo and Risa go inside the aquarium and she sees the moonjelly light sculpture. She’s captivated, of course, and Kengo beams with pride. He explains the jellies are still alive and it’s become their annual Christmas attraction. Risa recalls how quickly time flies, for they met during summer. She comments that a lot of things have happened in a twinkle then Kengo suggests, concerning their relationship– “We should take things slowly.”

Afterward, Kengo is loading his work truck when Shuichi’s reporter, Iwai Saeko, from Nikkan Times, runs up and introduces herself. She shows him the newspaper and wants to interview him, pressuring to hear his side of the story, citing other patients waiting legally and some jazz. Kengo tries to return to work, but, not before she threatens him with the fervor of other publications ready to pounce on this story.

Dr. Tannika asks Kamiya if the article is true and which he confirms it, Kamiya hands him his resignation, taking full responsibility. But Tannika states the hospital’s position– they knew nothing, therefore resigning won’t change anything, so he should just to lay low.

Mom comes home, surprised and delighted to find Risa waiting. She welcomes her home but Risa notices something is wrong, believing it to be fatigue. Mom is about to share what’s on her mind when the phone rings. It’s Iwai Saeko. She now wants to interview Risa, but instead she slams down the phone and looks to Mom with concerned revelation.

Dr. Kamiya sees Maria returning from a turn around the hospital and tells her to take her time to recover. Maria wants to go outside to see the constellation tonight but he thinks it’s too early and she adds — “Plus I might get my picture taken.” She apologizes for being so much trouble to him. And tells him she’s glad he was her doctor, being so hot and all. He chuckles and returns the compliment, sincerely glad to have met her as well.

Shuichi and Saeko met in their cafe, him desiring to correct a few things about her article. He feels there are some discrepancies with what she wrote. He never told Saeko about Risa’s previous occupation but Saeko believes she only reported the facts, for Risa payed off a 30 million yen debt before quitting, which hints there was probable cause for an organ trade agreement or exchange. Shuichi insists that the money was a trick, for Risa had no clue Kengo wanted her liver. He only lured her in by marrying her, paying her debt, then forcing her to be a donor. — “He’s a horrible person isn’t he? As a journalist and a woman, what do you think?”

At the aquarium, Junji catches Yuya stuck in front of the computer again wondering what has kept him glued. Their website has been slammed with continuous posts regarding the news article, but Junji shoots it down as pure conjecture.When Kengo comes up and sees the entries, Yuya suggests closing the homepage. But Kengo believes it would be unfair to the patrons and Junji agrees they should just wait it out.

Risa is outside when Kengo gets home and reports she knows about the article. She finds the sex trade part a little blown out of context. She adds, that Kengo probably would have never approached her if he hadn’t known her job, but Kengo shoots down that theory. At the time, he was too desperate to care about her or her job, he just wanted to save his sister back then. But his intentions have shifted, now — “I don’t want to hurt you.”

Risa smiles embarrassed and turns to the sky again. There’s supposed to be a shooting star tonight and she’s been commissioned by Maria to make a wish on her behalf. It’s supposed to come from the Gemini constellation but Risa knows nothing about that. Kengo tells her she wouldn’t see it anyway because there’s too much light where they are.

He takes her out to the shore and gives her an astrology lesson, pointing out the direction of the constellation but Risa doesn’t quite see it. He suggests an observatory for the best view and they plan to go next year.

Risa: Don’t you think wishing on a falling star is pretty impossible?

Kengo: What?

Risa: It only appears for a moment. And you never know when it might come.

Kengo: Maybe it means that, if you don’t wish hard enough, your wish won’t come true.

Risa: What?

Kengo: If you don’t practically chant it that one moment and think of it non-stop, it probably won’t come true.

Risa wonders if perhaps that’s what his father did, being Kengo finally got his compass. She then looks off again and muses, almost to herself,  “I want things to stay just as they are now. Will it come true?” Kengo looks her in the eyes and assures her it will.

Kengo walks into work and sees a little boy kneeling, staring at the jellyfish tank. He wonders if he likes the fish or hates them. The boy loves them, but not just jellyfish, everything– fish, whales and dolphins too. Kengo’s the same. Then the boy proceeds to tell him a story called “Nemo’s secret” about how larger male clownfish change  sexes. “A guy at this aquarium taught me that.” Kengo grins and the boy reveals he wants to become an aquarium technician one day as well. Kengo assures him— “And you can. I’m sure of it. If you believe it.”


While Junji and Yuya are working, Chizuru bolts in and takes them to Kengo who’s packing his things. He’s decided to quit but hands over his classical music, observation notes and instructions to the guys.

He then meets Dr. Kamiya and apologizes. Kamiya understands, for he was prepared to quit as well but was unable to, in order to preserve future transplants and hospital reputation. He admits he never came to a definitive answer of how’d he react if he was in Kengo’s situation but he is glad things turned out the way they did. — “Maria was saved.”

Later, outside Maria’s room, Mom tells Kengo the reporters have been harassing them and that Risa stepped away for awhile. He finds her waiting to speak to the reporters and tries to pull her away. Saeko reveals she heard the story from Risa’s brother and they can sue them if the story isn’t true. She threatens again with more coverage from other news sources and Risa tries to lash out but Kengo pulls Risa away.

Outside he scolds her, demanding she let him handle it. She doesn’t agree and feels he takes too many things on himself– “Don’t just decide things on your own.” Risa points out others are involved or even to blame and should also take responsibility. But all this revs her up and she buckles over in pain.

At home Kengo tucks her in and gives her meds asking her to rest.

Kengo: Why did you meet reporter on your own? What did you want to say to her?

Risa: This marriage isn’t fake. We’re a real married couple.

Kengo suggests she stay in for awhile, at least until things in the media blow over and she agrees. The bells rings and Kengo answers the door to a worried Shuichi. He barges in and rushes downstairs to drag Risa out. He knows that things will heat up soon and wants to take her away but Risa knows the commotion began because he sold the story. Kengo pushes between them noting Risa has a fever and he should leave. Shuichi asks Risa if she’s going to remain married to Kengo and she confirms that’s her plan. “But didn’t you say you’d be my ally? We said we’d always live together. You said you’d always be by my side.” Risa shifts from his grasp spouting she’s forgotten that promise. — “People change. You did too.”

Kengo asks him to leave again and he complies but not before he shows Kengo the picture in his phone he took  of his bankbook– proof of the 30 million yen transaction, and threatens to sell that next.

Kengo follows him out and reminds him that any further media coverage would not only hurt him but mostly Risa. He wonders how much he plans to make Risa suffer. Shuichi doesn’t care and blames Kengo. If he hadn’t stolen her liver and affections, none of this would be necessary.

Risa listens from around the corner and immediately apologizes to Kengo, noting that familial ties aren’t severed merely by separation. Once you are connected, it’s for life, better or worse. Just then Minako calls informing him she’s seen the article. She suggests Risa come and stay at her hotel to dodge further scrutiny. After checking-in Kengo makes a decision and phones someone to ask a favor.

Mizuki and Maria look at photos of her at the competition. Mizuki hands Maria her favorite flavor pudding and sits down to study Ryota’s rakugo book. Maria thanks her for not asking about the donor rumors and wonders if it’s circulating school. “Do you hate me? Ryota didn’t cheat. He waited for  donor.” She doesn’t hate her and reveals that the puddings were actually from Ryota’s sister, concerned Maria might be worrying about the article.

Later, Kengo helps Maria pack up as Nurse Rumi apologizes for the inconvenience. It’s actually for her safety, for the reporters are getting more and more aggressive. Kengo sits down and tells Maria his plans for the future, honestly saying it might be hard on her. But Maria understands, “I haven’t done anything for Risa. This is for her sake right?”

Though he won’t be working at the aquarium anymore she will still be able to see the light sculpture and Kengo reveals her release party is still on and will take place at Shine no Shima. On his way out, Kengo gets a text from Risa but he doesn’t answer.

Expecting Kengo, Risa opens the dooor surprised to see Dr. Kamiya. Kengo sent him, having settled a stay in a nearby hospital. As they’re leaving, Risa asks where Kengo has gone but Kamiya replies that he can’t really answer that question. While Kamiya gets the car, Risa gets a phone call from Maria who breaks her promise of silence with Kengo.

Reporter Iwai calls Shuichi to meet at Nikkan Times but on his arrival he’s shocked to see Kengo as well. Once seated, Shuichi wonders if Iwai will retract and correct her article, she’s hesitant, so he hints he has no choice but to show her more evidence of Kengo’s deception and glances over to him.

But before he can reveal the photo, Kengo speaks up. — “I will divorce Risa.” He continues by saying he swindled Risa by paying her debt, gaining her trust and affection, then convincing her to do the donor surgery. He takes  Shuichi’s phone and shows Iwai the picture of his transaction– “This is the proof.” At that Shuichi hangs his head ashamed but more, at a loss of what to do next.

Meanwhile, Risa races out of the hotel and into a taxi after Maria’s call. Kamiya returns but there’s no trace of her. She jumps out at Nikkan Times and hurries inside, but only finds Iwai packing up her things. Risa angrily stops her and asks what happened. Risa leaves the building dejected after hearing everything from Iwai. She stops and makes a call to Kengo. He has just turned in their divorce papers, walking alone, reluctant to answer, but he does.

Risa: Where are you? Didn’t I tell you not to decide everything on your own?

Kengo: You need to rest before your health gets worse.

Risa: You’re coming back, right? Answer me! Where am I supposed to go now? Are you going to leave me all alone again?

Kengo: Risa. I’m sorry.

And with that, he closes his phone. Risa registers the disconnection and collapses in tears. Kamiya finally finds her on the bridge and sits down next to her, patiently waiting, as she cries.

Kengo arrives at his destination– West Fujisawa Police Station.

Meanwhile, Shuichi makes another visit to the hospital. He stands near sleeping a Maria, hands hovering over her neck.

Reactions, Ramblings and Remarks

*sigh* Being this is the pre-finale, it’s the episode where every loose end that the writer wants to tie up, is tied. Every symbolic gesture revealed and all the things we always and never wanted to happen, happen. I can’t talk about everything in this section (though I really want to) but I will discuss a few.

Oh but where do we begin? One of my favorite moments in this episode was right after Risa and Kengo get home and he asks why she wanted to meet Iwai. Risa honestly says she just wanted to brag, that she and he were married! They were real not fake. They are both so adorable because she wanted to let the world know that she was in love and happy, and he thought it was the cutest thing ever (Did you see his face? Kekkeekeke)! It truly was such a simple thing but it was sweet and sincere. Risa and Kengo were glad to be together, to be able to live and grow in love and her desire to declare this fact was just another indicator.

Risa and Kengo finally make the choice to stay together, therefore this episode showcased tons of conversations between them. It’s actually nice too, because we get a taste of what their relationship could be like in the future. They both know that neither likes to talk about their feelings but as soon as they get together, they begin to communicate. This shows they actually know how to make a relationship work. Now, of course, this is also an issue as the episode progresses because Kengo and Risa are both doers. It’s actually a parallel to the first episode (which we see often this episode). In this section for that episode I wrote, “Kengo’s first instinct is to resolve and remedy, while Risa’s is to fight and run, giving us clear insights into their personalities and coping mechanisms.” And that statement still applies for Kengo, but things have changed for Risa. She still fights but as we learned last episode, she doesn’t want to run (disappear) any longer. She wants to stick it out with Kengo, with her new family. Unfortunately, their methods don’t always coincide and we see this magnified in this episode.

Kengo protects and shields and he remains true to form as he makes the hard decision to take the entire blame, divorce Risa, quit his job and turn himself in. The largest question would be why would he go this far? But I say, has he ever shown himself not to do as much? Thinking about what he was willing to do for his sister, why wouldn’t he show the same dedication to someone else he loves? He says as much when he admits his priority is for her not to be hurt any longer. Men innately want to protect but women innately desire to help and support and here is a wonderful example of how the two don’t always have the best results. Risa wanted to do whatever they needed to do together, where Kengo felt the only way to shelter her, was to go it alone. He could be right but for Risa, can she process this in any other way but abandonment? Probably not.

It’s actually heart-wrenching when she calls because she already knows what’s going on (Thank You Maria) but it’s another to accept it. I find it interesting that she doesn’t ask him not to, or to stop and return to her, to take it all back, instead she wants him to know how much he means to her- what leaving her means. Even if (on a level) she understands, nothing negates the hurt and anguish she must feel in this moment. And believe me, she’s crying over more than him leaving. Without a doubt, she’s overwhelmed that she’s had the good fortune to meet and be loved by someone like him (who thinks that much of her). It’s probably the first time.

Reporter Iwai  Saeko is initially a tool of Shuichi’s to get Risa to leave Kengo  (and ultimately to extort money I’m sure), but she becomes a thorn in everyone’s side, not only Kengo’s. As a reporter, she actually does her job and investigates and doesn’t take Shuichi’s account as law. The problem of course is that she really has no true evidence of her claims, though they may be true, on the surface. I have to admit that I really can’t stand the woman. She was a small device used to create the angst we needed to make our characters react but still, HATED HER! I suppose it was more that eventhough she may do her job, I never feel that doing something well means being condescending in the process. I’m not a reporter, and I’m sure it’s their job to infer and assume but those two things are on my top 5 most hated actions of human beings. For me, however, you shake it, she loved the idea of some gutter prostitute sullying the lives of a wholesome family. And I found that disgusting, but then again, maybe she’s the representation of the mindset of a nation, not just a greedy newsmonger?

Shuichi is just blooming crazy but honestly that word is too flippant and dry for him. He has a diabolical personality that I still can’t reconcile myself with. He is determined to pull out all the stops, therefore nothing really surprises me, but his actions do surprise and disappoint Kengo. His disgust for Shuichi’s selfishness is at it’s height in this episode and could be cut with a light-saber at Nikkan Times. I believe that Kengo has always been willing to tell the truth about his choices but always realized what the repercussions were. So, to have Shuichi push him this point is unnerving. Kengo has never expected Shuichi to like or understand him nor approve of his marriage and relationship with Risa but to have so little respect for his sister is hard to stomach. I love the parallels between these men because it comes up each and every episode. These men are so far apart in their reasoning and motivations that there’s never a time you don’t notice the foil. Kengo does something for Risa that Shuichi could never do– sacrifice. His choice is even more damaging because not only does he not have to, he does it willingly, and only FOR HER GOOD. He gains nothing. He doesn’t hold, suppress or burden Risa,  instead, he releases her. Setting her free. The problem is, she doesn’t want to be.

2 Replies to “nagareboshi: episode nine”

  1. owhh thank you so much unnichan…
    i love that scene too (Kengo ask why Risa meet that reporter)…did you hear a small “unn” (yes) sound from Risa after that? even the ticking clock sound louder than her “unn”:D …so cute when she said it…i probably hide under that blanket *shy*…

    p.s: unnichan, is it Kengo’s father watch or compass??

    1. Love that scene! Makes me want to go back and watch it. So precious!
      And yes, it’s a compass. Sorry. Don’t know why I typed watch. I changed it. Thank you.

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