Soredemo, Ikite Yuku: Episode 4

It’s amazing what a little fruit can do to change your life. And this guy packs a pretty big punch. Inanimate objects are consistently used as representation, symbolism or metaphor and SIY doesn’t miss out on having it’s own. Fumiya is seen physically rather seldom in each episode, but he’s never far away as long as this fruit is anywhere in sight.

Every episode thus far has delved into how an individual character has dealt with Aki’s murder and it’s aftermath and next up is Shunsuke. He finally wrestles with his conscience and begins to grapple with what it truly means to be a good father.

In the Musakis’ drive Kyoko faces Shunsuke. He bows at once but Kyoko remains planted, silent. Takami runs out to meet him, and her eyes narrow when she sees Kyoko, who then walks away, leaving Shunsuke bewildered by her visit, while Takami, deduces correctly Kyoko was behind their harassment.

When Hiroki and Futaba return to the shop, they find Kyoko waiting in a far corner. She stands glad at his return but annoyed Futaba appears behind him and blatantly ignores her. So when Futaba tries to return the shawl she lended days ago, Kyoko grimaces and makes no effort to accept it. Hiroki clocks the difference in attitude and explains they were out as a “Thank you” for her help with Aki’s case. Futaba read the records too and congratulates, Mom, for her fears were thwarted but Kyoko snaps back and reveals she just saw her family and ends with a cold, “I didn’t want to see you.” Futaba registers her point, drops her bag on the table and leaves, gobsmacked, near tears the entire way home.

Hiroki listens as Kyoko admits she’s surprised she didn’t recognize Futaba sooner, for she used to play with Aki and do Nomo Hideo impressions for her. She assumes Fumiya no longer lives with the Misakis and Hiroki confirms they haven’t spoken since his arrest; they’ve never tried to contact him. She remembers Shunsuke as having a rather superior attitude when he was a popular clockmaker back in their neighborhood. He was pretty renowned and snobbish because of it. For instance, Katsuhiko had tried to strike up a friendship but Shunsuke grilled him about his education and income, then shrugged him off. Hiroki scowls, disgusted by Shunsuke’s behavior and Kyoko smiles that Fumiya had the same expression at that time as well. Reminiscing, prompts Kyoko to visit Katsuhiko and Hiroki leads her upstairs.

Hiroki is a little embarrassed by Katsuhiko’s digs but Kyoko chuckles that he never needed anything fashionable, for he wasn’t and muses about their first date. She believes him to be at peace and smiles solemnly, then asks about his last moments. Hiroki reminds her all Dad wanted was to locate Fumiya.

The next morning, Futaba, still a little shaken by yesterday’s events, wanders downstairs to breakfast with her family. The family is quiet but normal until Futaba mentions she knows about Kyoko stopping by, then nonchalantly adds she’s been visiting the Fukamis. Dad is shocked but Akari wonders what they are like, then groans she’ll have to move again. Futaba tries to persuade her parents to at least speak with the Fukamis as well, dispelling misunderstandings but Shunsuke says he’s tried several times. Futaba isn’t convinced, believing he didn’t try hard enough. He should’ve kept trying until they listened. Akari suggests they file suit against them for the harassment, wondring if they seek them out, they’ll request compensation. Futaba tries to dissuade her thoughts, affirming they aren’t like that, nor would such an action be fair. Mom breaks in changing the subject, reminding that Akari has nothing to do with this situation, and gets her off to school. Then she begins to clear the table and Dad follows suit, Futaba officially ignored.

Shunsuke offers to drop Futaba to her next interview and spots the fruit left behind by Fumiya on her dresser. Futaba observes his acknowledgement and guesses he may know more about Fumiya than expected. He admits to knowing the fruit but only literally and he calls it a hyuga-natsu. She tells him the fruit was left behind when she saw Fumiya in Tokyo, though he never spoke to her.

As they pull to her destination, Shunsuke requests Futaba not mention the Fukamis again to her mother and to never visit them again. He goes on that the Fukamis hate them and any feelings she has to the contrary are delusional. Frustrated, Futaba spits back that the Fukamis don’t hate them, they just want answers. And doesn’t blame them, for even she’s confused by her parents’ actions. With that, she storms out of the car toward her interview but Shunsuke steps out as well and calls out to her—“I saw Fumiya once.”

Kouhei looks over the dank dusty shop and suggests a makeover, courtesy of lawful compensation from the Misakis. He continues that it’s ironic how entangled Hiroki is with that family after all this time, noting that there’s no point. He goes on to compare their predicament to a battle, for in battle, “There is no good or bad side. Everyone thinks they’re good.” Hiroki disagrees with the insinuation but doesn’t get very far, interrupted by a call from Satsuki.

Futaba is surprised but eager to hear about her brother, so she and Shunsuke sit on a nearby bench to discuss what happened.

Shunsuke: Three years ago when I’d just got used to my job as a taxi driver, in front of a pastry shop in Aoyama, Tokyo, I saw the back figure of this boy, and I knew right away it was Fumiya. He looked grown-up. He still had that thin body, and was working hard to move the boxes. He was soaked in sweat and was working very earnestly. Then, I got off the taxi. Somehow I thought of calling out to him. I thought no matter what Fumiya insisted, I would take him home all the same. But I couldn’t call out to him.

Futaba can’t believe it but Shunsuke continues that at that very moment he smelled curry cooking and he remembered how happy they’d been the previous night eating Akari’s first meal, curry. How they’d laughed and enjoyed it, how she was pleased at the reception. And he’d felt bringing Fumiya home would change all of that– “Those smiles would disappear.” He concedes that he cast away his son to protect his family, for his wife. For during, Fumiya’s arrest Mom was depressed and listless, nine months pregnant but she pushed through, standing by his side, he couldn’t let her down by ruining that.

Futaba still doesn’t understand, being Mom is mother to Fumiya as well. He’s family, he shouldn’t be abandoned. But Shunsuke only looks at her and takes full responsibility, then begs Futaba to understand him, but Futaba can’t—“I think you’re horrible. A parent wouldn’t do that to their child.”

Futaba meanders over to Hiroki’s and watches as he repairs the planks in the walkway leading to the shop. She throws grass at him to get his attention but he’s so engrossed, he doesn’t notice her until he stands up to check the repair. He’s surprised by the visit and she asks about his mother but he says she’s fine, nothing to worry about there. He wonders if she has a favorite baseball player and she does, Nomo but denies the ability to do impersonations.

He takes her out fishing and she wants him to teach her but he doesn’t really know much about the sport, all the while fumbling with his phone. Futaba calls him on it and he admits “that person” phoned earlier and promised to do so again. Futaba deduces he must mean Satsuki and shares he talks about her in a shy manner and tone. Hiroki rejects this notion, for he wasn’t shy at all and Futaba gives a gracious– “Ok, then.”

They both sit there drifting quietly and Futaba squints across the lake, taking everything in, enjoying the sound of nature and it’s stillness. Then, shares that times like this, places like this, make her feel like there’s nothing bad in the world.

Hiroki: Nothing bad?

Futaba: All throughout the world, in the past and the future, nothing. There wasn’t any bad thing or any bad night, nothing we should afraid of, no bad thing at all.

Hiroki: Now that you mention it, I can feel that way at times too. Then it’s like this right? Toyama-san is a normal girl too.

Futaba: Fukami-san is a normal man, too.

Hiroki: Both of us are just normal like that, right?

Futaba: Just normal like that I suppose.

Hiroki: That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Futaba: Nice, I guess.

Hiroki concludes they were imagining weird things for a moment and Futaba breathes a shallow breath, nervous, even when thinking about it. She muses it’d be nice to live in this moment forever, but Hiroki notes that would mean Aki was never on the mountain, making them both uneasy again. Futaba relays her father named the fruit and Hiroki takes it as a clue he may know more about Fumiya and is perhaps keeping the truth from her. But Futaba is sure he isn’t lying. It’s her daddy’s girl radar, for when he speaks about something important he closes his eyes. In truth, she actually began to feel bad for him, for while watching him today, it dawned on her that when people constantly run away from something they get a dead look in their eyes.

Then, Hiroki’s phone rings and Futaba is excited his call came, thinking it’s Satsuki but Hiroki fumbles with it and the phone plops into the lake.

Meanwhile, on the farm, new girl is rambling through Goro’s office and looks up guiltily when Shenji walks in. She tells him Yuri is out, but he says nothing and walks on and she scurries away. In the kitchen, Maki is taking a nap and he watches her sleep for a moment, before draping a jacket across her shoulders.

Hiroki takes Futaba home and sees Shunsuke pull in to pick up another delivery. When Shunsuke returns a hyuga-natsu is sitting next to his lunch. He pauses but gets in, as Hiroki watches from across the street and pulls off to follow him. Shunsuke takes the bait and thinking of Fumiya, leads Hiroki directly to their old home. He gets out of the van and immediately stoops down in the weeds as if to look for something he’d buried and comes face to foot with Hiroki. Shunsuke stands, then swings forward in a bow.

At a nearby café, Hiroki and Shunsuke sit, Hiroki filled with questions of Fumiya. Unfortunately, Shunsuke has no answers, for he doesn’t know why Fumiya killed Aki nor where he is currently to find out. This isn’t good enough for Hiroki however and he eventually fumes raising his voice drawing attention to their table. A group of ladies glance their way and one recognizes Shunsuke and begins barbing him straight away. Hiroki doesn’t need this, for he only wanted answers and tries to stop her jesting but she knows him as well, and continues on. She eventually gets up and berates Shunsuke for being self-important and demands he kneel and apologize. The scene unnerves Hiroki, slapped once again with the Misakis’ reality but remains stiffened by shock, until Shunsuke drops to his knees and begs for forgiveness.

Afterward, they walk the streets their old neighborhood together and Shunuske promises to resend his apologizes to the rest of Hiroki’s family, especially his mother, but Hiroki only rattles off his old childhood haunts; places he and Fumiya visited, played and ate together. At the time, they’d shared their dreams and hopes for the future. Then, Hiroki stops abruptly to face Shunsuke, “Is it ok if I kill Fumiya?” Shunsuke’s eyes spread widely but he doesn’t answer and tilts his head to ground, feeling the question more rhetorical, than literal. Hiroki continues that he’s a busy man but when the time comes he will most likely kill Fumiya. For, there has to be some retribution, not just for Aki but for his father as well, it being his last wish.

Hiroki: My dad may have been a little pathetic in ways but in the end, he made his resolution. Perhaps, he had been thinking long and hard about how he wanted to live and die, so that in the end, he could make his resolution. Though there are many sad things, dreadful things and unreasonable things, in his last moments he made his resolution not to run from them and to face everything properly. Until the very end, I could respect that father of mine.

He goes on to say that Futaba considers herself a daddy’s girl and as Hiroki remembers it, Fumiya said the same thing to him once. He looks Shunsuke straight in the eyes, hoping he understood his point and walks away. When he arrives home, emotionally drained from his day, Satsuki is outside his door, worried. She’d thought something had happened to him, being he was gone so long. Her visit is short and Hiroki offers to drive her back to Tokyo but she declines. He covers that he was planning a trip anyway and shows her a business card. It’s the name and number of a nurse his father had located while investigating Fumiya, but he’s wary of calling. However, Satuski believes in taking action, so she snatches the number and begins to dial.

Futaba gets home and notices her dad distracted still sitting in his van. She makes him tea, then announces she’ll be working at a local bar. Shunsuke has an announcement as well–he’s decided to find Fumiya. Futaba beams as she listens, relieved her father has finally made the right choice. Mom and Akari come home with groceries, the confession still lingering in the air, as Akari declares she’s making curry tonight. Takami follows Shunsuke outside concerned about his mood, assuming Kyoko came over again. He tries to deflect but she urges him to tell her what’s bothering him. Futaba peeks out at them as he tells her he’s going to bring Fumiya back. Takami’s face falls to her chest and her eyes glaze unable to object due to disbelief. Shunsuke believes it’s for the best and Futaba joins them asking for her support. All the while, Akari calls from the kitchen, interjecting questions about the meal she’s preparing and Takami finally leaves them to help her, but asks Shunsuke to calm himself and think more clearly.

Inside, Akari wonders what they were all talking about and Mom lies about purchasing a dog. Shunsuke comes in and corrects her, revealing he’s going to find Fumiya and bring him home. Akari is visibly shaken by the news and Mom hurriedly soothes her determined never to give her consent. Now Shunsuke puts his foot down, unwavering in his decision but Mom screeches there’s no place in their house for a murderer, “He’s an evil person.” However, when Futaba mentions that Fumiya is family, Akari agrees.

Akari: It’s just like what Onee-chan said. Onii-chan is Onii-chan. Family is family. There’s no getting around it.

Shunsuke suggests they table the discussion for later and enjoy their meal but Mom is desperate to clarify things for Akari and mumbles she’s misunderstood. Over Shunsuke’s protests, she reveals Fumiya isn’t her son. She never gave birth to him, he isn’t hers by blood, therefore, Akari needn’t align herself or feel obligation to him. Everyone is silenced by the news, Futaba most of all and questions aloud– “What about me? Who’s side do I belong to?” At that, Takami seems to blink back to reality and realizes what she’s done, what she’s said and tries to backtrack and confirm that Futaba is hers but she can’t. Instead, she folds to the floor in tears.

Satsuki is able to reach the nurse. She remembers Katsuhiko and is willing to help, however she only knows Fumiya through a friend. Hiroki picks up the phone desiring to meet her Fumiya but is told she’s missing. Turns out, Azumi Yukie disappeared not long after Fumiya was discharged.

Shunsuke leaves the house looking for Futaba but she’s long gone, walking in the city streets alone, hyuga-natsu in hand. She looks down at it remembering Fumiya and his words, telling her they are the same–“We both saw the night.” Futaba gets a tighter grasp on the fruit, raises her arms and puffs out her chest, winding up in a pitch and shoots it yards away, performing her Nomo Hideo impression with a soft smile.

Reactions, Ramblings and Remarks

UH! So this just must be slap Futaba week, cause my goodness! How much more is this girl supposed to handle? Sure, Kyoko’s abrasiveness was unsettling but Takami’s bomb was earth shattering. Did you see that bitter smile at the stove? (Killed me.) Unfortunately, we have two moms in this drama that seem to suffer from the same syndrome–favoritism. For I’m positive, Futaba has tried to empathize with Takami’s obsession and sheltering of Akari, for like us all, she felt it was to guard her from the past, not to isolate her. With this revelation, it puts several oddities into perspective but also brings several others into question and confusion. Futaba is now, completely alone. At least, she feels that way and boy, who could blame her? Throughout this entire situation, she’s had a completely different perspective and now, perhaps she knows why. I think it’s interesting that she identifies herself as a “daddy’s girl” only for it to be revealed that she’s not blood related to her mother. I’m not certain what this is intended to convey, however, I believe it says more about Takami than actual blood lines.

Takami’s announcement may have been true, shoot, her assessment of Fumiya could be as well, but it’s her desperation to set the record straight that is the most disappointing. I suppose one could postulate that it’s easier for her to disconnect by stating the facts, rather than accepting responsibility for Fumiya’s actions as her son, but well, that’s just not good enough for me. For clearly, she chose to marry a man with two children. She set out to be their mother, then gave birth to her own child and reneged. I won’t say she didn’t/doesn’t love Futaba, but many of the statements she’s made regarding Futaba and Fumiya’s connection now make complete sense. Her insistence that Akari isn’t obligated to Fumiya is also baseless, for unless, Shunsuke isn’t her father, Fumiya is still her brother by blood. And given, Akari’s reaction to bringing Fumiya home, I’m thinking she would agree with me. I have to admit I was actually glad that Akari turned out to be a pretty decent kid. Up till now, she been mostly annoyingly spoiled and selfish. She’s been catered to her entire life, Takami pouring what bit of sanity she had left into her, like she was their only hope and normalcy, so I’m actually pretty glad it hasn’t all gone to her head. She does understand the importance of family and the obligations that come along with that and for that I commend her. I also love have Akari is portrayed as this usurper in a way, this distraction or barrier between the families, like the redux of the curry night, just as Shunsuke decides to set things to right with Fumiya and also later as he tries to discuss this fact with Takami in the yard. After each sentence, right on cue, Akari interjects or speaks as a reminder of why he shouldn’t make this choice, as if to yet again choose between his present/future or his past.

Ultimately it’s an interesting choice because it’s not one that is easy nor will either bring complete peace or satisfaction. It’s just something that needs to be done because it’s right or wrong, not based on the result or one’s feelings going into it.

Therefore, this episode was definitely all about Shunsuke getting his act together. Shunsuke needed to come to terms with how he’s deserted Fumiya, rather than dwell on what his possible motives or misgivings may be or been. He’s put to task by Futaba sternly, then Hiroki, more subtly, for visibly being so detached and disinterested in Fumiya’s present state of being. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, however, again, no one is a mind reader. No one knows a person’s struggle unless you tell or reveal it to them. And Shunsuke has seemed rather placid about what has transpired over the last 15 years. Therefore, I think him truly taking the opportunity to address and combat his actions and thoughts on the subject is the key to him wanting to reunite with his son. Realizing that he was wrong for being passive and prideful and acting on it, is what redeems Shunsuke as a man and father, to me. With that said, in Futaba’s conversation with him, I have to admit I’m at a crossroads. Part of me understands where she’s coming from, and the other, not so much. I think that it’s easy for children to feel a certain way towards their parents when they only have half of the facts. I’m not sure if Shunsuke knows or recognizes something in Fumiya she doesn’t, but he may. Perhaps, he knows Fumiya better than us all and cast him aside for that reason. I know it’s hard to take in but parents have to do what is best for the entire family, not just one, father’s especially. If this turns out to be true, I don’t believe this negates his past actions, for, no matter what the truth about Fumiya may be, his father should have never abandoned him. Making the choice to guard your family is one thing, but cutting off your child, while professing familial solidarity and protection, is decidedly another. Like I’ve said before, there is always a “best” choice.

The lake/river scene was by far my favorite, if only because I love the peaceful calm that being out in nature brings. The moment is played wonderfully because though, most of us may make similar comments as these characters, the depth of the meaning to them seems to trump any musings of a better world I may have. It’s these moments, between Hiroki and Futaba; when they’re alone and introspective, bare before one another, that I relish. And in every episode we are made more and more painfully aware how open Hiroki is to change and progress but how cautious and frightened Futaba is to dream. I don’t blame her, it just saddens me. For she knows what hopes and dreams get you. She genuinely feels she can’t expect much more than what she has on a reality scale. Her greatest hope is to nurse the scars both of their families have given one another but she stops there, afraid to go beyond that line, especially for herself. I won’t say she’s a glass half full person, for I don’t believe that’s the case. The real Futaba is very hopeful and positive but the world she lives in has made her a realist and pragmatic– an aspect of herself she just can’t shake, given her circumstances.


3 Replies to “Soredemo, Ikite Yuku: Episode 4”

    1. Yep and yep. Hyuga-natsu is a hybrid fruit. And I’m sure it would make a great fruit drink or Popsicle but I’d never eat it raw. Also I’m pretty certain it’s indigenous to Japan. I’m beginning to wonder why they chose this fruit for Fumiya.
      I also loved the ending scene but the shot is what stuck with me.

      1. Interesting…
        I thought it was like a chinese pear at first (totally yummo and edible raw) but then it seemed to have that waxy, dimpled skin of a citrus, so I thought weird grapefruit flavour tangerine… Haha!

        Yes, yes. Futaba and all her surpressed emotions, keeping it all in but then comes that little almost surreal moment on the bridge where she showcases a little glimmer of the pure fabulousness she keeps hidden away. Gosh, I love this girl.
        And yeah, I love how you chose that as your main image~~

Tell Me Something Good

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s