Soredemo, Ikite Yuku: Episode 9

My fascination with the performances in this drama continues, and though I haven’t spoken much about this at all, Kazama Shunsuke portrayal of Misaki Fumiya is spot on, for it’s a wonderful mix of blood curdling and mind boggling. His interpretation of Fumiya as a scared, caged animal jumps off the screen and grabs you, begging for sympathy, though we know frightened animals are the most dangerous.

Atop Kyoko, Fumiya shares that Aki was beautiful floating there in the lake, when Kyoko grabs a stool nearby and slaps it against his head. Yuka runs in at the commotion and Kyoko begs her to call the boys. Fumiya moans and stumbles to his feet but Kyoko’s not done, she needs to know why Aki, but there was no reason, “She just happened to be in the street that day. It could’ve been anyone.” He pulls from her grasp and runs away, leaving her screaming after him.

Still in the van, Hiroki confesses, hunched over the wheel, that he wishes they could move to a place where no one knew them. And answers Futaba says with a simple, “Ok” — which jolts him upright. She says fine and apologizes for saying she’d die. Then wonders aloud where that place is, her mother’s hometown; Fumiya mentioned it when they met.– “He wanted me to go with him.” Just then, Hiroki gets the call that Fumiya just left. Futaba notices the knife in the glove compartment and reaches out for it, but Hiroki slams it shut.

When they arrive, Kyoko assures them she’s fine, the police have been notified, then he steps out to make them lunch. Hiroki glances the roster and printed on the list is the name Amamiya Kenji.

Shunsuke is informed that they will be placing Fumiya on the wanted list. He asks the officer to please locate and arrest his son. Meanwhile, his family is packing up. Akari looks across the room at her school uniform and sighs it was a waste to even buy given how little she wore it.

Downstairs the door slides open and Takami scurries to welcome Shunsuke home, but her eyes meet Fumiya and a calm— “I’m home.” (*the phrase can be used to mean “I’m back” or “I’m back home,” any rendition of this come statement to mean you’ve returned. I chose against using the first, for I don’t believe Fumiya himself is trying to be cryptic or condescending here).

Shocked, she stumbles backward, then gains her composure, figuring Futaba told him where they stayed. He notes her reaction and believes he’s intruding but she brushes it aside shakily and invites him in; his father will be back soon. Akari comes downstairs and starts him, but Takami introduces her, though the revelation disinterests him. He asks Takami to lock the door, cause he has no intention of getting caught and steps through to check out the place. Akari jerks out of his way, clocking her fear, Fumiya halts and explores in another direction.

Hiroki offers to drive Futaba home but she’s chosen the bus. She wonders what he’d say if he met her brother but Hiroki isn’t sure they’d actually get a real chance to speak. This puts Futaba on pause but Hiroki continues that he likens Fumiya to the anatomy models used to study the body. They’re always devoid of hearts (a conscience), perhaps, Fumiya is the same.

Hiroki drives into her yard and Takami rushes out to meet Futaba. She asks if they’ve heard from Fumiya but Takami lies, knowing he’s watching from an upstairs window. Hiroki tells Futaba to contact him if Fumiya appears and she promises he’ll be the first and steps inside smiling to a quiet and distant Akari, who greets her with an ominous– “He’s come back.”

Fumiya comes down and Futaba immediately inquires if they’ve called the police but Takami thinks they should wait for Shunsuke. Fumiya wonders where he’ll sleep and Takami suggests they all split up by gender. He’s not entirely pleased by this, then slumps down at the table, complaining the house size. Their old house had bedrooms for everyone individually. –” Is dad not working hard enough?”

The ladies watch him astonished by his attitude and Futaba’s anger elevates and squares off with him, informing that Shunsuke does laundry now and works extremely hard but never pointedly filling the subtext. Takami decides to make dinner and asks Akari to step out to buy something but Fumiya shuts down that idea– she might turn him in. The women rebuff this belief, because regardless, they are family. But Fumiya is convinced they hate him. At that, Futaba erupts, hitting and shouting that they’ve suffered in for him, but never hated.

Futaba: Why’d you do it? You know we can’t fix that right, what you took? It wasn’t money or just anything. It was a life! How can we repay that?

Fumiya: It’s the dead person that gets the better deal. When a person dies, then it’s over but… the one that killed has to go on living. Don’t you get that I’m the one who’s miserable?

Shunsuke steps inside and Fumiya shoots up from his seat, scissors in hand. His father sees but steps to him and touches his shoulder lovingly, noting he hasn’t grown much since they last spoke. Fumiya answers that Shunuske’s just too tall and Shunsuke inquires about Fumiya’s shoe size and sun exposure, as he gently lifts the scissors from his hand.

Meanwhile, Hiroki is driving home when he receives a text from Futaba– “My brother is at home.” He turns the van around.

The Misakis sit down to eat but no one touches a bite but Fumiya. Shunsuke unloads his hopes that he and his son will one day go up to the mountains and stare at the stars together. They could pack sleeping bags and share their thoughts. They’d travel to Norikura, then Tanigawa Mountain, rebuilding their relationship. He hasn’t given up, therefore, he encourages Fumiya not to be afraid to turn himself in, “Even if takes decades, your father will be waiting for you.”

But Fumiya interprets this as abandonment. He confesses he saw Shunsuke in the cab that day, but chalks it up to being a nuisance– “You’re going to abandon me, just like Mom.” He stands and thanks Takami for always cooking well, then assures Akari that he doesn’t consider them related, “Do well in school.” He turns to go but a confused Shunsuke calls after him, not knowing what he meant referring to his mother. Fumiya confesses he and Futaba saw her jump, Futaba was just a baby but Mom’d looked directly at them, then disappeared into the night.

Shunsuke believes this is nonsense, for she was only taking out the laundry, there were witnesses, the police investigated; it was ruled an accident. But Fumiya continues — “You drove her to despair. She was tired from taking care of us, that’s why she died.” Then face to face he pleads with Futaba to come with him, but she shakes her head in an adamant “NO.”

Hiroki jerks to a stop and is almost out of the car when he remembers the knife. He reaches back to get it but leaves it, then meets Fumiya just as he’s leaving. Fumiya lifts his arm in a greeting and Hiroki mirrors him. For a few seconds, the two stare at one another, like animals readying for a brawl, breath speeding but steady, eyes dilating, when Shunsuke calls out to stop Fumiya from leaving. And he bolts, Hiroki sprinting after him. Shunsuke tells Futaba to call the police and he takes off behind. The authorities arrive soon after and Takami fields questions about her communication with Fumiya; they inform her they are tracking him.

The boys run through alleys and tunnels, the train station, over store fronts, in parking lots and on-coming traffic, then Fumiya turns into a trucking park. Hiroki jogs in, scanning the darkness for Fumiya. Then, with a growl, Fumiya slogs him in the jaw. Hiroki hits the ground but pops back up and grabs ahold of his shirt, knocks him against a truck and press his hands around his throat. Fumiya thrashes, slinging fists and legs, as Hiroki tackles him to ground to lay on top of him. But he breaks free. Hiroki manages to pin him down again and tries to choke him out but Fumiya claws away and the two separate to catch their breath, Fumiya hissing on all fours.

Suddenly, Hiroki thrusts into attack and they push and pull to the nearest building. Fumiya shoves Hiroki and he hits his head against the brick wall, then slides to the ground. Fumiya registers that Hiroki is down and slinks away. Hiroki passes out. Seconds later, Shunsuke shakes him awake and stumbles he to his feet, then yells into the night. Fumiya’s gone.

At Futaba’s, in a daze, Hiroki waits as she makes him a cold compress. His brow itches, so she scratches it, then wonders if he’s hungry. He denies wanting anything, then asks if she can make frozen mandarins. She believes she can make anything– “I can just put some in the frig.” But he corrects— “They go in the freezer.” Her mouth twists that it’s not really food anyway and decides to make porridge.

He sets the compress aside and shares his frustration with Fumiya getting away. He was so close — “I didn’t even have my knife. For some reason, I left it in the car.” Futaba smiles over the stove, exhaling that she’s glad, because murder doesn’t suit Hiroki.

Hiroki: So I should leave him alone? For another 15 years, no, for the rest of my life, I should go on feeling this way?

Futaba: Back then he was minor but now…

Hiroki: They may not consider him criminally liable, then the court might acquit him and let him off again. He’ll forget about Aki and his family, living his life somewhere as if nothing happened. Then he’ll do the same thing again to someone else. Next time, I’ll make sure to bring my knife.

Kouhei sits with his family watching the news. There’s been no names released but Keiji knows it’s only a matter of time. Yuka worries that reporters will barricade their house and harass them but Kouhei cocks his eyes in her direction irritated but sternly answers that everything will be fine.

New Girl doesn’t like Goro working so hard, but he must, for the hospital bills. However, New Girl still doesn’t see the point, being Maki should never wake up. They back the truck for delivery as Shunsuke and Takami step into the drive, Goro notices them but cranks up the car and drives away.

Looking across the lake, Satsuki announces the Misakis will be hated across the nation now, but Hiroki simply answers it wasn’t their fault. Satsuki huffs Futaba must have some secret voodoo, to luck out with a victim’s family that isn’t angry, especially given hers is so poor at apologies. “You must truly support one another.” However, this concerns her more, for if his feelings are true, wouldn’t he relinquish his thoughts for revenge? (For a character that I don’t like at all, Satsuki does serve her narrative purpose well. She’s a helper and sparks wisdom and forethought, when our beloved characters are momentarily lost. And though I hope, this is the last we’ll see of her, she moves the characters in emotional and pivotal ways.)

Shunsuke and Takami gather the girls and announce over dinner, the family will now live apart. Shunsuke has decided it’s best he take responsibility and atone for his mistakes alone. From now on, he’ll be living in a company dorm. Takami sniffles back tears as he compliments the soup, but Akari doesn’t accept this change in attitude.

Akari: I don’t like it. That’s not what you always told me. You’ve always said “Whatever happens, a family should stay together!”

But Shunsuke sticks to his solution and finishes their last meal. He wants them to go on and live their separate lives.

It’s packing day and the news plays in the background— an interview Goro and Yuri catches Futaba’s eye. The next day, she meets Goro. She’d seen a tear in Yuri’s stuffed rabbit and offers to mend it. While she sews up Ribbon, Yuri talks about her mother and her worries. “Mom hasn’t eaten since last Wednesday,” she grimaces and adorably wonders if perhaps Maki’s medicine tastes like her favorite dipping sauce. When Ribbons is mended, Yuri bows and thanks Futaba, then runs back to her Grandfather to show the bunny off; leaving Futaba on the bench as she sobs.

Parting, Futaba bows before Goro but he tells her not to, and asks her to pass that message on to her parents. He’s not ready to accept their apologies, thinking of Maki, he wants to kill Fumiya. But he knows he can’t; Yuri comes first. Just then, Yuri trots up and gives Futaba an apple from the orchard as a thank you. Futaba reddens and shakily takes the fruit, as Yuri cheerfully waves goodbye.

Walking alone, Hiroki calls but she ignores it. To her left, she spies a post set where Maki and Yuri dated their planting. Futaba kneels to get a closer look at the picture of the little girl and her mother beaming with accomplishment and she keels over in tears, then just as quickly stifles her cries and walks away.

Futaba decides to rent a van and mentions it’s only a one-way trip. Then drives over to Hiroki’s and drops something off. He notices the van as it rolls away, then a box in his own. He hovers over the box, then opens it, revealing inside a single frozen mandarin. He beams and eats it immediately. He steps out to the lake and tries to reach her by phone again, but leaves a message when there’s no answer.

Hiroki: I’ve been thinking about the anatomy thing we talked about. since then, I’ve been thinking that the heart, is something you receive from someone you love. I’ve received it from Aki. I’ve received it from my father and mother. When a person likes someone, they can receive that person’s heart as well, can’t they? That’s the heart isn’t it.

Hiroki: Toyama-san, I have received you’re heart too. I have it now. What I’m trying to say is, there are more important things in this world than revenge. So, I’m coming to you.

Meanwhile, Futaba sits at the restaurant where she first spoke with Hiroki and smirks at the memory. She tries to order tandoori chicken but has to opt for pasta instead. She pulls out a napkin and writes out her thoughts to Hiroki, beginning with “I’m sorry” but ending with “I like you.” She hovers over the words, then places the note aside when her food arrives.

Mindlessly, she reaches to wipe her mouth and remembers it’s Hiroki’s note but it’s too late, her words covered with red sauce. She stares at it, disappointed resolve, balls it up like trash and leaves it on the table.

Hiroki slides into his truck anxious, yanks at his seatbelt and sees his glove box ajar, his knife gone. He scrapes his hand through, then empties the compartment but it’s missing.

But it’s not quite missing, just borrowed— sticking out of Futaba’s purse, who readies to roadtrip, flipping through an atlas. Thinking back to Fumiya’s words she locates Innoshima and grabs the steering wheel. She takes a deep breath and a moment to gather her confidence, then hits the road.

Reactions, Ramblings and Remarks

Any thoughts to what Futaba is up to trotting off to mommy’s hometown? If you answered: Stab a Fumiya, kill a self. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! In her own way, over the course of this episode, Futaba has come a to very clear decision to free herself and everyone she loves from the tumultuous mess her brother can do nothing but perpetuate. After her dinner with her family, and then the brief but heart-breaking encounter with little Yuri, Futaba decided to say goodbye and end it all. Not that I can entirely blame her. Her eruption, is a clear indicator that she’s tired, disillusioned, disappointed, confused and completely infuriated all at the same time. And though it was a moment in which she “snapped,” it was also wonderful to see her stand up to Fumiya, for her own sanity, as well as her family’s (I promise that was a shaken head, heard around the world!). Though I don’t find Futaba at all suicidal, I do believe she would make this decision born out of desperation. Therefore, to her, this could be the one thing she’s been looking for to be the help, she so desires to be. Hence the orange, the one-way rental, the memories. Though perhaps, it was her cynical acceptance to ruining her note that seals the fact. For, her reaction gives off an air of “Oh, well, it doesn’t matter now anyway,” more than “Of course, I’d wipe spaghetti sauce on a love letter.” Apparently, she’s taken her father’s new-found notions to a higher, more fatal level.

Over the past 15 years, her family has braved the ridicule and slander, and purposed to stay together, taking no heed to the demands to “die together” and rid the world of their shame. Now, Shunsuke changes teams and not only suggests that they were wrong for doing so, in his own way, decides to take the naysayers advice. To be honest, this isn’t an area (again) where I believe there is a “right” answer, for I truly believe, as a father, Shunsuke, means well. But like Akari says, it feels like reneging on a principle and unwittingly turning the tables.

This episode, Fumiya made me want to hit him with a hammer. Yes, I said it! Like Futaba, I wanted to shake some respectful sense to him. But lest you think I’m at all remiss by the reality and subtext of his actions, let me be clear, I don’t believe that Fumiya in anyway, meant to piss me or his family off— not really. He isn’t unfeeling but rather, very much like the family he stands before. Like them, he’s tried to put the past behind him and live quietly, but live on, not as though nothing had happened, but as if one could live beyond reality, without embracing it. For though he’s mentally unstable, he is still a very sane, shrewd individual.

When I first viewed this episode, I wanted to believe that Fumiya’s condescension and arrogance was bravado, however, now I find it a fruit cocktail of compartmentalization, denial and ignorance. For it’s not like he’s been overseas at uni or on holiday—he’s been in kiddie jail, for killing someone, and his family, not he, has had to publicly carry that brunt. So when he flops down in the Misakis makeshift dining room, throwing around insinuations that Shunsuke has fallen down on the job, he comes across smug and audacious. To put it bluntly, Misaki Fumiya is a sociopath ( most likely, with antisocial personality disorder), who refuses to connect the dots. For he’s not wholly devoid of conscious or “heart” as Hiroki put it, but what sympathies he had/has was distorted long ago (without anyone’s knowledge), and now, though not beyond help, he must to some degree desire it and he’s not there yet. He’s very much aware of what he did and over the past episode, gets a hefty does of the residual consequences, but like he said, he is convinced no one has suffered more than he. Though it’s possible to find this maddening and self-centered, it’s his truth. Overall, Fumiya is this character that disappoints me. For, I see him through my own personal lens, then Futaba’s and together, those opinions gel as grave sadness and burning fury.

What is so inspiring about this drama is how it can travail through the course of human emotion in less than an hour’s time. There is panic and fright, malice and ferocity, then pools of empathy and trickles of tender sweetness, all within each moment we spend with these characters. From, Fumiya’s arrival, to dinner with dad; the chase, to Yuri and the orchard, then the mutual confessions, Soredemo, Ikite Yuku, shreds every cord within the human heart. It’s characters, live and breath and think no different to anyone I’ve ever known, and that is what makes this drama beautiful.

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