Soredemo, Ikite Yuku: Episode 10

It’s actually kind of hard to believe that there is one more episode of this drama, for if there is anything this drama has accomplished, it’s the revelation that recuperation from devastation is life long and therefore, this drama could continue for a few more hours with no argument from me. But there are several events that hint that this peek into the lives of these characters is coming to a close and for that, I can only rejoice at this episode’s bittersweet, yet barely audible, tone.

Three little girls run through the village and invite an older couple to the coming festival. They chat about having a festival in this weather, when Fumiya walks up and introduces himself, the woman gingerly greets him then registers — “You’re her son?”

Hiroki visits Shunsuke to find Futaba, who informs him they’ve decided to live apart. He’s worried about Futaba and Hiroki confirms he should, given what Fumiya said to her, blaming her for what he did. Shunsuke opens a window and shares that Fumiya spoke about his mother’s death when he was there. That his mother’s death wasn’t an accident but a suicide. Shunsuke admits, he didn’t think Fumiya would remember anything from such a young age. This sparks a memory for Hiroki, Futaba explaining Fumiya’s desire to go to their real mother’s hometown, and he asks Shunsuke where she was from.

Futaba arrives in Innoshima at Shigei Port and pulls into the parking lot. She rushes to gather her things and the knife slides out of her bag. She picks it up and stares at it.

Meanwhile, Hiroki is traveling by train.

Kyoko sits upstairs with her husband, as Kohei tosses down the latest news on the incident. In the doorway, he wonders if perhaps he’d pushed her too hard. He remembers during his school days, he’d sing karaoke with his friends, songs about hope and light but he’d never quite known what those things were. At the time, he’d wanted to understand, to ask but didn’t want to dampen the mood–knowing he’d be blamed or pitied, because of his past. And yet, he’d demanded her to tough it out.

Kohei: For a guy who doesn’t know what “hope” means in karaoke songs, how could he qualify as someone who gives others encouragement?

Kyoko doesn’t think anyone really knows or understands such things but Kohei thinks Hiroki might. She wonders aloud how he is right now and picks up the tabloid, it falls open to a blacked out snapshot of Akari and her mother.

Futaba steps inside a phone booth to check the phone book listings and flips open her cell to dial Tokiwa Hotel. She’s missed a call but when she hears it’s Hiroki, she skips the message and resumes her search.

Shunsuke is outside Goro’s place, when he pulls up and bows, as he drives by. Inside, Goro mulls over the termination of life support form for Maki but can’t sign it and throws it away. New Girl is concerned there’s some delays with the sapling plant but Goro confides, he may have to sell half his farm land.

Takami dresses for work and heads out, just as Akari comes in from the store. Once alone, she opens the magazine and sees herself inside.

Futaba is still in the booth, pouring over the yellow pages, wiping sweat from her brow, when there’s a knock on her door. Surprise, surprise, it’s Hiroki. He tries to open the door but she presses her foot against the opening. He starts with small talk about the sea behind her but she isn’t biting.

They struggle for a bit and he mentions the heat but she again dismisses him. He snaps at her purse strap, accusing her of swiping his knife but she denies it. The fight zaps her energy in the tiny cell so she steps out for air. He continues to try to get at the bag, asking why she’s carrying it around but Futaba spits back, he’s one to talk. He follows her and accusingly jests, “There’s no way, you’d be able to do it.” She wonders if he could, though she’s not really interested, then insists it’s a family matter, and she’ll handle it.

Hiroki: You really don’t get it do you? Rather than me killing him, it’s more unbearable for me, if you become a murderer. Deciding to do this on your own—that means you don’t trust me? Is that it?

Futaba: But I’m the same. Rather than me killing him, if you become a murderer, I won’t be able to bear it, either.

Hiroki takes her purse, finds the knife and places it back in his pocket. He wonders if she’s found her family but she didn’t have the name. It’s Murakami. Murakami Masami. She sits down to looks at a residential map. She tells him, she was a baby she doesn’t remember anything. They spot a neighborhood filled with Murakamis.

Fumiya is in a garage rummaging but the older woman informs that his mother left nothing behind when she left. He stumbles across a picture of a young girl and glances up hopeful to who it may be, but she answers it’s her niece. Disappointed, he resumes his search.

Hiroki and Futaba spend the day going house to house in search of the Murakami Masami household, with no luck. The older couple check to see if Fumiya is still there to find their garage ripped apart and dejected Fumiya balled in a corner.

Fumiya: It was Mom, the baby and me. Every time the baby would cry she’d say “I can’t take this anymore.” She talked all the time about her trip with dad to Hawaii, where she wore her bathing suit and ate huge shrimp. She told u,s if we hadn’t been born, she could go to Hawaii as often as she wanted. Mom was carrying the laundry when she went to the balcony. When I asked her where she was going, she told me— “To Hawaii in the heavens.”

The older man eyes for his wife to get help and tells Fumiya that he hates that happened– “I hate that Masami married recklessly and killed herself like that, but that has nothing to do with us.”

But Fumiya continues that he’d often dreamed about killing his family. That he’d determined he’d do it one day. On that day, he’d wanted to destroy the fence at Mikazuki Lake, so he brought his hammer. Aki followed him and spoke about Nello and not being born, concerned that if life was going to be horrible, why live? While she spoke he’d cried out for his mother to help him, but he couldn’t even remember her face — “When I opened my eyes, Hiroki’s sister was floating in the lake.” The older man asks if he killed the little girl and Fumiya mindlessly tells him not to worry– “Next time, I’ll kill myself.”

Shunsuke bows when Goro steps to his truck, he thinks to get in and drive off but tells Shunsuke to get in instead.

Hiroki spies an orange tree in the distance and wonders if they’ve found the right area this time, but what draws their attention is a little lady hurrying an officer down the adjacent street. They follow and overhear the older couple describe a man that had just left. He’d not stolen anything but ransacked through their garage, mentioned he’d killed someone and also the prospect of suicide. He’d also inquired after the festival. Perhaps, he would show up their next.

Akari stares out into the night as Takami talks about plans for the next day but she doesn’t plan to attend school any longer and Takami sees she’s read the gossip magazine. Then there’s a knock at the door. It’s Kyoko.

The town comes out for the festival but the little girl trio play by themselves away from the crowd with a sparkler. Hidden, Fumiya watches them, orange in hand.

Kyoko sits across was from Takami and shares openly that 15 years ago– “I hated seeing that picture.” She believes that Takami must have hated them as well, that even with all the harassment, she must have resented them and that fueled their desire to stay together as a family– “You didn’t want to lose to us, right?”

Takami profusely denies this but Kyoko looks her in the eyes and gets frank. She came, because she wanted to have a real conversation. To air everything out.

Takami: Yes, I’ve resented you. For the past 15 years, I’ve lived feeling hating you. After the incident, I also thought of dying together with the child in my belly. But I remembered you before when we were going to that sewing class. People showed their sympathies to you, while they told me I should die. I thought, “What’s the difference between us?” Your daughter was killed. My son was the killer. You’re suffering, we’re suffering. So what’s the difference? I hated you. I hated you up till this day.And for that, I know, I’m a selfish, wretched person.

Kyoko: I’m relieved. I’m relieved to hear you have suffered all this time. I feel better now. I too am a wretched person. Even now, I don’t think there will come a day when I could forgive you. But, this morning, when I saw that new picture, I realized, I don’t feel the same.

She believes it’s possible that Hiroki may have felt similarly about Futaba, until he realized they were no different. She tells Takami that they are in the same situation, and they may have to deal with it forever, therefore, they should find a way to work together and think about how to to move forward. But Takami isn’t ready for this camaraderie.

Goro takes Shunsuke to Maki’s room and explains his crossroads. If he continues with the life support he will be drained financial and have no means of support for Yuri. Shunsuke offers to pay, but Goro feels there’s no real life for Maki, living off a machine. Goro tells Shunsuke to sit and watch, as he signs away consent to end Maki’s treatment— “Watch as a father gives up on his daughter.”

Hiroki and Futaba scan the festival for Fumiya, but he’s at local pool taping his wrists and ankles together. Before he falls back in the water he mumbles— “I’m so hungry.”

Hiroki and Futaba come up empty as Hiroki takes one more look around the corner beyond the festival. Futaba thinks this could be a blessing. It gives everyone what they want, he doesn’t have to take revenge and the latest victims will be pleased. Hiroki listens and realizes he doesn’t like to hear her talk that way either, then clocks eyes on an orange on a stair a few feet away. He runs to the stairs and bustles through the gate, Futaba close behind and she shrieks at Fumiya’s body, limp at the bottom of the pool. Hiroki jumps in and pulls him out, as Futaba tries to revive him, screaming for him to wake up. Finally, Hiroki takes out his knife and cuts the tape on his wrists and begins CPR, as Futaba watches in disbelief by his side.

Futaba, Hiroki and Fumiya walk into a local snack shop and are welcomed cheerfully by the owner, as Fumiya plops at the first table and Hiroki sits staring sternly across from him. The owner gingerly surmises they must’ve drank too much at the festival and fell into the pool, when Fumiya orders omurice and stands. Hiroki jerks him by the arm silently and Fumiya answers the inference, “Where do you think you’re going?” with “Bathroom.” Hiroki asks if there’s a window and after hearing the negative, he let’s him go. They order three omurice dishes and one potato salad.

Futaba isn’t sure what to do next but is most curious about why Hiroki saved her brother’s life. Unfortunately, he isn’t sure there’s a direct answer to that question. She wonders if they should call the police and Hiroki has no answer that either but believes for now, they should try to trust him. When Fumiya returns, Futaba informs him that Hiroki saved his life. It’s clear what his intent was and he announces that he’d try again— “And I’d save you again,” Hiroki rebuts, eyes piercing. For, he has no intention of letting him get away that easily.

Hiroki: I’ve heard a lot of things about you. That you’re scared. Frightened of yourself. So much so, you killed your own unborn child. That it had been better if Aki had never been born. And because of those thoughts, you killed her. I’ve been looking for you. I was going to kill you with this. That’s why I’ve been carrying it with me. Maybe, if she hadn’t stopped met that day, I would have stabbed and killed you and be in jail right now. That’s what I think. If that’d been the case, I’d have accepted my fate. But that didn’t happen, instead, this person stopped me and I got to know her. Maybe, I’ve changed.

He likens his experience to a tangled fishing line, one is determined to undo. But at times in the process, the hook snags and wounds; the truth has similar effects, but regardless, he still wants to know. As Hiroki speaks, Fumiya keeps his eyes lowered in his distant pose and pulls out napkin to begin shape folding. He only pauses slightly when Hiroki admits, “I don’t want to kill you anymore.”

Hiroki goes on that Aki also asked him why The Dog of Flanders was written, why people bother with sad stories, and he rattles off all the sad things that have occurred to those present: Aki’s murder, their broken family and friendships, misplaced trust and loyalty— “Die or kill, you add more to the sadness. Don’t make that choice. Start from scratch and make amends.”

Then he stops himself and tells Fumiya to forget his earlier comments. This time he takes a different route and tells him about his morning, how he’d gotten up use to toilet as usual and opened the window. For the first time, he looked out and noticed the sunrise and welcomed the day. A new day had begun and he realized, “Whether it becomes a painful or exciting day… Happiness is fickle. Whether there is sense in living, Today will still start.”

He reaches across the table and grabs his answers, knowing he may not be articulating anything correctly but simply says, “Fumiya, I want to see the sunrise with you.”

But Fumiya only lifts his eyes toward the kitchen and asks “Is the food ready, yet?” He slides his hands from a stunned Hiroki and Futaba exhales exasperated as tears soak her cheeks.

The food comes and Fumiya digs in, while Hiroki laughs hysterically as he stuffs his face with macaroni salad.

Outside the police station, Fumiya decides to go in alone. He pays Hiroki back for his meal and walks away. Futaba watches from behind then speeds up levitates and slams her feet against hi back. When he topples to the ground, she straddles him and slaps her fists against his face. Hiroki is a step too late, so she shrugs and beats him off, when tries to pull her away. She resumes plowing at Fumiya’s face, Hiroki screaming for her stop, when the police hear the commotion and come outside to break it up. However, adrenaline is high and Futaba knocks them aside. It takes both Hiroki and another office to finally loosen her grip, as she shrieks and thrashes, with Hiroki’s legs barricaded around her.

Reactions, Ramblings and Remarks

I LOVE FUTABA! That girl is definitely my kind of gal. Not because she hits people, but because she’s normal. For, as with any regular person, Fumiya’s words and actions make her blood boil. Therefore, each time Futaba has decided to slap some sense into him, I couldn’t blame her at all. Because her aggression is birthed out of disappointment and all disappointment originates from a place of deep regard. Fumiya is a complicated man but to Futaba, he’s just a man, she remembers as her kind, thoughtful brother, whom she never knew harbored this heartless monster within. Which, ultimately, is the sneaky dualism of mental illness. It can mask itself as two separate entities, when in reality it’s that underbelly of humanity that many of us never tap into. The doubts and insecurities that Fumiya’s mother planted in his life and he then allowed to plague and deteriorate his psyche, aren’t much different from anyone else, but the manifestation determined life and death (in his case). On the outside, it seems cut and dry, and therefore, Futaba’s growing and burst of aggravation is not only warranted, it’s needed, for even Fumiya knows he’s out of line, he just refuses to pretend to care.

Therefore, he continues to be this character that you can only halfheartedly sympathize with. Watching him frantically search for his mother’s face— any small remnant that she existed, reminds us that this grown man, in many ways is a lost, frightened and confused little boy— and that truth, breaks my heart but it doesn’t change my mind or thoughts concerning who he is or what he’s done. It’s clear that his mother was incorrect, but I also believe it’s safe to say, she was more than likely dealing with postpartum depression. I won’t say that she wasn’t just a selfish woman tired of her own life but given her fixation on she and Shunsuke’s previous life and her lack of interest and resentment toward her own children, this along with a few other possibilities spring to mind immediately. Unfortunately, no one knew or paid attention to her long enough to notice the signs and she slipped away, carrying her son’s ability to adjust with her. That type of traumatic experience damaged Fumiya to his core and without treatment, nurture and attention, he grabbed ahold of the few morsels his mother left with him, and being a child, was unable to differentiate between rational thought and the deranged disconcertion of a very unstable individual. This is just plain sad but not untreatable, nor did it transfix Fumiya’s fate. That, he did all on his own, and that is also where all sympathy ceases.

We are finally on the penultimate episode of this phenomenal drama and like all great projects, several thoughts and emotions whirl as a story comes to a close. As we round this corner with these characters, the resounding feeling is relief, not only because this journey has been long but because for these characters, regardless of their initial hopes and desires, whether all their questions are answered, the burdens of their past lightens with each step forward they make. Therefore, as viewers we breathe that sigh with them, as the tension subsides and the clock starts ticking again. There is no end to tragedy but there are a multitudes of new beginnings waiting to be filled with blessing and hope. Hiroki continues to be the epitome of that ideology in this drama. My favorite line of his this episode has to be, “Happiness is fickle.” I love this, not only because it’s the mantra of my personal life, but juxtaposed against his thoughts earlier in the series, it’s a poignant reflection of how far he’s come in his thinking as a character.

What draws my attention in a character is the amount of time that character spends introspectively. Though this may never be seen onscreen, a character’s evolution and speech mirrors their pensiveness. For circumstances and occurrences, only change us to the degree in which we allow, through rational thinking and examination. Hiroki leads the way for all the people around him to take stock and reflect. To apply what they learn from others, not necessarily by what is readily expected but by what is true and honorable as a human being.

And so far,this sentiment is a prime example of what I have adored about SIY. For, there aren’t answers to every question nor is “truth” or resolutions the golden key to eternal happiness. There is no magic potion, wand, carpet or blanket that will make everyone feel better, turn back time or right any wrongs. But what helps and soothes, is to seek understanding, through communication and forgiveness. Whether, it’s to forgive a murderer, yourself or your family member; to vent your sorrows or frustrations— these are the steps to peace.

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