Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu episodes 6-8

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Tamaki Hiroshi continues to be the best thing about Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu, and this is both a good and bad thing. The good is that Tamaki is successfully making use of his minimal screentime for maximum impact, but the bad is that this drama is not about his character and the main relationship isn’t gaining any sort of logical traction. Ayase Haruka is still doing a fine job as Hanae, but it’s become increasingly obvious she can’t single-handedly sell this older woman-younger man relationship, especially since her co-star is still as stiff as a board. It’s a pity that the story, which had a fair amount of potential in the earlier stages, is kind of fizzling out as it reaches the final stretch.

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As I watched episodes 6-8, I wondered just when the repetitive pattern that had emerged since episode 2 would stop: Whenever Hanae ran into problems with Yuto, she’d panic and then Yu would come in to offer advice so she could fix the problem. The pattern took a slight twist when in episode 7, it was Yuto to whom Yu offered advice. Then finally in episode 8, Yu offered no advice because his interaction with Hanae was reduced to a distant “oh, it’s you” before he turned back to his work after she had tried, for the first time ever, to get his attention because she realised he hadn’t even noticed her existence in the udon shop. Normally, I’d have cheered this turn because something like this, in a normal story, signalled the dynamic between the characters was about to change, and hopefully for the better. But in this drama, the two best actors are reduced to a scene lasting no more than five minutes. This is just criminal.

Yuto remains as immature as ever, and since he’s only 21, I should probably cut him some slack. But I still don’t like how whenever something goes wrong in the relationship, he doesn’t offer any sort of explanation and just skates by with an apology for having neglected Hanae’s feelings or something. This was what happened in the Hirono affair, but it was only after Hanae apologised first – in a very dramatic way, as though she’d committed a grave sin, which just made her look rather silly. Granted, Yuto had thought to talk it out with Hanae but she ran off thinking he was going to break up with her. But that still makes the whole apology trite and frustrating. This is a couple who can’t communicate properly – Hanae behaves so carefully and gingerly around him that it annoys me, while Yuto is either too passive or moves way too fast without consideration for Hanae’s feelings. Bushi-san, Yuto’s restaurant friend, ends up voicing all the questions Hanae should have posed.

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The writing for Yuto is odd, but not something a better actor wouldn’t be able to salvage. Sadly, Fukushi Sota can’t carry even a 2D rom-com character like this, which makes Yuto all the more irritating to watch. In episode 7, he proposes cohabitation and they go looking for an apartment together, but after Yu’s pointed reminder that Yuto is moving too fast, he realises he is in no position to provide for Hanae as yet and backs out of it (they needed Hanae’s name for the rental and her parents to act as guarantor, since Yuto is still in university). I’d thought that would make Yuto wake up a little, but after having spent the bulk of episode 8 insisting he wants to further his studies (get an MBA and start his own company before he turns 30) and that he’s not at the marrying stage, he proposes to Hanae out of the blue. I really wonder how much Yuto has thought about each of his actions affecting Hanae, or whether he thinks proposing to her is really the right thing to do.

Again, this wouldn’t have posed a problem if the relationship were something I could get behind, but sadly that isn’t the case. If the writer’s point is to show how this romance is going to the dogs because Yuto is rushing into something, then I hope the next couple of episodes properly tie things up. Right now, it’s frustrating watching Hanae behave as though Yuto is a god for just being with her – does she really believe that she should just settle for scraps like this? Ayase is doing her darndest to show that Hanae is happy in this relationship and that Yuto is the right guy for her, but without her co-star to back her up, it just doesn’t look like a relationship that makes sense.

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I still don’t like that Yu gets at most 15 minutes of screentime (sometimes less), but at least the drama is keeping his character awesome. I’m glad it changed the car keys scene – in the manga, Yu pretended to lose them to keep Hanae with him longer. But in the drama, Yu really lost them (rental ones at that), so he and Hanae trudge along the road in search of a cafe, with Hanae complaining that he’s really one to lose car keys and Yu remaining cheerful throughout. I love Yu’s positive outlook on life and how he’ll just forge ahead despite the obstacles. Now that he’s no longer CEO of Sapphirus, he’s taken to setting up his own restaurant while still giving Hanae love advice. So imagine my surprise when Yu says to his business partner that he merely regards Hanae as a friend now. Since when did that happen? Wasn’t he still interested in her?

I thought about it, and for the first time in the drama, I began to feel that while Yu is still the right man for Hanae, she may not be the right woman for him, at least not at this point in their lives. Perhaps Yu has recognised that as well and is retreating, and also because he simply has bigger things to worry about considering he is now striking out on his own. Hanae is still overreacting to relationship matters like a five-year-old and Yuto is no help in this aspect, so she is not really growing when she is with him. It’s entirely ironic that she experiences more personal growth when she is with Yu, only she sadly doesn’t realise it. And when she does feel Yu’s “absence”, she’s still slow to realise what it could mean. I don’t want to read too much into it because Yu and Hanae aren’t end game, but I find it sad that their interaction is reduced to this. The drama doesn’t know how to exploit a good thing, that’s for sure.

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Which also makes me realise that when Yu gives Hanae advice, she’s less likely to screw up in a massive way. For example, without Yu keeping her marriage hopes in check in episode 8, Hanae goes and blurts out to Yuto’s mom that she is totally willing to support Yuto while he concentrates on his research and all. I cringed so much throughout that scene, it was positively embarrassing for Hanae and I don’t know how she could even think this was something to say when meeting her boyfriend’s mother for the first time. I wish Yu had been around earlier to slap some sense into her. It’s not wrong at all to want marriage, but Yuto’s not even done with school and even she should figure out they’re at different stages in their lives. I feel sad for Hanae when she hears about Yuto’s plans for the future and realises that they don’t include her. Even sadder is how she convinces herself she’s totally blissful even if she doesn’t get married, as though it’s something she should be grateful for. And when Yuto finally thinks he knows what she wants and proposes, of course she’s going to think he’s such a godsend. This whole set-up just has me shaking my head.

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Yu himself doesn’t think he’s suitable for marriage, until a chat with Tachibana (Hanae’s boss) sets him thinking, and he recalls the time at the sausage factory where she pretended to be his wife and her words about them being mortal enemies (a monkey and dog, she’d said, with him being the monkey, haha). I don’t feel Yu is the marrying kind, so I hope the drama doesn’t push him to suddenly look for a wife just because. He’s finally put the kibosh on Hitomi’s interest in him by telling her he’s actually 100 million yen in debt and can’t give her the kind of life she expects, so I hope that’s really the end of her liking Yu. I don’t blame Hitomi for being realistic and deciding she can’t stick with a debt-ridden man, but in the first place I never thought she had much depth, so I don’t get why she’s even in a funk and crying about having to give up on Yu. Seriously, how much does she even know about him that she behaves as though it’s such a soul-crushing thing to give up on him? Yu has always maintained Hitomi is not his type, so I’m glad he’s stuck to it throughout. He knows what he wants and Hitomi is not it. Hanae definitely still figures somewhere in his mind, so he’s not over her, but I wonder how he’ll react to news of her marrying Yuto.

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I haven’t mentioned Hanae’s colleagues, but they’re a decent bunch and she’s been forming nice bonds with one or two of them. Hanae always has a fair bit to say (in her mind, at least) about each of her colleagues, and this shows her non-doormat side that only otherwise comes out when she’s with Yu or her best friend Ichika, but I like that she discovers just how wrong her perceptions of her colleagues can be. For example, she has a near meltdown thinking that the office gossip Oshiro would leak out news of her dating Yuto, but it turns out Oshiro won’t squeal on her and they bond over beers. Meanwhile, she discovers there’s actually a little more to Kagami (who likes Hitomi) than his usual uppity attitude at work. Even boss Tachibana is nice and understanding. It’s only Hitomi who’s mehh and I don’t understand just what Kagami sees in her, although now that she’s “given up” on Yu, there’s the possibility of something developing between her and Kagami. Well, good luck to him.

I’ll soldier on for Tamaki, but this is probably one project he and Ayase would be happy to see the back of, asap.

junny@12.23am

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