It’s been over a week since Yokoso, Wagaya e‘s finale, yet i am still unsure what else needs to be commented on since i think i’ve covered ’em all in previous entries. There are two more episodes i’ve yet to touch, but nothing changes much, plot-wise, conflict-wise: Kenta is still trying his hardest to protect his family and catch those harassing his family with his own hands; Dad is still trying to out Mase’s schemes to protect the company he’s working at.
As far as Nameless-san is concerned, Tamiko is their biggest threat at the moment. Also, who else thought the knitted-hat man would be the first and last Nameless-san? Yes, he was the first. But nope, he isn’t the last. Dun dun dun.
Turns out i was anxious about Mom’s safety for nothing since Kenta manages to arrive home before Tamiko drops the lighter. The three even carry on with revealing conversation while holding the above position. Isn’t your arm tired, Tamiko-san? And her reason for blackmailing Mom: she hates how Mom is able to keep a sunny disposition despite the husband’s relegation and good-naturedly envies her ‘good life’ — something hers is all but. Well, she takes the cake for the most wtfery spur, because i actually thought of a bigger, more justifiable twist like her husband was Mase Buchou or something.
With that, Nameless-san #3 is put behind bars for yet another unspecified term, so who’s left is the man who started it all. Kenta who didn’t even dare to look at him in the face when given the chance now waits for him at the station and courageously chases after him, only to be overpowered rather easily. That isn’t a futile attempt though since he manages to catch a glimpse of his statement accessory. Why that, Kenta? Why not the more obvious distinctive feature like his face?
That piece may not be as quotidian as feared, as we are given a glimpse of the man donning that very necklace standing next to a smiling Asuka whilst she’s narrating this stupid story of hers that was motivated by dark emotions which led to revenge…
So that’s our penultimate cliffhanger, that she knows the perpetrator close enough to take a two-shot picture. That’s supposed to be the drama’s biggest twist, no? Leaving at that got me to doubt her after trusting her all series long. Is she an accomplice? Did the family ever wrong her in any way? Or… is all of this designed so that she has an interesting, ‘real life’ material to write about? Man, if she used Kurata family to advance her career, i’d go batshit… but i totally hoped Yokoso went there since Asuka has been conveniently around Kenta whenever this or that happens, as if it is no coincidence…
…which seems likelier by the minutes since the knitted-hat man also knows about the (location of) CCTV. This hunch is only capped off by Kenta’s admission to relying a lot on her all this time yet completely unaware of her true feelings — or her true color. Wah. Due to this, her resourcefulness in the final hour looks dubious in my eyes. Dame yo, dame dame!
But before we get there, distract yourself with Dad and Kenta seeing their nemesis through to the end. Without going into details — my brain switched off mid-explanation — those questionable companies are Mase’s affiliations and through complicated deals and crafted maneuvers siphon off 30 million yen to finance the person he’s indebted to. Is that a feeling of gratification i felt seeing him lower his head no matter how begrudgingly and insincerely? What’s even more awesome is the deep bow isn’t directed to Dad, but to Nishizawa.
It is rightly so since all of Dad’s bullets come from her. We’ve seen how many frustrating times Dad has to swallow his pride and apologize for his negligence when she’s unable to step up to the plate. All i ever wanted was for Dad to be more thorough, prepare more hard proofs, anticipate and block any possible counter attacks. Because the sequence is the same through and through: he publicly accuses Mase of this or that without any supporting/incriminating evidence or Plan B, fully expects him to readily admit to it, and is thus stumped when Sly Buchou expertly spots the weak link in his allegation and turns the tables, over and over again.
However, he also displays the traits of a great superior one can proudly looks up to when it counts. For one, he never puts the blame on his subordinates, shoulders their missteps and calls ’em his. Upon finally trumping Mase, Dad’s only order is for him to apologize to Nishizawa, albeit deserving one himself. If that’s not touching enough, he goes beyond acknowledging her potential by setting her up for a well-deserved promotion, and makes sure it comes about — not to mention calling her “Deka-chou” (Chief Detective). Aww, can’t blame her for getting all teary-eyed.
While Dad faces Mase for the last time, Kenta finally tracks knitted-hat man down so i know he isn’t Mase (am i the only one suspecting him from the start? Mainly in view of the posture and the ‘HOPE’ cigarette). Alas, this long-awaited, head-on face-off feels anticlimactic largely due to minimal buildup toward the big reveal also because he ends up being a nobody, whose face i haven’t seen all series long. Admittedly, my reaction upon seeing his face was a downright “Huh? $=/”
Only that he is no total stranger to Asuka. They met at a gathering, she’s been ignoring his texts, and she was the reason he cut line and rushed toward the train that fateful day. Too bad not only was he rebuked in public by her, she also didn’t seem to remember him at all. Pride hurt, he then directed his humiliation at Kenta. That’s how all this mess started. Groan.
So none of this would’ve happened had Asuka responded to his texts? So Kenta just happened to make the wrong move at the wrong time, not because he was meddlesome?
That the why remains consistently so trivial till the end is probably what disappoints me the most because i expected something bigger and more resounding, that despite their life philosophy, The Kuratas had consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly crossed the line and hurt others. But no, their misery is caused by those who like to lash out their self-dissatisfaction at others who neither the source of nor had anything to do with their life problems. Even though nothing is solved, such method gives the perpetrators satisfaction because now the victims are as smarting as them. That’s scary, sick and crazy, but also very much real. Today, one must really be watchful of everything you do or say because we can never know which part of our action/words comes off as offensive in others’ eyes and potentially brings unnecessary troubles as a result. Shudder.
Yokoso is engaging for most of its run despite its oversimplistic plot and somewhat-limited acting, which could be a turnoff. We are dealing with basically the same issue for 10 episodes, and the conflicts become increasingly repetitive with little progress. Most characters show no signs of growth either, except probably Kenta, even if there are lessons learned and positive takeout from this case: the family coming together and not cracking under pressure, forming stronger bonds as they go, and seeing one another in new light at the end of the road.
As expected, family relation/interaction is Yokoso‘s strongest suit. Kenta/Nana’s silent exchanges and Kenta/Dad’s heart-to-heart are my two favorite moments. The third most heartwarming scene is Nana’s answer to the panel’s inquiry about the stalker/blackmail incident. I’m not sure how it’d benefit her candidacy but that newfound appreciation/respect for her family was heartfelt.
As for Asuka’s stupid story, her guilt upon learning that she was the root cause of the attacks and fury upon seeing how carefree the hannin is prompt her to become a despised Nameless-san herself. Unlike other offenders, though, she is remorseful and apologetic for that one cowardice act. And that makes all the difference.
‘Cuz at the end of the day, she gains herself a new family, and for the first time in the show’s run, “Ojamashimasu” is well-meant and thus greeted with a warm “Irasshai.” With this, the show comes full circle with its title: Welcome to our home.
All is well in the epilogue…
until one day Kenta realizes that the flowerbed gets disfigured again…
and we see yet another hooded person looms in the background. Ack!
Director: Nakae Isamu
Production: Fuji TV, 2015
Cast: Aiba Masaki, Sawajiri Erika, Terao Akira, Arimura Kasumi, Minami Kaho, Takenaka Naoto, Yamaguchi Sayaka
Genre: Family, Mystery, Suspense, J-dorama (10 Episodes)