Ah, Shachou… how i wished you had had a backup plan to make up for the faulty bed, because although i didn’t think the breakup was entirely your fault, firing her would only worsen the situation, cuz how you’re gonna win her heart again if you won’t see her in the office?
Shachou is still out of it three days after Misaki’s departure and is back to ignoring his staff’s greetings that his gloomy state concerns them. They may not really like him as a boss, but his disposition since Misaki’s arrival was much friendlier that they’re determined to help the two reconcile. There was an awkwardly funny moment in the last episode when Mahiro-chan blurted out that the two were dating and the other personnel except Miura kept forced straight faces. Here, it’s hilarious how much they know about the relationship — lasted only two weeks sans any physical contact that it’s safe to say it never existed in the first place. They probably dug up this inside information by hovering around Ishigami and bribing him with expensive bentos on multiple occasions.
So, they decide to hold a farewell party for Misaki, who’s begged to come by Mahiro-chan, granting the two the opportunity to talk things out. Reiji announces before everyone what an important addition she is to the team that she’s welcome to return to her post. She thanks him firmly, which seems to be good news, before killing the mood by declaring she’ll be working at Stay Gold Hotel, and irks him further by claiming she didn’t take his rivalry with Wada into account at all. Pride hurt, Reiji snaps that (given her skills) she could’ve and should’ve found employment outside the prefecture or even overseas to reduce the possibility of chancing upon each other. Oof, that’s harsh.
Reiji then accuses Wada of shamelessly poaching his staff, but the latter proves to the slyer shade thrower, taking a dig at his poor employee placement practice. Misaki shines better in front-line than desk-bound position, whereas Muraoki fits a lover better than a secretary. Wada also divulges that liking Reiji was Muraoki’s reason for rejecting him. Whoa. Even after 8 episodes, i still can’t tell whether Wada’s being sincere or crafty (i don’t really favor the shachous’ meeting/consultation either), and therefore have no idea what to think of his character.
The revelation is news to Reiji, and thereafter he’s super conscious around her, which includes leering at her and fishing for her attention, as if to confirm her feelings. This happens for half the episode until he suggests that they start dating. First of all, i love the calm and composed way Muraoki addresses the situation and brings him to his senses — this is what they call a rebound, which means he’s more affected by the breakup than he realizes and tries to run away from the heartbreak. She closes the motherly monologue with a good advice: face his weakness and find a way to open Misaki’s heart.
Secondly, it’s such a relief that the possible twist turned to be a fakeout. Phew. I was probably reading too much into her referring to Shachou as “Reiji-san” before Wada as well as her equivocal “daisuki” statement; it was clear that Muraoki likes him as a family long before Reiji asked her out. At times, she doesn’t feel like advising him as a secretary but as a very patient big sister. Seriously, Shachou, what are you gonna do without Muraoki (and Ishigami)? And since you have earned the lifetime loyalty of great assistants with your difficult personality, i believe you can also earn the lifetime affection of the woman you love with your improved personality.
They can still arrive at this conclusion without likening it to Reiji-Dad’s relationship, but i guess it’s necessary to draw the similarities of the two. We can tell from episode 4 that Reiji isn’t in good terms with his father. The issue, according to Mr. Know-it-all Ishigami, stems from the divorce, wherein Papa chased Mama out of the house. He despises Papa’s inability to recognize his own shortcomings, which eventually made Mama leave, at which Muraoki matter-of-factly points out that’s the exact situation he was in with Misaki.
Not only that, both Samejimas also resort to telling feeble lies to veil their true intentions and even share the same sleeping style. To say that Papa is the bigger man, however, is stretching it. After all, he reappears only now, presumably after 8 years, and does nothing but making the handmade soba his son used to like. But let’s not question this drama’s logic, shall we?
If anything, the development in this episode finally made me realize why it’s dubbed the world’s most difficult romance. Misaki is so blunt upfront that Reiji’s cowardice and small-mindedness rub her the wrong way. He in turn views her strong traits as rude and overstepping and was thus offended by it. Given their clashing communication style, the middle ground is for her to soften her speech and be more mindful of other’s feelings and him to be more frank and less roundabout.
However, this solution doesn’t seem to be what SekaMuzu is after. This is no opposites-attact brand of romance. Instead of asking or forcing the characters to change to make the relationship work, it has them recognize their and their partners’ flaws and offer to accept them. Relationship requires effort from both parties, and it’s important to embrace not only their partner’s good sides but also the bad sides. It’s great to see character growth, but let’s face it, people don’t change overnight, or ever. Calling it quits after one misunderstanding suggests that Misaki isn’t ready to accept Reiji’s flaws or serious about him. And vice versa, though i can argue that Reiji does try to patch things up with her, several times.
I therefore appreciate the return of Ishigami’s favorite quote from Goethe: “Those who cannot love the shortcomings of their loved ones cannot truly say ‘I love you’.” When this quote appears in episode 5, i knew it would be the underlying theme of this rom-com. While Reiji needs to learn the beauty of speaking to the point, i like his point: he’s ready to accept what he deems as her flaws in his eyes so that their love can bloom. Now what is her stance on this: is she going to accept his, or run away from it?
She replies she has conditions… so is it safe to say she agrees to give him a second chance? Too bad the magic of Isanami Suyao-sensei doesn’t work the third time around. Reiji is always the one who makes every effort that i look forward to Misaki’s turn — she says she’ll text him of her next condition. Hopefully we won’t have another episode of him waiting for her.