“I will cheer her on but i will not help.”
Of all words and phrases, who would expect this was the one which got through to Misa-san?
That was Rei-san’s stance in regards to her dream, whether or not he’s gonna help with it. Building her own hotel on the land inherited from Grandpa is Misaki’s ultimate dream, which drove her to work in the industry. We also knew that she wishes to achieve it on her own, so their view about dream fulfillment matches. These two finally have something in common, huh?
This realization came in the latter half of the episode, as the first half was spent on Reiji waiting for Misaki’s next move and creating chances to cross path with her in the most coincidental ways. To be fair, he only needs to wait 12 hours for her ‘next condition’ text to arrive, but the break period is extended indefinitely as it reads, “Let’s not see each other for a while.” He fumes at that, which negates his earlier claim about being perfectly calm and patient. However, he remembers his willingness to accept her flaws, so he sends an acknowledgment text, suggesting that they both focus on their jobs and closing with “Isanami suyao.” She wishes him a good night, only in the regular “oyasuminasai” form. Dejected Reiji strokes the ripped-and-patched-up drawing gently, hoping for Isanami Shiho to return quickly. Aww. A piece of Isanami-sensei’s face is still missing.
[His toes barely touch the ground 😂]
Shachou is hardly a man of his words when it comes to Misaki, so it’s not shocking that he’s ready to renege on his promise the following day, because 1) he can’t stand not seeing her face, and 2) he can’t bear hearing Miura greets her every morning (Stay Gold turns out to be within walking distance from Samejima Hotel), insisting that he’s commuting by bike for health reasons. Alas, it’s hard to pass by Stay Gold at the right time to sight her. He even decides to walk home at night… to no avail.
Since the bike-to-work strategy doesn’t work, Reiji calls for a change of plan. He considers renting a new work space across Stay Gold but deems moonlighting as a mascot the more viable option. It yields the desired result almost immediately, as Misaki finds Swingy* cute. Thanks to her colleague, she gets to hug and snaps a two-shot picture with
Reiji it. The happening makes him slumped further though — that’s not the kind of hug he expects from her, besides musing if he’ll ever get to make her smile like that without the costume.
(*Swingy the Seagull is the mascot of Yokohama for Naka Ward, Kanagawa Prefecture.)
The mopey state doesn’t last long following the breaking news of Wada resigning from his post and retiring from the industry. The report doesn’t sit well with Reiji because he isn’t pleased if he can’t snatch the World’s No.1 spot from him. Wada disagrees. He confesses that in the last 5 years Stay Gold being the best hotel, he was happy for only a day. The rest were filled with constant anxiety of how to maintain the top spot and what he’d do/feel if the rank dropped next year. It then dawns on him that his definition of happiness isn’t in building the largest hotel or running the best one, a small hut by the mountain side is enough to give him peace of mind.
Following Wada’s line of thought, Reiji surmises that he isn’t happy because he keeps chasing after Misaki. Shishou gives his disciple a literal slap in the face for arriving at the wrong conclusion. He must never give up on her! Because it’s interesting watching him do all sorts of things to woo her. Hahaha. That’s true though, but what’s the point of this heart-to-heart conversation, again?
Nonetheless, Wada figures there must be something Reiji can do (for her) in the meantime and leaves it to him to think of what it is, since he knows her better. Problem is, he doesn’t know much about her, not even the basic ones like her birthday. So, he recruits Miura again for their latest top-secret project: gather any Misaki-related information. Miura corners every colleague for that, and naturally Mahiro-chan is the best informant among them, which brings us back to the opening paragraphs. She relays Shachou’s unsympathetic reply to Misaki, who then muses that she doesn’t know much about him either.
That prompts her to learn more about him as well, by asking his father. Papa shares the kind of kid Reiji was and his determination when it comes to accomplishing his goal, which seems to open her eyes. She’s further touched by Reiji’s thoughtful gesture — he gives her a book on hotel management, which is full of his notes from college days. That’s his way of showing support.
So, when she spots him outside the hotel, she runs to him and asks him directly about his work styles, motto of “target, full speed, two months”, and ultimately, dream. His answer: something that never goes away even if other people or he himself tries to erase it. Something like her, who lingers on (in his mind) even after he fired her. With that, he inches closer to her, slowly and carefully, step by step. Once they’re face to face, he tentatively wraps his arm around her, and upon noticing that she doesn’t back away, he breaks into a little smile.
He could totally kiss her right there, though i’m fine with the step-by-step development. I mean, how sweet is that hug? Although, girl, why can’t you hug him back???
I like the last scene though i can’t believe this is what we got for the penultimate episode. (Usually i’m sad when a show i enjoy is ending, but the push and pull really tires me out i look forward to the finale already.) Because nothing has changed. Reiji remains the grumpy man-boy who can’t keep his promises, and Misaki a ball of mystery. Thoughtfulness is the surprising and endearing part of Reiji’s character, but that’s hardly emphasized. Alas.
Likewise, i still don’t understand why they like each other or why they should end up together, other than the script says so. I never feel Misaki is into Reiji, and if not for Mahiro-chan’s blabbering, i bet she’ll just leave him hanging for days, weeks, and months. She’s never the proactive one. Even when she is, i don’t get what makes her click. Is it because he too believes dream needs to be reached on his own? Is she impressed by his hard work? Or is she touched by “Rei-san’s dream is Misa-san” bit?
With only one more episode to go, it’s apparent that SekaMuzu has only one storyline and loveline. I thought they would give mini side stories to Mahiro-chan/Miura/Shirahama or Muraoki/Wada but both sub-plots were dropped midway. While this isn’t bad per se, it makes the supporting cast largely insignificant and superfluous. Like, they could’ve written off everyone else but Wada, Muraoki, Ishigami, and Mahiro-chan and it would’ve made little difference.