“One more station. If only we would never arrive there…”
If Taiwan has It Started with a Kiss, then Japan has It Started with a Hug. LOL. Well, the official English title for NigeHaji is We Married as a Job! but that could easily be its alternative title given how fast things have developed between the fake newlywed ever since they started hugging.
Okay let’s backtrack a bit to the lover proposal. While we’re all expecting a yes from Hiramasa, i guess it will be out of character for him to agree so readily. Thus, that he’s tentative and trying to rationalize his way out of Mikuri’s direct attack is not a disappointment per se. It was an abrupt request after all, albeit put forward with him in mind. The initial spur was the more isolated she feels the more he keeps her at arm’s length, which made it extra difficult for her to strike up a conversation, which then tempted her to run to Kazami’s sweet talk, but she decided against it as doing so would only demoralize her boss-husband even further. Aww.
They might not reach a resolution that night, but worry not, because NigeHaji has always been so great in plotting the ploy for them to proceed with the plan. This time it’s through Yuri-chan witnessing Mikuri sending Kazami off at the train station, which smells nothing short of an affair. Her suspicion is further affirmed seeing how the warui ikemen flees when confronted. The news eventually reaches the not-couple, who cannot afford yet another person in their circle to get a whiff of their fake marriage.
Thankfully, it’s Hiramasa who brings up the lovers idea to create the newlywed atmosphere. With that, Mikuri quickly jumps to her feet so they can begin right away — a hug, to start off, since interlocking fingers handhold may be too much for the initial skinship. Hilariously, the pro-bachelor is so awkward about it that contract-wife has to guide him about it, down to how long the hug will last. Hee. The highly organized employer, however, feels the need to set things straight so this ‘side project’ won’t interfere with their business pact: they will only hug, no snuggling, outside working hours, on a specific day — on Tuesdays (because their first hug was done on that day, also because this drama airs every Tuesday). Gah, do you guys need to be this detailed?
Regardless, they can now focus on accomplishing the ultimate mission to show Yuri-chan how happily married they are, because words alone won’t convince her. Mikuri also considers coming clean, but judging how being honest about her part-timing at Kazami’s place only riles her aunt up — she cannot fathom how the nephew-in-law would be stupid enough to greenlight such absurdity, particularly when the other party is as charming as Kazami, ha — doing so might distress her further. That seeing them hug is suffice to appease her concern sounds too easy, but at least it causes the weekly hug rule to be broken right away, emergency situation and whatnots. Granted, Yuri-chan still needs to ensure things are going fine between them that she generously exchanges her credit card points with an overnight retreat for their honeymoon. Long story short, it’s a trip full of hijinks — go watch episode 6 and you’ll get what i mean!
NigeHaji spends so much time on the not-couple that there’s barely any side stories. I’m not invested in any other character but these two. Yassan’s (Mikuri’s buddy) predicament concerning her husband’s affair was only mentioned here and there, so when she chose divorce, i hardly sympathized with her. Kazami who could be set up as the potential contender for Mikuri’s heart hasn’t shown much action in that regard. And now that he has confessed to liking Mikuri, does that close the door for his maybe-yes-maybe-no pair with Yuri-chan? Not that she needs to end up with a man, but she displays special interest in this warui ikemen… am i simply seeing things? Because before we knew it, she’s become drinking buddies with Numata-san.
Episode 5 and 6 continue to shower us with overflowing amount of sweet-cute, awkward giddiness, and unintentional hilarity, and i am more than elated for that. I may find Hiramasa-san boring in real life but here, he’s such an adorable dork that i can hardly fault him for being so strict about everything. Them stepping up to become so-called lovers, even if it’s for hugs on Tuesdays only kind, is the first step into the grey zone and he’s trying his damndest to keep it platonic. In fact, it’s commendable of him for maintaining the status quo, which shows how much he respects Mikuri. Nevertheless, it’s understandable for Mikuri to expect something more and thus let down when Hiramasa keeps his guard up. At the same time, she should’ve known him better by now to anticipate him jumping at her. I‘d be disappointed if he did that.
After all, what i enjoy the most about this drama is the natural development of the relationship, and eventually romance, that i’m happily relishing the baby step progress these two make. It takes time to earn one’s trust and be comfortable around someone new, and i think this complicated couple has reached that level. It’s especially apparent from Hiramasa’s end, who has gotten comfortable enough to step out of his room in his PJs *kyaa~* While looks ordinary, THAT’s seriously a squee-inducing moment (i feel you, Mikuri!) since he’s never done it before. He’d usually come out fully dressed i’ve wondered if the bathroom is inside the bedroom (nope; it’s beside the dining table). He’s also become a lot more relaxed around her though he remains jumpy at her cheeky jokes.
Even then, that’s not enough to solace Mikuri. Despite claiming to seek only the nice parts of a relationship, she appears to yearn more from than just a weekly hug. She even prepares the cute lingerie for the “work retreat”! Maybe she’s ready to bring the business relationship to the personal one that she’s gotten weary of making the first move every time — for them to marry, to ‘date’, to hug, to sleep on the double-bed… Again, i feel her, though it’s not as if Hiramasa never initiates anything — i can recall at least three gestures: the gentle head pat, the invitation to sit side by side on the sofa, the sincere compliments — though probably it’s his inaction where it matters most that frustrates her. Like that time she’s bombarded by her complainer ex-boyfriend. I too expected him to at least say something to her defense. I too was crestfallen when he excused himself. I too wished he’d voice out his thoughts instead of keeping it himself and assumed Mikuri would get it.
But in the end, he not only holds her hand (aiee!) but also swoops in for a kiss (!!!). It might come later than sooner, when all hopes had vanished, when we believed nothing would happen, but he did it! O-M-G! Good luck explaining what that means, Hiramasa-san! 😏