Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Tokyo Tarareba Musume: on episode 5~6

“I love him… but he’s not only mine.
We love each other… but we can’t get married.
We can be together… but we don’t match.

When did we start to live this awkward way of life?”

Ah, these tarareba girls and the dilemmatic love situations they’re in…

none of which is an ideal relationship.

The logical solution is to break away from it before feelings run deeper and things get more complicated. And i thought being treated like an option in the last couple episodes would bring them to their senses, the more when their fortune-telling is as harsh as it can get, but when it’s head vs. heart, sometimes the answer isn’t clear-cut. Because is there really a right or wrong in love?

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with liking someone (“Love is not something we can choose. It’s something we fall into.”). However, knowing the man is off the market yet continue dating him anyway is a completely different story. That’s NOT okay. That’s the move i can never get behind, even in fiction setting.

That’s why i cheered for Kaori and Koyuki when they resolve to break up from respective man, and was dismayed when that means simply not picking up their calls or responding to their texts, believing the other party would get it? Are you serious?? As it turns out, the resolution crumbles the moment the eschewed boyfriend shows up, following the news about Rinko’s latest progressive romance with this bartender-cum-cook-cum-bar-owner Okuda Yuichi (Hayami Mokomichi). At this point, i began to question if the girls’ obsession with dating/marriage stems from the fear of missing out, or possibly loneliness.

Rinko may have the worst luck in terms of career (Hayasaka keeps pushing her and giving her chances, yet her work hardly makes the cut), but hers is seemingly the best in the love department. She keeps attracting attractive males even when she’s not actively looking. There’s Hayasaka, then KEY, and now Okuda whom she met while grocery shopping! Their relationship develops so fast that before we knew it, Rinko has slept over at his place two nights in a row.

Equipped with amazing body specs and a-million-watt smile, Okuda seems too good to be true that i was waiting for the other shoe to drop — that’s he’s gay, for example (haha). But he continues to show what a great husband material he is: he cooks for her in the morning (or whenever they meet, actually), doesn’t mind her unsightly sleeping habit, is straightforward and perpetually sweet. Although deciding he’s the one, the negatives quickly outweigh the positives: she can’t relax around him, can’t be honest about her feelings/opinions, can’t talk about things outside his interests, and eventually finds him tiring to be with.

Which brings me to the quote above. Of course the best situation is the right person at the right time, but when that’s out of the question, which option is the least worst?

  1. A married man who claims to not get along with his wife, hides the fact that he’s about to have two kids for fear of shooing you away, with whom you cannot openly date peacefully yet holds your hand in public?
  2. An old flame who calls you over when his girlfriend is not in town, rushes over to your workplace during your silent strike to ensure you’re okay, claims to be happiest when with you yet shows no intention to make you the priority?
  3. A single independent guy who only compliments, comforts, and encourages you as well as showers you with great food and affection on every date but has clashing tastes in movies and such?

I’d pick no.3 in a heartbeat if only for the fact that he isn’t someone else’s. But for these girls, heart wins over head any day. In these 6 episodes, while their views and discussion on love remain relatable, they made decisions i couldn’t agree with though i cannot say i can’t see where they’re coming from.

My major issue is how this drama seems to downplay the graveness of an affair by painting the two inappropriate relationships more favorably than the acceptable one. I’ll be disappointed if there’s no ugly consequences in the coming episodes.

That objection aside, Kaori and Koyuki sticking with their disloyal boyfriends only goes against their ultimate goal in the first place. Koyuki isn’t guilty of it per se given she doesn’t share the sentiment and starts considering the possibility of happiness sans marriage, but Kaori keeps reiterating her dream to have a child by 2020 that it just doesn’t make sense for her to ditch a matched partner for a futureless relationship with Ryo-chan. I can’t believe she doesn’t even give another man a try, and then grumbles when he doesn’t bring up the possibility of breaking up with his model girlfriend. I mean, if he can two-time you, why can’t you do the same?

So, even though Rinko has the most over-the-top yet gifable fantasies and basically sleeps around (which i don’t appreciate at all), she’s also the most practical. Albeit the voice of her future self screaming at her to not let Okuda go lest she’ll remain single for another decade, she isn’t afraid to risk it anyway simply because he isn’t the right man for her. Which i totally approve.

That doesn’t mean i didn’t feel bad for her misfortunes. I too was as frustrated as Hayasaka at her continuous failures to land a writing job, despite how hard she works, or the number of times she has to swallow her pride and begs for any kind of job. But we know that sometimes, hard work alone doesn’t guarantee success. And she can only endure rejections so many times before giving up altogether, that it is understandable for her to have high hopes of Okuda and use him as the escape route.

But now that she has bid him goodbye, i hope she won’t fall back on KEY again, regardless of the number of ridiculous coincidental meetings they’ve had thus far. I don’t know if the incidence suggests anything, but their constant bickering and going-nowhere association aren’t doing it for me. He may feign disinterest, but if he feels anything for her, he should’ve made any kind of move by now. But i guess he’s still stuck in the memory of his late-wife.

On the other hand, i’m open to Hayasaka as the old-but-new contender. I honestly thought he’s out of the picture since his role and scenes are on the limited side, but all he does is worrying for Rinko. He meant it as a senior, but who knows? He can be indecisive and too timid at times, but the moment he shows up in front of Rinko’s place wearing that expression, my hope is reignited then and there. Tell me it ain’t bait and switch this time!

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