I think I must be right about this series showing us forward-moving PLOT filled episodes every other hour. Where episode 9 suffered from a highly disjointed pace (and way too many flashbacks), episode 10 is a masterpiece of storytelling!
Let’s look at some of the many little pros that add up to the big picture:
(1) Little brother gets to act, (2) Parents get to overact, (3) Yuko gets only 30 seconds of screen-time, (4) Kotoko’s friends are actually useful, (5) Kin-chan gets to be amazing, save the day, AND (6) be mature enough to tell Naoki a thing or two about life.
Let’s see. Did I miss anything? Hmm? What’s that, you say? There were some other good scenes and a kiss or two?
Seems the story was just following a natural progression of overcoming illness and character gathering, until that fateful moment when Naoki suggests Kotoko return with him to his apartment. *cue music: oooo ooh, ooh oooo ooh… boop boop boop*
A note on how good the apartment scene is: Kotoko’s expressions and acting here accurately reflect the emotions of just about every viewer watching the drama. Because you know we (with Kotoko) are simultaneously feeling the same swells of excitement and anxiety at the shared living quarters: Naoki’s one-room apartment, Naoki’s shower, Naoki’s single bed, even wearing Naoki’s clothes. How can the mind not
Let’s just keep the fangirlishness and shrieking for whenever Naoki is not looking, and be still as a statue when he is, and try not to faint in the shower at his scent on the towel… or fall off the couch laughing and squealing at all these possibilities and more (author’s note: failed
Did anyone else think it a little much though, when Kotoko starts freaking out about Naoki’s shampoo and soap? By this episode alone, you wouldn’t think they had been sharing a living space and most definitely the same bathroom, shower, and toilet seat for almost a year. As Kotoko notes though, this time it’s different. Just a little bit…
And yet this scene becomes not just an opportunity to fulfill every shipper’s dreams (or most importantly, Irie-mama’s); it instead is home to one of the most earnest, open, and heart-warming scenes between Naoki and Kotoko this drama has ever seen.
Naoki finally unveils his motivations for moving out, and his desire to figure out who he wants to be. Kotoko also seems to not only understand this; she reciprocates with some of her thoughts about life, and of the effects Yuki’s sudden illness have made. This is the first time I can say with unbiased certainty, that they are a couple who might really make it in the real world, outside of Dramaland cuteness.
It helps that Naoki has continuously taken on a mature role, growing upon his awareness of Kotoko’s feelings in the prior episode. He lovingly comforts her, actively takes care of her, and is clairvoyant to boot! Or maybe he is just a mind-reader, since he always seems to know where Kotoko is and what she’s thinking.
Point is, for once I adore a character for his emotional control, even if it’s just to keep his parents from looking like this:
Not to completely ignore the ending now – but that dream sequence “kiss” paralleled with the real kiss was expertly edited. I’ve been waiting for this scene ever since I knew this version of Mischievous Kiss
was to be made, and up ‘til now the drama’s shown no lack of love for dream sequences that leave us in suspense and ultimate disappointment once Kotoko wakes up.
Finally, Kotoko’s dreams are rooted in fact – and I couldn’t be happier! Naoki’s timing might’ve been off the night before, if he intended to tell Kotoko how much she means to him. Yet even if he’s too timid to kiss her properly, he’s at least not afraid of doing it front of Yuki, much to little bro’s chagrin. Such a priceless ending scene.
Kotoko: “Irie really has good taste.”
So what does everyone else think? Could this episode have been any better? In any way? I challenge you to tell me how!
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