Last Cinderella: Ep 4

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

More great interactions between Sakura & Rintaro, plus we get one step closer to the truth about Choko & Hiroto’s past.

Surprisingly there isn’t much screen-time for Hiroto in this episode.  His fans might be disappointed, but I’m actually satisfied with his scenes in this episode because they showed his darker side.  Up until now, Hiroto has been a smooth playboy with a hidden past, a bit cocky yet also with a conscience.  It is fun seeing him being cute and playful and all, but I much prefer his broody and angsty self.  HEHEHEH.  I also think this is really what Miura needed–the chance to make Hiroto into something more than just a playboy.  His ending scene with Choko left me on edge because I was so curious about what happened between the two of them.  He obviously cares more about Choko than he usually lets on, but is it out of guilt or out of his deep connection with her?

As for Choko, it is clear that she is stalking Rintaro and that she has some sort of traumatic past that influences her behavior.  I feel kinda bad for her since it seems like her only happiness in life comes from Rintaro, and it is only an obsession and an unrequited love.  Anyways her big reveal is…her scars? O_O  Is this what she was referring to when she told Hiroto that he knows why she can’t get together with Rintaro?  Now that I look back at that scene, maybe Choko was pointedly saying this to Hiroto on purpose to imply that it’s all HIS fault.  It also explains why Hiroto does these ‘jobs’ for Choko and will always answer her every call.  But then again, it also makes me more confused because the two of them had no hints of animosity before this and Choko’s scars wouldn’t necessarily prevent her from being with Rintaro.

A lot of people are still speculating over whether or not Choko & Hiroto are siblings.  I’m pretty sure they are, especially since the preview for the next episode says that they are. O_O  I feel like Hiroto’s kissing Choko’s scars was more of an act of gentleness and a way of saying “you’re beautiful the way you are, with the scars”.  And this is random, but is it just me or does anyone feel like Momo might get in the way of our love square?  She is so sure that Hiroto can never love someone..maybe when she sees Hiroto beginning to fall for Sakura (which will most likely happen in the future episodes) she will get jealous and meddle between the two of them??

Rintaro & Sakura together are pretty much the spirit of the show.  I absolutely love the opening scene when Rintaro & Sakura bicker together and then Rintaro discovers that Sakura is going to take a pregnancy test.  But even though the bickering scenes are great, I mainly enjoy the scenes where the two of them are more serious with each other.

Sakura & Rintaro look at the results of her pregnancy test together (which already says a lot about how close they are!).  When they find out it is negative, Sakura seems more disappointed than relieved.  In actuality, this is not about whether she can dodge being pregnant with an unplanned baby, but rather whether or not she has a good chance of getting pregnant at her age.  This pregnancy test reminds Sakura of her desire for children and the possibility that she may never have them if she remains single.  Sakura doesn’t even have to say anything, but Rintaro already knows this all!!  I love the moment when Sakura tries to act like her ‘normal’ self with a cheery and rough exterior, but Rintaro obviously knows that she is not happy.  It’s moments like these that make me feel like maybe Sakura’s usual self is just a front to hide her real worries & insecurities over her future.

And my most favorite scene of all is when Rintaro & Sakura have a heart-to-heart talk together.  I really love their conversation because there is no banter, no facades, just their raw and vulnerable selves.

I admit that acting-wise, Shinohara Ryoko isn’t at her best in this drama, but this scene definitely gives me a taste of who I know her to be–a great actress that can really tug at your heartstrings.   I thought it was really sad when Sakura talks about how she wanted to be a mom, but now it is difficult for her to get pregnant at her age.  Rintaro is also more affected by Sakura’s predicament than he lets on, since it relates to his experience with his ex-girlfriend.  The feeling I got from this scene is that feeling you get when you are serious for a split-second with a friend that you normally joke around with. That intimate moment when you stop joking around and acting like everything’s ok, and you honestly talk about what’s on your mind.

So I know a lot of us are Rintaro-fans, but is it because he’s Fujiki or because we really love his character?  For me, at first it was because he was Fujiki and because he has great chemistry with Sakura.  But there was no moment where I really fell for his character, until NOW!  I can even pinpoint the exact moment when I fall for Rintaro, when he pretends that he’s hurt and jokingly says that he has to play baseball with the kids.  I think that’s so sweet!!!!!

^Sakura is lucky to have 2 best friends that live nearby.

 It was great discussing Sakura in my previous post, and here is what I’ve concluded:

  1. It is realistic for someone to be of a mature age, yet also be immature when it comes to love.
  2. It is unrealistic for Sakura to tolerate Hiroto’s cheating since she has only known him for a really short time.  On the flip side though, this is also her chance at a fresh love with a young one and perhaps she didn’t want to let go of Hiroto so easily.
  3. Sakura’s character isn’t totally unrealistic because 1) I relate to her. 2) Some of my readers also relate to her.
  4. I’m glad that Sakura doesn’t fit the stereotype of the mature and ideal woman who is stylish, experienced in love, successful in work, etc. etc.  Sakura is young at heart and I like it that way.
  5. Sakura has her flaws, but overall I admire her character.  Maybe I’m just projecting my own struggles onto Sakura’s character but..it is really hard when everything around you is pressuring you to beautify yourself even though you are comfortable the way you are.  It is a great feat for Sakura to be comfortable enough to embrace her “ossan-joshi” self and live comfortably the way she is.

I am rooting for Sakura because I want her to prove all the haters wrong!  She can find happiness!  She doesn’t have to change her hairstyle or her clothes to be a ‘mature woman’!  She is an awesome ossan-joshi-himono-onna! 

Overall
I was looking around, reading comments about Last Cinderella, and I realized that there is a lot of negativity surrounding this drama, particularly towards Sakura, the cliched feeling of the drama, etc. etc.  Even though I still enjoy Last Cinderella a lot, I felt like all of the negativity and bitterness just dampened my spirits.  This made me reflect more on my own negativity towards other dramas.  Of course, we all want to rant about dramas that are frustrating us.  I admit that I am no exception and I will often nit-pick and gripe about certain characters or things that annoy me.  And yes, I also criticized Sakura for being so naive and accepting of Hiroto.  That being said, now I want to be a bit more positive about a drama rather than criticizing it to no tomorrow.   Not that I’m going to ignore all the bad parts, but I just want to be more optimistic in general.

Credit linked.

Anyways, Last Cinderella is still inching along but I still find the pacing to be entertaining enough.  I just feel like the episode needed a bigger breakthrough between the characters to get more oomph.  I’m glad that they are not having long flashbacks or anything like that to reveal the characters’ past.  It is much better showing their pasts in small increments as we gradually get to know the characters.  I like the way that Rintaro casually mentions his ex-girlfriend, the way he says it you can tell that he actually really needs someone to talk about this to but he is also holding back.  Obviously whatever happened with his ex-girlfriend affected him a lot and he won’t be revealing it all in one sitting.  I’m waiting for him to open up about his past as the drama progresses.  I also like the mystery surrounding Choko & Hiroto, I just hope that the big reveal will be really good and not too anticlimatic. 

Lastly, I’ve been looking everywhere for the awesome ballad that I always hear in Last Cinderella. (NOT the opening theme song, this is a different song off the OST) I love it whenever this song plays.

Last Love by Rihwa

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • I don’t have a problem with Sakura not fitting the stereotype of an ideal, perfect woman. In fact, this is what I loved about the drama originally…All of Sakura’s messiness and quirkiness. I think the writers are trying to break through some stereotypes and show that women don’t have to be perfect or do certain things to be attractive/desirable etc but I feel like they are going about it the wrong way…There are certain inconsistencies or missteps in Sakura’s characterization that for me personally make her seem like a character build out of necessary character traits rather than a well-rounded character with genuine flaws. I don’t know if that makes sense at all…It’s not that she is not realistic or unrelatable, just for me there is a certain quality of genuineness that’s missing in her. It’s like the writers are pulling her in all these directions and each of those directions are compelling but because they can’t commit to one, they are tearing her apart. Haha, sorry I really didn’t mean to be negative when you’ve mentioned that all the criticism is dampening your spirits but I can’t really separate my criticism from my enjoyment… And I am still enjoying it alot…It’s just missing that little something that would make it an amazing watching experience.

    Btw, I love the soundtrack from the drama. That song Last Love is very nice! I was searching for the other song, Hiroto’s theme(it usually plays when he is biking) that goes something like:
    “I can’t rely on you
    You are never there for me
    I can’t rely on you
    You are not the one for me”

    But I couldn’t find it anywhere 🙁 I’m assuming it’s sung by Japanese singer despite having English lyrics.

    • No I welcome your criticism! I am just trying to avoid being COMPLETELY negative, you know what I mean? Like, to the point of sounding like a bitter hater. Other criticisms are fine, as that is to be expected!

      I agree I think Sakura’s character isn’t written as well as it could’ve been. Only select scenes will really show that “it” factor that her character should have. Hopefully they will make up their minds and choose a consistent direction for Sakura’s development. T_T

      HMM I will have to look for that song next time, so far I only know of Last Love and the opening theme song. I also like the piano version of the theme song, btw.

      • Yeah, I still have hope that this drama will work out it’s warts, especially when it comes to Sakura and Hiroto’s characterization. I’m not the hugest fan of Sakura/Rintaro pairing but I have to admit Rintaro is a much more consistent and compelling out of the 3 of them.

        If you find the name of the song, please do let me know! ^^ It’s not even that I want the song so much, it’s just frustrating me that my quest for it was futile.

  • Thanks for the recap.. This is one Jdrama I am anxious to see every week. I have no idea which way the story will go but I’m still hoping that Hiroto can redeem himself. It’s looking more and more like Rintaro will get the girl. ; )

    • I am pretty sure Hiroto will redeem himself by the end since this is more of a feel-good drama. At this point it does seem like things are leaning in Rintaro’s favor though!

  • I was left feeling really confused by Choko & Hiroto’s relationship. I kind of hope they aren’t siblings because while kissing her scars was a sweet scene if he was an old friend or an ex-boyfriend, I feel like it’s creepy if its done by your brother. With the low lighting, the candles and the high emotions, the whole scene felt too sexual to take place between a brother and sister. Again I’m probably just projecting. Choko was just a hot mess this episode. I have no patience for someone who manipulates others by threatening suicide. That was the only time I felt any sympathy for Hiroto because I wasn’t feeling any love for Hiroto the rest of the episode. He didn’t even properly break up with Momo, just slept with her and then she found out she was dumped when he informed Sakura on the phone in front of her. Not cool Hiroto! So if Momo does come back later to cause problems, which from the third episode wouldn’t seem out of character for her, I wouldn’t even blame her. I’m completely team Rintaro now!

    So thats my negativity aside, now for the love. Rintaro was soo sweet in this episode. Caring for Sakura when she was sick even forbidding her to go to the onsen and going back to bring her water and snacks. I’m assuming thats what he did since there was that scene with him looking preoccupied worrying about her while he was at the onsen, then it flashed to her being out of water and leaving her house only to find he’d left a bag of supplies on her door. It’s possible he left them for her before he left for the onsen, but thats not the feeling I got. I also loved how there was less mean-ness in his teasing, it was more affectionate. He got that she was feeling vulnerable about her pregnancy scare and he literally held her hand when she was waiting for the test results. He also seemed to understand why she was sad she wasn’t pregnant. I feel like she’s becoming closer to him and sharing more of her life with him then she is with either of her two friends or Hiroto. Hiroto feels like a second thought for her and if he does really develop feelings for her I can already see this becoming a sore point for him. One thing worries me a bit though. Choko has already displayed a very manipulative nature, having no qualms about throwing out suicide as a means to manipulate, and Rintaro has shown us this very caring, concerned side of his personality. I can see there being drama up ahead because Choko doesn’t stand a chance of getting his interest, but I could see him being trapped out of a concern for her well being. I’m really hoping the writers make Hiroto more sympathetic in future episodes because I’m finding it hard to relate to Sakura’s interest in him. After a previous post I started watching Miura Haruma in Samurai High School and I want to like him in this as much as I liked him in that. I’m just not feeling the love for Hiroto but I want to. Make me love him!

    • Yeeeeeah Samurai High School! That drama is hysterical and adorable. It’s nice to see Miura branching out into a darker role with this drama, but I don’t feel his connection with Sakura yet. I feel like he’s supposed to be gradually falling for her, but it doesn’t feel genuine; it’s difficult to explain. Also also, I reeeeally hope they’re step-siblings.

      I agree, Rintaro was way awesome this episode. I always felt like his blustery insults were all bark and no bite, but the way their friendship is developing is even sweeter than I thought it would be. Let’s hope Rintaro doesn’t develop the Noble Idiot syndrome with Choko! Although I think Hiroto might be filling that quota for this drama.

    • LOL now you are making me rethink the Choko/Hiroto scene. O_O You’re right it was rather…intimate..with the lighting and all. I wasn’t expecting Hiroto to break up properly with Momo anyways, but I think he sorta broke it off with her? Because Momo was saying that this is the end, so I assumed that he told her he won’t see her anymore.

      Yeah it feels like Sakura just naturally shares everything with Rintaro, whereas Hiroto is the last to know about her getting sick, going to the hospital, etc. Hiroto is almost the third wheel even though Sakura doesn’t view it that way. T_T

      Omg I hope Choko won’t be taking advantage of Rintaro’s soft side but…….considering her methods, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.

  • Heisui, I think this is a japanese drama, you know what I mean, they convey feelings and the story in a subtle way. I’ve always found japanese movies and dramas has depth and the actors are good looking but not in the flower boy kind of way. For example, The Love letter and Crying out love ,in the middle of the Earth( hope got the tittle right) , the actors there were good looking but not like korean actors that they are so perfect in looks that they look all kind of the same after a while. Sorry , not related to the drama we are reviewing .

    • Hmm well some jdramas are not that subtle, particularly some of the idol dramas, live actions, & rom-coms. But there are definitely many jdramas that have great depth to them.

      Japan doesn’t have the “flower boy” stereotype. Probably the closest to it would be in the idol dramas, with johnny actors. It is refreshing to see that not all Japanese actors have a perfectly chiseled face though. 😛

      • True. I always loved to watch the older japanese actors. They are pretty good . The idol dramas I’m a little wary of them , so I can’t really say how they are. I love the samurai genre and Takeshi Kitano type of movies and the Norwegian wood kind of movies ( the actor there is pretty hot ) .

  • I dont get why people critize Sakura for her appearance or because of her age, if she would be a super pretty woman it wouldnt be very interesting. Also the story between an older woman with a younger man is what makes this drama more interesting and, of course, Rintaro´s past and her relationship with Sakura is interesting too. The story maybe goes “slow” sometimes but I think they are doing a good job with revealing the whole story little by little, it makes fans feel anxious about the next episode. Sakura seem naive to accept Hiroto back but we still dont know well what is going on with every character.I like Sakura, plus, in the opening she looks beautiful with that red dress. This drama is interesting and I wish certain people who watch it forget their prejudices about how Sakura isnt feminine or the age difference. Usually when a man is the one who is older, no one say much against it, but when is a woman the older one everyone freak out.

    • Well it is only episode 4, so the pacing is still good. I mainly feel like it’s going slowly with Sakura & Hiroto because they are sorta dragging out the lovey dovey phase.

      I agree, Sakura’s appearance/age shouldn’t really matter. I think the drama is doing a good job of showing her natural beauty. She was especially pretty in the park scene in this episode!

      • Heisui..
        What I’m surprised at most is that no one has really talked about Miura’s skill on that bike. I mean, does anyone know if he actually is a BMX professional during his down time from acting and singing? I’ve been looking closely at his practice shots and it looks like him doing it majority of times. I could be wrong, but this makes me like him even more as an actor seeing this is the first time I’m actually noticing him. Its just that for a pretty boy I didnt expect him to have this much talent.

        • I’m pretty sure they are using a stunt double >_< But who knows, I haven't heard for certain whether it is a stuntman or Miura himself.

  • Yaaaay! I liked this episode. I feel your pain a little bit with the pace, but I think overall it’s moving at the right speed for the story. I’m also so very glad she wasn’t pregnant, which would have derailed the story into a totally different theme than aging and what comes with it.

    It’s so hard to find the right line between criticism and liking something. Our entertainment shouldn’t get a free pass, but if we are too critical, then we can’t enjoy it at all, so I think your resolution is a good one.

    I hope Momo doesn’t come too much into the picture; she seems really annoying. I thought the development between Choko and Hiroto was interesting. I’m putting my money on step-siblings, because that scene was waaaay too sexualized for them to be real siblings. I’m also glad Miura got a chance to show his skills, though, because from what I’ve seen, kid can act. Unfortunately, I think they haven’t written Hiroto’s character well, or else he’s not acting that bit well, since I still feel like Hiroto’s being fake with her, and not doing a good job of showing gradual feelings. It just feels formulaic.

    I think having scars is kind of a dumb reason to not be able to be with someone, but maybe Japanese culture is different. I remember watching Yasashii Jikan and not getting the deal with the tattoo until my friend explained it to me. The scars might also be some outward indicator of some other reason for her lack of confidence, like mental issues (which wouldn’t be too unusual, given her behavior this episode).

    Anyway, I can’t wait to see what the deal is between Choko and HIroto. Bring on the next episode!

    • Hehe I feel like maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself in terms of the pacing. I know what I want to happen and I am just so impatient to see it unfold!!

      If Momo is a part of the love square I feel like she would definitely be an antagonist. She holds a lot of cards over Sakura because she knows Hiroto’s true nature and she was really intimate with him. I almost feel like she could do way more damage to Sakura than Choko can–on an emotional level. I mean, it would hurt a lot for Sakura to hear about Hiroto from Momo.

      I’m not sure about the stigma against scars, but I also remember in Zeni Geba, one of the characters had scars on her face and she viewed it as a really negative thing. The thing is that, Choko can still cover her scars, it’s not like they in a really visible place like her face. O_O

      • I know you’re impatient, but remember- it’s not the what but the how these things happen 🙂

        Re:Momo- I agree that she would be an antagonist, but what annoys me is that she’s such a flat character. The only thing we know about her is that she owns maybe 2 shirts and is ~intimately involved~ with Hiroto. I’d welcome her if she had some other function than “Shock! Hiroto had sex! With someone not Sakura! AGAAAA… aaaiiin?” but since she doesn’t, I do not appreciate her presence. I like Choko more on principle just because she’s cray-cray, although apparently that was also caused by a man, so we’ll see how that aspect develops.

        Choko can totally cover her scars! And if she really knew Rintaro, she’d know he wouldn’t judge someone by that! Unless maybe she caused the death of his old girlfriend or something? I dunno. Maybe they were all involved in a car crash. instigated by Hiroto on his damn bike. When he was 14. …maybe not.

        • Hmm so maybe since Choko is unpredictable she will be the super-villain. Yeah it seems like Momo’s only purpose is to show Hiroto’s sexy times & to be rude to Sakura. T_T

          YEAHH!!! She should know that Rintaro wouldn’t mind her scars! OR maybe she knows Rintaro only views her as a friend, but she is rationalizing this by blaming it on her scars?

        • “Shock! Hiroto had sex! With someone not Sakura! AGAAAA… aaaiiin?”

          Lmbo you guys are hilarious. Momo is a scab and I’m glad they finally gave her a long awaited departure. Hopefully never to return. 🙂

  • When I 1st started watching Last Cinderella, I was scared that a potentially good drama might turn into a cheesy ecchi one, but this episode has settled my fears. There is a story for each character, and I really like that in dramas, especially Hiroto & Choko.
    I love how Sakura is comfortable in her own skin, but what I really like to see at the end of this drama is she starts taking care for herself, and show a bit of her feminine side (for example, to let her hair down) since she works at a beauty parlor.

    P.S.
    I really enjoy your reviews, please keep them up~

  • Gaah! I’ve just finished watching the fifth episode and I’m dying to discuss it. I’m a little bit in love with Hiroto now. I hope you have the blog post up soon.

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