Woman: Ep 2

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

I was waiting listlessly for episode 2 to air this week because so far Woman is a must-watch of the summer jdrama season.  Episode 1 was very powerful and was unafraid to show the ups and downs of Koharu’s motherhood and family problems.  I think I like the way Supa (at SuLovesDrama) put it best:  Woman shows the spirit of humanity & the strengths and weaknesses of being a mother.  Anyways episode 2 slows down the pacing but still keeps up the momentum.  It feels more like a transitional episode that is setting us up for some bigger reveals that are to be made later on. 

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This episode mainly makes me way more curious about the character of Uesugi Shiori, who is the younger half-sister of Koharu.  She is estranged from Koharu but she also knows of Koharu’s circumstances and is even mysteriously connected to Shin.  It seems like Shiori wants to get closer to her older sister but at the same time she knows of her mother’s stubbornness so she holds back.  She also has a strange fixation on sketching hands, an interest in Shin, and a phobia of riding on trains.  All of these odd points come together when it is hinted that Shiori was a victim of molestation.  (thus, her phobia of trains, her drawings of hands)  AND…Shin was suspected of molestation!!!!!!!  WHAAT?  Is this why Shiori sketched his picture!?!?  And how is this connected to Shin’s death?  Now all of a sudden it feels like there is way more to the story than I thought at first. 

Anyways the big cliffhanger at the end of the episode is when Shiori and Koharu finally meet face-to-face.  Seems like Koharu has never met Shiori, but Shiori knows who Koharu is.  I doubt Koharu will accept Shiori…since in a way, Shiori has taken Koharu’s place as her mother’s daughter. 

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There are no long moving monologues in this episode, but instead it says a lot with mere silence.  There are a lot of shots that show Koharu’s loneliness and overwhelmed mindset even when nothing is being said.  My favorite shot is when Koharu walks home at night and then sits on the stairs, all alone.  A train passes by, always reminding her of the passing time and of Shin’s death. Life goes on, Koharu knows she has to work hard to support her family, and yet sometimes everything just feels so empty without Shin.

Another sad scene is when the child welfare people visit Koharu and imply that she is neglecting and abusing her children.  We all know that Koharu is far from it, but in the eyes of her neighbors, they think she is shirking her responsibility as a mother by leaving her children alone at night.  I really wanted Koharu to explode at the welfare lady who was being all pedantic about what it means to be a mother, but actually Koharu stays silent and listens to what the lady says.  Later on, when she bumps into Ryosuke (the guy at the welfare office) she mentions that she is a failure as a mother.  Now it all makes much more sense why she stayed silent when she was being  told about the responsibilities of a mother..it’s because she already feels like a failure and didn’t feel worthy to deny the accusations against her.

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Koharu’s experience as a single-mom is contrasted with her friend Yuki’s experience.  Yuki is also a single-mom with 2 kids, but she quickly gets remarried to a rich guy.  She believes that getting remarried is the best option and that she cannot always dwell on her dead husband.  Koharu, on the other hand, cannot forget Shin and is even reluctant to allow herself to indulge in any of life’s luxuries.  She refuses to drink any wine (it’s ambiguous whether she doesn’t want to enjoy herself or she doesn’t want to get out of control) and when she considers buying some at the store, she ends up putting it back on the shelf.  There is something so telling by that simple action..that she believes part of being a mother is being selfless and putting her children before herself.  But Koharu also denies herself the happiness of drinking wine alone, perhaps out of guilt towards Shin. 

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Anyways Koharu lets her kids stay over for a few playdates at Yuki’s new house.  She misses her kids a lot but it is the better option since her health is bad and she can’t take the chance of being reported for child neglect again.  It’s really sad when Koharu talks to Nozomi over the phone, and hopefully asks if Nozomi is lonely.  Koharu really wants Nozomi to say yes, it is like she wants to be sure that she is missed by her kids and that they still need her around.  :'(  

Riku & Nozomi’s story in this episode is rather simple–the two of them feel guilty over breaking their promise to play with the fireworks with their mom.  So their solution is to run away from Yuki’s house and hop on the train to go home.  By themselves.  Ummm I can’t say I ran away like that when I was a kid, but once I did go MIA when I walked off on my own in the mall. O_O”””  So even though I was all ‘NOOO DON’T DO THIS!’ at the screen while this was happening, I had the niggling feeling that………I’ve done something like that too and at the time I thought it made perfect sense.  Oops.  Anyways the ending is more of a feel-good ending but it is done in such a way that it is not too cheesy or preachy. 

Overall
Koharu’s kids are still really cute but not in a way that they are trying too hard to be cute.  Nozomi is super smart and resourceful (way smarter than I was at her age O___O) while Riku is SOOO SWEET.  All Riku says it “TOTORO!” but I love how he silently sticks by Nozomi & Koharu’s side.  How did they get such great kid actors?!?!

One of the warning signs, though, is that Koharu might have leukemia.  Omg I really hope this doesn’t take that route because I feel like that will just be too much to handle.  But perhaps Koharu’s anemia and possible leukemia will serve as a plot device to let the kids stay with their Grandpa.  I just really hope that things do not get too melodramatic if Koharu really does have leukemia.

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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  • Still have to watch this episode of Woman… but I did watch Summer Nude and Double Tone.

    Summer Nude: There’s a whole lot that I just struggle to sympathise with (characters putting their life on hold for 3 and 10 – 10!!!! – years for lost / unrequited love) or that doesn’t make much sense to me (Yamapi asking a total stranger to come all the way from Tokyo to save a restaurant, and everyone being at Karina’s feet because she is the *only one* in all of Japan who can save it… and not one of them has ever even tasted her food). Plus, I didn’t like the “married / pregnant women have to give up their jobs” message the dorama was sending. So, I don’t think I’m going to last long with this one.

    Double Tone: surprised that the episodes are 30 min only? Not sure what to make of this one, the first episode pushed my anger buttons with the cheating twist (both the husband being a complete a** and his acquaintance setting up a scenario for him to cheat on the wife she initially introduced him to?!?!?!? while pretending to be supportive of the wife?). That said, things are pretty ambiguous so far, so things may not be at all what they seem…. It’s not even certain the two Yumis do actually coexist, at the same moment and place in time. The husband still deserves to be kicked, but maybe he isn’t cheating after all.

    • Hiiii alua thanks for this! Ok sounds like Summer Nude will only survive based on its cast. T__T Urgh. I heard Double Tone was supposed to be interesting but..I’m not so sure I want to get into a drama about cheating. >_<

  • The rating for Woman’s 2nd episode fell, which is not really a bad thing, coz it only means the superficial dramawatchers are gone, and are probably watching something else- something less cerebral or plain silly. This drama is not for all. Thrill seekers and those who love the mundane and who loves to escape from the harsh realities of life will hide watching Summer Nude, which is a big big big disappointment. The plot, the logic, even the acting suck.
    Sorry for the rants. I just can’t help myself – if viewers will continue to patronize Class X dramas and ignore quality dramas like Woman, then the Jdrama industry is doomed – which is already on the downside.
    Back to 2nd episode, Fumi Nikaido – I believe – stole the show. She has this dark, almost malevolent aura that sucks you to the ‘dark side’. Kinda tragic in a different sense compared to Hikari’s character and what she is going through. The half-sister is suffering from something else – psychologically.
    The scene with Nazomi watching the ballet practice is awesome and so is the first confrontation between the half-sisters. It is not really a confrontation in its strictest sense, but there is something ‘sinister’ about the whole thing.
    This is a great drama unfolding before our eyes!
    ( Note: I tried to post a few times in Episode 1 but it keeps on getting erased… dunno what happens actually….)

    • Screw the ratings!! Yeah oftentimes some of the hidden gems of the season have dismal ratings that just don’t make sense. *sniff* I’m not surprised if Summer Nude has high rating since it’s kinda an idol drama. T_T

      I also really like Nikaido Fumi’s performance/character in Woman! I don’t think I’ve seen this actress before but wow she’s great. I didn’t really get the malevolent sinister vibes from her that you got. But I did get the feeling that mentally, she has buried something really deep inside of her. I feel like she has a really dark past. I wonder why she is approaching Nozomi/Koharu now of all times, considering that maybe she could’ve done it earlier.

      *edit* oh and I don’t know why your comment isn’t going through on the ep1 post, I haven’t gotten it and it’s not in the spam section either. O_O

      • Fumi co-stars Shota Sometani in Himizu. She plays his classmate who has a very nasty Mom and told her she should commit suicide. Maybe I still linger with Himizu upon watching Fumi in Woman for that sinister vibes. She won an acting trophy in the Venice Film Fest for that, so she is definitely a good actress. I highly recommend that you watch Himizu. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. It maybe dark and negative and tragic but the hopeful and positive message takes care of that.

        I’m also a bit behind with my Woman review and just like you, I am trying to absorb a lot of things. Episode 3 is so full of emotions!!!!

        • Whoa I just watched the trailer for Himizu, it looks so bleak. O__O Well actually in ep3 I did see more of Shiori’s darker side so I got what you were talking about now! :3

  • It’s been a while since I watched Family drama that give this kind of impact. Actually I watched it first just to get a sneak peek at Oguri Shun since I learnt that his character died in the drama. But, when I watched it, I found that this drama has a whole lot attraction rather than to watch Shun alone.

    I got hooked and all I did was crying.LOL. Koharu’s mother character was so realistic, and she really pulled it through. I used to watch Hikari in a small role on the other dramas, and to watch her to play this heavy role kind of refreshing and appealing. She did a very very very good job, and I think I become her fan already.

    I just finished ep2 and I searched for the review for this drama, so here I am. 🙂 Thank you for the review. I’m thinking of writing one if no one did. This is what I always thought about Jdrama, it gave me some booster in life. Nowadays I’m more into romance drama and somehow it dull me. LOL. So, I’m glad I decided to watch Woman. Since I cried a lot, it kind of remind me of Bara no nai Hana Ya. And I planned to watch Tonbi.

    I’m looking forward for your upcoming entry.

    • Yup Tanaka Yuko as Koharu’s mom is great. All of Koharu’s scenes with her mom are so charged and full of resentment. :'(

      I haven’t seen Bara no nai Hana Ya but I think I have to. The thing is that I don’t watch many family dramas. >_< I heard Tonbi is good and it has Sato Takeru!!! (I love Sato Takeru :D)

      • You should watch it if you like Takeuchi Yuko. I watched it because of her, but turned out it was Katori Shingo and the little girl that got me hooked.LOL. I hesitated to watch Tonbi because it might boring me, but after reading so much good response about it, I decided to watch it.

        Hell yeah, I love Takeru also~!! <3 🙂

        • Thanks I will add it to my list! Well I heard Tonbi was good but I’m still hesitant to try it because I think it goes back and forth between the past/present?

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