Woman: Eps 4-5

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

I think episode 3 is still my favorite episode, as episodes 4-5 have more scenes that are a hit or miss.  However we have made leaps and bounds with two big reveals about Shiori’s involvement with Shin and Koharu’s illness, and I think that the good outweighs the bad.  Oh, and do I even need to mention how amazing Mitsushima Hikari’s performance is in these episodes??

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My main complaint about episode 4 is that they waste like half an episode showing how Riku, Nozomi, and Koharu run around the city yelling “BUN!!!!!! BUN!!!!!!!!” in search of a lost dog.  My memory of episode 4 is tainted by the thoughts that were running through my head during these scenes: “Why in the world are they wasting so much time in search of a dog that they don’t even find in the end?”  I think the search for the dog Bun was meant to be a cute, feel-good story about how smart and caring Riku is, but it ended up feeling rather unnecessary.

The only thing I got out of this short story is that Koharu and her kids are happy although they are barely scraping by.  They are happy to go searching for someone else’s dog, when in fact the dog’s owner doesn’t even give a darn about what happens to him.  I love the look of disappointment and almost disbelief on Koharu and Nozomi’s faces when they find out that Bun’s owner has already replaced Bun with a new puppy.  How much they would love to have a pet of their own…and yet Bun’s owner can throw away one pet and buy a new one just like that.

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Anyways we find out that Shiori was bullied in school, was peer pressured into accusing innocent men of molesting her on the train, falsely accused Shin out of spite, indirectly caused Shin’s death, and is currently failing in her art prep school.  Whoa.  That’s a lot to process.  O_O  Well, a lot of people now hate Shiori’s guts but I can’t bring myself to hate her.  It’s hard to describe but I feel like now I can finally see Shiori for who she really is.  She is flawed, yes.  Shiori’s words always cut straight to the bone, she hates other people’s happiness, and she even guilt-trips her mom into going against Koharu.  But she is also someone who is trying to make her place in this messed up world, even though she feels worthless and she’s hurting.

I’m disappointed that Shin was a falsely accused molester because now he just seems like this saintly perfect guy. I feel like the drama took the easy way out..I think it would’ve been much more intriguing if he had a hidden side of himself that Koharu knew nothing about, similar to the way Koharu idolized her dad but it turns out he abused Sachi.  Well anyways I guess all the Oguri Shun fans can breath a sigh of relief because goodness, Oguri Shun’s character can’t be a molester!

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So Shiori’s revelation puts yet another rift between Koharu and Sachi.  I love the dilemma that Sachi has between her two daughters, both of whom are exact opposites.  It is not a relief for Sachi to find out that she was not the cause of Shin’s death…because instead it’s her own daughter who is the indirect cause.  I think Sachi would rather that she is the one whom Koharu blames, because she cannot bear for Shiori to bear such a burden.

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Well what I feared is true–Koharu has leukemia.  But man, can I just say how amazing the scene is when she finds out about her illness???  Everything is so perfect–the narration of the Ugikuku story, the doctor breaking the news to Koharu…Koharu’s attempts to hold back her tears as she walks away…and the best moment of all: when Koharu puts on a smile when she goes back to her kids.  OMGGGGGG.

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Episode 5 is mainly about how Koharu struggles to cope with the shock of her illness.  I like episode 5 more than episode 4 and I’m not quite sure why.  I feel like ep5 really nailed all of the slow and silent scenes which show how lost and alone Koharu is.  The scene when she comforts Yuki (who got a divorce) but decides not to tell her about her illness.  When she sits on the floor in the kitchen in utter silence, just staring at a wilting flower.  When she silently cries at night in the bathroom when the kids are sound asleep.  It is so perfect.  :'(

The problem with Koharu is that she never relies on anyone else.  She forces herself to put on a smile for her kids but in reality she’s in great pain.  Koharu is strong but she can’t do this all by herself.  There is always a breaking point….it’s hard to tell if she’s already past that breaking point or if she is drawing nearer and nearer towards another breakdown.  I think another breakdown is in store because she has yet to tell anyone about her illness, not even Yuki..not even her kids.  I can’t wait to see who she will tell and how she will go about saying it.

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Of course Koharu eventually gets out of her funk and puts on her game face for the sake of her kids.  It always comes back to her kids, eh?  So far they are little angels but I kinda wonder what would happen if they start to act out.  I guess Riku must be past the terrible two’s, and Nozomi is very mature and responsible…but they can’t be angels all the time.  I’m not saying I want to see endless tantrums or anything, but I’m sure Koharu’s condition will eventually affect how they behave.

I also suppose that the kids will be our main source of comic relief aside from Kentaro.  I welcome it because we really need it considering how heavy the rest of the drama is.  T___T  Oh and this is really random but I thought it was really funny when Ryunosuke (the welfare guy who is married to the doctor) visits Koharu’s house and goes “PLEASE MAKE HIM (his kid) POOP!”.  AHAHA.

Overall
I’m still a bit apprehensive about the leukemia plot device.  Hopefully it will remain a plot device, probably for Shiori to donate bone marrow to Koharu.  I just don’t want the leukemia to dominate the entire story, you know what I mean?  Woman could very easily turn into a weep-fest and feel-good story about how Koharu battles leukemia and forgives her mom…but so far it has avoided that.  I think we’ve really got to owe it to how the story is being shown as well as Mitsushima Hikari’s awesome acting.  A scene that would’ve been cheesy if done by another actress can be brilliant if done by Mitsushima Hikari. 

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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  • Two scenes remain with me for a long time. Both of them Koharu is crying. The first and more poignant is when she cries in their small toilet, after looking at the kids. She is so helpless and so vulnerable and so afraid that her kids will know of her being sick. The second and more dramatic yet subtle is when she begs the doctor to help her. There is really no one else who can listen to her, even as her best friend recovers from the shock of getting a divorce.

    I don’t like the leukemia angle either. It makes the drama less and less extraordinary.

  • I still haven’t watched anything beyond episode 1… at this point, I think I’m going to wait until the dorama finishes and marathon it (it will be one heavy, dark, depressing evening I guess).

    Not keen on the leukemia plot device I have to say. It’s such an easy way to add tragedy, but not really the most realistic one – poor people that are barely scraping by have enough issues to cope with that could be explored without resorting to a device like that. (Indeed, I would prefer to watch a dorama that is focused only on a character dealing with leukaemia, than one that is really about other things but adding it in as a twist to make a character’s life even harder.)

    If you want an evil Oguri Shun, Smile is your ticket. Totally underwatched dorama that I adore.

    • Wow I don’t think I would have the ability to marathon this drama. T____T If you do marathon it though, I applaud you. I also recommend you have a box of kleenex ready. 😛

      I KNOWWW why do they ALWAYS have to add in a terminal illness!?!?! Just Koharu’s losing her husband was enough to cope with! As I said before I guess their is a purpose as to why leukemia was specifically chosen. So hopefully it will factor in to the larger story. But yeah, I’m still skeptical about it.

      Thanks for the recommendation, YES I would like to see an evil Oguri Shun. 😛 I’m surprised I’ve never heard of that drama considering the cast..with Gakki and MatsuJun. O__O

      • It’s a very good drama – a realistic one, it deals with the issue of race in Japan. I think it’s one of those few dramas that tackles a taboo topic and deals with it in an appropriate and realistic manner (no one is all good or all bad in the drama, even the “heroes” have flaws). I think it’s super important that issues like this are out in the open, that people are talking about it… but, from what I understand, not many watched it, which is probably rather revealing.

        Oguri makes your hair stand on end (and if you watch that and then The Woodsman and the Rain you realise that he is good and has a wide range). And Matsujun… that’s one drama that really showcases his acting talent – final episodes especially (no spoilers). Plus, I respect him a lot for taking on a role like that which people could easily hold against him.

        It’s actually the only drama I ever reviewed on my blog (long, long ago, so it’s a pretty short review).

        • Sounds great, I also think it’s surprising that racial discrimination isn’t shown much in many jdramas considering how present it really is. And wow I will also have to see this for Matsujun..honestly I thought his acting was just average but it will be interesting seeing him challenging himself with taht role. I will have to check out your review too!

          • Well, it’s a taboo and still pretty pervasive (less so among younger people) from what I hear.

            I think many of Matsujun’s roles aren’t really particularly demanding in the acting department, so there isn’t much to go on. But between Kimi wa Petto (where Matsujun is irreplaceable as Momo) and Smile, you find yourself on opposite ends of the spectrum, indeed, I wish Matsujun would seek out more demanding roles of that sort.

  • thanks for recap!! I loved the part where koharu daughter runs and gives the cake to koharu’s mum.
    mostly because of the effects and the look on koharu’s mums face as she ignors them. and the fact that the kids actually notice the tension between koharu and her mum
    I mean its not a god thing to like lol, but that look said a lot.
    like she is said to be on her second daughter side but also sad about the situation.
    but shiori gives me the creeps , i understand she feels guilty but like u said in recap 6, we dont know what she is thinking and why she allows her mum to do things for koharu, but then ha a go at koharu when she saw her in the past episode, like what side s she on ?
    Sorry rant over
    also love the pic where they were waiting for the AC to be fitted :),
    okay one more, loved the bit where they where the kids were narrating the story and she was finding out about her disease and the smile she gave at the end.

    • Well I think it’d be hard for the kids NOT to notice the tension between Koharu & her mom. It is so obvious even when Koharu and her mom try not to fight in front of the kids. T_T I feel like the kids can link Sachi and Koharu back together again though.

      It is hard to figure out what side Shiori is on…at the moment I have no clue what she’s thinking or why she’s doing what she’s doing.

      Oh yeah, I really love the scene with the kids reading the story/the doctor telling Koharu about her illness. So sad…the children’s innocence and Koharu’s stark reality…..

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