Hakuba no Ouji-sama Episode 2 Recap
By this time, only 2 episodes in, is anyone else wondering just WHY it seems Ozu’s “fiancée” is so worried about him? Yes, it’s currently a long-distance relationship. Yes, he does work in an all-girl school where it looks like the majority of staff is also female. But…should that matter if you really love and trust someone?
We open after a brief recap of the first episode with Hara going to work the next day. She is upset with herself for having let her loneliness get to her. When Ozu questions her about how much later she stayed the night before she uncomfortably says she left not too long after him. He then asks about her dedication in staying that late. Hara waves this off as a rare event for her.
Enter Sano. The principal says that while it is still very early there is something very important to discuss. The staff says that Kurosawa is the only one missing. Sano tells Hara to get him. This does not please her, but she goes to do it when Ozu jumps up and says he will do it instead. The two argue a bit about just who will go get the science teacher when he walks in. Sano tells him that Hara was about to go get him. This takes him aback a bit, but he does bow and apologize. As Sano goes into his important speech, Hara agonizes over the previous night.
Yesterday I really felt it. You can try to pretend you’re not lonely, but it will overtake you little by little, and in the end, you’ll just drown.
Hara then goes to class where she sees Ichikawa standing in the hallway gazing out a window. Hara asks what is wrong as class is about to start. Is Ichikawa sick? Ichikawa then asks about where Hara lives. Hara tells her where she lives and Ichikawa mentions being able to go by taxi is nice. Hara freezes a bit. Surely Ichikawa didn’t see her and Kurosawa, did she? Hara uncomfortably says that taxis are nice, but she can’t afford the luxury and takes the bus, right? Ichikawa then makes a comment about how her father cheated on her mother leading to a nasty divorce. Thus Ichikawa cannot stand cheaters the most—”they are disgusting.” During class, Hara worries over Ichikawa’s words and her own guilt. Is it showing on her face? No. She had stopped feeling guilty a long time ago (about seeing a married man).
I will stop and say this: I don’t like cheaters. However, it’s a very grey area. You have people who believe it is wrong to divorce even if the marriage is unhappy and obviously failing and thus they cheat instead. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And then you have innocent women/men who are lured by a married person without knowing they are married, and then you just have the opposite extreme with both parties being really guilty (i.e. pursuing a married person or constantly cheating on a spouse). In Hara’s case, it’s really not that no one chose her. She thought she would have plenty of time and life and love just kind of passed her by. Kurosawa was there in her moments of ultimate weakness and loneliness, so it’s kind of like he was taking advantage of the woman who was cast adrift and in need of some TLC.
In the biology room, Ozu is preparing for an experiment. After seeing Hara-senpai giving it her all, he feels he should step up his own game and do something that will keep the students interested. Ozu then asks more about Hara and her dedication. Kurosawa answers that while Hara was always serious, she was not always like she is now. He then mentions how when she first started out she would always cry as being a teacher is not an easy job. Ozu is shocked to learn that Hara cried. Kurosawa then quickly says that Ozu must forget this as Hara made sure that no one saw her (Red Flag Warning). Kurosawa then goes into one of his human speeches again. I just don’t like these. But this one wasn’t as bad as the previous episode’s. He talks about how humans chose to name themselves “homo sapiens” to show off their intelligence, but humans can be some very stupid creatures at times. Well…yeah.
Hara goes up to her retreat and remembers the previous night. We then get flashbacks to what happened t—nothing. Just as Kurosawa leans in to kiss her, his phone rings…well vibrates. Hara immediately pulls back and tells him to answer because it’s probably his wife. Kurosawa chooses to ignore the phone call since the only thing that matters to him right now is Hara. Then her phone rings. It’s Akiyama-sensei! Apparently one of Kurosawa’s students and one of Hara’s students were groped on their way home. Hara immediately goes to rush out and Kurosawa asks if she is feeling regret at having this moment ruined…or relief. After the two leave the police station, Hara heads back to her apartment—alone. Her moment of weakness and crisis had passed.
Hara’s private reminiscing is interrupted by the arrival of Ozu. He immediately asks for a favor from Hara. What favor? Is he doing an experiment? Yes, after seeing her, he wished to do something fun with the students. Thus he decided to have them exam blood samples under a microscope. He figures he can keep the girls interested by talking about blood horoscopes. Type A Hara quickly says she does not believe in such things. Neither does Ozu. I did like the part when he asks if she is A and she asks if its because she is boring and no fun and he replies it’s because she’s neat and serious, lol.
Hara agrees to give him her blood, but when she sees the pin she kind of quakes. She tells him that she’s afraid of messing it up, so it is best of he does it. The two sit down on the bench Hara just vacated moments earlier. Hara holds out her hand and Ozu sees the bandaged finger. Is it okay? This surprises Hara, but she is quick to say her fingers is fine. Ozu then goes back to prick another finger, but seeing Hara’s expression, he decides against it and says he will find someone else. I don’t know why, but something clicks inside Hara and she immediately jumps up offering her hand and insists that she can do while Ozu keeps backing away. The two then laugh at the ridiculous situation. Ozu finds Hara fun and interesting and he is surprised that such a woman like Hara is afraid of needles. He thanks her again and apologizes again for asking her to do something she’s afraid of. Hara has all warm fuzzies inside since Ozu laughed and found her interesting.
During his class, Ozu is not happy to notice Ichikawa not participating or paying attention. After class the girl approaches him and he calls her out on it. So he noticed, huh? She then tells him she saw something interesting—Kurosawa and Hara entering the same apartment building. Oh, so they live in the same building? Ichikawa is stunned. Is Ozu-sensei an idiot? Kurosawa went into Hara’s apartment. Ozu doesn’t get it at first, but when Ichikawa talks about her loathing of cheaters because of her father, Ozu is quick to jump to Kurosawa and Hara’s defense. Kurosawa is a happy family man and Hara is not a woman to do such a thing. Ichikawa thought that, too, but can’t anymore. No adults can be trusted. Ozu then again asserts she must be wrong and he agrees with her that cheaters are “disgusting.” Quite harsh from the more simple and innocent-seeming Ozu.
He curses that he heard such a thing from Ichikawa. What is he supposed to do now with that knowledge? Of course he begins recalling his last discussion with Kurosawa who talked about Hara crying without anyone seeing. If Kurosawa knew about it that means he must of saw it, right? Ozu is peddling home after school when he sees the forlorn looking Hara waiting for her bus. Poor Ozu just can’t leave her be. He stops and asks if she’s okay. Hara apologizes for worrying him and says it’s just that a wave of tiredness always overtakes her at the end of the school day. He can go on his own way.
Ozu then sits next to her and asks about the previous night—she and Kurosawa getting called out to the police station by Akiyama-sensei. They arrived together, didn’t they? Hara quickly says they met on their way to the station. Ozu then insists that she call him next time such a situation arises. This surprises Hara. Ozu then takes out his phone and the two trade numbers. At this time, Kurosawa calls Hara. The girl jumps and quickly jerks her phone away hoping that Ozu didn’t see who it was. Isn’t she going to answer the phone? No, it’s an unidentified number. Obvious lie. Ozu then makes his way home.
Ozu meets up with Egawa and Imamura for drinks. He talks about his suspicions that Hara and Kurosawa might be having an affair. Imamura is quick to say it’s only obvious the two are after hearing the story. This really disappoints Ozu. He can’t stand cheaters the most since his father cheated on his mother and always made her cry. This is why he vows himself that he will never make a woman cry like his mother did. Egawa breaks his silence finally and asks why Ozu is getting involved with someone else’s relationship which honestly has nothing to do with him. Plus…why is he holding up someone else to his own measure, you can’t do that? Egawa also talks about how with colleagues, you can come to depend on one another and then other feelings develop. He then heads out. Ozu wonders what is wrong with Egawa’s sudden downturn of attitude. Imamura then reminds him of a younger female colleague of Egawa’s that passed away. Wonder when we will hear that story?
I am so reminded of Last Cinderella right now. Because while our guys are having their discussion, so our the girls. We go back and forth between the two discussions actually. This happened a lot in Last Cinderella as well. Anywho, Hara asks her friends if you can ever find forgiveness after having an affair. This shocks both Hara’s friends as it is a sudden and unexpected question from Hara. The two talk about how an affair is really unfair on the other woman as it is the man who should be in big trouble for fooling around on his wife. Also, it’s too tiring and too painful to have an affair. Looks like Hara is really worried about Ozu learning about the affair and hating her still.
The next day is Hara’s monthly family day. She goes home where her mother who has been a housewife all of Hara’s life has shot to fame with that fact. Hara’s mother is everything that Hara wished she could be, but can’t since that train of love and family seems to be passing her by. I have to say it looks like the serious and stoic Hara takes after her father and not her mother personality-wise. Of course the conversation at the dinner table turns to Hara and the fact she is still unmarried and doesn’t have anyone in sight. Hara really feels uncomfortable it seems around her family, her married sister and her young niece.
She thankfully gets a call from Akiyama about how there is a problem with the groped students again. Hara happily rushes out of the middle of her family dinner to attend this problem. This is amazing to me that teachers in Asia (you see this all the time in kdramas and jdramas at least) have to rush out when their students are in trouble. When there is problems in the US, I haven’t heard of teachers or schools necessarily being called out. You always get in touch with the parents first and foremost as it is their responsibility since they are the ones raising them, not the teachers.
At the same time, Ozu is primping in preparation of a video chat with his fiancée. After their initial greetings she immediately talks about him being surrounded by young girls all day. Ozu quickly asserts he sees his students as children and nothing else. So what about the teachers? Ozu pauses and then says they are all at least 7-10 years older than him. Baba-san’s then. I’m sorry, I really don’t think 32-37 year-old women qualify as old hags, but that’s just me. And this has nothing to do with the fact I’m a year-and-a-half away from hitting 30. Even when I was a child, I always wondered why 30 was considered such a bad and old age when it really isn’t, but I digress.
Ozu agrees that they are baba-san’s, but he doesn’t really seem to feel that way. And he also seems to keep thinking of Hara, especially when his fiancée talks about how single female teachers at an all girl’s school have no way of really finding or meeting men so they can be driven to despair and loneliness thus result in affairs with their coworkers. Coupled with Egawa’s words from the night before, this really makes Ozu think. Is he wrong for holding Hara up to his own personal standards? He then gets a call from Hara who remembered him saying that if any such situation arose again, she needs to call him. He ends his video chat and quickly rushes out.
Hara is waiting at the school when Kurosawa comes. His wife and kids are away visiting his wife’s family. Scumbag. He goes to enter the school, but Hara refuses as she’s waiting for Ozu to arrive. This floors Kurosawa. Enter Ozu a bit later peddling his bike for all he is worth. Kurosawa says he didn’t call his assistant teacher as well. Ozu quickly replies that he asked Hara to call him if anything happened. The trio then go into the school where they learn the two female students lied about being groped. One lied to get her parents’ attention as she felt she was being ignored completely. The other lied to get the attention of the boy she likes (saying you were molested to get a guy’s attention…not the brightest idea per se). Hearing these students’ words about loneliness and want to be love really resonated with Hara.
Afterward Kurosawa invites Ozu and Hara out to dinner. The other two reluctantly accept the offer and Kurosawa takes them to a major upscale restaurant. He seems so pretentious right now. He opens the wine list and asks if Hara would like a cocktail. Hara thinks to herself that she has always had to put up a pretense with this man and tells him that’s fine even though she really wants a draft beer. Kurosawa and Hara are then both surprised when Ozu asks if he himself can have a beer to celebrate the resolution of the incident. Kurosawa waves down a waiter to deliver the drink order when Hara quickly changes her order for a draft beer in a mug.
Kurosawa is further shocked by how quickly Hara starts drinking the beer. Hara replies that Ozu is right, beer is the perfect drink for such an occasion. Kurosawa then changes the topic to the unthinkable thing the girls did. What could have possessed them? Hara then sticks up for the girls (not for their lies), but how they honestly admitted what they did and how it was because of loneliness and the desire to be loved. Hara really admires that. This strikes a cord with Ozu. He recalls Egawa and his fiancée’s words. Looks like he’s beginning to understand that maybe Hara really isn’t a disgusting cheater, but a woman whose loneliness made her weak.
A waiter walks by and accidentally drops spaghetti on Ozu. He quickly goes off to the bathroom and Kurosawa uses that opportunity to hit on Hara. Ozu catches this and is not happy. He goes to the table and apologizes, but he will go home and change to try and save his shirt (which he just assured the waiter was cheap, so it was okay). He takes off leaving the two other teachers to eat in stony-faced silence. But on his way home, the scenes from earlier and now Hara’s words keep replaying.
Hara and Kurosawa finish their meal and go to a taxi. It seems like Hara is trying to will herself not to get in, but she does reluctantly. The taxi takes off and then screeches to a halt. What happened? A sweaty Ozu, who hasn’t changed his shirt he went home to save mind you, is there in front of the taxi, arms outstretched. Hara immediately jumps out and asks him what the matter is. Ozu says that it is not his place, but if she really needs someone to take her home, he will do it. Hara is shocked. She then asks him to please and Kurosawa, a little choked up, tells the driver to just continue on without Hara.
Once the taxi is gone, Hara asks if Ozu noticed about her and Kurosawa-sensei. Ozu says that he did and Hara immediately apologizes for disappointing him. She seems very young and small at this moment. Ozu does say he is disappointed in her, but he just couldn’t leave her. Those words pierce Hara to the core. So what will happen now? Will a love develop even though Ozu says he hates cheaters and has a fiancée? Or will he play cupid and help Hara find the right man for her?
Totally off topic, but it finally dawned on me why Yuka (Hara) seems so familiar to me. I last saw her in Akuma-chan as the school nurse who went to the “dark side” by helping GACKT with his plans.