Hakuba no Ouji-sama Episode 9 Recap
This really was quite the episode and I can’t help but be left with a somewhat unsatisfactory feeling, especially after seeing previews for episode 10. Our characters have been making some bad decisions to begin with and it looks like they might keep on making some bad decisions. How well will this end? Will Ozu and Hara be able to finally lock on and find true happiness?
Hara goes to school basking in the glow of what happened is finally happy. As soon as Ozu sees her, he flees the teachers’ room. Normally this would worry her, but she doesn’t think anything about it until the pretty and bright Kaori shows up. Hara automatically gives up in defeat. There is now way she can beat a bright, young, cute person. When Ozu returns, needless to say he is very unhappy to find Kaori at work dropping off a bento.
During lunch he cannot stand to eat the bento in front of Hara and goes up to the roof to eat the overly cute lunch that Kaori packed. He finishes it and tells Kaori it was delicious, but to never drop by and do that again. Meanwhile, Mori wishes to learn how to cook better in preparation for an eventual marriage, whenever that may be. She asks Hara about her mother’s cooking classes and Hara promises to get her the information as soon as possible, making Mori very happy.
Hara then goes to her usual haunt to finish her drink during her lunch break. Again she agonizes how her age and everything already makes her a loser. As she is about to go back to the teachers’ room, Ozu comes down off the roof and stops her. Can they have a serious talk after school? Hara agrees to this while silently scolding him for not allowing her to continue her happiness for a little while longer.
After school comes and Hara is nowhere to be seen. Like a coward, she ran away back to her apartment to avoid hearing that Ozu will break things off with her and go back to the loveable Kaori. During this time, we also learn that Kaori didn’t come back to Japan because of her insecurities with Ozu, but because her grandmother is not doing well and may not live much longer. In fact, Kaori’s mother urges her to stay in Japan instead of finishing her studies in England and also tells her to quickly marry Ozu so that her grandmother has a chance to see the wedding.
I will say this about Kaori, at least this is not something that she is holding over Ozu’s head (at the moment). She could have easily played this card right away and shamed and forced him into “doing the right thing” (whether its right or not). That being said, it tells you how much their relationship has denigrated if she can’t even tell him about her grandmother’s condition out of fear of forcing his hand.
The next day Hara tries to avoid Ozu again, but is unable to. Fine. Time to stop drawing this out. Hara then tells him to come to her apartment after school. He does and he compliments how beautiful it is. Hara says that his apartment is small with cheap things because he knew he would be marrying soon. For her, her apartment is like this because she has been living alone for a long while now. Ozu then apologizes and says he wishes to break things off with Kaori and he asks Hara to give him some time. Hara is shocked that she doesn’t get the immediate boot. Ozu wonders if she really has such little faith in him. Hara then says given their age difference among other things, what can Ozu possibly like about her. He gives her a back hug and says “everything.”
I’m not saying age isn’t a factor at all or anything, but the stressing of a 7-year age gap seems a wee superfluous to me. True, Hara is older…not necessarily wiser, but older. Yes, they are at two different points in their lives as Ozu is only 25 and does have a bit more ahead of him, but at the same time, he’s technically already engaged and ready (supposedly) to get married to his girlfriend, so that actually doesn’t put them too far apart since Hara wishes to marry and settle down as well. Ozu does have a lot to learn and his ideals can be somewhat childish or immature at times, but he’s not nearly as bad as some other, immature and annoying younger men. I guess my problem is his naïve vow to never make a woman cry and here he is chasing after another woman when he already has a fiancée. At least he isn’t married…yet…but at the same time, cheating is cheating.
While Kaori’s mother tries to get her to nail down a wedding date, Ozu tries to get Kaori to sit down and have a serious talk with him. Just as he finally gets her to his apartment for the talk, she gets an emergency call about her grandmother. Ozu asks her why she didn’t tell him and she says she knows that Ozu has drawn further and further away from her and that her talking to him even irritates him now, so she didn’t want him to think she was trying to force him to marry her, etc. Ozu is horrified to learn how much pain he has caused the crying Kaori who begs for his help by pretending that he still loves her for her dying grandmother’s sake. I wouldn’t mind her doing this 100% if I did not see the scenes for episode 10.
Anywho, while this craziness is going on with Kaori and Ozu, Hara’s got some pretty nasty stuff going on herself. She decides to visit her mother’s cooking class that Mori is attending. Wouldn’t you know, Mrs. Kurosawa is there herself. She reveals the affair and loudly warns Hara away from her husband. Mrs. Hara is horrified and Mori is angry and storms out. Mrs. Hara then tells her daughter that she is a disgrace and is unable to accept the affair after all. Hara is very upset. After it is all said and done, she is getting blamed for everything. Well…it’s not like she’s blameless. Even knowing that Kurosawa was already married, she chose to enter that relationship. Granted it was very painful and she became very unhappy at the end, it was still her choice. She can’t shirk all responsibility. Although…Mrs. Kurosawa made it sound more like Hara went after her husband, which wasn’t the truth at all…it was more like Kurosawa pursued Hara and she was at a moment where she was really too weak to fend him off and stick by her morals. The upset Hara runs out of her house leaving behind a furious mother and a very worried father.
Needless to say Mori has had it with Hara. She is angry that Hara has not told her or their other friend about the affair (until way after the fact) and didn’t even bother telling them who the affair was with. Mori doesn’t like that Hara keeps things to herself and she is even more unhappy with Hara choosing a married man and now secretly goes after an engaged man (or maybe she was just upset with Hara not fessing up about just what happened that night with Ozu).
She gets a text from Egawa and goes to meet him. Once there, he says that he can’t pursue a new relationship yet as he is just not ready. He explains about Mai and her tragic death three years ago. Since she had been alienated from her family and had already quit the company where Egawa worked, he was not aware of her death (as no one notified him) until after he returned from his overseas business trip. He has been blaming himself for these past years for letting her die alone.
Hearing Mai’s story and learning of her strict upbringing and rebelliousness really strikes a chord with Hara. Hara praises Mai for being brave and following her heart to be herself even knowing that others would disapprove of her and her actions. She was a very brave and strong girl. Egawa is shocked as Hara is the first person to ever praise Mai (remember whenever Mai was mentioned earlier, they point out all her faults and how she didn’t seem like the best person to fall for). Hara then completely breaks down. She has always tried to be that obedient child and not cause waves. She’s lived by suppressing herself and not trying to stand out so she at least didn’t bring her parents shame, and here she is now—a major disgrace. Egawa holds the sobbing woman and tells her that everything is okay and that she is not a bad person.
Ah, thing about all the pain that could have been avoided if Hara could have just chose more available men. But…the heart isn’t something that is easily controlled. And really, this woman represses herself so much and lets her pain and loneliness build so much that it is no wonder she makes the wrong decisions all the time. As for her mother, I’m not saying that Mrs. Hara should be supportive of the fact that her daughter had an affair, but she shouldn’t necessarily condemn her for it as Hara has realized that mistake and it is a part of her past that she truly regrets, but what can she do now after the fact? Nothing.
Egawa’s rejection was slightly surprising, but knowing that he still feels guilty over Mai’s dying alone while he’s abroad, takes the surprise out of it. I do have a feeling though, with everything going on, Hara could ultimately turn to him as Ozu waffles back and forth in helping Kaori and staying with her because of all the pain he’s caused or to drop her after helping her and stay with Hara. Ozu himself has no idea what Hara is currently going through and how much pain she is also in. He has helped create one royal mess.
In four episodes…will their be happily every after for anyone?