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.

Hakuba no Ouji-sama 09

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.

Hakuba no Ouji-sama 9

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?

3 comments

  • You did a wonderful job recounting the major and the minor yet significant events and emotions of this episode. I agree with your sentiments, its no wonder Hara makes bad decisions regarding men when she builds up this pitiful lifelong spinsterhood in her mind. I didn’t read your synopsis on the episode when her mom tried to matchmake her with her work colleague. But I thought she was being childish or at least close minded not to give him a chance. She actively closes off opportunities to date, mingle and meet new people but all the while bewails her loneliness. And when her loneliness builds up too much and she acts rashly, she says she couldn’t help it. That is just an excuse, not saying that it doesn’t happen in real life, but she’s not addressing the heart of her problem. How her indecision or over thinking is affecting her life.

    I really like Egawa’s character and hope that he and Hara can just be friends. Everyone could use a real friend like him. He’s honest with himself and others.

    It gets harder and harder for me to root for Hara because of her pity parties. I wanted the last conversation between Hara and Ozu to be different. The way she turned away from him and asked what he even liked about her… I Hated That. If she wanted to know what traits he liked about her or a reason he is picking her over his fiancee, fine. But that “what do you even see in me” bit is so full of self loathing that I fear Ozu’s relationship duties may be mostly assuring her that she is worthy of his love. She needs to learn to love herself and then she’ll get company.

    • It is true. Hara really only decided to do the blind date not because she was trying to be open minded, but because she was caught in the situation between Kurosawa and Ozu. In the end, she didn’t give the man a chance at all and just kept thinking about how much she needed time for a bond to form. I must say, it’s not like it’s one date and to the alter with omiais. She could have tried to get to know the man and keep seeing him to see if she could possibly gain that connection, but nope. I was a little happy as I thought she was going to take charge of her life and start living for herself and what she wanted…but then she didn’t do that.

      While I do like how retrospective this drama can be, you are right about Hara’s decisions and her whining pity parties. I’ll give her leeway on the Kurosawa relationship because he really did become an anchor to her in a difficult time when she realized just how much she was letting life pass her by, but you’d think she would have learned her lesson from the pain of that relationship. But no. Sure, she started falling for Ozu before knowing the truth and it is hard to tell your own heart what to do, but she doesn’t really try. She goes about doing things half-heartedly. I think that Egawa might be able to wake her up. I don’t know why she (and our other ladies in their 30s) are so down on themselves the older they get. What is wrong with them? Sure, the older they get, especially if they want a family, the harder it can be, but at the same time, why act like your life will be over and you’ll be mired in misery if you hit the age of 35 without falling in love and getting married?

  • I also see where Mori is coming from. But to be honest these friends don’t really share until after the fact. The other friend came out of the blue with a cook boyfriend that no one knew about. And then she explains why she’s settling for “a boring guy with no apparent future”. That aggravated me to no end. They haven’t described his character much besides showing a cherubic cheeked picture of the guy. But from what they did describe this dude is not bad. He had a dream of becoming a chef and quit his job to follow his dream!
    1. He’s employed.
    2. He’s driven to follow a plan/dream
    3. He is someone who has been reaching out to her to talk with her and get to know her.
    I guess he’s not her ideal type…or is that what the writers are trying to drive home? That the guys women in real life second guess and reject are actually the good ones like Egawa, the boring cook, Hara’s mom’s colleague? Sigh.

    I’m really enjoying the drama, its bringing up all these feelings and questions. I’m so glad that you are recapping it.

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