Naoki and Kotoko are made for each other. I haven’t felt it this acutely until this episode (and not even throughout all of ISWAK). Naoki might possess the perfect aptitude for everything he sets out to do but his lack of passion makes all of it meaningless. And I think that Kotoko’s dedication and luminosity not only makes Naoki’s life drastically more entertaining but also pushes him to reevaluate the meaning of success and happiness. This, in turn, will also help him find his way in life and make it amount to something greater than the perfect and perfectly hollow existence he’s led before Kotoko. I would even argue that Naoki needs Kotoko so much more his life than she needs him, despite her furious crush on him.
Kotoko’s papa breaks the news to Irie family that they are moving out and Naoki’s mama immediately takes to wallowing in grief.
Little brother storms into Naoki’s room, elated that they are finally rid of Kotoko and her “stupid” germs. Naoki is ecstatic too. You can tell.
Meanwhile, Kotoko begins packing and reminiscences about how happy she was to move into Irie’s house and how much she loved the room and Irie Mom’s hospitality.
The day of the move is extremely teary for Kotoko but Naoki doesn’t even look out the window to watch them depart (afraid he will break down and cry too?)
Back at Uni, Kotoko announces to her girlfriends that she will give up on Naoki since there is nothing connecting them anymore.
I would say Kotoko’s dedication to Naoki crush is wavering too much but then it’s not like it’s feasible for her to ever forget him, and then it also makes Naoki work extra hard to get her attention, so I’m okay with it.
Girlfriends asks why all of the sudden, when she has loved him all this time despite him treating her horribly.
She tells them it’s her father’s words that made her reconsider. “He has never shown interest in me, even after all this time.”
Kin-chan is excited at the prospect of Kotoko finally giving up on Naoki….so he makes her a giant omu-rice cake saying “Happy Birthday”? Haha.
And lights it sexily, too.
Ugh, now I’m craving omu-rice.
Kotoko comes back to their temporary, sad little apartment at night and imagines how it was like coming home to Irie’s house with everyone greeting her warmly.
Don’t remember this happening, but if you say so, Kotoko.
Ah, that smile. Rare and powerful enough to break up the clouds (or the smog?) in Tokyo.
Little bro muses over the fact that their mom can be so depressed over Kotoko.
Naoki gets nervous at that…”Don’t you have your own room now?” Meaning: LEAVE ME BE, TO BROOD IN PEACE.
Mmm, I sort of like those posters on the wall. If I only knew what “dependable dotted service” was.
Girlfriends: “Why are you still attending tennis club if you are trying to give up on Naoki?”
Kotoko: “Um….I just have to!” *dashes off*
After abusive training by Sudo the Beast Kotoko is finally allowed in the court….To collect balls?
But she is cheerful and upbeat as always. If it was me, I would throw a couple of balls at Sudo’s ass and ask him to pick them up himself.
Look who appears on the court! Anyone surprised? Not I.
Kotoko stammers: “What are you doing…you don’t come to practices!”
Naoki huffs: “What, am I not allowed to practice?”
Kotoko is dazed at his appearance and slaps herself – “no, no, I’m forgetting about him!”
But Naoki’s appearance just sets Sudo the Beast’s transformation in motion and incites him to challenge Naoki to a game.
The Beast is tricky too, because he asks for a doubles-match with the pretty aunt as his partner and Kotoko as Naoki’s.
Naoki barks at Kotoko to not get in his way, but that is so not happening. They play a pitiful game that ends with this telling pose.
But Naoki won’t let Sudo gloat too much because he asks for a rematch a week later. Naoki vows to train Kotoko to some semblance of coherence at tennis.
Cap is here because I love girlfriend’s leopard print outfit.
Kotoko is adorably late to their first practice.
“You are late. Don’t give me any excuses”. Anyone else completely unmoved by Naoki attempts at seeming stern?
Naoki’s first advice to Kotoko is to actually try to look at the ball, instead of closing her eyes every time the ball is in her vicinity. That might help, yeah.
Kotoko starts looking at the balls. Goodness, she is adorable.
Sudo is an unfair bastard again and doesn’t let them practice during club hours so they have to wait until night. And so they train, night or rain, every day.
Kin-chan hears that Kotoko is exhausted from practices and brings her food.
“You are not training that hard because of Naoki, are you?”
Kotoko admits that she has been trying to stay out of his way, to forget him, but that it hasn’t been easy.
Kin-chan is ever understanding (and ever providing delicious food! Marry me, Kin-chan) and tells her forgetting someone is a long process, so he will wait patiently. Let the swooning commence…in 1,2,3..
Irie’s mom goes to stalk Kotoko at Uni and runs into her friends who blurt out that Kotoko and Naoki actually kissed (in the context of “it’s a pity things haven’t worked between them”).
It’s the best day of her life because now she knows there is yet hope and promises to bring Kotoko back to their house.
Ah, and now my favorite scene of the episode. Naoki teaches Kotoko how to serve.
And when she finally gets it, she runs over to him to hang on his neck in excitement.
And to my utter, unrestricted, fangirlish delight he is totally not pulling away and just eyeing her.
What an adorable alien. He can’t (or doesn’t know how to) return her excitement but he can’t bring himself to break away either.
But he is definitely affected because he begins to serve the balls himself for no apparent reason. Oh, and babbles on about how he is envious of Kotoko for being able to feel happiness over such trivial successes.
Kotoko’s outfits are inspiring me to shop for cute Asian clothes, even though I don’t always look the best in them. Also, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a drama with outfits resembling anything what people actually wear in real life, as opposed to brand name product placement atrocities that Kdramas usually have.
Pretty aunt reproaches Kotoko for being so oblivious and happy while she is causing Naoki so much inconvenience. Can we please have a recording of Naoki saying how much fun he’s had with all the trouble Kotoko has caused him and play it every time pretty aunt opens her mouth?
I don’t know how much Yuko’s speech affected Kotoko but I’m thinking not much since Kotoko was pretty awesome in the ensuing game.
And managed to return Sudo’s angry serve perfectly.
Pretty aunt is amazed at this turn of events.
But Kotoko’s ankle is sprained in the process and Naoki halts the game immediately.
Naoki’s poker face is just hilarious next to Kotoko’s blissful “What if I said I love him more?”
Naoki escorts Kotoko to her new house, with her clinging to him for dear life.
Kotoko: “Yeah, the house is definitely somewhere here.” I, along with Naoki, is instantaneously doubtful of Kotoko’s ability to locate anything.
They come across some house though and Kotoko attempts to drag Naoki in. “Fine, just let go of my hand!” he yells.
Kotoko let’s go and not a second later sticks to him again. Haha, notice how resigned he looks?
Obviously, it’s not the right house and some grandpa tells them off for trying to barge in.
I felt like in this episode Naoki has regressed a bit in his ability to express himself. Or at least, he was not as obviously flirtatious and jealous. But he is grumpily accepting of all of Kotoko’s affections which is almost as endearing. I remember this being a feature of ISWAK too though, where after all that has happened between Naoki and Kotoko (and mainly after we’ve seen how much Kotoko affects him), I expected Naoki to be less passive, especially in dire circumstances such as Kotoko moving out. I guess it will take more than separation to jolt Naoki into awareness of how much he needs Kotoko. But I like that he still expresses his longing for her in major ways like being unable to share his brother’s joy of Kotoko moving out and coming to practice when he hasn’t done that ever before. I wonder how the date with the pretty aunt that we see in the preview will pan out next week. I really can’t see it happening for any reason other than for Naoki to annoy Kotoko.