Usually, a love triangle is really just two legged: either two girls liking the same guy or two guys liking the same girl. However, this love triangle is truly three legged.
Some of my friends have commented that Last Friends, as of end of episode five, has been getting rather dull in repetitions. It seems like in every episode we would just anticipate another Michiru beat down like we would in a Power Ranger episode for the monster of the week. And in that sense, episode six continued on in that same drudgery. However, in defense of the show I suppose this would be how D.V. feels like—an endless spiral of hell that just goes over and over again.
However, all this changed with the last scene of episode six igniting the fuse that would burn through the rest of episode seven in setting up what would be the second half of the show: the love triangle between Ruka, Michiru and Takeru. I have not felt so glued to my seat as I watched Takeru confessed to Ruka just as she was about to come out of the closet herself, but yet I nearly jumped out of my tatami seat when Michiru asked Takeru for permission to love him. What is to follow soon will be Ruka’s confession to Michiru. And then there are Ruka’s secret and Takeru’s incestuous past that act like two San Andreas Fault Lines slowly building up the tension, waiting for that tenuous moment in order to cause the maximum casualty. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s reexamine the characters at this half point of the series.
So after all, the only reason she stayed with Sousuke was not so much about loving him as it was about needing to be treated as part of a family by somebody—anybody. All she needed was confirmation—in the form a welcome home party by the Share House crew—and she was ready to dump Sousuke. However, not all would be well with her from this point on since she was merely transferring her dependence from Sousuke onto Ruka. Unfortunately, Ruka had started to distance herself away from her. With the net pulled under her, Michiru once again found herself desolate. So in desperation, she latched onto Takeru as with a floatation device. All in all, Michiru was still confusing dependence with love for the same wrong reason.
Of course, from the very first episode we know that eventually Michiru does learn to be independent—she is going to raise the baby all by herself. (Who’s the father? Sousuke or Takeru?) However, until then, she remains her old self: struggling with what love really is and is not.
Remember how in the bible after he had denied Christ three times Peter went into agony? Well, that was basically what Ruka did in episode six. The first time was at the park with Takeru and Michiru when Michiru had already brought it open that Sousuke had stated that Ruka was not a woman. The long awkward pause that followed was her first denial. The second time was at her home after her parents received the note. They kept staring straight into her face looking for an answer, but she brushed it off as resentments from her motorcycling victory. Second denial. The third time was at the swing with Takeru where she was literally only half a sentence away from letting it all go. Unfortunately, Takeru’s surprise love confession reminded her how everyone was expecting her to be a woman after all, and she once again backed out. That was her third denial. Three denials in one episode. Then the cock crowed in the form of Takeru and Michiru getting together. What remains for Ruka now is just agony.
The sad part of all this, is that Michiru, Takeru, Eri, her brother, and her mom and dad—everyone who matters to her—would have no trouble accepting who she is, had she just say it out. Of all the characters in the show, she has the most support from friends and family. At the end of the day, she herself is the only one who cannot accept who she is. In short, she is her own prison.
I suppose we are all like Ruka to some degree: Many things in our lives we used to be so ashamed of, and in fear of being revealed, we overreacted and just made our own lives more miserable by our own hands. But then when we were finally able to let it out, the matter didn’t seem as bad as we had thought. And we wonder why we had made it so difficult for ourselves in the first place.
All in all, Ruka continues to struggle in liberating herself.
Can you say “sibling incest?” That’s what I think is his past secret and his torment. Personally, I think his o-nee-chan is pretty hot, and it doesn’t help that Takeru is quite good looking also. So, it’s hard for me to get that icky feelings yet. Also, I can’t say I can understand what struggling with incest is like; so, I can’t comment too much here.
In any case, I don’t see how his tormented past is playing a role in this love triangle. His problem with Michiru is that he doesn’t like her in that way, and his problem with Ruka is that Ruka doesn’t like him in that way. So, his fear of intimacy should be the least of his troubles as far as his love relationships go.
But maybe his past will play a role in the following way: When he was not meddling in his past, he was simply the main anchor—strong and reliable. His face-off with Sousuke on the front porch was purely fearless—I’m sure there was a halo above his head when he ran down the list of Sousuke’s crimes and pronouncing his judgement one by one. Even when Ruka had given up on Michiru, Takeru came to Michiru’s rescue from Sousuke. On the other hand, when he was reminded of his past, he would simply shut down completely and became like a candle fire in the wind—feeble and fragile. Right now, he is still like that final nail that is holding all the parts together, but what happens when it finally gives?
I don’t understand him. Just when I thought he had no shred of humanity left in him, he went on to risk his life to save that kid from an impending train. Suddenly he was human again, capable of so much tenderness and caring, but at the same time, he is also so very capable of giving hate, as he started stalking Ruka’s little brother. Damn, he is full of contradiction.
But this is all good though, since it means that he is not just a plot device to make us feel sorry for Michiru. There is depth to his character and possibly even a theme supported by his character. Next to Ruka, he is the second most interesting character I hope the writers will develop in the second half of the show.
Oh my goodness, she can actually talk. 🙂 Seeing her, giving her reason to keep Ogurin in Share House, was like seeing a baby talk for the first time. In fact, she actually had two real dialogs that were longer than three sentences, both in the same episode. But the dialogs did not give me the sense of her struggle with solitude. In fact, I sensed the opposite.
To me, she took on a very positive attitude about her relationships: No one can tell what tomorrow brings, so let’s try to be together as long as today is still here. That advice actually helped Ruka in accepting Michiru back into Share House. Moreover, she seemed very perceptive of people around her. She understood well why Ogurin did what he did, and she seemed to get a clue as to Ruka’s real reason for being so harsh to Michiru. If she was struggling with solitude, then she had been hiding it really well.
However, what troubles me more is that I don’t understand what the role of her character is in the main plot of the story. She doesn’t interact with the main cast—Michiru, Ruka, Takeru and Sousuke—in any life changing ways. She doesn’t seem to push the plot in any direction either. In short, she seems quite superfluous to the story. If she is removed from the story, nothing would’ve been much different. Is that her solitude? That no one cares?
This guy has no backbone. At first I wanted to put a picture of a weasel in place of him, but I suppose I should at least give a little respect to Eri since I do like her. This thing that is in a man’s suit is proof that the complete opposite of someone who is bad does not necessarily make him good, since he is the complete opposite of Sousuke. They both just hurt women in different ways.
Many of my friends can’t stand watching this show because they can’t stand to see Sousuke beat up Michiru, but for me, I can’t stand even more watching this low-life, who won’t deal with his wife’s infidelity but instead go off to casually sleep with another woman, going back and forth between his wife and Eri to gratify his primal desire without any sense of commitment to either women. Every time I saw his sad little smile and his sad little hand wave in the Share House, I cringed. To some of my friends, he is the clown of the show; but to me, he is the trash that makes Sousuke seems respectable.
Days like this is becoming rare and far in between.
So this is where we’re at at the half way point. Most of characters are well-defined already. We know who they are now. Upcoming will be the tests of their characters. We will see what choices they will make, and we already have some idea of the consequences. I don’t like shows that tell you up front someone will die. It’s as if they are marinating us to prepare for something even worse. Michiru’s final comment on episode seven is also as troubling as it is confusing. What did she mean that her time of happiness was a lot shorter than she had thought?