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This is a solid episode setting up our hero into his new title that comes with a whole slew of responsibilities. We are given motives and background behind the past, as well as given more reasons to fall in love with our Takeshi – not to mention his side kick and “brains” of the operations, Ryu. How does one move on from a tragedy? Thankfully our hero gathers the strength that comes from the twinkling light of the stars. He remains steadfast in his belief and desires, but is forever stronger and tougher after the experience. Knowing full well that responsibility comes with sacrifice, his heart tests that boundary every day, which in turn forces us to hold our breaths, the kind that we didn’t even know we were holding. Good stuff.

EPISODE 3 RECAP

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Gulp. Takeshi loses consciousness after the shock of his family’s death. Ryu and the three warriors rush him back to intensive care, while Ryu questions what all of this has come to: must Onisuka’s honor and respect be exchanged with one’s life? And what is the point anyway if everyone that one loves dies (protecting this very honor)? The three warriors allow Ryu to mull over this existential question alone, even though it pains them to watch him work it out. I know, it hurts to think sometimes.

Sato pays off the traitors with wads of cash, but he’s not completely satisfied after killing off four people. This blood thirsty villain wants the entire blood line of Onitsuka gone, that includes the heir and the nephew. His minions offer to send a hit man but Sato entails that they need to be a big enough force to be reckoned with first, before showing their faces. Furthermore, this is the perfect opportunity to recruit new clan members.

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Torn with concern over Takeshi, Praewdao decides to hell with avoiding him. The hospital ward is blocked off by bodyguards so with some quick thinking, Praewdao changes into nurse wear. As she steps into the ward and the sight of his condition hits her, she reaches for his hand and says in disbelief, “Are you really this hurt?”

Takeshi’s eyes open at the sound of her voice, “Seiko,” he utters. Eeeeeh! “I’m seeing you. Am I dreaming?”

Sad/happy tears roll down her face, “Yes, you’re only dreaming.”

“It’s a sweet dream,” he says, “An angel has given me reason to breathe. I’m happy just to see you in my dreams.”

His angel cries and he tells her, “Seiko.. I miss you. I have no one now.”

She urges him to persevere and that she will see him in his dreams. His sweet dreams.

“With you there, I’m not afraid.”

Seiko clasps his hand and warms it with her cheek, and he drifts off into his sweet dreams. Why does this scene hurt so good?

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Aiko pays a visit to the hospital ward and refuses to be deterred when the bodyguards prohibit her from entering the room. She forces her way in anyway and sniffs a female perfume right at the spot where Praewdao stood. Like a hound dog, she demands to see the nurse and even searches for her in the restroom. Thankfully Koji calls her away, not before she threatens to fire all of them the minute she becomes Mrs. Takeshi.

Praedao (our nurse) breathes a sigh of relief, but hot tears scald her eyes.

Misawa mentions to his son that it’s a good thing Takeshi is alive. Once alone, he tosses out the picture of him and Onitsuka (Ichiro) as a farewell to their appearance of “friendship” that he has been displaying.

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Takeshi has come to his senses and is ready to fight another day. He learns that the police have not determined who placed the bomb in the car yet, much to his dismay.

Before the ashes of his family members, Takeshi calls upon their spirit and begs them to wait. He vows that he will seek justice and punish the perpetrators. Ryu is also kneeling before them and vows to help Takeshi. The boys exchange a look of understanding.

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Takeshi gently touches the paper stars as his mind drifts away. Ryu surmises that he must be thinking about the star in his dreams.

“I feel as if Seiko was with me this whole time,” Takeshi explains. “Being able to hold her in my dreams has given me strength.” He peers at the star, as if talking to Seiko, “Thank you Seiko. Thank you for making me strong again.”

The key players pay their respect at the funeral procession.

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We meet the police force. Koji declares that Onitsuka will find out who the perpetrators are, which doesn’t suit the Authority because even though Onitsuka is responsible for protecting the town people, they have no say in murder cases. Ryu argues that the law doesn’t protect people, heck it doesn’t even protect Onitsuka, so why would it protect innocent people? Takeshi suggests that the Authority alone cannot find the culprits, and that they ought to work together (join hands.) Although the Authority doesn’t like the idea that Onitsuka can get more shit done, they concede anyway because it’s the truth. Ha.

Next in line is Takahashi family (Mayumi’s family), and finally, Seiko and her Boss Lady! She is a sight for his sore eyes. Takeshi doesn’t take his eyes of hers and Ryu has to nudge him so that others will not notice. Aiko stews in the background.

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Takeshi sends Seiko a missive to meet him in the courtyard. He thanks her for coming today, to which she replies that she wasn’t certain whether she should. Seiko looks around before saying again, “I really shouldn’t. But I felt that you may want to speak to someone.”

He comes in closer, “Seiko, you’re the only person in this world that I need the most. I want to hear your voice. I want to hold you. Even for a brief moment, it gives me courage.” And he does just that. Takeshi pulls her into his arms. Swoon. I’m totally on board this – ‘if I get to hug you close, I gather strength!’ She’s like his fuel charger. Haha.

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Slowly Seiko’s arms want to hold him back, but she restrains herself as tears fall.

Aiko interrogates all of the guards regarding Takeshi’s whereabouts to no avail.

Seiko consoles him that this tragedy shouldn’t befall his family. Takeshi vows that he will avenge his family’s murder.

“Word has it that you’re going to be Sorel now?” Seiko questions. “I want you to be careful.”

She tries to excuse herself to go back inside, but Takeshi surmises that she may be avoiding him. “I know that you have a lover back in Thailand, but you can’t suppress your feelings (for me).”

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We’re back to square one. She reminds him that he already has a fiancé and he argues that he has never loved Aiko. It’s an arranged marriage.

“You will be a great Sorel,” Seiko manages, “You will be as strong as your father was. Goodbye..”

He isn’t having any of that excuse today, so Takeshi stops her by holding her close. “The warmth of your body.. you’re not a dream,” he says. “You’re the real thing. You’ve enabled me to get up and fight another day.”

Aiko bears in close and Takeshi tells Seiko that he will never forget his first love and kisses her on the forehead.

The touch, the kiss, leaves Praewdao fighting with her conscience.

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Misawa calls a meeting with Onitsuka to discuss the “new” working arrangements for Onitsuka. He wants the boys to finish their schooling while HE oversee the business end. Furthermore, Satoshi will handle the shipping aspect at the dock, while he will take care of the construction side. This doesn’t sound at all menacing. He orders Koji to hand over the documents. Takeshi wasn’t born yesterday though. He tells Misawa that he doesn’t need to go to that much trouble. Onitsuka became what they are today because they can stand on their own two feet. They will not depend on Misawa.

Satoshi wonders how he will manage school and work at the same time then, but Takeshi counters that if he cannot do both, then they don’t need to call him Sorel. Bam!

Misawa practically says “datta a boy,” and comments that his father will rest in peace knowing that his son is fierce. Like father like daughter – Aiko takes advantage of the situation by telling Takeshi that they can now marry since he will quit school. Ryu defends his bro – just because she marries Takeshi, that doesn’t mean she will have the skills and wits to be Okamisang. She threatens Ryu that she will return the scathing once she becomes Takeshi’s wife. Takeshi chides that they haven’t gotten through the first day of the funeral ceremony and she’s already thinking about the wedding?! Ryu adds that even her mannerism doesn’t pass muster. Ha.

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Seiko’s friend shares with her that everybody knows that Misawa wants to be more powerful than Onitsuka, it’s just too bad that Takeshi has to marry Aiko. Now that he’s taking on the Onituka’s rein, he ought to marry someone more suitable. Seiko wonders what that suitable person looks like. As she takes a book from the bookcase, Takeshi’s handsome face smiles at her. Unbeknownst to the friend, she continues on that Takeshi’s future wife should be like Seiko. Hee.

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Takeshi almost chuckles, he couldn’t agree more.

Smart, kind, caring, compassionate, reasonable, these are the traits that are suitable for his future wife.

He approaches her when her friend leaves, “your friend is right,” he starts.

“About what?” she feigns ignorance.

“You’re suitable (for me.) Beautiful, smart, considerate..” he goes on.

“There are many other women who are better than me.”

“Even if she’s 100 times better, it doesn’t matter,” he says, “she’s not you.” Gaaa. He steps closer, “Seiko, I want you to be by my side.”

He leans down, ever so closely to her lips..

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Seiko turns away and he steps back, finally remembering why he was looking for her. He tells her that she won’t see him at the college anymore. He’ll miss this place, and the people here (he’s referring to her.) Takeshi apologizes for his action; he likes forgetting that she has someone waiting for her in Thailand.

Seiko tries to explain that there’s really no one waiting for her.. but instead, she excuses herself. He watches her walk away like a sad puppy. He mutters that just seeing her smile makes him happy.

What’s a boy got to do around here for some LOVE?

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First order of business is to determine if a commercial property would be a good investment for Onitsuka. Sorel had been working on an agreement with the property manager before his passing, but Takeshi decides they need to cancel the agreement and hold off until the new Sorel has been established. He doesn’t think that the property bears suitability and that they have other choices out there. Unfortunately Misawa has been eyeing this agreement and will be at a huge financial disadvantage if they don’t sign. I smell desperation.

A gang of motorcyclists follow Takeshi/Ryu’s car closely and open fire. The boys evade on feet and into an empty warehouse. There, they utilize the skills and lessons that the late Sorel had imparted in their training. And they kick some ass.

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Turns out, this was just a test. The warriors congratulate Young Master for passing the final testament before becoming the true Sorel. This clan doesn’t mess around. Everyone bows to the new Sorel, including the incorrigible Ryu.

The boy’s aptitude and ability to grasp Onitsuka’s ways made it to the newspaper. Seiko learns through her friend that the duo have gained respect and commitment among their clan. She surmises that should be the case, but her friend counters it isn’t always. According to the article, Takeshi has heart and Ryu has persuasion. Ha, so true.

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We soon see how they put their skills to use.

A customer of the docking warehouse gets quite the scare as the employee accidentally nearly crushes her with the shipments he was stacking. Sorel and Ryu are called into the situation. Immediately, Ryu apologizes on behalf of the company and offers to take responsibility. First he asks if she’s alright and steers her to the nurse on staff so that she can get checked out. The customer is taken aback by his quick thinking as he whisks her away. Persuasion? Check.

Now it’s Takeshi’s (Sorel) turn to show his heart. The employee is remorse and kneels before him. He offers to pay for the expenses as well as work for free if that’s not enough. Takeshi tells the older man that he can’t work for free. What happened today was an accident. Takeshi suggests that in order for this not to happen again, the older man needs to feel rest assured about his sick daughter.  The employee is surprised that Sorel knows, or even cares to know, he is touched. Sorel tells the employee that he is like family – since he has worked for the clan for many years – how could he not know about his own family? Aw. Sorel even offers to pay for the daughter’s hospital expense. With that, the employee commits his life to Sorel.

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Takeshi takes the man’s word for it: is he really willing to do anything?

Meanwhile Ryu returns to the warehouse to check on whether the bodyguards have deterred Takeshi from leaving the premises (to find a certain someone.) They all think they’re clever since they held on to his car keys, tsk tsk. Takeshi is much cleverer as he changed into the employee’s clothing and took his bike out for a ride.

He finds his way to Seiko’s fruit stand where he overhears Seiko talking to her friend about the magazine that he’s featured in. Seiko shows great interest when she learns that Takeshi’s picture is in the magazine, claiming that she merely thinks that he’s handsome. Hee, not realizing that the man himself is standing right there.

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Seiko is startled to see him, as the peaches go rolling on the ground. He tells her that he misses her. But she’s nonchalantly ringing him up as if she doesn’t know that he came here to see her, not to buy fruits LOL. He asks her how many kilograms of fruit should he buy in order to remain close to her like this?

A customer appears (hello Maker Group’s Momma!) and teases Seiko for having a boyfriend, despite the girl denying it. Auntie surmises that kids these days say the same thing and end up getting married. Ha, she seeks confirmation from the boyfriend who agrees. Auntie relents that he might not be her boyfriend, but she’s certainly his girlfriend.

Takeshi offers to help Auntie deliver her purchase and Seiko has no choice but to come along. It’s raining as Seiko sits on the passenger side of the bike, but she’s holding the purchase and an umbrella, so any stumble can cause her to fall. What to do? Takeshi takes her arm and wraps it around his waist, she best hold on tight. Ah, it’s the scene I’ve been waiting for!

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Their brief break causes them to lose track of Auntie’s bike. As they descend and search, they found their backs against each other. Spellbound by the moment, Takeshi takes her arm and feasts his eyes upon hers..He bends down close enough to touch his lips to hers but changes his mind and routes his lips to her forehead instead. Guilty conscience getting in the way? Nonetheless, I don’t think I breathed the entire two minutes. Cute!

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Praewdao looks at the back cover of the magazine – at Takeshi’s face – as her feelings become even more undeniable.. she questions his picture, “Will I ever have the opportunity to ask you.. whether these stars belong to you?”

Takeshi is also looking at the paper stars, unaware that his recipient is holding some attachment to the star owner which is conflicting with her feelings about another guy she likes. Well. Takeshi says that she’s the only light in his dark, dark world. He holds the star close to his heart.

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In honor of 100 days since the deaths in the Onituska’s family, in conjunction with the crowning of the new Sorel, the Onitsuka clan throws a big gathering. Only powerful clan members and blood lines are invited.

The ceremony begins and Takeshi is sworn into Sorel. The clan bows and commits their lives to the newest Sorel.

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During the dinner celebration, Satoshi broaches the subject of marriage and that it’s time Takeshi holds his end of the bargain. Misawa has already gotten the auspicious date (a month’s time) but Takeshi rescinds the date because he’s determined to find the culprit who killed his family first. He can’t possibly be selfish and think about his marriage before revenge.

Aiko is pissed that her engagement has been pushed to the side again. She takes her anger out on her father who tells her to grow the heck up otherwise Takeshi can use the same excuse to extend the date even longer. Ha.

Misawa contemplates his next move but notices that the picture he threw away found its way back in his room. Aiko had put it back there, which only serves to remind him of his contention with his “best friend” Onitsuka. He flashes back to the time he and Onitsuka Sorel spar via Kendo. His instructor tells him to use his wits to beat Onitsuka, not his emotions. But with that advice, only Onitsuka manages to hold onto his emotions and use his wits to beat Misawa in loyalty/business endeavors. Extending all the way to matters of the heart, where both boys fall in love with the same girl, but you can guess who won in the end, right? That is why we see Misawa to this day, even when the man is already dead, still trying to stay above water, trying to stay on top of Onitsuka.

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The clan put a tail on the traitors and spot them entering Sato’s night club. Takeshi notices that since the accident, both men have not returned to work. This sharpens Haro’s memory as he recalls their suspicious behavior in the garage the day of the accident. When in doubt, always investigate! Haro shares this with the clan. Takeshi orders him to drag their asses to him, he will do the interrogation.

The traitors try to beeline for safety, making themselves look even guiltier than they claim. They are discovered, but by someone else that hasn’t been revealed to us yet. Hm.

Even though Haro and gang lost the traitors’ trail, they know who’s involved. They report back to Takeshi and the next thing they know, the police has discovered the two traitor’s body. I smell fish! Or maybe a rat!

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The police questions whether this newest development is Onitsuka’s doing? Since those two men are under suspicion for bombing the car. Ryu argues that if they killed those two men for revenge, they wouldn’t place the bodies in their own vicinity so that it can come back to bite them in the ass. Smart kid.

The police surmise (in all seriousness) that a villain is trying to place the blame on Onitsuka and the real killer is still at large. Even though Onitsuka has a clear enemy in Sato, there’s no evidence (per the police) to pull them on murder charges. Koji also adds that there’s no evidence Onitsuka killed those traitors either. The police made peace by asking for their cooperation instead.

Meanwhile, Sato knows they don’t have any evidence to convict his clan on those two deaths, nor the accident. He snarls happily.

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The recent turning of events only leaves Takeshi even more troubled. Thinking that he may have found the killer to avenge his family’s deaths, he only came to find two pawns that another, more deadlier enemy has brought forth.

Aiko greets him when he returns home, but Takeshi is not in a celebratory mood, despite it’s a day he became the Sorel. She congratulates him on finding the killer and wants to discuss their engagement. Geez girl, her brain’s only tied up with marrying the fellow. No wonder he’s recoiled. Daddy dearest says that the traitors deserve to die, glad that he didn’t have to be the one to kill them.

Takeshi reiterates that there will be no engagement until he has avenged his family’s deaths. Satoshi laments that since they already know what clan is responsible, why don’t they just go after them? Takeshi says they’re better than the criminals, and will take care of them the Onitsuka’s way. Satoshi argues that it’s only his way to extend the engagement, and Daddy dearest adds that Takeshi ought to be more considerate of him.

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Takeshi assures them that once he finds the master mind behind his father’s death, then they can pick a date right away. But Aiko can’t seem to pick her battles, and prompts him to pick a date RIGHT NOW. Takeshi looks at Misawa and says that he won’t renege on his father’s promises with uncle.

Takeshi walks away, leaving Aiko screaming until she loses her senses and passes out.

Bro has had it with his sister’s public heartbreak. He demands that his dad consider his sister’s feelings and DO something. Daddy consoles his angel, who wonders if Takeshi doesn’t love her even a little. He apologizes and agrees to break the engagement if that is what she wishes. But Aiko refuses and promises to only marry Takeshi and no one else. We’ve got a loony one on our hands, but we already know that, don’t we?

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Takeshi looks up at the full moon as he caresses the handkerchief that Seiko made. Koji utters that a warrior’s path is like that of the sky in the darkened night. But Takeshi counters that some warriors are lucky that they have a light shining in their pathway. To others, it is enough to have their night graced by the twinkling of the stars. Koji instructs that love is a weakness for a warrior. But Takeshi argues that sometimes it’s a miracle that heals the pain. Koji pleads for him not to allow his love to strip the alliance between the two families. Takeshi promises that he is willing to do anything to uphold his father’s honor, but his heart belongs to him. Takeshiiiiii!

Seiko’s friend invites her to go shopping for a kimono for her friend’s wedding. Seiko wonders if she should go, since the wedding will only have important people. Seiko urges her to make an appearance and not be rude.

As they shop for kimonos (the vendor is speaking in Japanese, which is strange, because aren’t we envisioning that they’re all speaking in Japanese?) Takeshi follows her there and smiles as he enters the kimono shop.

But his enemy, Sato, is also in the vicinity, watching HIM.

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COMMENTS

Oh snap! Now Sato is going to find out his weakness!

I love Takeshi’s innate stubbornness. That is the one thing that doesn’t change about him. Even though he KNOWS that Seiko “has” someone else waiting for him, even though he knows he’ll inevitably marry Aiko, and even though everyone tells him that it’s just no good that he follows his heart, the boy just does it anyway. I love that he’s not noble. I love that he pursues his heart, knowing that life has given him so much pain, why can’t he seek a small measure of happiness? You do that! Find that happiness, I just hope that you have plan B just in case it sneaks up on you and causes your happiness some harm.

I still hope to see that Seiko/Praewdao has more purpose and character growth in this lakorn. She’s definitely a key to keeping Takeshi sane, because if they take her away, he just might never rise again. So I want that happiness for him. However, she confuses me. I want her to be like the Praewdao who wonders and talks to herself in her room. That’s the best way to work things out in her head, and it’s the best way for us to understand what she’s going through. Otherwise, we are just left in confusion. We know she’s afraid, who wouldn’t, Aiko is bat shit crazy. We know she feels inferior, not because she’s not Japanese, but because his life is so different from hers. Part of what she’s doing is self-preservation, when you know things will end badly, do you still do them? She also has a sense of honor. But dang, what’s a man got to do? He’s practically handed her his heart on a platter. Proceeding with caution might be too little too late. I need Seiko to move at Takeshi’s pace, so I can love her too.

I wonder why Show didn’t give a little scene between Ryu and Mayumi – I fully understand that they will have their time – however, I did notice that she came to the funeral; couldn’t we get a scene where she tells him her condolences? We all know that Takeshi’s family was taken away from him, but that’s Ryu’s family too. That’s all he’s got too. Narrative wise, I would imagine that some condolences should be given to Ryu as well. Just saying.

Who here jumped around in their seats a few times when we got to see Ryu teasing Takeshi again? I love how he manages to annoy and make Takeshi laugh. I’m glad that they haven’t turned this episode sorrowful, since we’ve already gotten punched in the guts in the last episode.

One word for this episode: Takeshiiiii!

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