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Shouldn’t Wednesdays make it easier to get over the hump of the week? It doesn’t help matters that the events in this episode happens very slowwwly. The buildup of each scene marks for a revelation on both Seiko and Aiko’s character front. One realizes that she could finally hold on to her love, while the other realizes that she’s the reason for the loss of her love. Add filler scenes about Haro who quietly accepts his place- but secretly condoning his heart to further aggravation- and we have one helluva frustrating watch (or sleepy watch) depending on your mood. Not to mention, we get less of Takeshi-Ryu scenes. And for that, pouty face!

EPISODE 7 RECAP

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Takeshi is rushed to the operating room after taking a bullet to the chest, where he flashes back to the last few moments with his father, who is unrelenting with his training and criticisms as always. The son merely desires to live a peaceful life, not one where he has to constantly fight someone to the death. Every experience he encounters thus far in life supports his feelings.  Gah, the scene of his dead family at the morgue still haunts me. So heartbreaking.. but suddenly, he hears Seiko’s voice and her body manifests in his mind: she tells him to drop everything and go with her. Go to a peaceful world together. Caught between the dead and his beloved’s bequeath, Takeshi calls out her name when she disappears, and that’s when we see him gripping for life in the hands of the doctor.

Right outside the OR’s door, Seiko is distraught, she prays that he survives. Ryu and the gang arrive, and he offers comforting words to Seiko, while Koji gives his son another disappointing look. You failed again, Haro (Taro?)

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Misawa learns that his son is responsible for sending a hired hand to kill Takeshi. With one fluid movement he grabs his son’s lapel and chides him for failing to consult with him first. Satoshi argues that he can’t stand Takeshi hurting his sister anymore, he wants a full blown war with Onitsuka. But dad laments that their clan is at a disadvantage. Right now they need to do damage control and dispose of evidence and bodies that may pinpoint to them. Ah, wait until Aiko gets a hold of this, she’s going to blow a fuse with her brother.

Relief that Takeshi is alive floods the waiting room; however he hasn’t come to his senses yet due to the loss of blood. Someone finally takes note of Haro’s injured arm but he states that he’s fine. Ryu suggests that Okusang head on home to rest and he can stand vigil over Takeshi tonight, but Seiko persists that she wants to be the first person he sees when he wakes up. Ryu states that harming Takeshi is like harming him, the law is taking too long to punish Sato. His men recommend that they stand down and find out if Sato is the true culprit first.

Seiko cries to her Anatak as to how long he must live in danger like this. She admits she can never get used to this kind of life.

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Upon hearing of Takeshi’s close call, Keniji is cracking up, ecstatic that he could borrow someone else’s knife so to speak. His minions offer that Takeshi is waiting to die by the hands of Sato, that’s why this attempt wasn’t successful. Keniji could care less who tried to off his enemy, so long as the man is dead.

Koji confronts his son for failing to protect Sorel again. He chides him to learn his lesson and be more careful because next time, he may not be so lucky. That’s dad’s way of saying ‘I don’t want you to die, son!’ In his gruff tone, Koji relents that a bullet wound can take a few days to heal, but wounds of the heart are a different matter. He makes Haro kneel before Onitsuka’s ancestors and swear his life and heart to the clan, not just to one person. Furthermore, he must swear never to double cross Sorel! Haro does as he’s told. But still, his heart betrays him as he thinks about Seiko while peering at the marigold garden that night, vowing to protect Okusang of Sorel with his life.

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Under the turquoise sky and amidst the golden marigold field, Takeshi voices that he’s finally able to live a peaceful life with the person that he loves. But suddenly his dad appears and he is standing between the two people that he loves. His subconscious is still fighting between two choices: does he choose his woman or his duty? He screams in agony as his body jolts in his sleep. Seiko thinks this means he’s conscious now, but as she pleads for him to wake up and look at her, she realizes it’s not the case. She begs him to come back to his beloved Kimi. I’m totally okay watching Seiko agonize over Takeshi for once!

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The body of the hired hand is found at Onitsuka’s dockyard, charred beyond recognition. The warriors state that it is clear someone is trying to place the blame on Onitsuka and that it’s an internal strife. The cops lament that they haven’t determined the culprit who silenced the hired hand yet. Koji peers at the body and immediately declares that this is staging, made to look like the culprit is the same person who is behind the murder of Ichiro and family. The chief concurs, but cannot procure more evidence to back up the claim and one of the warriors chides that at the rate the cops are going, there will be more deaths. Honestly, we don’t see both parties doing anything to actively search for the culprit! They just like to throw banter back and forth with each other, placing the blame.

Ryu is frustrated with the rate the cops are going but Koji coaches him not to be blinded by his fury because he suspects that the true culprit will surface soon.

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Misawa scolds his son for pulling another thoughtless move; the cops are going to think that this is an orchestration. Dad gripes that Satoshi has never made him proud (ouch), he only causes additional headaches. At this rate, Misawa will never overpower Onitsuka. Satoshi spites that if he’s such a disappointment, why don’t Dad just relinquish the Sorel role over to his Mistress’ son then? That earned him a slap. Aiko learns of Takeshi’s wound but Dad prohibits her from seeing him yet because Onitsuka’s guards would only send her away. Dad orders his minion to keep a close eye on his children in case they do anything to destroy his plans.

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Seiko tends to Takeshi’s daily needs by brushing his hair, changing his clothes; all the while he’s still unconscious. She brings over a blossom painting and places it above his bed, hoping that they could go see the blossoms together when he wakes up. His unresponsiveness finally gets to her as she hugs him close and begs him to come to his senses.

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Mayumi and Ryu peer at the scene through the hospital ward’s window, Mayumi, sadden by the prospect could not bear to watch anymore. At the garden, Mayumi admits that she feels sorry for Seiko but she’s at a loss for comforting words. Ryu relents that an encouraging smile is often enough to give people the strength to persevere. Mayumi surmises that her P’Seiko is the type of person who will gather her own strength, based on what Mayumi has learned of Seiko’s past endurances, she’s convinced that Seiko is stronger this time around and can overcome any hardships by herself. Ryu wonders what makes her so convinced about this?

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Mayumi gives him a sideway look, “Love.”

“Love?” he questions.

“The love that P’Seiko has for Sorel.. will awaken him,” Mayumi replies.

Ryu could only look at her, touched. He closes the gap between them and questions, “What if I lay in bed, unconscious like Takeshi, would you care for me like Okusang?”

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Their eyes are fixed on each other for a breathless moment.. Mayumi unable to look away. But Ryu finally breaks the moment and says that he ought to take her home in case people think he has hawked her off at the market. Haha. So silly, but so adorable. Can’t handle the moment, can we, Ryu?

As he drops her off, Mayumi questions him if he’s sure that he would marry her. (She’s peering at him as if to ask for his confession.) However Ryu answers with his usual glibness: ‘of course I must honor the promise between my uncle and your father’s.’ Not exactly what she wants to hear. Mayumi dejectedly surmises that their marriage would only happen because of a promise? Ryu tries to backpedal but Mayumi is already upset, ‘I guess when the time comes, we’ll both have to do our best to honor our duties.’ Ryu watches her walk away helplessly.

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In the privacy of her room, Mayumi peers out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of him. She thinks about their (adorable) encounters and wonders out loud, ‘after all this time, have I no semblance of the real you, Ryu? How exactly do you feel about me?’

Ryu is troubled as well as he drives home. Aw. I love where their love story is going.

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Sato could not be more ecstatic that Takeshi is a sleeping prince right now. The minions relent that there’s still Ryu left, but Sato underestimates his opponent by saying that they could off the playboy anytime. His happiness is short-lived though when he learns that all but one of his prostitutes is dead.

Koji meets with Sato’s minion who is constantly looked down on, and offers him a drink. He claims that Onitsuka are warriors, they do not use dirty tactics. The minion looks on with reluctance, but this man is so much nicer than his own boss. Koji utters that a good leader (even a good clan) do not treat their members this way. Koji leaves him with cash and food for thought. He later reports this to Ryu and mentions that Chiniji (that’s the minion’s name) didn’t even stir after speaking poorly about Keniji. This means he’s worthy of being a minion. Ryu relents that Chiniji could be useful to them down the road – especially with his anger towards Keniji.

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Haro turns off the light in the hospital ward, finding Seiko asleep holding Takeshi’s hand. She mutters his name in her sleep. Haro recalls the vow he made.

Aiko is determined to see Takeshi this time around, but her bodyguard has strict instructions to keep her out of trouble. She questions her father who merely claims that new hoodlums surface every day, he wants to keep her safe.

Seiko wakes to a single marigold stem on Takeshi’s bedside. The note and poem prompts her to think of the poem that Takeshi had written for her. She begins to piece the meaning together: warrior of the sun.. she’s princess of the sun.. Seiko places the marigold in his hand and recites the poem, hoping that the words and meaning reaches the deep recess of his heart and mind. When he doesn’t stir, she sobs and begs him to wake up.

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I wonder why she didn’t recognize that the handwriting is different..

Haro walks through his marigold garden thinking about Seiko.. *slap*! I’m sorry, that’s me slapping myself awake.

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The following morning, Takeshi finally comes to his senses and utters Seiko’s name. Seiko embraces him with all her might. Haro watches them from outside the hospital room door.

Takeshi tells Seiko that he heard her voice in his subconscious which leads him back to her. He wants to see her smile and laugh, but instead, he has made her cry. But Seiko relents that she’s willing to shed as many tears as needed if it could bring him back to her. He takes her face in his hands and pulls her down for a kiss on the forehead.

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Ryu appears – his usual laughing self – and says that his Sorel is finally awake. He teases Sorel that he smelled their fragrant love from all over the hospital, and it’s so annoying. Heh. Takeshi questions whether they’ve apprehended the shooter, and learns that he’s already dead. The police is currently looking for evidence, and if Ryu finds out that it’s Sato’s doing, they will incinerate the clan. This makes Seiko uncomfortable and she excuses herself. Koji notices the marigold flower clasped in Takeshi’s hand and watches his son follow Seiko out the door. Have at your son, sir, I give you permission.

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Seiko tells Haro that she can’t stand even listening to revenge schemes, whether the reasoning is good or bad, because the person who dies is a human being. Haro tells her to give it time, she will come to terms with it eventually, because this is the life of a Samurai. She doesn’t return the sentiment because Seiko thinks this will all end soon. Haro learns that Seiko plans on inevitably leaving this life behind.

Doc advises that Takeshi remain at the hospital for a few more days to monitor his condition. Aiko immediately rushes into the room (who told her he’s awake?) and chides that she wants to visit him so many times but Ryu kept her away. The man stands there with his arms across his chest and smiles cheekily at his bro. Someone is enjoying Takeshi’s awkward position.

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Turns out she came with her father and brother, who wonder if they’ve found the culprit yet. Daddy dearest remind Takeshi that he will be engaged to Aiko soon, he ought to give her some opportunity to tend to him (at the hospital.)

As Seiko returns to the room, Aiko stops her in her tracks. She tells Seiko to go on home because Takeshi wants Aiko to care for him. Haro comes to Seiko’s aid and tells Aiko that only Sorel can tell Okusang what to do. Aiko suggests they take this up with Takeshi, and adds that Seiko is merely a flower on the side of the street, once he’s bored, he’ll toss it aside. Seiko counters that she will ask Takeshi (her beloved) what he prefers. Heh. Seiko rubs it in some more and tells Aiko that when they’re together, he wants her to call him Anatak, and he calls her Kimi the entire time. Hahaha. Look who grew some backbone.

Aiko lunges at Seiko but Haro holds her back in time. Aiko vows to remove him from Onitsuka once she becomes the head Mistress of the clan, but Haro tells her not to worry because the minute she takes over, he’ll leave Onitsuka on his own accord.

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Seiko rushes into the room and doesn’t realize that Misawa is still there. They hope that Sorel would do the right thing, Koji chimes in that Okusang will take care of Takeshi until Aiko returns. Takeshi asks for Seiko’s understanding because this is something he couldn’t refuse them. She gives a head nod and suggests that she will visit along with Ryu. Takeshi relents that he will wait for her everyday.. and wishes that he was home so that he could hold her.

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Aw, poor puppy.

Once alone, and before she leaves, Takeshi asks to hold her so he could feel reassured. Heh.

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Seiko climbs into his bed and lays on top of him. Eee! He assures her that it doesn’t matter who’s at the hospital with him because his heart is always with her.

Sato on the other hand, isn’t so happy with the turning of events.

Seiko gets right back to work when she returns home; the maids worry over Sorel’s displeasure if he finds out that Okusang is working too hard. Haro feels the same way and consults Ryu, who surmises that she probably wants to take her mind off things. Astute as ever about everyone else’s problems.. he wonders out loud why should people go to the trouble of falling in love when love is SO tormenting? Haro says that it’s not the same kind of tormenting, which lends Ryu to thinking that maybe Haro is experiencing love. Haro lies that he read it in a book somewhere.

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Aiko wheels Takeshi to the rooftop for some fresh air and they spot a butterfly. Aiko tells him that she can never forget when they were little and Takeshi helped her from a fall as she was chasing a butterfly. Young Aiko is more pissed that she wasn’t able to catch that darn butterfly and Young Takeshi advises that butterflies like freedom, the more you chase after them, the more they flitter away. Young Takeshi holds out his arm and the butterfly comes to him naturally. The problem is, Aiko hasn’t learned to stay still so that the butterfly could come naturally to her.

She holds on to the hope that the butterfly is like love, if you remain still it will come to you. But Takeshi counters that love is love, it shouldn’t be misconstrued under one person’s imagination. Truer words.

“Then,” Aiko starts, “the feelings that I have for you – that can be called love too, right?” She admits that she has received love from her father and brother, and after meeting Takeshi, she finally realizes what it is like to love someone. She takes his hand and tells him that even though they are arranged to be married, the feelings that she has for him is genuine. She confesses that she can be selfish and not very good with housework, but she will do her best to improve for him.

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Satoshi doesn’t like the idea that Aiko is staying with Takeshi at the hospital, he claims that if Takeshi hurts his sister again, he’s not going to go easy on him anymore. Dad tells him to be happy for his sister and use his brains before he does anything. Not the coaxing he needs though, as we see his face contorting into anger.

Ah, Seiko does notice the different handwriting on the note. She approaches Haro as he’s clipping the marigold garden. She thanks him with a motion to the note, he finally realizes that she knows. We flash back to the hospital scene where Sieko was piecing the puzzle together. He apologizes for doing that and she clarifies that she wanted to thank him for giving her a reminder that she should use her love to wake Takeshi from his coma. Haro tells her that he’s happy SHE’S happy, then corrects himself, the Onitsuka clan is happy for her. Maybe he’ll learn after all.

Seiko asks him if Takeshi requests that he tend to the marigold garden, because the single stem of marigold had helped her wake Takeshi.  Haro freezes in place, unable to tell her that he planted the garden for her.. (maybe he’ll never learn.)

Koji finally has a word with his son. He tells him that he’s only causing himself more pain, but Haro assures his dad that he knows his place and has already committed himself to the clan.

But whether Haro knows this or not, the marigold is becoming quite meaningful between Takeshi and Seiko now. Takeshi peers at the yellow flower while his thoughts drift to Seiko.

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Seiko finds herself unable to sleep as she thinks about Takeshi, her Anatak. It’s really quite cute to see that Seiko has finally come to terms with her feelings about Takeshi, and allowing herself to show her love.

Haro is feeling pleased that Seiko likes the bowl of pork rice soup he made. To which she asks if he had more so that she can bring it to Takeshi. Hee. If Haro wants to inflict more pain onto himself, have at it! He even tells Takeshi that Seiko made the rice soup herself  – since Takeshi wanted to try her Thai cooking. Aiko takes the opportunity to feed the soup to Takeshi, and it’s all very strained to watch.

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In the restroom, Aiko stipulates that Seiko shouldn’t come to the hospital again, but Seiko laments that only Sorel could order her around. Aiko spins her around and asks her if she sees the difference in the two women in the mirror. Aiko wants Seiko to clearly understand their social differences and that Seiko pales in comparison, her common blood will only soil the bloodline. What a brat. Seiko bows out of this fight and bids Takeshi farewell for the day. She promises to visit again.

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Haro wonders if Aiko had said anything to upset his Okusang and Seiko mentions that aside from Takeshi, only Haro is kind to her. She doesn’t know how to repay him. He tells her that she need only to smile and his world is beautiful.

As Seiko cleans Takeshi’s study table, she notices pictures of herself drifting through the pages of his book. She recalls where she’s seen the dried blossoms before. The realization slowly hits..

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Then she opens his desk drawer and it’s filled with paper stars! She flashes back to all of the scenes where she received the mysterious paper stars. Tears well up in her eyes as she finally found its owner.

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Aiko stand guard at Takeshi’s hospital room, and she have had it with his cold shoulder. (Literally.) I was wondering when she’s going to blow a fuse.

Takeshi says that she was with him all day, he’s got nothing more to say to her. Aiko claims that she’s attempted to be everything that is fit for a first wife, but he doesn’t pay her no mind. She questions how Seiko is better than her, but Takeshi counters that it has nothing to do with Seiko. He admits to caring about Seiko, but that she always pushes him away. They even decided not to see each other again after the chief’s daughter’s wedding, but Keniji  abducted Seiko..

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Aiko suddenly realizes where she went wrong. Things were going to go her way.. until her impatience ruined everything. Her attempt to destroy Seiko and her sacrifices with Keniji, only brought Takeshi and Seiko together. Oh, the remorse. It gnaws at her like a pack of hungry wolves.

“Because of me? I did this to myself?” Aiko utters quietly, as she balls her fist.

COMMENTS

Now that’s an interesting turning of events. It’s almost poetic justice that Aiko learns that she’s the root of the cause. Being the selfish one, I doubt she’s going to turn a new leaf and maybe approach things differently. It would be too out of character for her, however, I hope that she directs her anger in the right direction. Like say, Keniji or herself, preferably.

This episode is all about the three people I could care less about: Seiko, Aiko and Haro. Especially Haro, or Taro – whatever his name is – because his scenes were so repetitive: I promise not to interfere with Sorel’s love! But I will still tell her that her smile makes my world brighter. Wegeddit!

I liked that Seiko can finally allow herself to love Takeshi thoroughly, now that he’s one and the same with the paper star owner. But Show is certainly dragging out the marigold misunderstanding.

If it’s any consolation, Mayumi and Ryu are uber cute as always, they keep me sane in this episode, especially when Mario spends all episode laying on the hospital bed.

I’m hopeful that tomorrow’s episode will be better, Thursdays usually work out that way. So Thursday, come quick!

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