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Our hero makes strides, digging deeper and discovering things that still cease to amaze him. While our heroine on the other hand, discovers the quieter moments and probably the more important revelation: that amidst uncertainties, all one needs is love and faith. Today’s episode also fills the void about our resident baddie and how he came to be. Hope is in the air for most, only to feel the impending doom waiting just around the corner. What happens when reality catches up to you? 


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Seiko wait up for Takeshi to return home for dinner, but much to her chagrin, Takeshi has already eaten and without making eye contact with her, he excuses himself to bathe. Ryu notices this sad exchange and takes it up with Takeshi (by trying to suffocate the man with a towel!) lamenting that he’s punishing Takeshi for upsetting his sister in law. Takeshi wonders ruefully if she’s mad at him, but Ryu states that she might have been hurt by his actions. Takeshi admonishes that he is unsure how to tell her that he will be sidling up (getting chummy) with the Misawas in order to procure evidences and he doesn’t want her to be overwrought by seeing him with Aiko. Ryu suggests he just tell Seiko the truth, she would understand. That’s what I’m saying.

Takeshi approaches Seiko as she’s staring somberly at the moon. He recites their poem, bringing a smile to her face. As she chants it back to him, he says that he created the poem in vain, never imagining that this day would come: the day that she would give herself to him, heart and body. Seiko relents that the sound of his heart called out to her and enlightened her heart. Takeshi takes her hand and concedes that the path of a warrior isn’t straight and calm, but that no matter what happens he wants her to trust him and stay strong. Seiko clasps his hand and assures him that she always trusts her heart- which is him- because they are one. Aw.

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Takeshi pays a visit to Aiko, miso soup in tow. Aiko finds the smell revolting (not to mention that miso soup is her least favorite) but forces herself to drink it anyway. Brother is furious why Daddy is condoning this, especially when they should be plotting ways to kill Takeshi. Daddy dearest chastises him to use his head instead of his emotions. Besides, Aiko is happy and that should count for something. Once she recovers, they can return to their initial plan. That seems to appease Satoshi, for now.

Ryu plays on his traditional instrument (koto) with his eyes close, getting really into his music. But we know he’s recalling the time that Mayumi was actually playing on the same instrument. Only his performance causes the bodyguard to dissolve into fits of laughter because he suck. Ryu claims that he’s a novice and relents that they should be thankful he’s performing for them. Heh. Seiko observes that she has never seen Ryu play this instrument before and wonders if the instrument reminds him of a certain someone. He balks at that, why should he think of Mayumi anyway? Seiko giggles and aptly replies that she hadn’t named any names. Guilty. She calls him tight lipped, which he counters with, “you know?” Heh.

Seiko mentions that Takeshi taught her to observe Ryu by what his eyes say, not what his mouth says. Furthermore she could tell that every reference to Mayumi’s name causes Ryu’s eye to light up, the kind only love could inspire. Ryu is taken aback, surprised by the accuracy of her admission. Seiko suggests that the good feeling that one has towards the person that one loves should not be held back, otherwise it might be too late. Ryu confesses that he’s uncertain whether his feelings are that of love and she surmises that only he would know. He wonders how she’s faring, knowing that Takeshi is at Misawa’s house everyday – and Seiko promptly replies that love means that you trust each other. Despite her understanding, Ryu notes the sadness in her eyes. At the end of the day, Seiko worries about Takeshi’s safety, because if Misawa is truly consorting with Sato, his life will be in danger.

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Takeshi peers nonchalantly at Misawa as he hands over a document to his minion, and while Aiko can’t keep her hands off of him. He convinces Aiko to rest in bed and assures her that when she wakes up, he will be here. Meanwhile he sneaks around the confines of Misawa and enters the study room. He spots a picture of his father and Misawa – who notices that Takeshi is in his room. Without blinking an eye, Misawa says that he didn’t have time to switch out the picture, and Takeshi relents that his father would have been happy to see that their friendship hasn’t changed. Takeshi doesn’t miss the fact that Misawa places the document in his drawer, or the explanation that Misawa feels exactly the same way about his father as he did many, many years ago. The two exchange cryptic banter back and forth.

Taro finds his father patching up holes in his shirt and it reminds him of Seiko. He recalls the moment that she sewed his shirt, as if anyone cares. Pardon me as my eyes glaze over. Anyway, Koji surmises that the shirt probably means more than the fact that his son likes to wear it often. Over a cup of tea, they discuss about Sorel and his undercover work. Taro wonders that if they can procure evidences that Misawa and Sato are accomplices, will Onitsuka be ready to strike? If that is the case, Onitsuka will take the necessary measures to keep peace within the country (because the baddies’ alliances only mean one thing: ruination.)

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Aiko begs for Takeshi to stay longer but he relents that he will visit tomorrow as well. As she goes in for a hug, she kisses his suit jacket, leaving an imprint.

Takeshi warms up to his sweetie as she’s making miso soup. He catches her around the waist as the maids look away with embarrassment. Takeshi says that it smells good enough to eat but we all know the comment is referring to her. He just oozes with sweet words until Seiko orders him to take a bath so they can have dinner. Before she could say anything, he swoops in for a kiss and takes off. The auntie adds that she has raised Sorel since he was little, but this is the first time she saw him so cheerful. At the rate they’re going, maybe they’ll have a child traipsing around the house soon. Seiko looks away bashfully.

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As she helps him dress, he wraps her arms around him and wonders why he misses her so much today. She says that as she recalls, there’s not one day where he doesn’t miss her. Pleased, Takeshi kisses her forehead and tells her that she makes his world livable. To which Seiko replies that he opens her to a whole new world. I wonder when the proverbial pin will drop.

Not a moment too soon! As Seiko prepares his clothes to wash, she spots the lipstick stain on his jacket. This bugs her throughout dinner as her mind drifts to what it implies, but unable to voice her concern. Takeshi recaps to Ryu about his close call with Misawa today, he really wanted to get his hands on that document. Ryu warns him to be more careful because Misawa might be suspicious of him now. Ryu then notices Seiko’s preoccupied face and asks after her. But Seiko excuses herself to prepare the desserts. Ryu surmises that maybe Seiko doesn’t like hearing what they’ve discussed earlier.

Seiko reassures herself that there’s nothing between Takeshi and Aiko, that she must trust him.

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Misawa and Sato clan convene at their secret spot, Sato reports that their shipment has arrived on schedule. But Misawa has some other important matters to discuss with his rat. He shares some good news, that Aiko is pregnant, which makes Sato ecstatic. He immediately offers to marry her right away, and without blinking an eye, Misawa says that he will be able to marry Aiko only when he successfully kills Takeshi. Although Sato relents that he first wants to see his future wife’s face, Misawa prohibits him until the deed is done. Sato shuts his eyes and pray for patience as the hatred towards Misawa simmers inside him.

We get a flashback of Little Kenichi getting a beat down from another street urchin. Misawa offers to raise him when he notices that the Little Kenichi was able to get up from the ground and win the fight. Later we see that Little Kenichi sees Little Aiko and was smitten at the affection that dad shows to daughter. Now he thinks that the table has turned and that he will finally have the family that he craves. Despite the awful method to which he acquired said family, one can’t fault him for desiring a connection.

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Aiko nearly comes unglue when she learns that Sorel would be joining her for lunch and not breakfast, but realizing she’s getting nowhere screeching to her dad, she storms off.

Turns out, Takeshi’s important business is with the police. The chief shares with Takeshi and Ryu that Kenichi is paying off some of his police underlings, there should be a huge deal going through shortly. Takeshi promises to cooperate with the police this time and follow the plan.

Unsatisfied with her father’s response, Aiko stops by Onitsuka’s domain. She insinuates with Seiko that although men like woman who are good housekeepers, they also crave something different and exciting, egging on the insecurity that Aiko currently feels about Takeshi. She even adds that she unknowingly left a smudge of her lipstick on his clothes. She deems that the lipstick is very expensive and thus difficult to get out, she was concerned that Seiko couldn’t remove the stain. Concern my ass.

Out of nowhere Taro appears and laments that the Auntie is a great housekeeper, he’s sure she would find a way to remove the stain. Ha. Wouldn’t it be great if those words came out of Seiko’s mouth instead? It’s one matter to suspect your husband, but it’s another matter to let another woman rub it in. Aiko adds that she best hurry back home because Takeshi has scheduled to discuss their engagement with her father, and it would be a shame to let him wait.

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Seiko’s eyes misted over with tears. Taro suggests that she confront Takeshi with her concern, but Seiko doesn’t want to burden him. Taro warns her not to let it fester because she would be the one who ends up hurt. She is assured in Takeshi’s love for her, but Aiko’s evilness causes her to be afraid. Taro doesn’t think that Takeshi will stray – but Seiko relents that if anything, Aiko has the right to his feelings. Taro distracts her worries away by showing her the growth and beauty of the marigold garden. She immediately cheers up, and she calls herself a witch, while he calls himself the witch’s minion who will look after her forever. She concedes and gives him permission to stay by her side forever. Is the girl blind to his affections? Well, let’s keep encouraging the poor man.

Taro promises never to desert the witch until his last breath. He’s going to die, isn’t he?

Not if Koji has anything to do about it. Daddy looks on from afar, immensely displeased. He proceeds to destroy the marigold garden, bristling that he’s protecting Taro from having to honor his promise (the whole dying thing.) Furthermore, the truth hurts but he wants his son to accept it. But you know, Koji’s heart is not made of stone, when his son hurts, he hurts too.

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Takeshi states morosely that he still hasn’t had the opportunity. Ryu suggests that maybe he should separate Ricky and Satoshi so that he can have more opportunities to search for the evidence. Ryu suddenly came up with a bright idea..

But before we could see his bright idea put into action, we convene in Takeshi’s room, where Seiko’s lost in thought. Takeshi comes behind her and massages her temple ever so tenderly, but when she pulls his hands away, he wonders if she’s upset about his ‘extracurricular activities.’ He tries to assure her but she could only fathom what Aiko said to her earlier, insinuating that he might be sick of her by now because she’s old stuff. Takeshi worries that she does not trust him but Seiko merely wants him to shut up so she could have some quiet time in her head – heh – two people arguing in her head must be frustrating.

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Seiko pulls him into a hug and squeezes him, getting as close as she can.

“The way I feel about you.. it’s more than love. It’s more than trust. And no matter what other people say, it is not as important as the sound of your beating heart.”

Dayam, if that isn’t the sweetest thing she has said!

Takeshi is touched by her faith in him.

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The next morning, Koji tries to make it up to his son by cooking, attending to him, but Taro’s face is still downcast. Meanwhile Seiko wonders where the heck Ryu disappeared to, if Takeshi doesn’t require company at Misawa’s holding?

Cue Ryu’s bright idea as we watch him jump Misawa’s barricade and sneak into their domain – while Takesh does his usual visitation with Aiko.  Ryu enters a storage area/garage and smiles cunningly as he pulls a folded something from his pocket. Hm.

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Aiko voices a scenario that she finds highly distasteful – so if they can’t find the perpetrator who killed Uncle Ichiro, their engagement will continue to be postponed? Takeshi basically says ‘fraid so. Her brother tries to pressure the engagement date but dad says that Onitsuka Sorel won’t renege on his words. Suddenly, they receive a visitation from the chief claiming that there was a report that illegal drug was found here.

Takeshi sneaks back into the house while Misawa and gang ushered the police to the garage. Takeshi flips through the incriminating documents that entail that Sato has been depositing money for Misawa all this time. Furthermore, they’ve been dealing together in drugs and prostitution. And the biggest revelation? They have a strange purchase – hydrogen peroxide – which has nothing to do with their business. I hope Takeshi put two and two together – and FAST! – because the cops have distracted Misawa long enough with the false alarm.

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Aiko feigns a fainting spell so she can keep Takeshi with her longer. He carries her to bed and tries to leave but her arms are like sticky rice and they attach themselves to him again. She tells him that he’s the only man that she wants to be “with,” and she kisses him. When we think we might need to knock Takeshi beside the head, he comes to his senses and removes himself from her tentacles. Aiko bristles at the rejection and wonders what she’s lacking compared to Seiko. But at the sound of that name, Takeshi laments that he LOVES only Seiko. Aiko goes crazy and wild, trying to stab herself. Her family shows up and suggests that Takeshi leave and they will handle Aiko. Well thank goodness for that.

Bro admonishes that Takeshi is not making Aiko better, but dad doesn’t hear it, he’s only thanking his lucky stars that Takeshi hasn’t seen those incriminating evidences, that he doesn’t know Aiko’s pregnant, and finally, that the cops haven’t found the drugs that were planted to convict them. Satoshi is convinced that this is Takeshi’s doing.

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At the police headquarters, Ryu wonders how they got away with it this time, he swore he put the contents there himself. The chief surmises that they’re quick about these things. Takeshi relents that it is too bad he couldn’t take the evidences with him, but the chief laments that knowing is still beneficial because now they are confident of the involvement between Misawa and Sato. The chief says that Onitsuka has sacrificed a lot, and the police wouldn’t have been able to help if it weren’t for Kenichi’s police bribery.

There is one thing that bugs Takeshi though. Since Misawa’s business doesn’t involve chemicals, he wonders why there was an order of hydrogen peroxide. This admonition shocks the chief who laments that those are contents of a bomb. Connect that dot! Ryu thinks Misawa is responsible but the chief says they can’t apprehend the baddie without evidence. Takeshi offers to go back and get that darn receipt but Ryu reasons that there won’t be many opportunities now, the best plan of action is to go after the small fish first: Kenichi.

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Seiko receives a friendly visit from her friend who delivers a letter from home. She reads her mother’s letter and it nearly undoes her. She recalls her happy moments with her family in Thailand, in their farm. (Her dad is played by the director of this show! Ha.) She remembers her mother warning her not to mingle with people who have different social standings (well, we don’t know how she can be so astute.) Lastly, her mother warns her not to forget home.

We find her crying alone as she’s reading (re-reading) the letter from home. Taro tries to wipe her tears away but realizes he has overstepped his bounds. He bows and tells her that she can talk to him about anything. And she does, she tells him that she’s homesick. Taro relents that this is her family too, but Seiko mentions that her home is too different from this “home” and she would inevitably return back to where she came from. Taro wonders if she’s really going to leave Sorel.

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News that the police searched Misawa’s holding made its way to Sato’s ears. He tells them to prepare for what is to come, and Onitsuka’s snitch reports to Koji that the big shipment is still underway. The clan prepares for battle. Part of the preparation is cleaning their samurais. Seiko peers at Takeshi questioningly.

She discovers the next morning that there’s meaning behind the sword cleaning act from the night prior: he’s out for revenge. She doesn’t agree with the samurais’ philosophy in life, what’s so beautiful about dying for revenge? Taro recites her duties as an Okusang, and Seiko could only look at him with dread. But agreeable dread. She will have to help Takeshi dress while plastering a smile on her face. Crying would be wishing bad luck on her Anatha.  Seiko steels herself for the task ahead.

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Ryu gives the traditional instrument another go but he’s still terrible at it. Footsteps are heard behind him and he spats that he needs concentration. It’s Mayumi, who counters that to achieve concentration, one need to remain still. Heh.

The maids gossip that this is the first time they’ve ever seen Ryu being bashful around a woman.

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Mayumi tests out the koto, but she laments that it needs some tuning. She runs her adept fingers on it and after a few strokes, the instrument is fixed. Ryu says it’s due to playing on it so much, heh, to which she replies that she had no idea he liked playing this instrument so much. Ryu retorts that it’s because she doesn’t live with him and he cheekily asks her if she wants to test out the waters by staying with him first. Lol. Mayumi gives him an indignant look.

They call each other ‘mad’ back and forth which makes Mayumi wonder if he has ever been serious about anything in his life? That question sobers him up. Ryu leans back and says that he has. The look he gives her indicates that he is serious about HER. Mayumi is speechless, but our boy likes to ruin the moment and makes the excuse that he’s serious about learning the instrument. I wonder if his pants will catch fire soon.

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Mayumi wishes him well in whatever he endeavors to be serious with. He tries to backpedal but Mayumi has already heard enough. She tells him that he doesn’t need to take her home.

Ryu stops her by clasping her hand and an electric moment passes by as they gaze at each other. When he let her hand go, she looks as if she could still feel his touch.

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“If I want to know more about koto, can I-“

“You can consult with me,” she offers. “It would be my pleasure.”

They both hide a smile as the other turn to walk away. Cuuuute!

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The chief receives a missive that a shipment can proceed without regulations. He surmises that the baddies must have bribed the higher ups and there’s very little they could do about it. He voices that the future of the country lies solely on Onitsukas now.

Seiko tries to do her best to cater to Takeshi, but he soon realizes that she knows about their mission. Seiko explains that she had been the one to get it out of Taro, and she must be a terrible Okusang. Takeshi admits that he hid it from her because he doesn’t want her to worry. They hug it out and she tells him that as a wife, she should wish her husband well. He promises to return the victor.

And as she turns to lead him into the house, Seiko almost fainted.

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We’ve seen enough lakorns to know what THAT means. Plus, they never inferred whether our couple actually uses protection (which one should if one intends to leave the premises in a year’s time) but that’s reality that we don’t touch on.

I can’t say that I’m surprise where all of this is going plotwise, however I am rather pleasantly surprised by one thing: Seiko’s steadfast trust in Takeshi. She learned that it’s not even necessary to bring up the things that other people say/do because what matters is their relationship and whether they have the means to make it as a couple. One can argue that they need only to survive a year, but to Seiko, she has committed her life to him, whether she’s with him or not. Which says a lot when she makes up her mind and says to hell with Aiko.

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Today also lends itself to some backstory about Kenichi – and breathing sympathy to a bad guy should be credited to Deaw – who made me feel for Kenichi, if even a little bit. He’s definitely going about it the wrong way, but it’s the only way he knows. At the end of the day, all he craves for is family.

Aiko on the other hand is pretty one dimensional, she aspires to have Takeshi at all cost because she’s been chasing him her whole life and feels entitled to him. So we can continue on hating her. I am curious to find out her reaction once she learns her dad’s the big bad. The apple does not fall far from the tree, that’s for sure.

Mayumi and Ryu just make me sick. Their cuteness is so sickening, it’s killing me. In the best way possible.

Another thought I had was, what WOULD Takeshi do without Ryu? Ryu certainly keeps things interesting…moving..ironic.. and unpredictable. That’s how I like my heroes.