Shiawase ni Narou yo: Episode 1July 13, 2011
Shiawase ni Narou yo premiered on April 18, 2011 and was able to grab 16.3%. I was actually debating if I should watch this one or not, but I gave it a go and… I really liked it! The show has a captivating cast and a delightful plot. I’m crossing my fingers that the show doesn’t lose its flame as the story progresses! Now onto that recap:
Takakura Junpei (Katori Shingo, left) is an advisor at a marriage consultation agency, B-ring. Junpei is gifted as a marriage advisor and has bought numerous couples together through his techniques and theories. He lives alone with his widowed mother. At his work, he is seen as a dedicated worker and his co-worker, Sakuragi Marika (Naka Riisa), who is his junior, is interested in him. Nevertheless, Junpei fails to take notice of her signs.
Yanagisawa Haruna (Kuroki Meisa, right) is a 25 year old intelligent and beautiful single living with her younger brother and father. Her father and mother divorced when she was in high school.
Yashiro Hidehiko (Fujiki Naohito) is a hotshot lawyer with wealth and handsome looks. He is respected by men and loved by women. He has made a huge mistake and seeks help through B-ring.
BEGIN . . .
An unknown woman spends A LOT of money on clothes and other accessories. All the while, Junpei is assisting a client, Komatsubara Susumu (Ohkura Koji), and afterward goes to a college buddy’s, Watanabe Tatsunori (Takahashi Tsutomu), and his former flame’s, Miyuki (Kuninaka Ryoko), wedding. The unknown woman turns out to be Haruna as she passes Junpei on his walk. Junpei accidently attends Hidehiko’s and pregnant Seiko‘s (Okuda Erika) wedding. He is guided to the correct wedding and is in time to give his congratulation speech to the newly wed.
Haruna halts her shopping spree once she sees a sign. Once Junpei returns, Marika’s complaining about a “suspicious applicant”. Junpei is given the task to aid this applicant which is Haruna. He has her answer question, but politely rejects her when declaring she is only interested in a future partner who is financially fixed. She exits the building, forgetting her sunglasses and she had accidently taken Junpei’s pen.
We meet Hidehiko again at a restaurant, where he is searching B-ring’s website and flirts with the waitress.
At work the next day, Haruna is at B-ring’s building. Junpei and Haruna exchange their missing items and he reconsiders her as an applicant – if she takes it seriously this time. She accepts and he asks her a series of questions. Gaining insights of her personal life: she works as a programmer at Algo Computers and her father is a director of a company. However, Haruna still intends to find a partner who has no troubles with his finances. While taking her profile picture, Junpei manages to make her frown turn upside down! He then has a sudden tooth ache. His dentist friend, Ueno Takao (Ayabe Yuji), informs him that it’s not a cavity and prescribes him pills.
Haruna’s life doesn’t seem to match up with the information she gave Junpei. Her father, Shogo (Kobayashi Kaoru), is umemployed and she explains to her brother, Yuji (Tamamori Yuta), that they cannot afford the luxury of eating at a conveyor belt sushi.
In the morning, Junpei arranges a date at a art gallery with Haruna and his client, Susumu. Susumu bails recieving the bad case of a tummy ache due to his anxiety off seeing Haruna. Junpei decides to do a stimulation date, giving Haruna three choices. Unfortunately, she does not choose and Junpei does, which is exercising.
Junpei is doing some workouts that tire Haruna. She believes that exercising on a date is a ineffective getting to know somehow. Junpei proves otherwise as he starts a conversation, discovering Haruna plays the piano and use to do competitions. However, Haruna doesn’t count it as “conversation”. After playing a game of catch, she admits she’s skeptical about Junpei’s job choice since he makes money if clients get married.
He reveals that, at first, he thought the same way and did not wish to be a marriage advisory. He actually started at a trade industry and quit after five years. Upon looking for a new job, he stumbled into his current one. At first, he was doubtful that strangers could bring couples together, but once he was invited to his first clients wedding he had a change of heart. He realized that he enjoys making people happy and started to enjoy his job. The tables turn when Junpei points out that she seems to have it all: beauty, money, and a well paying job. So why go to a marriage consulting?
Her excuse: She’s not good at love. I say, she’s lying!
Marika and Junpei are alone at work, seeing as it’s late. Junpei is updating Haruna’s profile. Marika tries to set up a date with Junpei to “talk” about her “job”. He’s oblivious and arranges to meet her in the conference room tomorrow afternoon. Disappointment settles and Marika sees that Haruna lives near the train station by her home.
Once Marika leaves work, Hidehiko is scouting out B-ring and comments that Marika’s cute. He leaves to meet up with his wife who is buying baby items.
On her way home, Marika spots Haruna and puts her stealth to the test. She follows her back to her apartment where she pays 108,000 (approx. 1,338.78 USD). Wait, isn’t her father a director and she, a programmer? At her home, Haruna throws away her gallery ticket.
Home from work, Junpei wonders why his mother, Mitsue (Harada Mieko), married his average white-collared father. After all, when his mother was younger she had doctors falling head over heels. She confesses that she has somehow forgotten, but that “showhow” is a strong bond between a man and a woman.
Haruna tries to call someone, but only receives their answer machine. She explains that seeing a marriage advisor is a stupid idea since Junpei knows nothing about her. While this is going down, Junpei puts the gallery ticket for Susumu on his table. Marika calls Junpei exclaiming Haruna has been lying about herself.
The two arrive early at B-ring and Junpei tells Marika not to tell anyone. He’s going to investigate.
Junpei examines Haruna’s apartment and sees that Marika’s claims are true, much to his surprise. Shogo exits the apartment with Junpei close behind. Shogo feeds a cat and he begins to talk to Junpei, believing he is also unemployed like himself. Next stop, Algo Computers. Junpei eyes Haruna assisting customers. Suddenly, Junpei tooth hurts.
He informs Takao during their workout session. Takao knows this always happens when he falls in love. It happened with Miyuki and when she had dumped him. Junpei won’t reveal his new love interest believing it’s irrelevant.
Haruna arrives home where her mother, Takahara Sanae (Takahata Atsuko), is waiting for her. She gives Haruna money which Shogo doesn’t want her keeping. Sanae believes it’s necessary since Haruna is taking care of him. He has failed to put his life back together after the his company collapsed ten years ago.
Sanae is about to depart in her classy car with her driver, but is stopped by Haruna. She believes that her mother’s comments toward her father were harsh, but Sanae was only speaking the truth – kindly. Sanae is reminded that she left her broken down father and she doesn’t make any excuses about it. She knows she was selfish for doing so. However, love between two people does not last forever, but a love between a child and parent does. She offers to assist Haruna if there is any trouble.
Junpei calls Haruna wanting to meet her in person. Meanwhile, in B-ring Marika assist a new applicant, Hidehiko. He flaunts about having a big paycheck for being a lawyer and has started his own business. He is attract to a woman’s beauty and wishes to treat her like a princess for the rest of her life. A lovely offer, but a bit too arrogant for me.
Shogo is at home and tries to throw away the money that Sanae gave, but stuffs it in a drawer. He sees Haruna’s gallery ticket in the garbage and gazes at it. While cleaning, Junpei’s mother finds Junpei’s gallery ticket and stuffs its in her apron.
Junpei waits for Haruna at the bleachers. He reveals that he knows she is lying and she justifies herself. Her father was cut off from his partnership in his company, but is still the founder. Junpei would not have refused her application if she said the truth.
Haruna believes that marriage advisers pair applicants by their social status: the rich with the rich and the poor with the poor. That fact is not true, Junpei believes Haruna will not be happy if she meets someone through lies. However, she is not happy when she tells the truth.
Haruna is a pessimistic with love even saying that all couples will one day break up. She shares her personal experience with her cheating ex-boyfriend who she wished to marry, but he chose the other girl. The jerk had paid her 1,000,000 yen (approx. 12,400 USD) to leave him alone since she was pestering him.
She refers to the beginning of the episode, she became angry and bought things left and right. On her shopping spree, she had stopped and saw B-ring’s sign. She had the exact money left for the application fee. She figured if she married she would forget her ex and marry a rich man to live a more enjoyable life financially. Marriage is all about the money, not love. This is what B-ring offers.
Junpei sturdily objects, his job is to find fateful partners together. She is angered and asks him if he has ever loved anyone seriously. It is hard and painful. There’s no happiness, that’s why love is not needed in the marriage. It only creates a nuisance, that simply “I don’t mind him (or her)” thought is enough. Junpei is unable to react as she departures because he knows the pain of loving someone.
He chases after her and explains that through the pain, love is what makes people happy. He declares he will look for a man she will fall for and then she will understand the happiness of loving someone.
He notices the sadness in her eyes questions himself,
Can I really make her happy?
STOP, DISCUSSION TIME:
Shiawase ni Narou yo, you delivered quite the intriguing first episode. My curiosity levels are all over the place. I definitely wanna see what happens next. Honestly, I can foresee what will happen in the future episodes. Haruna and Junpei will eventually fall for each other. That aspect I know will happen, I can feel in tingling through my bones! Now, it’s up to the screenwriter to make it the puzzle fall together nicely. The show actually gave plenty of backdrop for Junpei and Haruna, or are Japanese dramas normally like that? I don’t remember, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a first episode. Haaaah! Silly me.
I have to know why Hidehiko wants to find a girl when he just got married to a pregnant woman! Marriage fraud? He wouldn’t have to, he’s loaded. Is he trying to break off the marriage? Most likely, he wouldn’t want to have the responsibility of a child especially since he started his own business. Hmm. My suspicion and curiosity has spiked.
I feel bad for Haruna though, doing all that work while Dad is playing the depressed and broken down symphony. I believe he’s not being fair, I mean, ten years of being unemployed and he has his daughter being the only one providing money. Just… why? I am surprised she hasn’t snapped at her father, but she truly does love him. So it’s understandable.
What I am really crossing my finger for is to get more information on Junpei and his former flame, Miyuki. At the beginning of the episodes, I swear there was a little glimpse of sadness in his eyes. I wonder how his college bud snatch Miyuki. So…
Let’s see what the show has to offer, shall we?
- Shiawase ni Narou yo: Episode 1