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Ikemen Desu Ne (2011) Final Episode (11) Recap
Ren remains morose over the next few days, brooding over the star necklace. We see Miko (now that her brother’s back, we’ll just go back to calling her Miko) has actually been staying at the orphanage from episode 1. She’s busy with the kids, but we notice that there are little star-shaped things (stickers, balloons, etc ) everywhere.
Nana herself is in deep gloom as she slumps in the agency lobby, not noticing the approaching A.N.Jell until Ren comes up to her. He notes her face and she replies angrily that she’s not feeling down, no, not because of him. Ren supposes it’s all fine then and starts to walk off, but then pauses for some advice: “Even though you're a lying fairy, there are tens of thousands people in this world who cheer up when they see your smile. Whatever happens, you have to keep smiling for them. That's what makes you Nana, right?”
Miko visits her mother’s grave with Aunt Shigeko, and on the way back shares her plan to go to Africa for charity service, not even wanting to meet up with Ren again. Her aunt looks sad at her leaving, but gently advises her to at least contact A.N.Jell before leaving; even an email message will do.
At the agency office, Ando has instituted a salary cut as Mabuchi’s punishment for deceiving him, but his real concern is how to get in contact with Miko. She hasn’t contacted anyone yet, and so no one knows where she is.
Ren receives a text from his mother, who still has the nerve to remind him that her song recording is tomorrow. In an appropriately frustrated mood, he stomps over to his mother’s rooms and asks her to stop all this. “Clinging on to something like that…isn’t that pathetic?” She actually laughs, responding that she threw out all those feelings years ago. It’s something he wouldn’t understand, loving someone who wouldn’t even look at her. So she wanted to record some proof that she had lived loving him…in her last days.
Ren looks up in surprise at her last words, just as she collapses in a faint. He follows as she’s rushed to the hospital, and receives the diagnosis from the doctor. Misuzawa Reiko has a malignant tumor in her throat, but because she refused to ruin her voice, she’s also refusing surgery.
Ren walks into her the hospital room, angry and hurt. He asks her furiously when she’s going to stop being so selfish and causing hurt to everyone around her. Then he adds more quietly, “But…no matter how much I resent you, I can't change who my mother is now. So, at least this once, please behave like a mother, for my sake. Please go for the surgery. If you die like this, I will have to resent you for the rest of my life.” She watches with tears in her eyes as he leaves.
That night at the house, Yuki and Shu spot a strange message from “Pig-Rabbit” on their fan forums. It says, “I’m doing fine. I'm very thankful to all of you who gave me wonderful memories. Even though I am far away from you, I'll keep watching you. Take care. Farewell.” Ren himself is reading this in his room, and mutters angrily, “Then does this mean she’s ready to forget?” He looks sadly at Pig-Rabbit, who’s again wearing the star necklace.
The next morning, Ando receives the news that Mabuchi secretly booked an event for Mio in Fukuoka, just to pocket the fees. Ando smells a trap…and Mabuchi falls right in. Miko’s working in the orphanage gardens when he comes up and falls at her feet. Ando wants to see Mio now, and the real Mio’s away in Fukuoka, so…?
So once again Miko gets into her idol gear and heads for the agency. She says a sad goodbye to Rina, who’s heard the news about her leaving for Africa. Miko heads up to Ando’s office, and he scans her sharply up and down. Abruptly, he gets up and talks into the air as he reminds her of the time when he’d told her how it was a miracle that the four of them in A.N.Jell could move so many hearts. But now he thinks it was her who made such a change in everyone’s hearts, especially the boys. “From now on too, live your life well. I'll be cheering for you. Wherever you may be.” Miko looks touched at this and offers a heartfelt thanks as she exits the room.
She walks out only to see Ren heading straight toward her. She freezes in alarm, but he brushes right past her assuming she’s her brother, then pauses. “Tell your sister this. "I received the message. I'm doing fine too, so it's okay if you forget me.”” Miko hurries on, so overcome that she walks right into Shu and Yuki around the corner.
They don’t notice anything as she apologizes to Shu-san and rushes off. It’s only when they enter the practice room where Ren is that Shu wonders, “’Shu-san’? Doesn’t Mio just call me by my last name?” The bell finally rings, and the boys race out. They only get as far as the lobby before they’re besieged by a huge crowd of fangirls, effectively stopping them in their tracks.
Outside, Miko bids farewell to Mabuchi, who has a goodbye gift for her: a ticket to an A.N.Jell concert, on the day that she leaves for Africa. That night at the orphanage she looks at the A.N.Jell photos and thinks to Mother Superior that since she can’t forget Ren, the only thing is to go far away.
Nana steadfastly insists that she and Ren are in a relationship, even as reporters prod about the rumors. In the agency, Shu and Yuki get the news from Mabuchi that Miko is headed to Africa. They immediately put on the pressure, and Mabuchi says, “Well…”
Ren is at the hospital with his mother, who has finally agreed to undergo surgery. “He may not have loved me, but he liked my voice. That's why I didn't want to lose this voice. But, I'll keep living. I want to live and make up for all the hurt I had caused you.” She bends over in a bow, and continues, “I don't think you'll forgive me so easily, but just... let me say this. Ren, I'm sorry. I will apologize to Miko-san too.” Ren sadly replies that it’s too late now, and leaves her.
Aunt Shigeko gently breaks it to Miko that Ren had wanted to know the location of her mother’s grave. Miko runs to the grave, but there’s no sign of anyone. Except for the bouquet of flowers and the CD of “Miss You.” Touched, she holds the CD tightly and pours out her feelings to her mother’s tombstone. She explains how kind Ren is and how much she likes him, but steadfastly holds on to her belief that them being together will just bring them more pain.
Meanwhile, Yuki and Shu prod Ren to do something about Miko. He resignedly tells them that since she rejected him, he doesn’t want to interfere. Angrily, Shu tells him it’s not that; he’s scared of being rejected. Yuki chips in too, declaring that Ren’s a coward. But Ren confesses, “She said this to me. She said that she could no longer smile beside me. I don't want to make her suffer anymore.”
He escapes outside to a walkway, where he clenches the necklace in his hand. Ando, standing below with Mio, watches with understanding.
Miko, now dressed as a girl, goes to the hospital – to meet Misuzawa Reiko. Reiko is now humbly apologetic, and admits that Sakuraba had loved only the twins’ mother. She reminisces about her friend Saori: “She was a person whom people could love straight away. When she was blessed with you both, she said, “I don’t know how there could be such happiness in the world.”” Miko, too, has tears in her eyes, knowing that her mother had some happiness in her life. In fact, she’s forgiven Reiko, even though the woman wants to make it up to her somehow. But Miko has only one request…
Ren, preparing for the concert, gets a phone call from his mother. She softly tells him what Miko wanted to pass on: “She told me to never leave you, whom I had hurt so much, alone again.” Ren absorbs this as his mother continues: “You said it was too late, but is that really the case? Ren, there is nothing more joyful than having a person you love feel the same way as you. That's why, I want you to cherish that. I don't have the right to say this to you as a mother, but I don’t want you to have any regrets.”
Trying to hold back his emotions, Ren replies, “Your voice…I’ll try to remember it…Mother.”
He gets up with a new determination, getting approval from Shu and Yuki. He races off to the orphanage as Ando silently cheers him on. Only when he gets the kids’ playroom, there’s no Miko there. He stands wondering at all the stars in the room, then snaps back as the kids tell him Miko’s already gone. One of them volunteers that Miko had gone to see the star she liked best, and Ren realizes that she must be at the concert.
He rushes back to the concert hall and goes right onto the stage. The hall is filled with thousands of fans, though, and between that and the dimness, Ren can’t see anything at all. He desperately walks up and down scanning the cheering crowd, not noticing that Miko is standing right in front, watching him.
He returns back, disappointed, to the dressing room, where everyone’s gathered for the news of Miko. There’s only 5 minutes left until the performance, but Ren suddenly says that he wants to change the opening song.
5 minutes later, the stage lights spark on, to show Ren standing at the microphone alone. The music starts up, and Miko catches her breath as she recognizes “Miss You.” Ren starts to sing the song: Miko’s father begging her mother to return, and parallel to that, Ren asking Miko to return to him. Miko watches tearfully, flashing back to all of their times together.
The song ends, and Miko silently thanks Ren, and turns to leave. But Ren speaks into the microphone: “You’re here, right? Where are you? I realized this when you left. You said I was your star, but you were also always lighting up my heart. To me, a world without you is too dark for me to see anything. I told you to stay by my side, but why aren't you here? Why do you want to leave without saying anything? Really, you... you're a trouble-causing nuisance. But I...I can’t lose sight of you! So…come to a place where I can see you. Please, I want to see you!”
Yuki and Shu rush over to the stage manager to get the lights on. The hall brightens, and in a few moments Ren spots Miko standing near the front. He gets down, making his way through the crowd, until he finally reaches her. She stands quietly with tears on her face as he pulls her in to a hug. He tells her, “If you wish from your heart, you can even catch the stars. The person who taught me that was you. All right, listen carefully.” He pulls away to look her in the eyes, and says, ”I love you.”
Miko throws her arms around him, and the crowds cheer. Their supporters look on happily: Shu, Yuki, Mabuchi, Rina, Ando, even Nana.
Some time later, they stand on a bridge, lit by the lights of the city. Ren has mellowed a bit, but he still gripes about being made to wait for that long. Miko reminds him that whenever she sees the stars in Africa, she’ll think of him. Catching the moment, Ren pretends to ‘catch’ a star, and hands her the necklace. Miko squeals in happiness, then admits, “I feel like I’m being loved.”
Ren immediately demands the necklace back, but she holds on to it, promising to cherish it. They seal the promise with a kiss.
Time passes, and Ren keeps photos of Miko in Africa right next to Pig-Rabbit in his room.
Finally, an airplane lands in Tokyo, and out comes Miko. She walks hesitantly down the terminal, then stops when she sees a figure – Ren. Smiling, he says, “Welcome home” and she replies happily, “I’m back.”
And that’s the end of Ikemen Desu Ne. It has really a different feel from the original, even though the same plot points were there. This one dropped some of the crazy hijinks and went for emotional resonance. While this didn’t work all the time, because if you stripped the plot of the crazy fun the plot holes become very obvious, the strengths really came out in the last few episodes. The separation angst was handled in a very understated manner that made it more understandable. The two lead actors were very good too; Tamamori Yuta isn’t Jang Geun Seok, but he was good at handling his character’s prickliness with emotional vulnerability. Takimoto Miori I thought was an actual improvement on Park Shin Hye’s version, and managed to put a lot of emotion into Miko. All in all, a very good ride.
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