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Ikemen Desu Ne (2011) Episode 2 Recap


Yay for character development! Now I feel that emotional pull for the characters, and now I’m really starting to care about what happens to them.

Episode 2

Ren presents Mio with his unshakeable video evidence: “You wanted to be famous so much you told this disgusting lie? You really are scum.” He heads right for the elevator to snitch to Ando.

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Mio runs after him, desperately trying to get him to stop. Ren just shoves her out of the way, shouting “I don’t want anything to do with you anymore!” Yuki watches all this from behind a pillar, and his overactive imagination interprets this as Mio being the (romantic) aggressor and Ren desperate to restrain himself, lol.

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Meanwhile, Mio watches as Ren heads into the elevator with the precious video. Thinking fast, she grabs the iPhone and runs for it. Ren gives chase and catches up with her on the rooftop, leading to a tug of war. He yells out, “Even if you delete this video, you can’t change the fact that you’re a woman, can you?” This, of course, is a valid point, and Mio loosens her grip. The phone flies out waaaay into the air, and then lands on a nearby construction framework.

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Ren gives Mio the evil eye until she hesitantly goes for the structure and starts to climb. She finally reaches the level where the phone’s lying on a net, and slowly makes her way across. Success! Mio grabs the phone and turns to go back – and the net’s ties snap one by one. Ren watches in horror as Mio goes down and grabs onto a bar just in the nick of time.

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To his credit, he immediately yells encouragement to her to hold on, and scrambles away to look for a ladder. But Mio’s grip is getting looser, and she can’t hold on much longer. Pausing, Ren comes back and then calls out: “Mio, jump! I’ll catch you for sure!” At this point, I think you’ll both end up paste, but whatever you say.

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Reassured, Mio lets go…and falls straight onto Ren. They both lie there for several seconds, getting their breath back, until Ren notices the proximity and shoves her off. They make their way back into the building, Ren hobbling and clutching his back and griping about his bad luck. Mio says, “I’m sorry that I lied. But I thought, if I become famous, my mother might find me. I’ve never seen her, you see.” Ren pauses for a moment, but his response (“So what? The lie you told is the worst kind.”) is less than sympathetic, and she acknowledges that she’ll go to Ando tomorrow to confess.

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Shu and Yuki find them both here, and Shu holds Ren back to warn him about going out alone. Ren spits out that he didn’t want to and that Mio is…but he doesn’t tell.

Mabuchi receives the news of Ren’s discovery fatalistically, and volunteers to tell Ando himself.

Ren stomps back to his hotel and catches a glimpse of his mother giving an interview. This brings back an old memory. A small Ren cries out for his mother as she walks away from him, sobbing, “When can I see you again?” Reiko looks around, but Ren, angry (at himself, for feeling hurt, and at his mother for hurting him), walks decidedly away.

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Mio heads back indoors to treat a scrape, where Shu finds her and asks about her mood. She confesses that lately she’s just been a failure and feeling so embarrassed. Laughing, Shu shares his own story – back when A.N.Jell were just starting out as unknowns, he’d had a lot of jobs to keep things afloat. One of these was at a theater, where he realized the only part left for him was a princess. He shows Mio the photo of himself in drag, and says, “I’ve also make embarrassing mistakes and failed many times before. So, don’t despair. You’re the first one I’ve shown this photo to. I’ve told you my secret. From now on, if anything bothers you, come to me.”

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Yuki’s watching this conversation out of earshot, and wonders at the familiar atmosphere. “Don’t tell me Shu-san is also interested in Mio?” Heh. He’s definitely getting girl-vibes from Mio, but his brain hasn’t caught up to his body yet.

He tries to leave quietly, but trips and falls, and Mio rushes up to him in concern. He again sees her concern as something more, and imagines her offering her help seductively. Panicking, he runs away, pleading, “Please leave me alone!”

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The next day, the rumors of discord between Mio and Ren have intensified, and crowds of angry fangirls collect around the agency. One of the bystanders is Mio’s aunt, who’s denied entry by a skeptical guard. Instead, she sends in a photo of the young twins with their father, put in a red envelope.

Inside, A.N.Jell and Nana are having tandem photoshoots. Ren leaves immediately afterward for the lounge, where he overhears Nana snarling about a condescending photographer. Spotting him, she reverts to her cutesy speech, but he isn’t buying it: “Still trying to act like a fairy?”

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Nana comes right back at him, “Because my job is to sell dreams. You’re no angel yourself, right? We should be able get along well.”

Ren only graces her with a grimace and stalks out, leaving her thwarted and simmering. Heh. I kind of like this girl. She’s a total opposite to Mio and looks like fun to take down.

Yet another person is angry, as Rina lays into Mabuchi for not having the guts to confess to Ando. He even gets all packed and set to leave the agency, when he runs into the guard who hands him the red envelope.

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Mio receives the photo and immediately recognizes her dad. The only thing she has to go on is that the photo was handed in by a middle-aged lady in blue. Realizing that it may be her mother, she races out the door and desperately runs down the streets, looking for the mysterious woman. Unfortunately, she’s mobbed by groups of people who recognize her as A.N.Jell’s Mio and she can’t get far.

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An unlikely savior shows up – Ren, who grabs her by the wrist and drags her out the car. This mother-devotion is a sore spot for him, and you can see the mingled pain and anger on his face as he shouts for her to get in the car. Mio’s worked up too, and she yells, “Ren-san, you can’t understand!” He gives back, “I don’t want to understand! ‘Mother, mother’…you’re just being annoying. Don’t make any more trouble for the band!”

The Reporter Trio lingering around is gleeful at the new shot they have of the very public argument, foreseeing a big payoff ahead. Inside the agency, Ren shoves Mio at Ando to get her to confess. She stutters, but Ando has a lunch meeting and drags Ren with him.

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And who should the mysterious guest be but Misuzawa Reiko, who greets Ren like a friendly stranger. She wants him to do the arrangement for her new song, which has Ando in delight and Ren flatly refusing. Ando of course has no idea why he’s so antagonistic, but Ren is still smarting from old wounds. As if to drive this in, Reiko encourages the men to eat, and Ren takes a bite…and then starts coughing and choking. It has shrimp in it, and he’s allergic to shrimp. Bad move, mom, not knowing that your son is allergic to shrimp.

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Ren escapes to the bathroom, where he retches into the sink and yet another memory comes back to him. He’d been young and having lunch at a restaurant with his mother…and the dish had been shrimp. When he hesitates to eat, she scolds him, and so little Ren takes a spoonful of shrimp anyway, suffering the reaction that follows. Aw.

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Elsewhere, Shu has taken Mio out to lunch and she goes “Wow!” at the lovely spread. It looks like a date, with wine and all, although that escapes her. She asks, “Why are you so kind to me?” Shu says hastily, “I…we’re friends. It’s natural. Let’s eat.” Mio manages to spill food on her pants with the first bite, and goes to the bathroom. She hesitates for a moment (women’s bathroom or men’s?), and eventually goes into the men’s bathroom. Ren’s still there, looking very ill, and immediately she gets it, “Did you eat shrimp?” He gives a bitter laugh as he says, “Even you know about it.”

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Shu, back at the table, checks his watch and then gets a call from Mio: she ran into Ren, who’s ill, and she’s going to stay with him. Ouch. Poor Shu looks desolate all alone at the table.

Ren slumps on a bench outside, where Mio runs up to him with a water bottle. He takes the water, and says, “You said you sing because you want to meet your mother. You're wasting your time. You were abandoned by her. She must have forgotten about you.” This gets Mio heated, and she replies, “I don't want to give up. I have always wanted to see her. One day I will be able to see my mother. I’ve been living with this belief.”

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To prove her point, she offers him her most precious item – her mother’s ring, as a token that she will work her hardest for her band. Mio continues, saying that as long as you wish earnestly for something it will come true. Ren’s mouth tightens as he looks at the ring, and he suddenly flings it into the pool in front of them. “Didn’t you say that if you wish earnestly for something, it will come true? Then find that ring. Only then will I accept you.”

Horrified, Mio promises that she will, and immediately wades into the pool. Late at night, she’s still floundering around. Ren watches her from the side, feeling pangs of guilt – especially as he opens his hand and we see that he has the ring with him. Rationalizing that she can’t be too much of a fool, he goes home to spend a restless night. The next morning he goes out and looks relieved to see the pool empty – until he spies Mio coming round a boulder, still searching, still exhausted.

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Mio gasps for breath, worn out, and then suddenly faints and falls into the water. Ren sprints through the pool to get to her, shaking her to wake her up. She gets up suddenly, but shoves him off to continue searching.

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Unable to take it anymore, Ren holds her back and opens his palm to show her the ring. She stares for a moment, fingering it, then flings her arms around him. He stiffens immediately, but Mio cries out her thanks, thinking that he found it for her. Letting go, she notes that she was right. Plus, since the ring is found, she gets to stay in A.N.Jell. Ren coughs at this last point, and then amends himself: he’ll help her keep her secret, but he’ll only accept her as a member once her first performance is successful.

Suddenly he looks down and notices that he’s standing in a filthy pool. Gingerly, he turns to go when Mio spots something on his head; it hops into his hand, and Ren stares bug-eyed at a FROG. This is too much, and he faints dead away (hahaha!).

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Mio manages to get him out and into an ambulance, and the public display of concern is splashed all over the newspapers and effectively shuts down all the rumors of discord. Ren returns to the house, looking marginally happier, as Yuki privately wonders about his familiarity with Mio.

The next few days lead up to Mio’s first performance, and she practices hard at the keyboard with Ren’s help. The night before the performance, she brings him tea as he sits with his guitar in the garden. She thanks him, but he reminds her: “Say it when your performance tomorrow is a success…it would be good if it could reach your mother.” Mio promises that she’ll make it a success not just for her mother, but for A.N.Jell too…and Ren SMILES. Shu watches the two sadly from a window.

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The next day has all of them getting ready for the performance, but Mio gets pulled out by Mabuchi. He has news: the lady in blue has shown up at the agency again, and because Mio’s busy, he’ll see her instead. Mio gets a promise of a call as soon as he’s done talking. Ren comes up to see her, and confiscates her phone for the time being; mother or no, she’s got to focus on the performance now.

Mio’s performance is a success, earning cheers and chants of her name from the crowd. Her bandmates, even Ren, smile at her as she laughs giddily. Afterwards, she goes off to search for Ren and her phone, but has to settle for borrowing Shu’s phone instead.

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On the other line, Mabuchi is strangely hesitant to tell her the news. At the same time, Ren looks at Mio’s phone and reads the text, as Mabuchi confesses to Mio:

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The woman that came wasn’t her mother, it was her aunt. Her mother…is dead. Mio stands in shock for a moment as Shu and Yuki watch, alarmed. She runs out of the room, just as Ren thinks back to her conviction to sing for her mother and find her one day. He finds her hunched up in an empty hall, crying her heart out.

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Slowly, he kneels by her and puts his arm around her, comforting her as she cries. Mio: “My mother is…my mother is…”

Ren, gently: “I know. You don’t have to say anything more.”

Conclusion

I like! Tamamori Yuta does a good job of bringing out the vulnerability in Ren and making him much more sympathetic. His Ren has a soft side, but because of his fear of appearing weak, he doesn’t have the confidence to expose it much. Plus, I can see how he would feel drawn to Mio, who wears her heart on her sleeve with absolute belief. I love that it’s shorter than the original series, which keeps the story moving at a fast pace. On to Episode 3!


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