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Ikemen Desu Ne (2011) Episode 9 Recap

Plot progress! And very well done too. This episode is very tightly-plotted and full of tension.

Episode 9

Ren makes his declaration, “I like you,” and Mio is struck dumb. She steps back and then asks, “Can you say it again?” Haha. Ren leans in again…when a screaming mob of fangirls ambush them. Foiled. She turns to leave but he grabs her hand and leans in to say it again slowly.

Mio sits on one of the benches, replaying the moment just to assure herself that she didn’t imagine the whole thing. She giggles as her world goes pink and flowery and cupids shoot arrows into her, haha. I’m guessing this is the imagination. Ren comes upon her laughing to herself and smiles.

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Aunt Shigeko sits in a restaurant, beating herself up. We see why: Misuzawa Reiko had told her that the children’s mother had died because of her. She and Sakuraba were deeply in love, so much so that Sakuraba abandoned his pregnant wife to come to her. Now she at least wants to apologize to the twins. In a moment of indignation, Shigeko wonders at her nerve at wanting to meet Mio like this. Just to meet her mother, the child had dressed as her brother and entered A.N.Jell… Oops.

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Mio waits for Ren in his car, still giddy. A plane catches her attention and she remembers Shu, probably heartbroken by now. Her face falls, but she’s interrupted by two drinks pressed against her face – Ren. She coos happily at the fact that he bought her drinks and he tries to cover up his pleased reaction.

Yuki is ensconced in a dressing room with his laptop, crestfallen that Ren’s fans have surpassed his again. He scrolls down the page and sees a fan photo posted just then, of Ren and Mio at the airport. He wonders, “Why is Ren-san there? Wasn’t Mio going with Shu?” Something of the truth filters through to him and he dashes out to go the office. On the way out he smacks into Nana, who spills a purse full of Ren merchandise.

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Mabuchi is happily gamboling around the office when he gapes to see Ren and Mio together. He pulls Ren aside and hisses at him for messing up Mio and Shu’s Operation Love. Sternly, Ren says that deception isn’t in his nature – and demonstrates by pulling Mio close and hugging her. Mabuchi stutters in shock, “Huh? The person Mio likes is Ren?”

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Mio nods happily, and Ren confirms with a smile, “That’s what it is, Mabuchi.” But…watching from a distance is Yuki, now standing in shock. Mabuchi and Mio walk back to the office he wondering what she sees in Ren (“He’s picky, and troublesome, and proud”) and her defending him, when they run straight into Yuki, looking very serious indeed.

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Flatly, he asks Mio if she likes Ren. Slowly, she nods, and at this Yuki’s face gives a little twist and he runs out of the office. This sends Mabuchi and Rina into a panic, as he had a talk show scheduled today. Mio wonders where he could be now, and the answer hits her – his special bus, of course.

She runs out onto the streets and sure enough sees Yuki perched in the empty bus. She races after the bus and manages to get on, approaching Yuki slowly. He sees her and says only, “Don’t bother me. Get off the bus.” With the heartbreak still evident on his face, he continues, “I like you. When you joined A.N.Jell, we immediately became best friends. When did it start? You became more than a friend to me. When I learned you were a girl, I was so happy. I’ve liked you all this time. Why can’t it be me?”

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Mio softly tells him that it was his cheerfulness that kept her going; she says she’s sorry. Yuki replies, “Don’t apologize; I’ll feel more miserable. When the bus completes its round, I’ll resolve my feelings. Until then, let me keep this feeling.” They ride the rest of the way in silence, then come at last to the end.

Yuki jumps off and pauses, then turns around with his normal face on. He tells her, “Listen up, Mio. If you're worrying about me, don't worry about me.” She understandably has her “Huh?” face on, so he clarifies, “If you stop worrying, I can go back to being the same old me.” He walks off to the office, but turns around for one last word, “If things don't go well between you and Ren-san, I won't accept it!” She watches him go with a smile and a tear, whispering her thanks.

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Misuzawa Reiko drops in to the agency, ostensibly to ask about her song arrangement but really to probe about Mio. Unfortunately, Ando spiels all about how well she and Ren are getting on, especially as they share a house. Mabuchi jumps in hastily saying that they’re such good friends, yes, FRIENDS, nothing more, of course.

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The next morning Mio presses her ear against Ren’s door, thinking that he must have stayed at the studio overnight again. The happy idea of making him a bento box pops into her head just as the front door opens. She skips out, singing, “Ren-san, welcome home!”…only it’s not Ren, it’s Shu. Whoopsie.

He acts like everything’s normal, giving her little things he brought from his hometown. She looks uneasy, and he soberly tells her that he’s decided to give up. From now on, he’ll support her. “No matter who you’re looking at, it doesn’t matter. I’ll accept you as you are.”

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Ren has finished the arrangement and goes to present it to a happy President Ando. In his good mood, Ando muses about the background of the song: apparently, Misuzawa Reiko and the songwriter had been lovers around the time the song was written. Ren’s face goes dark as he remembers his mother abandoning him.

Meanwhile, Mio has received a text from Reiko herself, and heads to her apartment. Reiko has prepared a gift (ie, trap) for Mio – a gift bag of girl’s clothes. When Mio stutters, Reiko comes right out and tells her everything she knows – she’s a girl and she’s taken her brother’s place. Mio begs her not to reveal anything to anyone, but Reiko must be taking callous pills today: her response is to confirm that Ren knows, and then, sharply, “Ren and I have a special relationship. Stop causing him trouble!”

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Mio says firmly that she doesn’t want to hurt Ren in any way. Looking crafty, Reiko tosses out another fact: Mio’s mother’s name was Kirishima Saori. And she was abandoned by her husband. Mio’s eyes go wide and she whispers that it can’t be, but Reiko coolly shoves her out, promising to call if she remembers anything else.

Mio walks miserably along the streets when she runs into Ren. He takes them to a movie theater. Mio tells him that she’s not in the mood, but he replies, “Mood? This has nothing to do with your mood. You’re my eyes here.” The theater’s dark, so she sets off to guide him, as he holds out his hands out to be led. Oh you sly thing, you.

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Mio, though, continues to be distracted throughout the film. She cheers up when they go for a walk later, sighing at the stars. Ren reminds her that he can’t see any, but she’s prepared something for these occasions – a gold star embroidered on a piece of black velvet! Oh, haha, that is so sweet. Ren grumbles that she has too much free time, but smiles anyway.

Mio replies softly that she’ll keep looking for stars even when she goes back, as a way to remember him. Ren’s face totally falls at the reminder that her time here is limited. She picks up on his mood and asks what’s wrong. With a sigh, he explains that in the past, he was always alone when he was miserable. “But now…you’re here. When I’m with you, I can end the day with a smile.”

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He suddenly looks totally horrified that he actually expressed his feelings this way and jumps up stuttering, as Mio reassures him that she understands. Calming down, he gets a sly smile on his face as he tells her that he can show her stars too; he just has to hit her hard enough. He pulls his fist back as Mio screws up her face…and he ends up swooping in for a kiss.

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Trouble is a-brewing though, as Reiko frets about Ren being close to “that woman’s” daughter. Mio goes to Aunt Shigeko to tell her everything Reiko said. Shigeko looks uneasy, but soundly denounces the facts, saying that her brother wasn’t that type of person.

Ren is in the practice room as Shu walks in, and the tension cranks up ten notches. Turning around to face Ren, Shu says flatly that he’s always given in to Ren: the band leadership, the direction of their music. “But I won’t let you have Mio. Never.” Oh, so his words earlier were just a sham? Interesting…

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The mood deflates as Mio and Yuki bounce in followed by Mabuchi. Mabuchi has good news for them – the real Mio is coming back next week! Everyone except Yuki immediately realizes that Miko will now go away, and their faces fall.

Meanwhile, the Reporter Trio have actually assembled an A.N.Jell board, complete with photos and connecting lines. They muse that Mio and Miko were never seen together; it’s always one or the other. They reach their conclusion – they’re both the same person! To this end, they go to interrogate Nana. Caught, she feigns a faint to escape, but the reporters know what’s going on. They make a deal: she doesn’t spill the news to anyone else, and they won’t publish any bad press about her.

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Mio spends the next few days putting together a ‘star’ scrapbook, taking photos of all kinds of star-shaped objects (even Yuki in star-shaped sunglasses, heh). She presents this to Ren, happily telling him that her favorite star of all is right in front of her eyes. Ren has actually mellowed down enough to look and act pleased about this, and shares that he’s bought a telescope so that he can see stars too. He tells her that they’ll have a “fanmeeting” starwatching tonight. “Even though your brother's coming back, nothing is going to change. From now on, we’ll keep watching stars together.”

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Even as she tears up happily at this, he prepares to give her something, but decides not to. After she’s gone, he pulls a necklace out of his pocket. It’s a star-shaped pendant, and he says sheepishly to himself that he’s really bad at this sort of thing. Aw. He’s really adorable when he’s awkward.

They head to the office together to hear the new song, only Ando goes off about Reiko and the songwriter again. Mio’s eyes widen as she grasps the implications of this, and she runs off to confirm the truth with Shikego. Aunt doesn’t lie this time, and Mio decides that she’ll confront Reiko herself about the truth. Ren, meanwhile, paces around his room waiting for her, fiddling with Pig-Rabbit, around whose neck he’s slung the necklace.

Reiko learns from her secretary that Mio wants to talk, and places a preemptive call to Ren. He’s not interested, but she spills the news: the songwriter Sakuraba had a child – Mio. She remains cool as a cucumber as Mio bursts in demanding to know the truth.

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Reiko says again that Sakuraba had loved her and left his wife. They were deeply in love. Mio’s face reflects her hurt and anger, and she bursts out that Reiko didn’t love the one person she was meant to love – Ren. When she abandoned her child for a man, how could she call it love? Reiko replies that “that woman” had said the same thing; but the song “Miss You” is proof that Sakuraba wanted her.

Ren bursts in just then and assumes the worst when he sees Mio. She doesn’t even try to explain, but just apologizes for not telling him earlier. Hurt, he runs out as Mio chases after him.

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Ando receives a call from the reporters wanting a joint interview with Mio and Miko, and passes on the news to Shu. Shu himself is wandering around the streets close to the hotel, and stops dead to see Ren running in a fury and Mio pleading behind him.

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She grabs on to his wrist, but Ren twists out of her grasp. He says harshly that she was the one person he believed in, but she turned out to be the daughter of the man he hates most. Face twisting, he spits out, “I don’t want to see your face again” and walks off, leaving her sobbing on the pavement. Ren, too, stops a while away to cry against a wall.

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Shu walks swiftly up to Mio and holds her, telling her, “It’s okay to cry. I will always be here, right by your side.”

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I like the way that the little hints of conflict are peppered in throughout the episode, so that we can feel the tension building even as the OTP grow closer. I feel like the jdrama handles this portion of the drama better than the k-version. It’s more mellow and understated, which allows us to focus on the character relationships and not on the plot logic (which is admittedly a little hole-y). Ren’s reaction is understandable (her father was the man who broke his family up), but not so much that I expect him to stay away for long. The arrival of the real Mio should complicate things a bit, too. On to Episode 10!



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