A Bitter Serendipity
OH. MY. GAWT. This drama ruined me. Mentally and emotionally. Cos for the last two days I become this sappy anti-social geek who spends all my time in front of my computer; tantrum-kicking, hair tearing, and screaming all by myself at my laptop screen. *sigh*… what a gooooood times indeed… Lol. Well, it all started on a one fateful day when I was skimming the drama reviewers blogosphere and found this particular title, Glass no Ie, that somehow drew my attention cos it reminded me of Cinderella’s glass slippers, K-drama Glass Shoes, and many other glass sheez. Heh… And when I read the synopsis, I was like, “Hmmm… heavy themed; makjang; angsty… Yep that’s it, Imma watch this!” *click download button* Aaaaand here I am now; talking about it like some mad cow on a strike cos this drama is so juicy, scandalous, forbidden, it’s really REALLY gooooood. Ahahaha… Okay, first thing first, allow me to tell you about the storyline… (Spoilert: Massive!!! and piquant!!!)
In a nutshell, Glass no Ie, tells a story about a highly respected government bureaucrat family, Shibusawa, where the father, Kazunari (Fujimoto Takahiro), is a director of the Ministry of Finance. Kazunari has two sons; the eldest one is 31 years old Hitoshi (Saito Takumi), a Tokyo University graduate who’s following his father footsteps by working on the same field and at the same place. While the youngest son is a bubbly-playful 25 years old Kenji (Nagayama Kento) who’s aiming to be a judge by taking a lawyer bar exam. The family lost their mom and grandparents on a plane crash in France, 22 years ago, and Kazunari has been doing all his might to raise his two sons all by himself as a single father. Those years of deed and dedication makes Hitoshi and Kenji looked up and respect their father greatly, and they lead a good peaceful life as only guys in the household.Untill one day, out of the blue, dad announces to his sons that he wants to remarried. It of course surprised Hitoshi and Kenji, since dad is so secretive about his love life, they don’t even know that he has a relationship with a woman all this time. And what’s more shocking is that dad’s fiance is a beautiful 37 years old woman named Tamaki Rei (Igawa Haruka) who works as a bookkeeper in a small company. Turns out, Rei also lost her family members at the same plane crash, who were her parents. That is why she felt an instant connection with Kazunari, whom she met coincidentally in France, to pay an annual visit to the collision site. But Rei is not the only one who feels connected; cos turns out, Hitoshi has this kind of dejavu feeling as if he had met her somewhere before all this. Not to mention, he’s sorta mesmerized by her beauty and calm appearance.But Hitoshi always manages to suppress his feeling towards Rei away day by day, even after his father and Rei got married and she moved in with the family into the house. He even tries to settle down with his vague-status girlfriend, Goto Nanami (Umefune Ariei), and he even following his father advice to try for Omiai. But deep down, Hitoshi knew that he can’t see any other woman outside Rei, since all those endeavors relationships end up in a mess.And when he sees how his father becomes a control freak by treating and manipulating Rei like crap, Hitoshi protective side towards Rei starts to grow and shown more and more obvious. In addition to the trigger, Hitoshi and Kazunari are also clashing in political view and ideology, as Hitoshi is vigorously supporting one particular politician, Muraki Yosuke (Kataoka Ainosuke), whom Kazunari despise very much, since Muraki’s ideology is jeopardizing his position in the Ministry of Finance. And the way Kazunari uses any kind of dirty work to selfishly achieve his own goals makes Hitoshi respect to his father crumbles and his self control of his own feeling towards Rei starts to weaken. And one day Hitoshi just snapped and he snatches Rei away from his own father…Praeambulum, I must say that this drama had done a fair portion in tackling romance and political issues such as cunning manipulation, exchange bribery, etc. But hehhhh… I’m not gonna talk about that side, since although it’s tense and quite exciting with an unexpected twist; the political intrigue in this drama is not my prior interest nor the main reason to watch this. So, I’m simply gonna put that topic on the backseat and just talk about the romance side only.Glass no Ie depicted on a controversial theme about forbidden love between a son and his stepmother. This drama had drawn mixed reviews and comments from every viewer that had watched it. Some of them are fully support the main couple, while some other finds it unforgivable since Hitoshi is roughly pictured as the third party in his own father’s marriage. As for me, I dunno what this drama is aiming for; is it to be the tragic-sad ending love story to give a life lesson, or glorifies the moral-defying romance with a happily ever after. And truth be told, I don’t even caaaaare anyway; cos me simply just want Rei and Hitoshi to be successfully hit it off with their relationship. Besides, if we looked from a bigger picture and watched it from the very beginning, it’s clearly seen that Kazunari is nothing but a mentally-abusive husband, since all he did is degrading and controlling Rei like she’s some kind of mindless puppet that doesn’t need nor have a social life and freewill. He doesn’t allow her to go out at night, as in young night just to go to a nearby convenience store; he doesn’t let her do any work outside house chores. Heeecckk, he even controlling what kinds of clothes she’s supposed to wear. Geezzzz…And when Rei shows a lil backbone of voicing her thoughts, he goes manipulative and doing the sh*tty reverse psychology things to her by saying why Rei isn’t trusting him to control the household, and she should be grateful cos even though she’s only a middle school graduate, she can have these money, luxury and status by marrying a highly-respected man like him. Three words: yuck. yuck. YUCK. *grabbing barf bag*Not to mention, Kazunari is such a big fat liar otosan, as he always boasting and bluffing by saying such things as he raised Hitoshi and Kenji all by himself, when in fact, he had always relied on his secretary, Onaka Hiroko (Kikuchi Momoko) back then to take care his sons like a mother should do. Kazunari manipulated Hiroko by acted nice and loving, while gave a mixed signal to her as if he was gonna marrying her; when in fact later on, he dumped her like a ragged doll by the time he feels that she’s unneeded anymore.And when Rei finds out about this whole Hiroko things and confronts Kazunari for it, he acts innocent by denying it and then playing self-pity card to gain Rei’s sympathy; which worked at that time, cos they make up by kissing near the fireplace. Gee golly, by the time I watched that scene, I was reflectively and angrily screams “EWWWW, GROSSSSS!!!” even though it shoulda been an okay, since they are a married couple. Sorry… I’m not sorry, btw… Hah!But luckily that repulsive scene only happened once, cos for the rest of the drama, Kazunari acts as pure manipulative jerk towards Rei, which is soooo sucks and angsty for me, cos I feel like I want to tear his pomade hair away with a grass shears. Ughhh… *clenching fist* But every time Rei got his heart and confidence shattered by her husband, Hitoshi always comes to the rescue and pick up the pieces (gosh, I’m so overly dramatic today. Lulz…) And slowly but surely, Rei starts to rely on Hitoshi more and more, as he is the only one that fully understands her and sincerely wants to protect her no matter what.Like a double edged sword, the trajectory of Rei’s and Hitoshi’s star-crossed love story was written in two contrast sides, as on one side, their relationship started like a serendipitous fateful encounter; for Hitoshi’s dejavu feeling is not just a figment; they indeed had met six months ago, before Rei was introduced to the Shibusawa family. It happened when Hitoshi, who wants to buy a pants from a set of an outfit, got an offer from Rei who already bought one, to take hers anyway, since all she wants is just the parka. And when they coincidentally saw each other wore it, they just click and reminiscing that time together, which automatically boost their relationship level to be far from awkwardness.While on the other hand, we can also describe their story as meeting the right person at the wrong place and the wrong time, cos although, Rei and Hitoshi clearly know what they really want, their hands are tied by the family status and position. Moreover, when Kazunari sense the closeness between his new wife and his son, he fastens his grip tighter towards Rei and begin to be more hostile towards Hitoshi, it then makes the relationship between the father and son starts to drifting apart. Which is why, Kenji feels that Rei’s presence in the family is nothing but to be an evil woman that ruined those peaceful days that this family used to have. But truth be told, these things are surely bound to happen anyway with or without Rei’s presence in the house. And as time goes by, Hitoshi knows that he can’t no longer stay under the same roof with his father anymore, so he decided to move out and asks Rei to come with him. Hitoshi’s request has become Rei’s ultimate test for her faithfulness towards her marriage with Kazunari. But yet at the same time, it also open her eyes to the truth of her own real feeling, that maybe whom she’s been wanting to love and be with all this time is not a man like Kazunari, but someone like Hitoshi instead.Despite all that, the relationship between Rei and Hitoshi develops slowly and snail-pacely, it probably will make us as viewers feel a lil bit impatient and frustrated along the watch. But at the same time this is the only logical and rational way to execute the whole thing, since both Rei and Hitoshi are not in an easy and free positions to be blatant and putting their hearts on their sleeves. But what I like from this drama, is how it uses every lil detail to show how they are meant for each other, or to simply showing their real feelings, even though they’re not saying it out loud with words. Like how the parka and pants thing acts as a small-indirect symbolism of how Rei and Hitoshi are clearly destined to be together. And also on the seventh episode when Rei uses the glass that’s been used by Hitoshi as a vase to put the dying flowers as a remembrance of two things she loves the most, and how the flower revives which show that there is always a possibility to have a fresh start all over again.Aaaaaand, like everyone says, good things come to those who wait, eh? So, by the time Hitoshi had moved out of the house, Rei feels alone and intimidated every time Kazunari is around. Not to mention, Kazunari pressures her into any kind of doodah; like wanting to have kids, asking her to be his plus one to the American ambassador party, when all he does is ordering her to shut up and be a pretty trophy wife by his side, as she listens to every single of foreign language word that she absolutely don’t understand. And that time, Rei feels like a misfit amongst those highly educated people.Just when she feels on the edge and reach her limit (so do I), and realizes that she just can’t take it any longer; Hitoshi shows up in front of her, serendipitously; it was almost as if he answers her desperation. And this time, they aren’t reluctant anymore, as Hitoshi and Rei walk fastly toward each other, and he just take her hands and they’re running together into the elevator, where they’re finally unbinding their feelings and just smooch their luuuurve away as in what the hell, I could careless with the sh*ts that will happen after this anyway. And that scene, my friend, is really REALLY AWESOME!!! Squehee-heeeeeee!!! *thunderous happy laugh*
Ooooho-ho-ho… sweet child o’ mine, the kiss (or should I say the semi-make out) scene may be only happening once. But it’s soooo rewarding, it makes you feel like your heavy burden for four prior episodes flies awayyyyy into nowhere, and you’re left with nothing but this giddy fangirl feeling and excite-full squealing. Not to mention, that this is one of the best kisu scene that ever happened in J-Doramas history on my watch; it had the right amounts of passion; it didn’t looked repulsively lustful (You hear that, Sapuri? Lulz…) And yet at the same time, you can really feel that the chemistry is just so dang clicked between Saito and Igawa as they looked like they’re really love each other trumaddeeply. Hominahominahomina… to put it short, it’s just an absolute swoon-worthy scene, okay?! Ahahahaha!!! *cartwheeling + somersaulting*But then, just like a basic 101 formula of every romance drama out there, after a one minuscule sweet moment, there will be tonzzz of giant-mahoossive of angstiness. Sooooo… yep; by the time Rei admits the truth to Kazunari on the next day (in very cool and calm manners) that she had cheated on him physically and emotionally; she decided to leave him, the house, AND ALSO Hitoshi, as in EHHH??!! Whaatttt the helllll??!! *giant frowning*And of course, those two boys don’t just stay still and do nothing, so they search for the MIA Rei; each in their own methods. While at the same time they act as if Rei’s disappearance has nothing to do with each other. And then, once again, of course, daddy Kazunari wins, as he’s the first one that finds where Rei lives, visits her and starts to beg her to come home like this pitiful lonely old man with all those crocodile tears. Ugh, as if… *rolls eyes*
But to make things worse, Hitoshi shows up on the same day, at the same hour; asking for Rei’s explanation and another chance to start over. This scene clearly becomes the real game-changer between Hitoshi and his father, as Kazunari realizes that his own son is the one that had screwed up with his wifey, and he starts to see Hitoshi as his rival.As if the situation is not ugly enough, Rei deceptively told Hitoshi, in front of Kazunari, that she was just playing him around and didn’t have any ounce of feeling towards him since the very beginning. It of course temporarily settles the problem between these three, and both Hitoshi and Kazunari go home in disappointment. But this is where we clearly can see the difference about who loves Rei the most, as Hitoshi is running around the neighborhood looking for Rei, who leaves the room at that time, and he’s coming back to her apartment, knocking on her front door, and begging Rei to give their love another try, and Hitoshi desperately blurt out everything that he feels inside, cos he just don’t know any other way to get her back. Ugh… me dying when watching this scene…
Good hobbity grief, the moment when Hitoshi says those three small words in desperation is just really reaaaalllly breaking my kokoro into micro million pieces, cos he just looked really lost and broken *sniffle* while Rei just stands behind the other side of the door, holding back her feelings away while uttering lies after lies about how he doesn’t love him blahblahblah. Me just simply soooo damn frustrated at this scene, I mean, for pete’s sake, Rei-sannnnn, just open the door, gerddammit!!! Aiiiiiyyyyyyy!!! *tearing hair*But then, later on, the makjang grill for us keeps continuing, cos this time, Hitoshi, taking advice from Nanami, tries to act less passive as he stops Rei from running away from him again by back-hugging her, and tries to seal it with a kiss. But, Rei still holds on to her wagon of noble-idiocy as he push Hitoshi away and leave him dejected and broken. Again. For the asdfgghjkl-nth times. Omaigawttttt!!! when will this painful suckiness end, huh? Hahaha… *mental laugh*A lil detour. Aside from the main angst-fest story of Rei and Hitoshi, this drama also telling the side story of romance between Hitoshi’s ototo, Kenji; and Hitoshi’s ex, Nanami. Nanami is a novelist and persistent chick, as she never grows tired to pursue and convince Hitoshi that they are meant to be together. She even shamelessly propose to Hitoshi multiple times, but he always comes with the same vague rejection answer.Until one day, Hitoshi decides to straight things up between him and Nanami, by saying that whatever the state of their relationship in, he just wants to break up, cos he feels that this whole thing is unfair to her. And when Nanami annoyingly pushing him around to know what the real reason is; Hitoshi finally being more honest by saying that he has someone that he likes, and it doesn’t need a rocket science for Nanami to know that “someone” is no other than Rei. It sends Nanami into a big tantrum session and heartbreak wallowing phase, she runs to Kenji for comfort.At first, Nanami and Kenji, whom she had known since he was a lil kid, act like they’re just best-o friends-o and such, but then Nanami, in a drunk state, straightforwardly ask the reluctant Kenji to kiss her, which initiate that they are dating since that moment on.As a younger brother, Kenji has his own insecurities towards Hitoshi’s presence who looked so good and accomplished. And dating Nanami is adding another factor to that list, since Nanami had dated Hitoshi for a very long time and it’s no secret anymore that she likes and adores Hitoshi tremendously. That is why at first, Kenji feels that he just a rebound and a spare tire for her, cos he thought that she dates him simply just because he’s a Shibusawa, and if she didn’t get Hitoshi, him as the younger brother is just a better-than-nothing option.But as time goes by, Nanami clearly shows that she’s sincere about dating Kenji. In fact, their relationship runs so smooth, they even decided to get married once Kenji passed the bar exam. And even though Kazunari didn’t approve their relationship, moreover their marriage, Kenji keeps moving on with Nanami, and he shows his father that he too has persistence and perseverance in defending his own stance.Just like in every drama, in the middle of heavy romance of the main plot, there’s always a side love story that acts as a brief relieving distraction for viewers; and Kenji-Nanami’s storyline acts as it. Even though their relationship’s stage progress feels a lil bit hasty, I still find it acceptable and not boring or filler-ish. In fact, Kenji-Nanami has more complete ending than Rei and Hitoshi. So, yeah, it’s all good. Heheh…While Kenji’s love boat with Nanami has a smooth sailing, it is the other way around with Hitoshi and Rei. Cos by the time the drama comes closer to the end, their story just really fall deeper and deeper into the gutter of despair and depression, it makes me start to think that there is quite a possibility that this whole thing won’t end up good. I mean, as much as I love this drama with all my kokoro and fangirl-soul, I also feel a lil bit blerg to find out about how they have to make Hitoshi loses everything, literally, in order just to be with Rei.Oh, for the love of tulips, is that big of a SIN for them to be together, while still maintain to have the life they’re used to have, HUH? It’s not like Hitoshi and Rei lead a good one anyway, since by just being in love with each other already make them become like the society phariah. But to make things worse and feels more karma-ish, they have to lose every bit of the lil good things in their life as well. Not to mention Hitoshi, who’s in the brink of depression, feels too flustered and mess, he rejects Rei who comes back for him and sincerely tries to “save” him; by saying to her that he just don’t have any strenght left to be able to love somebody. Oooooooh, drama, why, why, WHYYYYY you have to be so effing cruel?!?! Uarrrgghhh!!!
But, despite all that, I find the ending is very content; well, at least for me. Truth be told, when I started to watch it, I was preparing myself to signing in for a tragic sh*tty ending, since I thought that this kind of storyline has a fat chance to end in a happy note. Buuuut, this drama had proven me wrong by giving me a great realistic closure that felt unforced. Cos even though Rei and Hitoshi have to restart their life all over again in a small town, living as an ordinary couple and leads an ordinary life; they have each other, and that’s become the most important thing for them. Cos both Rei and Hitoshi clearly knew that it’s not an easy path to reach the phase that they’re in now, so they treat the daily trivial activities as a luxury itself. While as a viewer, me couldn’t be happier for them, cos basically I don’t care whatever happen, as long as my OTP sticks 2gethaaaa… Ahahahaha!!! *Throwing confetti* (Peanote: At the last of the last scene where they’re walking hand in hand, the way Hitoshi pull Rei closer to him is just so damn uber-cute!!! D’awwwww…)Overall, Glass no Ie is a heart-wrenching drama that makes us feel twist and turn inside; cos this drama somehow manages to make us invested emotionally to the main couple’s elation and turbulence as the story progressed. This drama may be based on a bit unagreeable love situation; but yet at the same time, it is not something that you can condemn nor be mad at, since it shows nothing but a wholehearted sincerity. Glass no Ie is a shining example of showing that true love never runs smooth; but it can reach the finish line of happily ever after.
Final Score: 85/100