Asahina’s true colors have been shown! Or rather his feelings of coming in second to the greatness of Toru have taken over and completely poisoned him. It’s almost hard to believe how this episode ends after the more comedic moments from Toru’s, Ogawa’s, and Natsui’s trip to test the new personal file system. Besides now being introduced to Asahina’s hostile takeover plot, we are also introduced to a new plot revolving around Yoko. Who is her mysterious stalker? Is it the chef who is always being belligerent?
We open with Toru giving a brilliant speech about the personal file system that inspires all watchers. Except for the board members. They think its nice and all, but want Toru to concentrate on more lucrative business means as profits have dropped a bit. Toru angrily rushes at them, but he is stopped by Asahina who says that he will talk to them. Later Toru is in a rage in his office and his workers watch on helpless to do anything. Will the personal file system be scrapped after all?
After work, Natsui is heading home when Toru rushes on to the elevator. She keeps shooting him sidelong glances and thinking about his kiss with Yoko. She actually slaps her self to get the image out of her head. Of course Toru notices this, but before he can say anything about it, the elevator opens and in steps Yoko. Natsui is completely uncomfortable now and quickly rushes out of the elevator. Alone, Toru seems a bit uncomfortable and Yoko smiles at this. It was just a kiss after all. Yoko leaves and sees Nogi throwing about three bags worth of food. He tells her this is three days worth and she says she will call the supplier and have them deliver less from now on. She then quietly apologizes for the disaster of the restaurant. Looks like things haven’t been going too hot after the bustling opening. Yoko sits and drinks in the empty restaurant where she reads very discouraging tweets and news articles about her failure. She gets freaked out when a message pops up saying that a person sees her drinking alone in an empty restaurant reading tweets. She looks but cannot see anyone. Seriously? We don’t need this plot line.
Natsui’s friend Ono has returned with gifts and tries to encourage Natsui’s feelings for Toru. After some debate and depression, Natsui looks at the hula doll Ono gave her and considers that Toru just might look at her from time to time. Yes, yes he does. We are then introduced Aoyama Makoto. He’s a famous designer most known for making a completely transparent pen so you can see how much ink is left. He’s an internet acquaintance of Natsui’s as they both belong to an online message board for people named Makoto. Thus, Next Innovation will be testing their personal file system in Aoyama’s hometown where he’s retiring. Toru recruits Ogawa and Natsui to come with him on the business trip as they cannot afford to spare too much manpower.
Asahina is being bullied by some unknown person. He was nearly hit in the parking garage and is even pushed down a flight of stairs! The next day in the hospital, Asahina lies to Toru and says he tripped. Toru then tells him that it gives Asahina time for a much needed break. Toru then excitedly tells Asahina that former employee Tono has shown up and is looking to invest 100 million in Next Innovation for the server costs in India. Is their financial woes over then? I don’t know about you, but I felt from the very beginning that this was too good to be true. Isn’t that how it goes in dramas? The promised investors back out at the last minute, disappear, or are ruined themselves?
Toru and Natsui are happily greeted by Makoto when they arrive. He shows them his organic farm and happily hugs Natsui when he learns that she’s the Makoto from Tokyo that he sends bentos to. It’s cute. It really is. And what starts here is…well, stuff happens and Toru is inspired and his relationship with Natsui grows even more closer. The project suffers setbacks more and more as the townspeople are not using the file system at all. This frustrates Toru. Makoto tries to encourage and fight for him, but not much seems to work. Aoyama plays a very boisterous part, but he gives Natsui serious advice about Toru, his youth, and his future. Aoyama has been where Toru is and knows that the younger man needs time. It takes failing a couple of times to be able to succeed. Toru goes further into depression and Ogawa needs to head back to Tokyo to work on a more lucrative project and the board members shoot down the personal file system when they learn JI has entered the market and are investing 500 million.
Natsui and Toru go on a walk to clear his head. Toru breathes in the scenery with Natsui by his side. He comments on the beauty and sits down. Natsui sits with him and tells him what Aoyama told her. This does cheer Toru up. It also gives him an idea. When they get back to their lodging, he calls the company and rattles off his new idea. He wants voice recognition software, the best touch interface available, and microphones that work with smart phones. Our one designer who was put on a different gaming project picks up when Ogawa gets overwhelmed and says he’s willing to help. Toru tells him to design a perk to come with the system, like a handheld pet (only no dogs). Natsui is happy to see Toru back to his usual self.
The two head back to Tokyo with crates full of Aoyama’s organic tomatoes, which is ironic considering that Toru hates tomatoes. An elderly woman asks if Toru is quitting and leaving, but Toru smiles and says that he will keep trying. On the plane ride home, Toru snuggles deeply into Natsui’s shoulder. She’s uncomfortable at first, but perks up and smiles when Toru settles and rests peacefully. At the airport, Yasuaka runs up saying that Tono has disappeared and it looks like the funding is gone. What to do? See, I knew that was too good to be true. Asahina arrives on crutches and says that all they need to do is collaborate with JI. Toru refuses. Instead, he will sell off 6% of his stock shares. Uh-oh. That means he will no longer be the major shareholder. Asahina cautions him on this and Toru just smiles brilliantly and says there’s nothing to worry about since Asahina is there. Sigh.
Toru delivers the tomatoes to Yoko since he hates them. She then cooks him a tomato dish. He eats it and likes it, making her happy. He comments on the lack of customers and she scolds him for rubbing salt in her wound. She then tells him about all the horrible stuff being said online and how she isn’t taking it to heart. Sure, she would have been fine if she played it safe, but that’s just not her. Natsui then arrives with documents for Toru. Yoko takes them and Natsui rushes off. Yoko follows her and confronts her about the odd behavior. Natsui admits she saw the kiss and Yoko tells Natsui just to admit to liking Toru. Natsui hems and haws, but really can’t deny that she does. She wishes to be a support and be by his side. Yoko says that means they are basically at war of sorts. Toru comes out and again Natsui rushes off. Yoko uses this as an opportunity to score a ride and this makes Natsui feel like an idiot as she sees them drive past. Yoko points out Natsui and Toru glances in his side mirror and sure enough, there she is. He lies, though, and says he did not see her. Hmm. Why?
We then learn that Tono stole data from Next Innovation and was blackmailing Asahina for money. Truthfully, after he fell down the stairs, Asahina was a little banged up, but there was nothing really wrong with him. He then deliberately breaks his own leg to make sure he can turn the tables on Tono. He then cahoots with Tono so that the younger man buys Toru’s stock. The news then breaks that the biggest leak in history has happened with Next Innovation. While they scramble to find the hacker, Asahina sits back happily. It’s not Next Innovation that will go down, but Toru.
Sigh. And you know that what’s happening isn’t a misunderstanding. Asahina isn’t playing a bad guy for Toru’s own good. He’s out to get his former best friend and partner. And previews show that it is Toru being dragged through the mud. We also see Asahina hugging Natsui. Looks like he really does like her, but if she discovers that he’s the one who is destroying Toru, all bets are off on that friendship (because I don’t think they can be together). We also see Toru and Yoko’s relationship progressing, but it really does seem like he has way more chemistry with Natsui than Yoko so I don’t think they’ll get very far.
And does anyone else think that Asahina isn’t just doing this because he’s dissatisfied with being seen as the 2nd best? I think he also has this childish desire to show Toru that his own methods and suggestions are better [like with dealing with JI or the ministry or the former employee, etc].