30 October 2012

Piece Ep. 4 first impressions

One of these weeks I'll get this review up closer to when I first view the episode instead of a couple of days after now that I have found a source for it that has it up much quicker than the first episode.

Before I begin this review I want to give a warning that there will be discussion of attempted rape, so if that triggers you than you might want to skip the review or at least scroll down to the screen cap of smiley Hasegawa Jun on a sunny day and start reading from there.

We start right where we left off in the past episode with Mizuho having been caught red handed by Narumi in his mother's room. He confronts her and Mizuho is at a loss what to do or say.

Narumi tries to force a decision out of Mizuho, but only ends up scaring her. Even more when he decides to force himself on her even though she cries for him not to. He does stop without getting very far noting that she is actually crying.

Terrified, Mizuho runs out of the house now that she has the chance. Nanao shows up shortly after she leaves and Narumi asks her about why the door to the room was unlocked. He does not seem to get an answer he is happy with and turns off the TV that is showing a younger him staring at the camera monitoring him.

I really hate this (attempted) rape trope and I am very unnerved with how frequent it is used in shoujo manga. And by the romantic lead character no less. I will give Piece credit in at least having Narumi having enough decency to stop before getting very far and the fact that this act is the one that ends the relationship, as honestly it should be.

The thing that makes me hate this trope so much is that usually even after it happens the heroine for some reason still wants to be in a relationship with the guy or that the guy is made to look sympathetic. This seems to be avoided with Mizuho clearly being distraught enough that she no longer wants to pursue a relationship with Narumi and that Narumi continues to be the asshole he always was. And it even makes sense for his character to try something like this as he already know he can be dangerous and that he is sex driven when it comes to girls.

I can only hope that if they do get together later in this drama he has changed (which does not seem all that likely from the first episode) or will change or we will have one of many countless shoujo series with an unhealthy relationship being toted as an example of true love. And that will definitely sour me on this drama real quick.

In class the next day Narumi acts as nothing is any different and continues to flirt with other girls. And with that the relationship is over.

It is probably not the most ideal solution to the events but it makes sense seeing as Mizuho had been keeping the relationship a secret when things were going well for them so after something like that her just trying to put it all behind her is a rational reaction. And she does not try to get back with him or show any real want to really do so which is a plus, because again that is probably the worst thing about the rape/attempted rape trope.

Back in the present day Mizuho meets with her college boyfriend and they end up breaking up. When she questions him about it he tells her that he felt that she was always cold, if I am getting it right.

She remembers happier times and is just confused about her feelings about the matter as she does not seem to see what he told her.

(Also to note I did not recognize Hasejun until this episode. He actually looks older until back in his teen days when it looked like he would never look older than 14. But since he gets to do much more this episode, like actually talk and have more than one facial expression I could tell it was him. But I do feel embarrassed for taking this long to notice.)

With the boyfriend broken up with and Mizuho feeling unsatisfied about really not understanding others she ends up focusing that frustration towards something, trying to figure out who Haruka was seeing before she died. She ends up seeing Haruka's mother again who talks about how she found out about Haruka seeing someone and being pregnant by finding a message on her cellphone.

Without much to go on Mizuho figures her best bet is to get in touch with Narumi, as he was the only one she knew that had talked to Haruka in high school.

The two meet up and Mizuho asks in a very round about way what Narumi and Haruka's relationship was. Narumi says that there was nothing between the two. But since she brought up the topic of someone liking Haruka he tells her that he knew of someone that did like Haruka and from the clue he gave her Mizuho is able to guess that it was Yanai Takashi who was on the same committee as she was.

Later she calls Yanai up and asks to speak to him about Haruka and we end the episode on that.

With about 95% of the preview being with scenes with Yanai in them I think it is finally truly safe to say his character will finally have his time to be a focus of the story. So rejoice Matsumura Hokuto fans, you no longer have to try to catch snippets of him in an episode or have to settle for his appearance in the opening theme for a change.

Hopefully now that we are done with seeing Mizuho and Narumi's high school relationship come and go and the focus is shifting towards the mystery part of the series we will be seeing more of the supporting characters in general. Of course I doubt things will end without Mizuho and Narumi continuing to interact, I think it is pretty clear Mizuho is probably going to need Narumi's help in solving the mystery as he was the only one to talk to Haruka and seems to know a lot of what was going on with people in high school, which makes sense with how many people he knew. But for the next few episodes it would make more narrative sense to not focus so much on them as we need to learn more about the characters that were introduced back in the first episode or this is going to be a pretty weak mystery if we do not have the potential motives for suspected characters fleshed out well.

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