Alice no Toge episode 4 [review]


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Continuing where we left off from episode 3, Nishikado wasted no time to pursue Bandai about Asumi’s father’s case. However, Bandai is not someone you can take down easily like the other minions. I’m not sure whether Bandai is the Big Boss in this show, because let’s recap a little, shall we?

In the previous 3 episodes, we already watched how Asumi took down 3 people involved in her father’s case, while Nishikado helped her with the lawyer. This poses a huge question. Just how many villains are there in this show? We’re not even halfway through the show (assuming this drama has 11 episodes) and we’re already almost at the final level – Bandai. I have to say, this exceeded my expectations and the pace is really fast. I think, this is definitely one of the fastest plot I’ve ever watched for a J-drama, in a long while. But I’m glad they ditched the whole background check of everyone which can be quite unnecessary and boring in most cases. So while I’m still getting used to this speedy pace, I’m liking what they’re offering. It keeps viewers entertained.

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Can we just pause this scene for a moment? Like, I’m super happy both Nishikado and Asumi finally, FINALLY, can actually sit down, together in a small table, dine and talk. I don’t care if they’re just discussing about the case and all business, this gives me hope of seeing them bloom as a pair in the future. However, anybody knows the exact age difference between them? Lol…because Nishikado seems like he could be 5-7 years older than Asumi (wild guess).

Why is Asumi looking tiny bit uncomfortable sitting together with him though lol…she could be afraid that her step-father might find out about her revenge. But I find it funny when Nishikado just continued to babble about his analysis of the case so far as Asumi continued to twitch uncomfortably.

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Do you still recall the lady at the restaurant in the first episode? Turns out she’s one of those medical sales person. Bandai is taking bribe from her in return for accepting the technology from the company, called RX-1. Asumi overheard when Bandai asked one of the doctors to try RX-1 on a patient, Hagiwara.

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She then discussed this with Nishikado. After a rough start in the previous 3 episodes, this pair finally works together.

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Remember Hoshino the nurse who barely appears? I know that Chiaki Kuriyama is playing a minor role in this show but I was hoping to see more of her. Glad this episode begins to explore her background more, giving us an insight of her family who opens a floral shop. She takes the initiative to approach Asumi who seems to keep a distance with all her colleagues. She invited Asumi to a BBQ party but Asumi gave an excuse that she’s not free. We all know Hoshino has a thing for Bandai’s son, who Asumi is also getting close to, because he can lead to something that might help her in the revenge against Bandai. So I think having a friendship between Hoshino and Asumi will complicate things soon.

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Asumi actually threw away the pot of flower Hoshino gave her?! Well, she probably just isn’t interested in making friends with anyone. That or seeing that pot of flower will only remind her of the family she once had but destroyed.

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Let the LOVE TRIANGLE begins! Totally saw this coming. Asumi, in order to know more about Bandai, she approaches his son who takes a liking in her. Hoshino as we all know already, likes him. Nothing is scarier than a love competition between women.

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LOL…when Asumi tells Nishikado she doesn’t have a single friend, the look on his face!

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Hoshino is really a straightforward girl. She asked Asumi directly what she thinks of Bandai’s son. After saying she doesn’t have any particular feeling towards him, Hoshino is relieved.

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As Asumi pursues Bandai, we see Nishikado pursuing the other end – Tazaki who bribes Bandai. Upon successfully coercing Hagiwara to try RX-1, Bandai puts Asumi in charge of Hagiwara. That way, Asumi has control over what she plans to do. Nishikado warned her before not to use Hagiwara to take Bandai down. Asumi had planned to interfere with Hagiwara’s RX-1 experiment (make it fail) and when it failed, Bandai’s intention to introduce RX-1 will fail too. Nishikado advised her not to involve other people.

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What do I think of Asumi’s obsession with the revenge? Almost to an uncontrollable stage where she puts it above anything else and it’s starting to eat away her conscience. But thank god Nishikado is there to do some damage control. However, will Asumi take his advice? That’s another different matter.

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Asumi showed her lair to Nishikado. He finally realized how Asumi has lived ever since the incident, 15 years ago. Involving strangers in order to get what she aims for, is nothing for her as she told Nishikado to not get in her way.

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A patient immediately had negative reaction towards RX-1, causing Asumi to reconsider whether to go ahead with the plan to introduce the new medicine to Hagiwara. Bandai doesn’t seem to be fazed by the trouble and ordered them to continue administering the medicine to patients.

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Despite Nishikado’s advice, Asumi decided to go on with her plan. That scene where Nishikado ran under the rain … nice indeed.

THAT HAIR!

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I think the scene where Asumi had some doubts over giving RX-1 to Hagiwara after seeing the photo of him and his daughter was well-executed. The slight tremble when she held the needle especially.

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The rainbow saved the day?! Should’ve seen that coming. Her father once told her to remember her mother and always smile as they looked towards a rainbow after the mother’s funeral. So this kicked in some major conscience into Asumi.

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Awww this scene. Love it so much. Would’ve been better if he actually gave her a hug right there and then. But that wouldn’t be in character for him and I could totally imagine Asumi back away. Anyways, Asumi was angry with herself for not taking that final step to avenge her father. She decided that she will not falter in the future and Nishikado hit the spot!

“Are you really taking revenge for your father? Isn’t it really just for your own self-satisfaction?”

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As Nishikado approached Tazaki again, he finds out that just before Osanai died, he had an argument with Bandai. Could that argument have led to Osanai’s ‘not so accidental’ death?

That DEATH GLARE AGAIN!

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You know what, when she threw that empty bottle against the window, I was thinking what if it bounced back directly at her? Because that bottle just barely missed her lol…

NEXT PREVIEW EPISODE

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OMG OMG OMG!!!

This show is not slowing down even a bit!

Thoughts on this episode:

This episode is yet another step up from the last as we see how the revenge is starting to drive Asumi to a corner and almost crazy. Bandai is not an easy prey and it’ll take more than the easy tricks/traps to get him. Glad they decided to take some time (more than one episode) to focus on Bandai. So what will she do next? Will she finally commit a real crime with no return? Is she going to use Bandai’s son? Judging from the preview for next episode, it seems almost certain that she’s decided to use Bandai’s son to get into the house where Bandai purportedly keeps his biggest secrets.

This is no doubt my favorite drama this season. It’s not perfect and it doesn’t hold up to the likes of Hanzawa Naoki kind of standard, but among all other dramas this season, it’s considered one of the best. Of course, that’s just my opinion alone. It’s fast paced and doesn’t bore us with unnecessary conversations. I also like how it is filmed, the slow-motions and the soundtrack is good. I’ll get my hands on it when it’s released. Lastly, it’s extremely hard not to take notice of Ueno Juri’s acting in this. I think it’s the first time she takes on a dark role, how does she fare so far? I give her 9/10. I really enjoyed her performance. I’m not giving her perfect score yet because I believe she still has so much to show us. As the story proceeds, there’ll be more challenges and I’m pretty sure she’ll shine even more in the later episodes. Can you imagine the climax already? I mean, given how so many unexpected scenes already occurred, I hope the climax will not fall short. The screenwriters are doing a good job so far.

 

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3 thoughts on “Alice no Toge episode 4 [review]

  1. Its great to read a review of this drama. I did not cover it since I am already reviewing Mozu and one other. I like Ueno here, but not a big fan since I am yet to be impressed by her or has seen her play challenging roles. Heroines are easy to play, especially if you need to make the audience sympathize with you. But I think she fits her role here perfectly. Revenge is fun and exciting to watch, especially if you can understand the story and the root cause, and while some fans may argue about holes in the script, I think the drama can stand on its own and have enough to make the audience appreciate each episode.

    I have no idea why people still think too highly of Hanzawa Naoki – too much overacting there, but most probably the appeal lies with the lead actor, and even though there are tons of over-reactions, he has a certain integrity, and he clicks most of the time.

    I don’t know how many episodes more, but every time she plans for revenge she almost always succeeds and that may be too much to be accepted.

    I love your description of “death glare” she makes them so menacing indeed!

  2. Thanks for reading ^^ Regarding Hanzawa, I liked it a lot and it was my 2nd fav drama that season but I really preferred Mother (Mitsushima Hikari) which was a total opposite to the over-acting in Hanzawa. I too think that the high rating for Hanzawa mostly had to do with the lead actor, Sakai Masato rather than the plot.

    I’ll admit with Alice, if it isn’t for Ueno Juri, I probably won’t like it so much. This show’s strong point is obviously not the plot but the cast. So far, she nails the character Asumi which makes her more appealing. I think her role as Ruka in Last Friends was quite challenging. But if you’re talking about challenging as in the likes of ‘Soredemo Ikite Yuku’, then yes, she hasn’t landed a role like that yet. I really want her to act together with Eita again and if possible, alongside Mitsushima Hikari (who I think is one of the best actresses in Japan). The public seems to only know Ueno Juri as Nodame and forget her other works. That’s why I hope she’ll continue to challenge difficult roles and not too much of romance comedy (although she was a joy to watch in Hidamari). Maybe some indie stuffs, instead of mainstream? Perhaps, she can get some tips from Odagiri Joe lol…

  3. lol Well, Joe Odagiri is known to have a somewhat “wicked” sense of humor and may say something totally unexpected, but their chemistry in the drama is very good – there is tension and excitement. I hope they will explore the romantic side to their relationship, as hints are being dropped here and there…

    Indeed Hikari has come a long way and in Woman and also in the drama with Eita as you noted, she really gave compelling performances. I watched Ueno in Josee, the Tiger and the Fish and it was a supporting role only, but she was memorable there. I look forward to a movie or another drama that she can further her acting even more. 🙂

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