Mother Game ep10 finale [review]

I’m calling it!

This drama is compulsory for EVERY MOTHER and PARENT on EARTH.

In the previous episode, we saw Marie trying to save her hikikomori son, Akira by granting his wish to end his suffering – strangling him to death. But of course, Kiko managed to arrive just in time to stop Marie from doing something she’d regret her whole life (to be honest, this scene is predictable because Mother Game won’t end with a sad ending, there’s just no way).

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As for Yuki, her husband found out about her side-job as an escort and all the debts she has hidden from him. He left the house saying he wanted to think over this, alone. Yuki later one told Kiko it might end up with a divorce.

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On the other hand, Haruto is showing some rebellious moments towards Kiko. He doesn’t want her to escort him into the school and keeps on saying no to her for whatever. This makes Kiko think it might be a rebellious phase.

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Marie’s husband came to see Kiko and told her Akira will be sent to a villa elsewhere. Putting both Marie and him together in a house will crush them both. He also finally told Kiko the reason why he approached her in the first place. He was thinking of offering Kiko a job as chef at their Ginza restaurant, to which Kiko instantly said ‘impossible’. He also agreed that this place, her Gohanya shop, is still the place for her.
Honestly, as much as I like Gohanya, that job offer at Ginza is not bad though. I mean, obviously, it’d give her more income and isn’t that good news?

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Kiko went to the intersection where Akira was often seen standing. She hasn’t given up on finding the real cause for Akira’s condition. She met Satoko there and they chatted. When Satoko told her Akira’s primary school was just ahead of the intersection, Kiko found the clue she had been waiting for. She rushed to Marie’s house only to find Akira in the car, leaving to the villa already.

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One day, an order came for her. Akira wanted her to prepare bento for him. So she went to see him. She saw him reading a red book, which Marie was seen reading couple of times before. Marie’s husband came in and tried to talk to him, as he was reminded by Kiko how he should save his family since he’s a husband and also a father. Akira lashed out at him but he managed to apologize for not doing anything when everyone was pressing against his mother and from now on, Akira can hit and hate him instead. He will take whatever Akira does. Some fatherly bonding here.

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Haruto being rebellious again when he wouldn’t hold hands with Kiko haha

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After Kiko told him about the intersection at Miyanomori, he explained that when he was in Grade 1, Marie would always bring him to that intersection and he would refuse her to escort him till the gate. That place was where he would always join his friends and they’d walk together to school. But after a while, as Odadera’s business expanded bigger, his friends’ number began to decrease. One day, Marie found him crouching alone at the intersection. That probably gave Akira a bad shock. I mean, imagine a kid in a school where nobody wants to be friends with.

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There’s a brief cute moment of Haruto when he went out to the shop by himself. He got lost on the way back and after being found, he told Kiko that since he’s going to be in grade school soon, he wanted to help as much as he can to ease Kiko’s burden. Haruto…why are you making me tear up??? Kiko told him there’s no need to rush and be an adult so soon. She wanted him to cherish his childhood instead.

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And looks like Yuki and his husband made up. He managed to collect some money to pay the debt.

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Kiko’s Grandpa always have something meaningful to say. In this episode in particular, a lot of meaningful quotes were spoken. Everything that hints on the families’ problems. Somehow, I think Kiko was inspired by some of the things he said.

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Midori finally settled the divorce with her husband and took custody of Rika. She found a job too and is applying for child care support.

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I’m gonna spam these two now. I kind of ship this pair. I mean, it’d be nice if they end up together, but I don’t mind if Kiko decides to continue be single. But there’s this tiny hope inside of me to see the day Shinnosuke confesses to Kiko. And he did!! It’s an indirect confession but still better than nothing!

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“When you’re being told by someone you like that you can do it, it feels like I can do anything”

And then he went downright ashamed that he actually blurted that sentence xDD

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He’s so formal though! He actually told her it’s okay not to answer now. He wants a reply after the graduation ceremony though haha

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Shinnosuke is so awkward that he’s cute when he’s around Kiko.

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Jeez Satoko made me worried for a second that she might have some kind of heart disease. Apparently, she’s just pregnant! Well, at least, most of the families are moving forward with better lives, things seem to work out for them. All except for Marie’s family.

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After some encouragement from the rest, Kiko went again to find Marie. Marie locked herself in Akira’s room and wouldn’t meet Kiko face to face. But Kiko still stayed and said everything she had come to say.

“Let me say this clearly, if you keep blaming yourself, Akira will not be able to move forward from his starting line. Please spend more time with Akira from now. I think that’s all a parent and child need. Nothing else.”

I think this scene was quite beautiful, so calming and quiet and they utilized the door. Kiko putting her hands one by one on the door’s surface as she tried to get her messages transmitted to Marie.

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But the next scene was probably the climax. Akira had been communicating with her mother by writing down what he ate that day on the notes her mother would always give him when she sent the food. He never showed them to Marie and kept them inside the drawer. So when Marie found them…it was touching.

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Grandpa explains the tree philosophy. I’m particularly touched by this episode’s lecture.

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Basically, Marie finally approached Akira and took Makoto to the ceremony. Everyone was happy to see Marie and Makoto again. The Director also said meaningful stuffs in her speech that I teared up a little.

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Don’t be crushed, fellow shippers! But yeah, Kiko declined Shinnosuke’s confession with the reason being, she wants to focus on raising Haruto. But she likes him xD That’s enough hahahaha

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Kiko’s ‘airhead’ moment appeared when she was wondering how Marie could make it so fast to the kindergarten when she was at the villa. Yuki told her Marie used helicopter. Rich people…

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That banner is beautiful. This whole scene is so pretty!

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The finale ended differently this time. If you noticed by now, it didn’t start with the usual short chat with the Ward Officer. They put it at the end instead. This time Kiko complains that she couldn’t find vacancy at any daycare near her neighbourhood and asked for his help, again. So it ended with a rather funny note.

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The biggest factor to determine whether a drama is worth your time or not, aside from the obvious ‘whether it’s your cup of tea or not’, is the performances of the actors/actresses. Are they convincing enough to carry their given roles? Were they able to bring out whatever is needed of their characters? One of the strongest reason why this show works is the characters.

We all love quirky characters. Okay, Kiko Kamahara is not exactly quirky but she’s instantly loveable, an evident protagonist, not without flaws of course but still managed to lead the show without her supporting cast outshining her. Let’s look at Mondai no Aru Restaurant for a bit since that drama also has a lead character (Maki Yoko) and a few supporting characters. In Maki’s case, her supporting characters namely Mayu Matsuoka, Fumi Nikaido, Yasuda Ken and Takahata Mitsuki all did so well that at times, we forgot that Maki Yoko was the lead. Personally, I was more impressed by Mayu Matsuoka’s performance even though Maki is more experienced. Not that I’m complaining. It just shows that sometimes, depending on the characters you get, there are chances you can grab more attention than the lead character. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen in Mother Game. Fumino Kimura’s Kiko Kamahara, like I mentioned previously, is the drive force of the drama and proves that without her, the show would probably be less exciting. Her character is so well-written. I guess the scriptwriter should be thanked at least. Still, we shouldn’t disregard the other characters, Kyoko Hasegawa (36), Kanjiya Shiori (29), Dan Rei (43) and Adachi Yumi (33) are all such a pleasure to watch. Most of them are veteran actresses so there’s no problem regarding their performances. The youngest of the bunch is Fumino (27) herself and it’s great she managed to display the youthful side of a young single mother, quite effortlessly. This is Fumino’s first lead role and I think after 10 years being in the industry, she finally got her breakthrough. Her performance here makes one wonder where has she been all this while. I think her previous supporting roles have nothing much to be praised and I admit that I didn’t even really notice her before. So whoever casted her for this show, your choice was one of the best ever made. I think this might just propel Fumino Kimura’s popularity. In fact, she’s going to appear in a WOWOW police drama as lead in August. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully she gets to explore different kinds of roles from now on.

The kids! Oh how I love Haruto! That kid is overflowing with talent. I hope he stays in the industry and I look forward to see him again in the future. All the kids have their own moments that they shine, although limited, but they did well in the parts they’re supposed to. Even that hikikomori son of Marie’s, really amazed me during his confrontation especially in episode 9. My heart went all out for him during that scene. In all honesty, I couldn’t find fault with any of the actors/actresses in this show. The minor roles are well done too, honorable mention to Seto Koji as Shinnosuke sensei.

Great show!

Some behind the scenes pictures taken from the official TBS twitter for Mother Game. They remind me so much of Mondai no Aru Restaurant, like a tight-knit family. Plus, the kids! They’re so cute. I hope when they grow up, they’ll meet and act again together in the future.

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