A LIFE ep4 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

Things are moving forward with more character development and brief flashbacks but equally crucial to shed some light on our two MC’s backstory. There are still a few things that bug me in this show which I’ll address at the end. For now, let’s dive into this episode!

This week, Shibata gets a taste of what being inferior feels like and she sure isn’t happy about it. She becomes a victim of a conceited surgeon who is embarrassed by the blunder he makes, after Shibata corrects him, causing the partnership talk with Katayama Hospital to cease. Shibata who has done nothing wrong, save for being too blunt without any ill intention, is suspended but she would have none of it and decides to quit. Her frustration stems from her background as revealed during the ‘date’ with Igawa. Her parents (not clear whether it’s her father or mother or both) was a doctor whose hospital shut down after a single mistake. Lacking finance, she could only get a scholarship enough for nursing but not medical school, which was her original dream.


There are several significant scenes in this episode, the beach scene being one of them; then there’s Okita and her argument. Due to Masao’s misleading comment earlier, a misunderstanding happened between both Okita and Shibata, making her think that he is on the doctors’ side. This further fuels her inner frustration. However, Okita is right when he says that the person who doesn’t acknowledge nurses is she, herself. Later, she also reveals to him that she has always felt something missing no matter how hard she worked as a nurse.


She probably still can’t accept what happened to her family and when her original ambition can’t be fulfilled, she settles for less and that irritates her. She keeps this irritation building and building inside and when she sees someone like Igawa (who reflects her, except he gets to become a doctor naturally), it irks her even more. In fact, I bet she would be a better doctor than him if she is given the chance. This can also explain her annoyance towards Igawa. But I can’t blame her for being annoyed, Igawa is childish compared to her. I really have to commend him for never giving up on chasing after her lol. At least he’s persistent in that sense. Don’t give up, Igawa! See you’re making progress! A date by the sea!


Get a Porsche next time you’re on a date, Igawa!

 Compared to Igawa, who’s like a kid, it must be a relief to strike a mature conversation with someone like Okita. I like how they share something in common when Okita reveals that he also has that complex and can’t acknowledge himself for a long time. Perhaps, that’s also the reason he agrees to go overseas.


I know there are people shipping for Okita and Shibata, don’t worry, I hear you! I ship them but like I said, I’m not sure if this ship has sunk even before it gets to sail. There’s no way they’d reunite a PRIDE couple only to separate them. Jdrama, you’re way too predictable. As of now, I’m happy enough for both Okita and Shibata to continue as work partners. Let’s give Igawa a chance, shall we?
(p.s  I don’t mind a hint of love line though)


So what really happened between these two 10 years ago? We find out that both of them has a miscommunication which leads to misunderstanding that never gets solved until now! *gasps*

From the conversation below + Okita’s yakiniki scene + the final scene, it appears that both of them thought that they got dumped by each other when nobody actually dumped anybody! Talk about miscommunication! While we audience know that Masao’s the real villain behind this mess, they’re both also to be blamed for this. I mean, this very scene itself shows how Okita thinks everyone would comprehend his subliminal message, which proves wrong because Mifuyu refutes that she doesn’t get the reason for his sudden departure to Seattle and at the end, she clearly thought she got dumped.


Okita sending that ‘Congrats’ to Mifuyu is just… ugh. But maybe he’s still suffering from that inferiority complex and thinks she’s better off with Masao.

Okita and Mifuyu, both of you need to sit down and talk!

So I’ve mentioned this in previous post about Mifuyu and Masao. Despite being married for 6 years and having a child, they seem distant. Sleeping in separate rooms (c’mon, Rina is old enough to sleep on her own), also notice how Mifuyu addresses him as Masao-san and not just Masao (idk but that still sounds distant to me).


Will this long lost love be rekindled? About Masao, I still can’t really read him. He’s obviously the villain but the question remains: Does he still love Mifuyu OR he’s just keeping her alive because he wants to take over the hospital? He’s clearly shaken during the surgery at the end and flashes of Mifuyu come to mind. So perhaps, even if just a little, he still cares about her?


Mifuyu… I can’t help but feel she gets similar treatment with Kanno Miho’s role in Suna no Tou last season. I wish the writer would make her a little smarter instead of being naive. Basically, she’s kind-hearted, sweet, determined to do her best as a doctor, loves children and cares about her colleagues (as shown from the chat with Shibata, except it backfires lol) but a little bit more edge would’ve been better. Nothing wrong with Takeuchi’s acting though, in fact, everyone in the show is doing great. But c’mon, she deserves better.


Looks like Mifuyu’s condition just took a turn for the worse. I wonder if they’re gonna operate on her next episode or drag this till several more episodes. I hope this gets dealt with asap because it’d be a total drag if they stretch Mifuyu’s tumor plot till the end. I’m sure Okita would save her, no worries there.


As for the few things that bug me, I’ve read some comments online and maybe we can all ponder.

1. Is it right to hide the tumor from Mifuyu? With only 6 months to live (without surgery), it’s also not appropriate to let her work like nothing happened. Though the migraine doesn’t affect her work so far, what if she blacks out during a surgery?

2. Seems to me that most medical shows like Doctor X is made solely for entertainment purposes. Don’t get me wrong, I kinda enjoy Doctor X but only for Ryoko really. However I also notice that often times, the writers would dumb down other doctors to make the MC hero. Will A LIFE fall into the same trope? There are no perfect doctors of course, but sometimes I can’t help but yearn for a clever medical drama, without the constant use of cliches; unrealistic doctors, questionable actions etc. Especially so when the show is depicting professionals. If we are to take them seriously, they should provide us realistic characters.

What do you think so far? Feel free to share your thoughts below!


8 thoughts on “A LIFE ep4 [review]

  1. Arama, thanks again for subbing.
    Ep. 4 is great because it revolves around my fav character in this drama: Shibata. She’s strong, knows her mind, sees through people, and isn’t afraid of anyone.

    My take on things you’ve raised:
    – Mifuyu still loves Okita. If she lives, it will only get more clingy from here. I hope you are looking forward to a semi-bald-headed woman crying over Okita’s shoulder. He needs to fix her brain once and for all.

    – Masao loves Mifuyu. Unfortunately for him, his wife is a sweet bimbo and he feels he’s not as good as Okita (as a doctor or as a man)- after all everyone keeps praising Okita (and he does look like Kimura Takuya). So even though Masao is the heir apparent, has a wife, a kid (and a convenient lover/ kisser), he is unsatisfied and insecure.

    – Okita is in a hard place – every week he is facing the brunt of someone or the other (and in Ep.5 Hamura slaps him and he in turn grabs his collar!): All he wants to do is surgery but all the men are jealous of him and all the women want him! Someone else is living the life that he almost had and hospital’s work environment is stressful too. He’s a passive person but he will have to open up when Mifuyu is persistent with questions and when Shibata makes her move as a woman or Igawa goes into jealous rage over being rejected (whichever comes first). He will also have to make up his mind on that suitcase he takes with him to every place – he even took it to the other hospital! Where is he going to settle and practice his craft? In this hospital or back in U.S.?

    – One more sign that Shibata+Okita are MFEO is her food choice: Yakiniki (only meat). And in Ep.4’s last surgery, Shibata was pre-empting Okita’s tool choice & orders before he even mentioned them. It was magic. It was informative to know how a good nurse can make the difference in a complex surgery.

    – Igawa is cute, funny and ridiculous. Shibata will never pick him but one thing’s for sure: he will be more attentive than Okita – who probably will be talking about left ventricle and adenoma even at home – of course she’ll enjoy that more than Igawa’s Porsche.

    – There are wrong, unethical things shown – doc with tumor doing surgeries on kids, docs fighting in OT, docs slapping docs, docs grabbing docs etc. – you’d think surgeons would be more careful with their hands! – that’s dramatic license – but production values are good, and focus is on what it means to really save and retain a quality of life amidst hospital politics and romantic tension.

    • ” I hope you are looking forward to a semi-bald-headed woman crying over Okita’s shoulder.” lol this made me laugh
      Good to know you’re still very, very supportive of Okita-Shibata ship! *high five* I’ve been passive about it I know, but I still squeal inside whenever they share the screen. And like you said, magic in the surgery! Ah…if only Okita sees her in a another light! They share so much in common- workaholic, yakiniku, skillful and have great chemistry.
      Also, did you notice how Shibata told Mifuyu “because I get to do surgery with Dr. Okita” that already sounds like a declaration of war. I may be reading too much into it though haha

  2. Well, Shibata wanted to be a doc 1st and feels valued as a nurse because of Okita who values her opinion & skill as opposed to being offended by it – I think that’s what she meant – remember she decided to resign when told that Okita didn’t defend her. But Mifuyu will read it as something else. KT never makes the first move in any drama, I doubt he will now!

    Saw your twitter feed, you felling down? Here:

    • Agreed, which is why I love that scene where they bowed to each other. The significance of his bow means everything to Shibata.

      Thanks a lot for the positive vibes! I’m feeling better now 🙂

  3. Avan, I am off this drama. Mifuyu is unwatchable. She is the richest, most entitled doctor in that hospital – her father owns it, her husband runs it, she works there half-time (and no one would have hired someone like her in a real hospital) – and she is the weakest link. She does not take care of herself but takes time out to do difficult surgeries on kids (highly unethical and dangerous – she should be fired). She has zero relationship with her husband but has all the time to chat up the hottie she had a thing with 10 years ago – Ep.6 promo even has a hug when she crumbles yet again; she is making snide remarks to the other woman – have a frank convo with the deadwood husband? She’s a mother with a tumor and she is a wreck instead of taking charge over something and at least trying to find a solution! She does not want to take ownership of any aspect of her life! She’s in every frame, the story revolves around her. It’s a torture. The drama is of 10 episodes – I don’t see the point. Pride was a different story & setup and just having a big name actress does not mean a stupid female character should have all the screen time.

    There is usually a 1-min. scene of Shibata-Okita in 60 minutes drama! More torture. And trust me, the ratings will continue to go down because focus of the drama (in hospital politics, romance) is all wrong. And it’s slow-paced. I’m off. Will catch your reviews though! Tc!

    • I’m sorry to hear you’re not continuing this show. It hasn’t come to a point for me to be turned off yet but I understand and share some of your frustration. Out of all characters, I hate Masao the most but that’s a given. I didn’t quite like how they wrote Mifuyu here too, like a typical damsel in distress. It’s also as if she’s relegated to a role whose sole purpose is the MC’s love interest and a weak one at that. It’d be nice if they make her a bit stronger, I don’t find anything wrong with having both strong leads in a romance/medical drama. In ep3, she showed character development and growth which I liked but in ep5, I don’t get why she has to ask permission from Masao for a detailed examination when she can very well make the appointment herself (I know it’s out of respect for her husband who’s Deputy but still). Yuko deserves better than this. Her reaction in ep6 preview is probably still acceptable since she might die and given her ’emotionally weak’ character, I expected that.

      I’d very much like to see more Shibata-Okita interaction too but she’s not the main and even if her name’s billed before Asano, he had plenty of screentime than her (the irony lol).
      The politics is starting to get tiring. They can make a Kounodori-style hospital drama and still be interesting but they’ve chosen this route so nothing we can do about it. Plus, the biggest selling point they’re counting on is Kimura-Yuko pairing which I have perfectly no problem with, in fact, I’m shipping them too (forgive me, I ship a lot of possible pairing in this xD) and I like watching their scenes together but I’d have enjoyed it more if they fixed Mifuyu’s character.

  4. Hello! Thanks for doing the subtitles for this. I’m having Iryu feelings about it (which coincidentally is also led by a PRIDE actor), but I’m a fool for Kimura Takuya dramas. I’m enjoying it so far and I must say I’ve become a Kimura Fumino fan – she has so much potential!

    Ideal ending is Okita+Shibata running the hospital after Mifuyu passes away. Poor Rina. Cries.

    Thanks again for translating 🙂

    • Hi, you’re welcome! Glad to know you’ve become Fumino’s fan (high-five!)
      Haha I don’t think Mifuyu will die though I’m sure Okita will save her. Jdrama is mostly too predictable ^^;;

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