A LIFE ep5 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

Every major and minor character has an episode dedicated for them and now we’re left with Nanao for next week. This week, Hamura gets a chance to shine amidst the (slowly but surely) developing main plot between our two leads.

Let’s talk about Hamura first. Previously, I thought he’s the lesser evil of Masao but for some odd reason, I felt sorry for him here. Of course, covering up his former teacher’s mistake isn’t ethical for any doctor, but at the very least, he sincerely respects Yamamoto and would like to try in any way possible to not destroy a talented surgeon who can still save many patients in the future. Sometimes, this kind of issue is tricky.


(Disclaimer: I do not condone unethical practices especially by a doctor who is in control of a patient’s life) but for discussion’s sake: Doctors are often judged, for which they should be, after all, patients’ lives are in their hands. But when one mistake occurs, they’re dragged across the mud and every life saved in the past forgotten. Remember how Shibata’s family is also destroyed in similar fashion (although there’s no way to know how severe that case was). For that, I understand where Hamura’s coming from and his argument with Okita.


Of course, Okita’s viewpoint is also right and no matter what, Yamamoto did a mistake and put a patient’s life at risk. So my point is, while I don’t agree with Yamamoto’s action, I sympathize with Hamura’s conflicted emotions.


Compared to Masao who obviously doesn’t care what happens to Yamamoto and business is all he has in mind, Hamura has utmost respect for Yamamoto, not only as his former teacher but also a skillful surgeon who he believes can still save many lives if given the chance. Well, at least Yamamoto can still serve in the countryside. So what do you think? Do you think doctors should have their medical license revoked just because of one mistake or depending on the severity?


Of course, that slap across Okita’s face is unwarranted. Okita doesn’t deserve any of that. That’s the only thing I felt out of place as far as Hamura’s actions go in this episode. Besides that, it’s interesting to see Hamura starting to see Masao’s evil side and that glare he gives him at the end shows a LOT. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see Hamura confront Masao with every disagreement he has in the future or not but this progress is something I didn’t expect from Hamura because I thought he’ll be Masao’s minion forever.


Moving on, Mifuyu’s brain tumor. Who else is having cold sweat when she’s operating on a kid (I presume) in the operating room? Before this, I’m still partially okay with them withholding the tumor from her but after the obvious symptoms, headaches and fainting, I’m appalled by now that they’re still letting her work like normal. Consultation is still fine but to operate in her condition?! At this point, I can’t agree with both Okita and Masao’s action of keeping this a secret still. Even if Okita’s thinking of her emotional stress, it’s still unethical to let her carry on her work (surgery) risking another patient’s life. How long can he be on standby for her? It’s not a long-term solution.


Masao is no doubt my most hated character in this show from the start. I can’t read his true intention at all (Asano seems to be having fun playing Masao though lol). On some occasions, he seems to genuinely worry about Mifuyu (those tears in front of Okita, are they real or crocodile tears?), so maybe, there’s still some love there. But at the same time, he’s still sleeping with Sakakibara. WTH? Coupled with his action about the partnership too, I have come to a point where I just downright hate him, no way for him to redeem himself anymore. Even if he cries again in future episodes or do anything remotely kind, I can’t see him any other way than being an evil jealous bastard. So that’s Masao for me till the end of the show and nothing will change how I feel about him. Period.


 As for Mifuyu, she’s not to be blamed 100% since she’s practically kept in the dark. In the beginning, having several migraines may not raise much red flags yet, since she was stressed about her father’s surgery and with work and household chores + being a mother, it may not be an obvious sign something is wrong. HOWEVER, as time flies, some of her actions begin to bug me. For example, in ep5, she doesn’t need to ask permission from Masao to make an appointment (detailed examination) for her when she herself, as the Director’s daughter, a doctor herself is perfectly capable of making an appointment. Maybe it’s out of respect for her husband and to voice her concern about her migraines but still, didn’t she say that she wants to start having control over her own life and decisions? Well it only took 5 episodes for her to find out about the tumor no sarcasm intended and I sure hope it doesn’t take another 5 episodes for them to find a procedure for her brain tumor. There’s one thing I wanna raise too. Okita has been racking his brain for the procedure. I’m sure 10 years of career overseas should amount to several good connections (so couldn’t he possibly ask for some assistance or advice from other specialists?) Well, of course they won’t make the MC ask for somebody else’s help duh but realistically speaking in the real world, a second opinion is normal and it’s not like Mifuyu doesn’t have $$ for one other than in Japan.


By now it’s evident that hospital politics and romance play a major part in this show. There are some relevant though overused issues being addressed in the past few episodes – medical malpractices, politics, cover ups, financial struggle etc. I have to admit, certain characters seem to be dumbed down in order for the MC to shine. It’s a pity that they have to resort to that. I also can’t help but find the way they wrote Mifuyu is kinda lazy (relegating her to damsel in distress role). Making her emotionally weak is one thing but it can be frustrating to watch too after a while. And of course, she’s going down that depression spiral next week now that she finds out about the tumor, which I expected because that’s just how her character is written. I just think Takeuchi Yuko deserves a better character, that’s all.


Of course, I still like Okita-Mifuyu scenes. For example that heart rending scene at the end of episode 5. All the more when you realize Okita still very much loves her (that scene where Igawa said Masao can’t possibly be calm enough to operate on someone he loves and Okita said “That’s why I’m doing it” when clearly, he’s struggling to put on a brave face). The misunderstanding 10 years ago obviously still bothers Mifuyu when she brings up the “Congrats” message Okita gave her. Am I still rooting for this couple? Yes, but I’d have been more supportive if Mifuyu isn’t written the way she is at the moment.


Igawa who serves mostly as a comic relief has started to show maturity in this episode as he shares Okita’s concern over Mifuyu’s tumor. He’s also sensitive enough to understand Hamura’s situation to pass the patient to Okita (though on hindsight, Okita got dragged into the issue). Shibata doesn’t have much to do in this episode, other than being observant towards Igawa who’s not being himself during the dinner and also bringing gyuudon for meat lover Okita.


Next episode seems to focus on Sakakibara and I wonder if Mifuyu will ever find out about Masao’s affair.

Onto the next episode!


4 thoughts on “A LIFE ep5 [review]

  1. How interesting! So Hamura isn’t all bad: that’s a relief. I am not fond of that actor, he does villains so well I have trouble believing him when he is [rarely] a good guy. Poor Igawa needs to grow up, and soon! Masao is a total creep. I thought asking Okita to tell Mifuyu about her tumor was dreadful.
    Hard to believe Mifuyu became a doctor and a surgeon when she seems to have no backbone. You are right, in the circumstances she shouldn’t be operating.

    • Yup, MTE. I never really liked Hamura but the change of heart here is surprising so I’m looking forward to see if he’ll begin to challenge Masao in the future.

  2. I have watched some more [remember I am a bit over 1 episode behind you]. and while I find Takeuchi Yuko charming and appealing as usual, her character annoys me. Maybe Okita stills loves her deep down, but does he need someone so helpless? Shibata is the one in sync with him. But dorama rules probably need Igawa to finally grow up and convince Shibata, Masao to go up in flames, and MIfuyu to be reunited with Okita. That’s more or less an American ending as well.
    However many Japanese dramas end in tears. I know that on occasion, the Japanese audience likes a good cry. I remember Beautiful Life, one of Kimutaku’s best, having a heart rending end.

  3. Well, after much delay, I finished watching this drama. I have to say I am somewhat disappointed. I felt that Masao’s redemption came out of the blue. Hamura’s role is imprecise. He packs to leave, and then gets promoted to deputy director, while Masao becomes director! What?! Surely something should have been shown to arrive to this, instead of presenting us with the accomplished fact. Of course Masao has duly helped with Mifuyu’s surgery. But was that enough to convince Mifuyu’s father, who was irate in an earlier episode? A transition is needed, and to explain Hamura’s promotion as well.

    And after all this talk about the danger of faltering during surgery on a family member or close friend, there was only that moment during Okita’s father’s surgery. Mifuyu has remained sweet and fuzzy. If she had deep differences with Masao, how come they are suddenly resolved overnight?

    Whoever directed this decided to remain conventional and have the family stay united. Fine, but then they should have been shown as closer at the beginning of the drama, with only recent problems.

    Poor Okita will go back to Seattle alone. Though naturally Shibata would have big hurdles coming along: passing the equivalency exam for nursing requires a very good command of English. And of course you need a green card as well. At least Igawa has definitely progressed.

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