Yamada Tarou Monogatari – 06
It’s swelteringly hot outside, so the Yamada siblings are cooling down by trying to enjoy themselves in a tiny inflatable pool not designed to fit them all. Since they’re all in there, the pool soon springs a leak and all the water spills out. At the Mimura home later, Takuya gives Tarou some bags of flour that he got as gifts, and on his way out, Tarou passes by a woman who immediately catches his eye. The thought of her causes Tarou to be so absent-minded that he burns the pancake he’s cooking for his family, and since it’s rare for him to screw up like this, his mother recognizes that he might be in love. Tarou denies it, but his siblings immediately harp on him for more information. At school, even Takuya thinks that Tarou has fallen in love, and his conclusion is reinforced when Tarou admits that he felt excited when he passed by that woman. After glancing at Takako for a moment, Takuya decides to invite Tarou over again so that Tarou can meet the woman, and once Tarou agrees, Takuya tells Takako about Tarou’s supposed love. Takako at first feels that it has nothing to do with her, but it soon becomes clear to Takuya that she’s very interested when she asks what kind of person it is.
Meanwhile, a beautiful woman named Kotani shows up on school grounds, and although she shows some interest in Takuya, she becomes even more intrigued by Tarou. This woman, who is a graduate of the school and is now in her fourth year of college, then goes to visit the school principal, and she hands him the script of a movie called Hotaru that she wants to make. This love story is about a poor boy and a rich young woman, and she wants Tarou for the male lead. On this afternoon, Tarou is at the Mimura house and finally gets to meet the woman he saw last time. When she serves him a small cake though, Tarou picks up on a scent that’s been making his heart beast faster, and Takuya finally reveals that she is a cooking teacher here to instruct his maids on how to make cakes. He had known from the beginning that Tarou had mistaken the excitement from the smell for love, and he now has a good laugh about it. The next day, Takuya tells Takako the truth, and seeing her quite relieved, he is about to say something about her and Tarou, but he stops mid-sentence and instead urges her to do her best. Reinvigorated, Takako looks for Tarou and finds him in the hallway, but before she can approach him, Kotani starts talking with him.
At first, Tarou isn’t interested in participating since he has a lot of things to do, but when Kotani offers him a box of top brand hot cake mix as compensation, Tarou is reminded of how he once promised his siblings that they’d eat it on a special day someday. What really hooks him into the deal is when she also offers him tickets to her family’s hotel’s pool, so he accepts. She then puts him to the test by having him audition for in a scene where he wears a ragged jacket and mends a sock. Tarou is so good at it that everyone in the room is able to envision him in a real setting, and after having decided to go with him, Kotani looks for a female lead amongst the girls who have gathered. All of them except for Takako volunteer, and after considering it, Takako thinks that it’s impossible for her. Takuya catches her running out and comments on how it’s a waste, but that makes Takako question what he wants with her. In response, Takuya admits that he thinks it would be good if she and Tarou could work out as a couple because it seems interesting. When she starts walking away, he urges her to return to the classroom and tells her that if she stops giving up, then there’ll be better things in store.
Reminded of all the time she’s spent with Tarou, Takako returns to the audition room and gives a performance that wins her the role. Afterwards, she walks home with Tarou and learns the reasons that he’s taking part, causing her to wonder if it’s okay that to choose love over marrying into a rich family. She starts questioning this more when she sees her mother ride up on a bike and strike up a conversation with Tarou about cheap groceries. Things get even more worrisome for her when her mother invites Tarou over for dinner and he mentions that he thinks Takako would make a good wife. Her parents take that to mean that he intends to marry her, but after Takako imagines what life would be like with him, she declares that she doesn’t want a poor person. Tarou, however, doesn’t take offense because he thinks that she’s just reciting a line from the movie. In her room later that night, Takako reads a key line from the script in which she declares her love even though the guy is poor, but she feels that she can’t say something like that.
When the first day of shooting arrives, they start with a long scene where Takako hugs Tarou, and he tells her afterwards that she smells good, which almost causes her to faint. The rest of the filming draws the two closer together, but when they head to Tarou’s house after filming one day, Takako still feels that she should just go home instead of going in. However, she gets dragged in by his siblings, and the kids want today to be the special day that they eat the hot cake mix that Kotani gave Tarou. Seeing everyone so happy about it and enjoying the hot cake so much after Tarou serves it, Takako realizes that she was mistaken. It is indeed possible to become happy without money, and her proof is the happiness shown here in sharing one hot cake between everyone. After tasting it for herself and realizing that it is delicious, Takako feels that she can now say that line from the script with confidence. When the time for filming that scene comes, Takako is able to say that she likes Tarou’s character even though he’s poor, and it turns out to be Tarou who has the most trouble with his line. He is unable to say that he can’t live without her in anything but a monotone voice, and after dozens of attempts, Takuya finally gives him some advice that will allow him to say it with feeling.
On the next take, Tarou performs the line perfectly, and filming soon wraps up. Taking Tarou aside, Kotani tells him about her dream to become famous and make a Hollywood war movie. When that time comes, she wants him to play a Japanese soldier, and she also wants to eventually walk the red carpet with him. Later that night, Takako and Tarou are walking home together, and she admits that she had fun being with him. She then declares that even if he’s poor, she likes him, but since this is the same as the line from the movie, he assumes that’s she was reciting from the script. Recalling how he couldn’t say his own line properly, Tarou finally reveals the advice he got from Takuya: replace the “you” in “I can’t live without you” with his favorite food. Thus, Tarou had been able to perform the line by pretending that he was talking about hamburger, and it shocks Takako because she realizes that that’s what she lost to. Tarou, however, doesn’t think anything about this and is more excited about taking his family to the pool the next day.
It seemed sort of stupid that it took just one pancake to make Takako realize that there’s happiness without money, especially since she’s seen evidence of this so many times before. The big deal they made over the watermelon prize at the festival could have taught her the same thing, and that to me would have been a better time for this realization rather than this pancake thing. Still, they do a great job with the music and the transition from the pancake scene into the movie shoot scene where Takako’s character (which of course parallels herself) confesses that she likes Tarou’s character even if he’s poor. Overall, this episode was fun to watch, but it didn’t improve my opinion of Takako much, unless you count the fact that I think she looks a bit better with glasses.
Next week’s episode looks like it deals with Tarou going on vacation and his teacher and principal will be helping around the house.