Tatakau! Shoten Girl Episode 4 Recap/Review: Moving Forward

"I have an IDEA"

“I have an IDEA”

Jdrama Photo Recap Disclaimer: Since this is both a recap and a review of the show, there will be spoilers here. I’m watching this without English subtitles and while I understand a lot of Japanese, I’m not fluent. There are occasionally parts where I don’t understand what’s going on. And lastly, the photo captions are just snarky jokes and not meant to convey actual dialogue. So if you’re cool with all this, read on and enjoy!

After two episodes heavy on the romantic angst, we finally get to step away a bit and breathe. Aki tries to move on from being rejected by Mita, and Riko continues to move on from Ex-Boyfriend to Tashiro. Along with that, there’s an actual plot concerning the bookstore this week. All in all, it’s a bit of a more upbeat episode than before, which is a lot more fun to watch. So let’s talk about it!

We pick up with everyone worried about Mita. Riko and the boss guy wait in the emergency room for news while everyone else worries back at the bookstore. Finally, the doctor says Mita’s gonna be okay, so Riko hangs out in his room while he recovers.

"Since I'm sick, I demand ice cream and cookies and maybe you should kiss it to make it better?"

“Since I’m sick, I demand ice cream and cookies and maybe you should kiss it to make it better?”

Riko gives everyone the good news the next day at work. Later, Aki goes to visit Mita while he’s recovering, but she discovers that Riko is already there taking care of him. So she leaves without saying anything. Then she sits angstily in the park and eats the desserts she brought for Mita. I mean, hey it’s good not to waste food, right?

"Tastes like sadness and... what is that, coconut?"

“Tastes like sadness and… what is that, coconut?”

And when she’s finished, she smiles. That moment when she can pick herself up and be happy again is a good example of what kind of character Aki is. This is probably my favorite part of the entire episode because she doesn’t even say anything. It’s a nice quiet scene to perfectly demonstrate how she feels. I would love to see more moments like this in the future.

At the next staff meeting, Aki has a suggestion, much to the dismay of the rest of her coworkers (especially the Gossipy Trio).

"You better just be stretching your arm!"

“You better just be stretching your arm!”

She wants to do an event for Children’s Day. The boss approves Aki’s idea and Riko puts her in charge.

The Gossipy Trio and one of the other managers go visit Mita and bring him a nice gift basket. How thoughtful! He asks about the Children’s Day event and they just tell him to worry about recovering first.

"We brought you this 'get-well-soon-but-please-don't-come-back-to-work-yet' gift basket. Sorry that didn't quite fit on the card."

“We brought you this ‘get-well-soon-but-please-don’t-come-back-to-work-yet’ gift basket. Sorry that didn’t quite fit on the card.”

Meanwhile, Riko and Shiho have dinner together at the usual restaurant as always and Tashiro comes in to sit with them. Shiho makes a hasty exit.

"Ain't nobody got time to be a third wheel tonight. BYEEEE."

“Ain’t nobody got time to be a third wheel tonight. BYEEEE.”

They have a nice chat and Tashiro invites her on another date. It’s kind of adorable how giggly they get.

Back at the hospital, Aki finally gets a chance to visit Mita. Aki is much more cheerful than before and she even cheers Mita up a bit. (But she didn’t bring him a nice gift basket, so you get a strike for that, Aki!)

After talking with Obata briefly at the bookstore, Aki gets another good idea and rushes to tell all her coworkers. But the Gossipy Trio totally bursts her happy bubble. Aki sighs and gives up asking anyone to help her out. Riko looks concerned about Aki but she can’t do much since she leaves the room.

Aki’s plan to do it by herself isn’t working very well, so she turns to her last resort: Obata.

"Help me Obata-san Kenobi. You're my only hope."

“Help me Obata-san Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

He manages to arrange a meeting with the person she wants to talk to. And she manages to get them on board with her plan as she excitedly tells Riko. It’s really nice to see Aki and Riko happy for each other after all the drama from the previous episodes. Riko’s still a little concerned for Aki though and asks her to think about whether she really wants to do everything by herself or not. She gives Aki a booklet to look over and she discovers it contains short little introductions about her coworkers. I really like the way that whole scene was set up so that Aki could learn more about each one of them. Stories always work so much better when all the characters are fleshed out as much as possible.

At the next staff meeting, Aki admits that she can’t do all the work alone and apologizes. They accept her apology and everyone is excited again.

Riko visits Mita in the hospital again to tell him all about the Children’s Day event. But the conversation moves to other things and Mita takes the opportunity to ask about Tashiro. He asks if Riko is dating him and she laughs awkwardly like she’s an embarrassed teenage girl. (Didn’t the info for this series list her as 40 years old??) I guess Mita has hope for Riko again now. Oops.

"I suddenly remembered that I like you."

“I suddenly remembered that I like you.”

Of course, I don’t know why Riko doesn’t say that they’re dating because she totally goes on another date with Tashiro. They look up at the moon and he quotes her favorite author. It’s all super romantic.

"Plot twist: I'm a werewolf."

“Plot twist: I’m a werewolf.”

While the preparations for the event seem to be going well, Aki finds out a problem the day before. (To be honest, I didn’t understand what it was. Sorry) But just as the boss is about to cancel the event, Riko volunteers to fix whatever the problem is. She vows to make sure all the children have a fun time at the event and everyone is excited once again.

Meanwhile, Mita has gone AWOL from the hospital! (Or, you know, he was just discharged. But it’s more dramatic to just say he escaped. Just go with it.)

On the day of the event, preparations are just about done when Obata runs in carrying a flag with the name of the bookstore on it for them to use at the event.

"I ran all the way here in dress shoes. I think my feet my be bleeding."

“I ran all the way here in dress shoes. I think my feet may be bleeding.”

He also gives Aki (and everyone else) a new apron with the store’s name on it too. (He’s entirely too nice so obviously he is doomed to be the love interest that Aki’s doesn’t pick by the end of this series)

As it turns out, everything goes quite well. During a quite moment, Aki talks to Obata and thanks him for everything he did to help. And he joking says that they should go on a date later. And Aki surprises him by saying she wouldn’t mind that. He gets adorably excited.

"All I did was ask her on a date. I can't believe that actually worked!"

“All I did was ask her on a date. I can’t believe that actually worked!”

Of course, we can’t end the episode on such a happy note, so we return to Mita again. He stops by Tashiro’s workplace to talk to him. He accuses Tashiro of just using Riko. And Tashiro… doesn’t really deny it. He just makes it seem like it’s not any of Mita’s business.

/insert dramatic showdown music here/

/insert dramatic showdown music here/

In the end, Mita returns to the bookstore and Riko happily greets him, but he frowns and says nothing. Hm….

So I guess we’ll see what Mita has uncovered during the next episode. Like I said, this episode was a bit of an improvement. I always prefer the workplace stories to the romance anyway, and this episode felt like a better balance of the two. It was nice to see all the characters happy again. Mayuyu makes the most wonderful excited faces that perfectly convey the enthusiasm of her character. I kind of wished they had drawn out the dramatic tension of the seriousness of Mita’s injury for a little bit longer, but too much of that would have probably ruined the pacing of the storyline. I’m curious to see where the story will go from here. Will it continue to move forward like the characters or will it get too hung up on the romance drama again? We’ll find out next week!

Final Thoughts and Questions

  • Why doesn’t Riko think she and Tashiro are dating? Did anyone else get the impression that Tashiro was asking her on dates or am I just missing something?
  • I adore the music in this show. I could listen to that pretty string music all day long. The overdramatic music cue at the end of every dramatic scene is a bit too much though. Yeah?
  • It’s entirely too easy to eavesdrop and silently watch people in this show. You’d think more people would get noticed. Anyone have any good eavesdropping stories to share?
  • Do you ever just eat desserts in the park to feel better about things? Be honest.
  • Would this show be a million times better if someone was a werewolf? Isn’t every show improved with the addition of a werewolf? (Or am I maybe just impatiently waiting for the new season of Teen Wolf to start?)

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Bonus photo is for any fans of Inoo Kei out there. His face is great.

tatakau 4 inoo happy face

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2 thoughts on “Tatakau! Shoten Girl Episode 4 Recap/Review: Moving Forward

  1. If we don’t get RikoxMita backstory soon………..
    I’ll probably just marathon the rest of the series tonight.

    YES YES the scene with Aki in the park is my favourite too: it said so much with no words at all. There are times where I want to shake her by the shoulders because she’s so stubborn and sometimes doesn’t think about her colleagues initially, but it’s also that steely determination that I really admire in her, and how she can see the bright side in sad situations.

    …I also really, really want some cake now.

    Actually smacked myself in the face when her hand shot up again. A little bit of yelling might have been involved, too.

    “Ain’t nobody got time to be a third wheel tonight.”

    “Help me Obata-san Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
    I LAUGHED SO HARD. DAMN IT.

    There were times in this episode (and others) where I really wished Riko wasn’t so passive – the camera pans to her face and it’s obvious she’s concerned, but she doesn’t voice them at all or follow Aki or anything. But then the thing with the introduction booklet happened and yeah, that was really nice.

    nghdsljkhsdfkjhl all the rikoxmita scenes i might have to revise my stance on them? more discussion to come at the end of this.

    Werewolf rofl yes that gratuitous shot of the luminescent moon icu.

    obata actually did so good here and i don’t want to acknowledge him at aaaaallllllllllll because i don’t know if he’s a nice person or if he’s just doing it to get aki but ughjdsjkhsdh he did a good job. I CAN’T DISLIKE HIM COMPLETELY NOW D: “He’s entirely too nice so obviously he is doomed to be the love interest that Aki’s doesn’t pick by the end of this series” LOL YES THOUGH but then the date thing happens and idk? can it be too much to hope that aki decides she don’t need no man? i mean it’s nice that obata is doing nice things but /what are his motivations/? i guess we might find out later.

    WHY IS THERE ALWAYS A HOSPITAL ESCAPEE LOL i was so confused for a moment because this isn’t even a high action drama? BUT THEN THE THING WITH TASHIRO HAPPENED AND OMG /omg/ i didn’t predict this at all.

    1. i thought they were dates too. Maybe she wanted to get to know Tashiro before calling them dates?????? or she was just denying it bc schoolgirl trapped in a 40 year olds body 😛 or maybe because she doesn’t want to admit to mita? MORE BACKSTORY NEEDED PLS
    2. mmmm those violins yes. ❤ and lol yeah suuuuuper intense. like those company fraud dramas. (hanzawa naoki im looking at you)
    3. oh man yeah. if they tilted their head even just a tad, or y'know, /used their peripheral vision/…..
    4. no but now im thinking about it! i really want cake.
    5. YES TO WEREWOLVES.

    that was a good episode; i get a little tired of the romantic drama angst. not that that's not good too but balance is important 😛

    /pets inoo's face

    • This whole show is seriously lacking in backstory, yes >.<

      …now I want cake too. Curses.

      Obata-san Kenobi is probably my best caption. lol

      re: Riko's passiveness, I totally agree. I wonder if this is a problem from adapting a book. I haven't read the book the show is based on of course, but I imagine that it would allow the readers to get into her head more and understand what she's thinking in each situation. Izumi did a great job of trying to portray that wordlessly though ^_^

      Sudden werewolves would have been an AWESOME plot twist

      I went back and forth on liking/disliking Obata the whole time. I totally would have been fine with Aki being a strong independent lady but that basically never happens in dramas. Siiiiiigh

      I was disappointed that Mita hadn't actually escaped from the hospital to go do something important like confess his feelings or something. But then I realized that would be super cliched and gosh, I have watched entirely too many dramas in my life. lol

      1.) All good theories but WE WILL NEVER KNOW /shakes fist at show/
      2.) I never got to see Hanzawa but I heard great things about it! I'll put it on my list of things to watch!
      5.) ALWAYS NEEDS MORE WEREWOLVES

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