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Hiroshi66 Profile
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Re: J-Drama: 花咲舞が黙ってない 2 (Hanasaki Mai Speaks Out II)


<EPISODE 4>

Maybe it's just me, but the plots in Season 2 seem to be a lot more serious, involving issues of a criminal nature. Stalking, criminal cover-ups, planned bankruptcy, etc. I don't mind, though. It certainly makes things more interesting, since the stakes are much higher and can't simply be solved with a simple transfer or termination of one's job.

What a pleasant surprise to see Nakagoshi Noriko portraying Maehara, the woman who was being stalked. She was the star of my favorite asadora, Kokoro, back in 2005, about a stewardess who eventually became a stepmother to two children. I'm glad she is still acting. Sure enough, she is just as talented as I remembered her to be, and her portrayal was much better than the usual "characters of the day" we see in this drama.

Actually, now that I look at Nakagoshi Noriko's filmography, she has been starring in quite a few J-dramas over the last few years. Very impressive. I hope UTB will consider airing one of them at some point!

Very sad to see a glimpse of the misogynistic views towards stalking that still exist in many workplaces in Japan. Maehara is told to "deal with it" and "ignore" the stalking... the only time her corrupt bosses pay any attention to it is when the stalking gets in the way of their cover-up and corruption. I'm glad one was dismissed and other one was fired.

I got a kick out of Mai's "modeling" for the company magazine at the beginning of the episode - after all those pictures she took, she only got a small mention on the bottom of the page. Reminds me of an I Love Lucy episode where Lucy participated in a photoshoot with the baby but only her hand made the final cut (the photoshoot was about the baby). LOL.

Episode 5 looks good! Kaito returns and things look interesting. I'm glad I am playing catch-up so I don't have to wait a full week between episodes!
4/15/2017, 11:07 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: 花咲舞が黙ってない 2 (Hanasaki Mai Speaks Out II)


<EPISODE 5>

Excellent episode! Another very good plot. I'm glad they are going away from centering each episode on a teller getting bullied or a tyrant of a branch manager. The plots seem to be more diverse, and I'm glad they are starting to involve people from the main characters' lives.

For instance, I never thought we'd be introduced to Soma's ex-wife! I'm glad they are on good terms and that things weren't too awkward.

Matsuki returns, and it was funny to see his plans for a date with Mai go wrong again. I guess this will be the running gag of the writers - Mai will be asked on a date by Matsuki, but she will end up inviting Soma, who will always happily accept, oblivious to the fact that he is the third wheel. I am starting to think that a potential relationship between Mai and Soma will never occur, at least not this season. If anything, I could see Matsuki and Mai together more than Matsuki and Soma!

I'm glad that Soma was able to save the day before his friend committed loan fraud. I thought Soma would be too emotional in order to deal with this situation clearly and rationally, but he was a class act and did a great job with everything. Actually, Mai is usually the one who takes over mid-way, but Soma did everything from beginning to end, and Mai was just there to support him. Good for Soma! I have started to see him in a new light. He is tough and strong all on his own, but most of all, he was a good friend.

It may take time, but Soma and his friend may be able to reconcile and start over in the near future, especially since the friend was essentially being pressured by loan sharks to commit the fraud in the first place.

Episode 6 is next! I'm almost caught up.
4/15/2017, 12:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: 花咲舞が黙ってない 2 (Hanasaki Mai Speaks Out II)


<EPISODE 6>

Yay! I'm finally caught up with this drama. We're back to the branch visit plots, but they handled this one vey well. Quite interesting to see corruption unravel right in front of our eyes. The audit reminded me a lot of the Hanzawa Naoki drama, which centered around an audit like this, as well. Imagine having to go through hundreds of files simply to find dirt on the branch!

Himuro, who was heading the investigation, was a real jerk! I'm sure everyone felt vindicated when that security camera footage was unearthed by Mai. She should go work for the police department - Mai has become quite the detective as of late! She always had it in her, but I've especially noticed it this season more than ever before. Good for her.

I really liked Edo, Mai's former colleague who she reconnected her. I find it funny how Mai's father automatically thinks about his daughter ending up with all of the guys she is friendly with, even if they are just friends or co-workers. I still think Mai should end up with Matsuki, but we'll see how that goes.

Things are heating up between Shindo and his rival. Unfortunately for Soma and Mai, they are getting caught up in the power struggle - even though it was nice to be recognized for their efforts, I'm afraid that Shindo is going to really go after them now. We'll see how this pans out, but I think Shindo is out for blood now that his rival humiliated him in front of Soma and Mai.

Good episode, all in all. The plots in Season 2 are even better than Season 1!

I'm all caught up just in time for Episode 7, which airs tomorrow! I hope everyone can post their comments, as well. It would be great to hear what you all think of this drama. emoticon
4/15/2017, 1:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
arturas Profile
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I agree that Mai and Soma probably will never get together. Their relationship now is more similar to that of siblings than friends. The question now is whether or not anything serious happens between Mai and Matsuki. I guess we'll find out relatively soon!
4/21/2017, 11:54 pm Link to this post Send Email to arturas   Send PM to arturas Blog
 
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Re: J-Drama: 花咲舞が黙ってない 2 (Hanasaki Mai Speaks Out II)


<EPISODE 7>

Arturas, I am starting to feel the same way as you. While the writers may drop comedic hints about a Soma/Mai relationship throughout the episodes, I don't think it'll ever happen, either. The only person who was pushing for it was Mai's dad, and now he's joined Team Matsuki. LOL!

Speaking of Matsuki, I think he and Mai would make a cute couple and would love to see them end up together. Mai is painfully oblivious to Matsuki's interest in her, but now the cat is out of the bag and she is starting to suspect that Matsuki may have feelings for her. Even Mai's dad and Soma himself know about it, too, which is why Soma didn't accompany Mai to say goodbye to Matsuki.

Still, though, Matsuki has been transferred and I don't know if this means he is being permanently written out of the show. Will he be back at the end of the season, or are the writers keeping him on the sidelines until a Season 3? The goodbye seemed a little permanent, but at the same time, the writers may bring him back for something at the last minute - or maybe even next season.

I do like Matsuki and have enjoyed his addition to the Season 2 cast. A character like him was just what was missing in Season 1. We needed an extra "nice person" to join Mai and Soma's team against the "bad guys."

Speaking of the bad guys, this episode was quite enjoyable and I'm glad everything got worked out at the end - except for the fact that poor Matsuki was transferred. I guess the bank needed to hold him responsible in some capacity, especially since his higher-up was suspended. At least Matsuki wasn't fired and was simply transferred.

I do like that the plots are becoming more and more serious, though. Instead of simply being about the bank, the cases now are more criminal in nature and involve other people from organizations outside of the bank.

Episode 8 airs Sunday!
4/22/2017, 7:50 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
Hiroshi66 Profile
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Re: J-Drama: 花咲舞が黙ってない 2 (Hanasaki Mai Speaks Out II)


<EPISODE 8>

The cases are definitely getting more serious! When the manager was shoved down the staircase at the beginning of the episode, I thought we were going to get our very first murder case in this drama. However, I should have known that the writers wouldn't let things get so dark. All of the people who were assaulted in this episode managed to survive with only minor injuries. I guess I've watched too many seasons of Partners!

Still, though, I like that the plots have become a bit more serious in Season 2. Season 1 was great, but things were a little too predictable and the issues were largely about banking and financial matters. In this season, Soma and Mai usually find themselves dealing with people or situations outside of the branches themselves. They are still connected to the bank but deal with most of the issues outside of the physical branches. This makes sense, as I think they exhausted all the banking/financial related plots in Season 1.

This episode made me reflect on my opinion of Shindo. He's been portrayed as the big bad wolf starting from the first season of the show, but I think he has a good heart deep down and, despite his cranky exterior, seems to care deeply for his bank and for the employees. I think he's been hardened by all the politics and has done what he needs to do in order to survive.

That being said, if Shindo really wanted to, he could have eliminated Mai and Soma from the very beginning. The fact that he lets them get away with so much makes me realize that he, too, might be tired of the corrupt nature of the bank where he works. Maybe he is acting this way because he needs to be ruthless in order to get to the top and nab the CEO title he so desperately desires. Once he becomes the CEO, I suspect Shindo might try to change the culture of the bank and make it more "human" - which is what Mai has been talking about all along.

The fact that Shindo convinced the two managers not to press charges against the disillusioned ex-employee and even secured a lawyer for him speaks wonders. I hope Shindo's portrayal will change in the few episodes that we have left this season.

Now that Mai's dad has found himself a potential love interest, I hope the "Who will Mai get married with?" scenes will go away. They are funny but it's the same old conversation every episode. Dad might start worrying about who he will marry! Mai should have given him that romance amulet in Episode 1. LOL.

Episode 9 airs Sunday! Only a couple of episodes left.
4/28/2017, 11:40 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
arturas Profile
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I was surprised to see them get rid of Matsuki so early. It seems that like that would be more appropriate for a final episode where Mai finally realizes how he feels about her. That would then set up a cliffhanger where we would have to wait until season 3 to find out whether the relationship survives the distance.
4/29/2017, 2:26 am Link to this post Send Email to arturas   Send PM to arturas Blog
 
Hiroshi66 Profile
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Re: J-Drama: 花咲舞が黙ってない 2 (Hanasaki Mai Speaks Out II)


That's a good point, Arturas. In fact, that whole episode would have been better suited for the season finale, albeit with a few more "twists" and cliffhangers to make it more appropriate for the big finish.

The fact they played the Matsuki "card" so early leads me to believe either that there is something even bigger planned for the season finale, or that Matsuki will be back sooner than we think! I'm interested in seeing how they treat the season finale now.
4/29/2017, 8:23 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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So it looks like Partners will begin airing May 21?
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arturas Profile
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The last episode didn't seem to do much to advance the plot. Hopefully this one will be better.
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