That being said the main point I want to explore is the easy dismissal of Morio as the baddie in JnS, or rather, the jumpiness of many a fan to assume that Morio is going to do something ‘bad’ and get in the way of Etsuko and Yukito’s relationship in some way. It’s interesting, because it’s in direct contrast to what the drama has been showing us thus far.
At every turn, people seem genuinely surprised when she turns out to be pretty decent. I can’t help but wonder if fans are ascribing negative traits to her because of their previous drama watching experiences. There has been a long tradition of spiteful, conniving second female leads in Asian dramas, and could it perhaps be colouring people’s perception of who Morio is, and what she may do?
So one of the better aspects of JnS is that there is no one person singled out so far as the stereotypical (read: boring, predictable) villain of the show. Granted, it still remains unclear why Morio asked Yukito to stay with her in the first place. Seeing that she only recently realised that she likes him (that is, after he left), the most we can assume is that she either wanted to make sure he didn’t run from the deal to be a model, or perhaps she had a level of attraction to him, that she was not fully conscious of. Whichever the case she certainly did not do that to ruin any relationship, that much is clear.
The drama is also really clear that Morio kissed Yukito because of her own confused feelings and frustrations regarding her aimless life. She didn’t have a place to relief herself of them, so she went for the person closest to her. Yukito himself acknowledges this fact and thus pushes her to talk about what’s reallygoing on. I actually felt like that was a real turning point for Morio, and it was a sweet moment of friendship between the two. Morio finally could get everything off her chest, and in realising she was not alone in not knowing what on earth she was doing in her life, she could finally take Etsuko’s advice and move forward in her work.
But yet online I see a good number of fans who are truly annoyed by 1) her kissing Yukito, and 2) her being jealous of Etsuko. Both of which I felt weren’t things to crucify her for. Etsuko’s boundless energy and passion is what makes her so lovable, but it’s not something that everyone can have. And when a person just going through the motions sees a person like Etsuko, yea they might get jealous. I’m actually really glad that she didn’t just pretend that she wasn’t jealous of Etsuko. To me that just makes Morio more human.
Then there’s the fact that Morio post-kiss is very considerate of Yukito and Etsuko’s budding relationship. She apologises when she has to interrupt their date. She agrees that it’s best that Yukito tells Etsuko about their living arrangement. She is genuinely apologetic when Etsuko finds out they were staying together before Yukito has a chance to say it and reminds Etsuko that she has a boyfriend. She insists that Yukito go and find a place of his own instead of staying with her indefinitely, even though it’s clear that it’s not really what either of them wants. Then she apologises to Etsuko AGAIN.
Then in Ep 8 Morio confesses to liking Yukito and suddenly some fans are like, “She better not try anything funny”, “She better not wreck things”, and I’m like, ehm, can a girl live? Is she not entitled to feelings? She confessed it privately in order to reject a man she was not interested in (POOR TAKO BUT OK I DIGRESS). It’s quite likely given her reserved personality that she wouldn’t have even told Hachiro if he didn’t ask her to date him. Keep in mind she didn’t mention any names, so she wasn’t trying to pull a sneaky stunt then.
I can only assume that fans are reacting based on their previous experiences with romance dramas. And truth be told, with another 3 episodes to go anything could happen. She could go “villain” on us. But if the show really goes in that direction then it would certainly make me quite disappointed. So far, they’ve kept themselves from going down that predictable direction and I hope they keep it up.
Also, I find that the relationships are not set in stone. Maybe I’m saying this because I don’t ship Etsuko/Yukito, but I feel I can say it with some confidence because the show has made some really questionable choices with regards to Etsuko and Hachiro’s, subtle but obvious, growing closeness. And that’s actually another aspect I want to explore – fan confusion regarding who the ‘male lead’ of this drama is. Maybe next time 🙂