This is the final episode of Shinryochu (心療中 – in treatment), which is certainly the most intense drama I’ve reviewed on this site so far. It has featured some phenomenal acting from young actors and actresses playing students who consult with counselor Tenma Ryo (Inagaki Goro), and solid performances from the adults as well. The question in this episode is to what extent the plots will be resolved, and the likely answer given what we’ve seen so far is – not as far as the viewer would like, but perhaps as far as is realistic. After all, with so many characters facing such a range of psychological issues, is it reasonable to believe that a single counselor could somehow magic their pains away?

When we first see Ryo, he’s made a deal with his son to ensure the kid goes to class, then enters to talk with his wife Kanae (Sakai Miki). The breakdown of their marriage is only the first of the plots that this episode has to deal with. Are they going to be able to keep it together?

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Well, if you’ve been following along, you know the prospects are definitely not good. Kanae has been trying to break away from Ryo from the very beginning of the series.

As if Ryo doesn’t have problems of his own, he has to be worried about student Tanaka Shun (Takada Sho), who blames himself for his friend Toma’s suicide. In this fragile state, he wants to try hypnotherapy to explore his past, but Ryo doesn’t think dredging up all those painful memories is a good idea when Shun already has grief to digest.

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After Ryo strikes the idea down, Shun turns to the topic of Rui and her assertion that he’s possessed by a ghost. He’s not too sure about it, but he has a concern about the eternal fate of Toma.

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I don’t think we’ve seen Shun behave more straightforwardly than here. He discusses the trouble Toma had with his parents not accepting him as gay, and the way Toma carried that burden alone.

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Shun says he doesn’t want to carry his own burden in silence any more, but Ryo seems to view the repression of bad memories as a blessing.

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That’s all right, because Ryo manages to work his magic anyway, asking the right questions so that we found out the identity of the ghost that haunts Shun.

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Shun’s responses seem to strike at Ryo’s own issues, though, so that Ryo can’t say anything to Shun’s revelations.

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Instead of seeing how that meeting ended, we turned to Ryo’s consultation with his mentor, Miyama (Asano Yuko), where we find out that Ryo decided to visit his father, after all, but his father was already in a coma.

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Ryo ties the strings of his life together – what he’s experiencing in the present with his family and what he felt in the past with his parents.

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Miyama once again wants him to talk about his memories – memories that prove to be marvelously muddled.

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It was really at the end of this episode that Inagaki Goro-san’s acting in this series rose from just an average effort to something more striking.

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Did we get a resolution to Ryo’s own plot? To some extent, you’ll have to watch and decide for yourself. It might come down to how you read the expression on his face at the end. I don’t think we got a full picture of what happened to Ryo in his childhood, but we did unexpectedly get a clearly view of what’s been up with Kanae – why she seemed so apologetic for her attempt at an affair early in the series, and then suddenly turned all uber-confident and dismissive of Ryo.

If you’re looking for a nice, happy ending, this is probably not the drama for you – again, depending on how you read the very end of this episode. Then again, it’s not as if Japanese dramas aim for Hollywood endings, anyway. In most cases, the end of a drama is indeterminate – in some aspects good, in others unsatisfying – so I don’t think the way this series ended would have been problematic for Japanese viewers.

The quick pace to the series made it very easy to watch, though occasionally frustrating because many subplots didn’t get their proper time. That was the one real flaw to the series.

Shinryochu’s saving grace was, of course, the acting. I think Inagaki-san did a fine job wrapping it up even though he was limited in terms of the emotions he could show through most of the series. The young actors and actresses were not limited, and gave some outstanding performances. I think all viewers probably feel that Sanada Yuma-kun should have been given more time to morph his character from the heights of crazy to a more stable personality, especially since he was always fun to watch. Takada Sho-kun was extremely intense early on, and managed to lose that intensity a bit more smoothly thanks partly to the extra time he was given in this episode. For most of his episodes, Senga Kento-kun’s performance was unremarkable, but the last episode he was in allowed him to give us a better feel for his character.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the series. Thanks again to yanie02 at livejournal for staying with it, translating and subtitling the whole thing so that more people could enjoy it. My reviews would have been impossible (or at least worse) without those subs.