When we last left Pin to Kona (ぴんとこな), Kyonosuke (Tamamori Yuta) had offered to let Ayame (Kawashima Umika) stay at his place when her own apartment was no longer habitable – an excellent opportunity for the two of them to become closer.

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Except, of course, that it’s not really his place, and he didn’t bother to consult his father (Kawamura Sesaemon played by Kishitani Goro) until after he made the offer.

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His father is initially against the whole idea, as you might expect, but Kyonosuke seems to know the right buttons to push and ultimately gets his way.

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So, everything is looking bright for Ayame . . .

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. . . but Ichiya (Nakayama Yuma) continues to have trouble with Yuna (Yoshikura Aoi) and her father (Enoki Takaaki). Yuna wants to speed up the engagement ceremony because she’s impatient to make sure Ichiya is tied down. Her father realizes that Ichiya has no feelings of love for Yuna (he probably has some other feelings, though . . .), but wants the whole arrangement to work out for the sake of the house.

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The next scene is (sadly) the highlight of the show, where Kyonosuke goes nuts trying to steal a kiss from Ayame while Shizu (Enami Kyoko) thwarts him at every turn. It’s just a humorous anime-like sequence, but the episode largely goes downhill from here.

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Tensions remain high between Kyonosuke and his father, who is worried that Kyonosuke is still not taking kabuki seriously. Kyonosuke’s next role is the one he failed miserably at in episode one – the one Ayame shouted at him for. Sesaemon still hasn’t told his son about his ailment and need for surgery.

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At practice, Kyonosuke tells Ichiya that Ayame is living with him. Ichiya’s reaction shows that his heart is still very much with Ayame.

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But after finding out how close Kyonosuke and Ayame are, Ichiya tries to be a bit more civil to his prospective bride. If you can’t be with the one you love . . . .

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Kyonosuke and Ayame seem to be having a smooth episode until they bump into Ayame’s father, who abandoned her to with his debts.

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Well, he says he’s got good stuff lined up and might be able to be a decent father . . .

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. . . but in a private talk with Ayame, he asks her to get close to Kyonosuke so a paparazzi can take photos to be used in a tabloid article. He needs the money the publisher is offering.

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Using his daughter like that . . . Ayame should have shouted at him in fury and stormed away form him indignantly. The Ayame we met in episode one would have. However, while this Ayame rejects the idea, she does so weakly, as if she’s really considering it. I would have thought that this was going to turn out an interesting episode if she had only reacted realistically, but based on her lack of emotion, I knew this was going to turn out pathetic.

Ayame doesn’t tell the family about her father’s proposal, even when Shizu spots a creepy photographer hanging out around the house.

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Ayame does go to her father and objects to the photographer lying in wait, threatening to leave the Kawamura household if they continue to try to get photos of her and Kyonosuke. It’s still not as forceful a rebuke as I wanted to see.

As Kyonosuke and Ayame return home, they encounter Ayame’s father and the publisher.

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Here, the publisher comes up with a counter-proposal – that since Ayame is already 18, she can . . . she can pose nude to make the money.

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Not only does Ayame’s father not object, but Kyonosuke is the one that has to shout indignantly. If Ayame had actually cried at the thought, I would have understood, but she was a brick wall again. I don’t know . . . I think such a proposal deserves a more definitely response than this.

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Really, there’s a legit plot here, but it’s being undermined both by the way Ayame’s character is being handled, but also by the fact that we don’t understand why Ayame’s father needs to do this to his daughter. Sure, he needs the money, but we haven’t even been told properly what he needs the money for. It’s all too vague. To carry such an extreme plot out, he really needs to be under threat from the yakuza or something.

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Sure, there are horrible and disgusting people in the world, but these characters have popped up so suddenly in this series, and it’s hard to understand how Ayame could have turned out to be the person that she is when she had a father like this. None of it actually connects. On top of that, we started this episode light-heartedly with Kyonosuke trying to steal a kiss from Ayame and being thwarted by Shizu, but suddenly we’re talking about very disturbing stuff. The whole tone of the episode is way inconsistent and difficult to digest.

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But it gets worse.

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You see, even though Ayame is having a good time at the house, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with a kabuki actor having a girlfriend (there are certainly no rules about it), and female fans seem to be reasonable about that sort of thing, even though they might be a tad disappointed . . .

Pin to Kona Ep 09 049Pin to Kona Ep 09 050Pin to Kona Ep 09 051. . . she decides to accept the nude photo proposal in order to ensure that she doesn’t cause any problems for the Kawamura household. As if this isn’t going to be a problem! I mean, how stupid is this – which is worse: that Kyonosuke has a girlfriend, or that Kyonosuke’s girlfriend has released nude pictures! It’s . . . stupid.

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This was possibly the worst episode of any drama I’ve ever reviewed. It was so ham-handed in dealing with the plot that it leaves me in awe at the monumental incompetence of the writers. And speaking of inconsistent tone, the only bright spot late in the episode is when Sagata Kanjiro (Yamamoto Koji) shows up and has a funny line. But why the heck is this the right time for humor?!

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I suppose there’s no avoiding the fact that I’ll complete the series since there’s only one episode left, but if I had been forced to sit through his hour earlier in the drama, I’d have dumped the series right away. This was inexcusably bad. There were a hundred ways they could have put Ayame and her father in a legitimately compromising position without having Ayame make such an idiotic decision. There’s also no reason why she should have approached this whole thing so meekly.

Kyonosuke was disappointing in this episode, too. While he showed all the marks of caring about Ayame to the exclusion of everything else in the rest of the series, suddenly he is concerned about his personal reputation and that of his family even though no credible threat has been established. A good example of a series where a credible threat was established was Papadol! or even Tamamori-kun’s own Ikemen Desu Ne. But in both of those series, the concern about negative press coverage was given reality over the course of many episodes, so the culmination of it worked out. The situation in this episode was far more extreme than it was in either of those series in terms of the demand on Ayame, but it had practically no setup. Worse, the humor in the episode undercut the atmosphere that should have been cultivated.

There’s more. Even with such a serious conflict at the center of it, the episode was boring and moved at a snail’s pace. I don’t know how they managed that, but they did.

This is junk. There are really bad dramas that are entertaining simply because of how bad they are, but this doesn’t even rise to that level.