The Chaperone Wife
Episode 4 of Fishbowl Wives starts with the focus shifting across to Saya, who’s asleep on the sofa. Cans are strewn out across the table, she’s clearly depressed and no longer running like she used to.
Her husband, Sota, feels helpless. As he heads out for a run in the morning he reflects back on brighter times with his wife when she was actually a better runner that he was. If that wasn’t enough, Saya is standoffish with the other women too, shrugging off their attempts to socialize with her.
Sota receives a call from his marathon club, with the couple (very clearly having sex at the time) inviting him along to camp that weekend. They want Saya to show up too but she quickly declines. Sota urges her to run again but she shrugs it off, claiming he doesn’t know anything.
Sota snaps, demanding his wife open up and try to talk to him. He’s been working hard and trying to provide for them both while she slouches around, but she simply turns around and tells him he’s changed too. Flashbacks show exactly how.
Sota actually encouraged her to give up her job and become a housewife. In doing so, it caused her fitness levels to drop and while out for a run, Sota encouraged Saya to head home when she had a stitch. This explains why they’ve been drifting apart, with the emphasis on Sota being selfish and not taking his wife’s considerations into account.
Interestingly, she ends up staying at Takuya’s place for the night to get away from her husband. As he mentions Sakura cheating on him, Takuya brushes the hair out of Saya’s face and encourages her to show up again anytime. When Saya heads back to her apartment though, she finds the place completely spotless and Sota gone.
Meanwhile, Ran confronts Sakura over her infidelity and not breaking up with Haruto. As things grow heated, Haruto tells her to leave and tells Sakura not to pay any attention to her.
Instead, the pair head out to a glassblowing shop before arriving at Haruto’s “secret spot”, which happens to be on the beach. He was raised strictly and couldn’t live up to his father’s expectations, who always expected more from him, pressuring his son to do his best. This explains partly why Haruto wants a quiet life, unwilling to take over his dad’s company.
In the middle of this beautiful wilderness, Sota finishes his run and contemplates ringing Saya. Unfortunately, she’s still hung up on Takuya. That is, until she steps in the elevator and the shaman happens to be there.
The shaman encourages her to start running again. Saya doesn’t take this advice though, and instead winds up in Takuya’s arms, where the pair kiss and start to become intimate.
Sota rings, breaking the mood, declaring through panted breaths that he’s going to run all the way home for her. Sota opens up and admits he’s been a fool, apologizing and wanting to run together. Only, his phone runs out of battery before he can continue.
Saya changes her mind and heads back home again, deciding not to cheat on Sota after all. Instead, she dons her running shoes and decides to run and meet her lover.
In the street, the pair reconvene where Saya gives a teary confession. She just wants to spend more time with Sota, not caring about money and regretting not speaking up before about how she’s feeling. She apologizes to him too, as the pair hold hands and embrace. It’s a beautiful moment (even if it comes off the back of Saya cheating on her husband).
As the episode closes out, Takuya meets a guy called Kazama. Why? Well, we’ll have to wait and see!
The Episode Review
This episode works beautifully to showcase the growing disconnect between Saya and Sota. Money is materialistic and can’t substitute real feelings, which is something this episode manages to personify beautifully.
Under the guise of running, Saya and Sota have been running away from the core issues in their relationship and this episode manages to showcase all of that beautifully around their consistent and well written journey into one another’s arms.
Less endearing however, is the story between Haruto and Sakura which seems to have stagnated. There’s really not a lot going on here and even Takuya just shows up now whenever the plot calls for it. Having him as the suitor for Saya’s desires is a bit of a weird turn and it’ll be interesting to see if the show wheels back to that in the future.
For now though, Fishbowl Wives delivers its best episode thus far, with a really nice tone and some great storytelling. Let’s hope that continues for the episodes ahead!