Zenra Meshi (Naked Dining) – J-drama Episode 4 Recap & Review

What’s a love-triangle like?

Episode 4 of Zenra Meshi starts where we left off with Komachi, his colleague, asking for Souta’s help. She claims that she wanted Souta to come to the office on Sunday with her because the boss had called her in. Souta somehow manages to refuse her request by claiming that he had some work at home.

He stays back at work till late and manages to finish the work he has been given. Souta is happy that he will be spending the rest of the weekend with Mahiro in the village. Mahiro picks Souta from the train station and they go back to his grandmother’s house. The two discuss the next item in the recipe book – a Malaysian hot pot dish, Satay Chayrup.

Mahiro explains the preparation of the food and helps Souta understand more about the ingredients on the menu. While prepping, Mahiro asks if Souta worked overtime that weekend as well. Souta tells Mahiro about the absurd request from his colleague. He mentions that the female coworker had asked him to work on a Sunday.

Mahiro is shocked when Souta mentions a ‘girlfriend’ but Souta explains that his coworkers assume he had a girlfriend because he often refused to hang out with them after work. His coworkers assumed he was spending time with his girlfriend over the weekends and wonders if he should introduce Mahiro to them.

Mahiro is shocked but asks about Souta’s relationship status. Souta claims that he had broken up with his girlfriend a while ago and states that dating her felt like a chore. He tells Mahiro that he would much rather chill at home than go out on dates. Mahiro tells Souta that he communicates his needs with his partners if he felt like it.

Souta asks if Mahiro had a partner and the latter claims that he was single but had a crush on someone. The two get back to deveining the shrimp and share a moment together which causes Mahiro’s heart to skip a beat. The two eventually make the dish and set the table to start eating. However, Mahiro gets a call from Riho and has to leave. Souta is sad but sees him out nevertheless.

On his way out, Mahiro meets a stranger waiting outside Souta’s grandmother’s house. Inside, Souta is undressing before he eats the meal. He is shocked when Mahiro re-enters the house and finds him shirtless. Souta wears his shirt and introduces him to Komachi who was waiting outside. Komachi had come all the way to the village to request Souta work the following day.

She asks to join Souta for the meal and Mahiro calls Riho to tell her that he will be late. The trio eat the meal together and Souta asks why Komachi needed his help. Komachi claims that their team leader, Teshigawara had asked to marry her after he learned that she was single. She tells Souta that she was avoiding the chief at work and after work.

She adds that Teshigawara was making it difficult for her by calling her in on a Sunday. She asks if Souta could pretend to date her so that she could dismiss him before he could blatantly ask her out. Souta is apprehensive about the fake dating but Mahiro asks him to help Komachi out this one time.

When he finally agrees, Komachi is excited and offers Souta a shrimp from the hotpot. She claims that since Souta did not like mushrooms, she would be happy to eat those. Mahiro feels like a third wheel between the two as he thinks about how little he knew about Souta. The next day, Teshigawara is upset when he sees Souta at work with Komachi.

Komachi has a set plan to make Teshigawara aware of her relationship with Souta and does so by deliberately placing sticky notes on documents. Teshigawara avoids looking at the document with the note on purpose. Komachi then starts calling Souta on a first-name basis which leaves Mahiro in shock during the planning stage.

Present-day Souta and Komachi manage to call each other on a first-name basis in front of Teshigawara, leaving him shocked. Komachi then decides to start pretending that she was intimate with Souta by touching his arm. Mahiro does not approve of the idea but she claims that she was only pretending.

Teshigawara notices the skinship between Souta and Komachi and gets upset. In the break room, Teshigawara asks Souta about his relationship with Komachi. He states that he got hopeful because Komachi went for a meal with him and wanted to see if she would be interested in him after the fun they had together.

Later, he apologises to Komachi for calling her in for work and leaves the rest for Souta to finish. Komachi thanks Souta, and later that night, Souta goes back to his apartment and finally strips naked to have a bowl of ramen by himself. He suddenly thinks about why his meal that day did not make him feel liberated.

Meanwhile, Mahiro deliberates between asking Souta about his pretend date with Komachi at work. He sends Souta a picture of the full moon instead with the caption – ‘The moon is beautiful, isn’t it?’ His colleague tells Mahiro that the phrase in Japanese was popularly interpreted as the English phrase ‘I love you’. As a result, Mahiro is worried about how Souta will interpret his text.

Souta is at home rethinking what Teshigawara had told him at work about food tasting better when eaten with a loved one. Souta is pulled out of his train of thought when he sees Mahiro’s text about the moon. He starts smiling at himself and texts him back asking to have a meal together when he visits the village the following weekend.

He suddenly comes to a realisation that he had similar feelings for Mahiro as Teshigawara had for Komachi. He looks at the moon and responds to Mahiro’s text about the moon by saying it’s beautiful for him as well.

The Episode Review

I love how things are escalating quickly here because now that Souta is certain about his feelings for Mahiro, he’ll surely learn about Mahiro’s true feelings for him soon. The romance between the two will probably be really great as well because Yotaro (playing Mahiro) is known for his BL drama performances.

I feel like the workload Teshigawara put on Souta was intentional and it will really be liberating to Souta once he finally is able to voice his true feelings about being given a lot of work. The fact that Souta did not feel a sense of liberation that day after work was because he finally felt this when he ate with Mahiro.

No amount of naked dining could replace eating in peace with one’s romantic partner. I cannot wait for the next episode because the promo shows the couple finally kissing for the first time!

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Expect a full-season review when the season concludes!


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