Welcome to Part 2 of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020”!! Taking Sho-chan’s place in the commentators’ lounge for this episode is Rui Hachimura of the NBA Washington Wizards, which left everyone visibly shook. It turns out Hachimura is a super fan of “Terrace House.” He’s rejected every offer for TV appearances that have come his way, but he leapt at the chance to dish some snark with our favorite panel.
The episode starts where Part 1 of the series left off: in the playroom where Kenny has declared his feelings for Risako, but she is not exactly jumping for joy. After a long pause, Risako says she’s been thinking about a lot of things lately (pointing at her head to emphasize this point), and while she cares about him a lot, she’s not ready to be his girlfriend just yet.
In other news, Ruka has figured out his next career move. He’s going to work in a bar! He was wandering around Shimokitazawa when he was suddenly drawn to an “Avengers” billboard that was actually the entrance to a bar for fans of American comic books. Ruka thinks it’s a solid step towards being in Marvel movies, but Kaori isn’t impressed and uses this opportunity to segue into postponing their dinner date until they get to know each other better. She says she’s not sure what to talk about with him, but I suspect there’s too much of a difference in maturity levels.
Later, Kenny and Risako drive to the beach in a tricked out school bus. Unfortunately, it’s too windy to go stand-up paddleboarding and Kenny has to break some sad news to Risako: He has a tour starting in July so he’s planning on graduating from “Terrace House” around that time. He basically asks if Risako sees a future with him, but again Risako says she doesn’t feel strongly enough to date him yet. Still, we see a few tears from Risako.
The crying continues later that night, this time from Ruka, when Kenny tells the other men about his plans to leave. “You’ve been a great source of comfort for me,” says Ruka between sniffles.
The next morning, Risako comes down to the kitchen with the telltale signs of having sobbed her eyes out. While pressing spoons to her puffy face, she confesses to Shohei that she told Kenny that she wasn’t that interested in him but the truth is, she liked him. No, she still likes him.
Meanwhile, Haruka and “Aloha State” alumnus Yusuke Aizawa go out for organic tacos in Daikanyama. Haruka says she’s been trying to take more initiative engaging in conversation. That’s a solid life skill, Haruka. She likes men who are cuddly like an animal, which apparently Yusuke is. He isn’t totally thrilled to be told he looks like a sea lion, but as a viewer, it’s pretty hilarious. Later, Haruka gushes to Kaori about how she was impressed with the smooth way he handled their dinner bill. But she’s not sure if she sees him as a possible romantic interest. Haruka better not be messing with his head (unless it unleashes his inner Taylor Swift and we get a great bop out of it).
Next, the gang gather in Daikanyama for Kenny’s live performance. The venue is looking surprisingly packed and Kenny announces to the crowd that he wrote a song about Risako. He is pulling some serious rom-com moves by publicly serenading his lady with a personalized song. But Risako looks torn.
At the celebratory dinner afterwards, Kenny officially tells the house members that he’s moving out and he’s glad he got better at expressing his feelings. Risako is clearly upset, and as the music swells, she gives a tear-drenched speech in the vein of Kate Hudson or Meg Ryan — “I wish you weren’t leaving. If I could tell you to stay, I would. I don’t want you to go.”
After dinner, Risako and Kenny share a moment in the darkened kitchen. Risako asks Kenny if he’s sleeping in the playroom tonight, which has to be code for “are we going to hook up tonight?” Kenny grunts in the affirmative and then waits for Risako at the stairs, expectantly. And what happens when she approaches him? Risako wrestles against his advances and he has to settle for a peck on the cheek. It was the most cringeworthy attempt at a kiss I’ve seen since Uchi and Minori on “Boys & Girls in the City.” I was screaming at my screen during the uncomfortable exchange.
So long, Kenny
Alyssa: Is anyone besides Risako and Ruka heartbroken to see Kenny go? I’ve been itching for a new member to enter the house for a while now, so even though Kenny wasn’t my top pick to be replaced, I’m definitely not complaining. We finally saw more of his personality in this episode but I’m still not completely convinced he actually has feelings for Risako. If anything, the few by-the-book rom-com scenes seemed like a way to make his departure more memorable.
This is a huge ask but I would love the new roommate to be someone that makes everyone drop their jaws like when Keanu Reeves made his entrance in “Always Be My Maybe.”
Tom: Farewell to Kenny, my least favorite member so far this season. Kenny seems like a decent enough person, but I kept yelling “Preach!” whenever Yama-chan accused Kenny of being on the show simply to promote his band. He was definitely more reserved than all of the other housemates and his personality never seemed to shine through unless he was on stage when he would suddenly turn into a different person.
Until this episode, where he made a speech declaring his feelings for Risako and drove a pimped-out school bus, I never got a sense of who he was as a person. Even when he revealed something about himself, such as drawing in his spare time, it kind of made me groan. Practically all of his sketches on his Instagram are of women licking ice cream cones so … that’s Kenny in a nutshell. Just one solid bro.
As for who comes next, I just hope it’s a more mature version of what we have so far. Kenny was the rockstar, Ruka is not sure where to start his career, and Shohei doesn’t seem to care … about anything. It would be more enjoyable to see an established man working and living in Tokyo — not to mention it would be a gift to the women who are dealing with the slim pickings in the house. Just as long as they are not a model, I will be happy.
The Japan Times will be posting weekly recaps of “Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020.” Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. New episodes of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” stream on Netflix and Fuji TV on Demand (FOD) and air on Fuji TV on Tuesdays.