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A 10-episode show aired in Japan during 2009, Aishiteru
is a human drama focusing on two average families after an horrible act of violence changes their lives forever.
Typical mother Noguchi Satsuki spends her days trying to balance her life as a wife to her hard-working husband Kazuhiko and mother to their only son, Tomoya, a shy fifth-grader with whom Satsuki struggles to communicate. Ozawa Seiko and Hideaki, living in the same neighborhood, are raising a rebellious junior high school daughter, Mihoko, and their son, Kiyotaka, a second-grader who is showered with much love and affection by his mother.
One day, Kiyotaka doesn't come home from school and is later found dead. Three days later, Tomoya is taken into custody by police as the prime murder suspect and confesses. Satsuki, as mother of the perpetrator, comes face to face with her sonís true self while Seiko, as mother of the victim, deals with her sorrow and anger.
This series provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: What happened between Kiyotaka and Tomoya was basically a children's fight gone horribly out of hand.
- Adult Fear: We have the "My child came home, I wasn't there and now he's dead" and the "My child is a murderer"
- All of the Other Reindeer: Life isn't easy for Satsuki and Kazuhiko after their son is found guilty. They have to quit their jobs, move from their house and struggle to find new homes and places to work. Worse, people vandalize their door every time they find out Satsuki and Kazuhiko are Tomoya's parents.
- Ambiguous Innocence
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Kiyotaka to Mihoko.
- Apologises a Lot: Satsuki.
- The Atoner: Satsuki.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Sort of: Satsuki and Kazuhiko choose to have another child to make sure Tomoya grasps the enormity of taking a life away. Seeing his baby brother, Tomoya finally cries and says to Kiyotaka he's sorry.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Mihoko wished for her brother to disappear, and then he died.
- Beetle Maniac: Tomoya.
- Berserk Button: You just don't insult Satsuki in front of Tomoya.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Tomoya, with tragic consequences.
- Big "NO!": Seiko when the police tell her about Kiyotaka's death.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Mihoko in early episodes. Reality makes her wise beyon her years.
- Break the Cutie: Almost every character.
- Cassandra Truth: The day of the tragedy, Satsuki asks Tomoya what he was doing that day, and he tells her he killed someone. She didn't believe him.
- Character Development
- Cheerful Child: Kiyotaka.
- Chekhov's Gun: the poster "Mommy loves you".
- Children Are Innocent: Averted: Tomoya isn't an evil boy, but he kills Kiyotaka. And Kiyotaka wasn't the little angel everyone thought.
- Children Raise You: Sort of: Because of their children (and the tragedy) all the parents in the story grow and mature.
- Convicted by Public Opinion: While Tomoya is guilty, his parents did nothing wrong. It doesn't stop people from role them out of society.
- Crazy Homeless Lady: Averted: The old lady is quite sympathetic, but she's deeply unstable and dangerous for a child.
- Creepy Child: Tomoya at the beginning.
- Creepy Monotone: Tomoya.
- Crime Time Soap
- Death Is a Sad Thing: part of the plot is having Tomoya to really understand this.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Kiyotaka.
- Despair Event Horizon: OK, one family has a son which got killed, the other a son which killed.
- Determinator: Nothing will stop Mrs. Tomita from discovering what happened between Tomoya and Kiyotaka and helping their families. Nothing.
- Deus Angst Machina: Seriously, every time things are going slighty better for someone, something happens to put him back to square one.
- Disaster Dominoes
- Disproportionate Retribution: Kiyotaka was really rude, but he was a 7-year-old boy and didn't deserve death.
- Doomed by Canon: Poor, poor Kiyotaka...
- Doting Parent: Seiko to Kiyotaka.
- Dramatic Pause
- Dramatic Shattering: The Noguchi family photo. Instead of changing the glass, Satsuki puts duct tape on it.
- Driven to Suicide: Satsuki clearly thinks about it.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Hideaki and Kazuhiko.
- Dysfunction Junction: Well, Satsuki fails to notice Tomoya's trauma to the point that the kid has a breakdown where he killed another boy, while Kazuhiko is an absent husband and father. Seiko and Hideaki spoil Kiyotaka so much that their daughter thinks they don't love her.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Which isn't really happy as Kiyotaka is still dead.
- Education Mama: Satsuki has shades.
- Empathic Environment: Subverted for Kiyotaka funeral. Played straigh in other scene.
- Enfant Terrible: Played with, then subverted.
- Hair Decorations: Mrs. Tomita gives Satsuki a cute hair ribbon.
- Failure-to-Save Murder: Seiko and Hideaki feel they failed to protect Kiyotaka.
- Fan Sub
- Five Stages of Grief
- Forgiveness: One of the point of the whole series.
- Freak Out: Tomoya had a freak out so big he killed Kiyotaka.
- Freudian Excuse: Tomoya had a very traumatic experience that he blamed himself for. Satsuki didn't notice, and Tomoya stopped trusting her (and everyone else), but still thought that it was his fault in the first place and felt guilty for the whole situation. After six months in this circle, Kiyotaka tells him his mother doesn't love him 'cause he's weird, and Tomoya snaps.
- Good Parents: It doesn't help: One single mistake, and their life is destroyed forever.
- Gory Discretion Shot
- Harmful to Minors: The old homeless lady.
- Heroic BSOD: Seiko after Kiyotaka's death, until her family snaps her out of it. Satsuki after Mihoko tells her to die. Basically every character has at least one.
- Housewife: Seiko is one; Satsuki works part time.
- Happily Married
- How We Got Here: The first episode.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The Noguchi family.
- I Miss Mom: Tomoya and Mihoko. Interesting as the mothers are physically with them, but emotionally distant.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted in the first episode.
- Innocence Lost
- Innocent Inaccurate: Tomoya doesn't understand the gravity of his action, and his narration mirrors that.
- Innocently Insensitive: Kiyotaka, and he pays it.
- Insane Equals Violent: Tomoya beats Kiyitaka to death.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Mrs. Tomita and Tomoya (even if it's her work, it's clear that she really cares about the boy, and vice versa). Tomoya and the old homeless lady also have one, but it ends badly.
- Ironic Echo: When Satsuki tries to get Tomoya to say he's not the killer, she tells him he has a mouth to speak. Tomoya's response is that she has ears to listen.
- It's All My Fault: Satsuki and Seiko say this.
- Japanese Series
- Kick the Dog: Mihoko telling Satsuki to die.
- Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: Satsuki's total denial in the first two episodes.
- Manly Tears: Both Kazuhiko and Hideaki end up crying.
- Mommy Issues: Tomoya and Mihoko.
- My God, What Have I Done?
- Parental Favoritism: Seiko and Hideaki, but they don't realize it and are genuinely surprised when Mihoko tells them how much she felt neglected.
- Parental Obliviousness: With tragic conseguence.
- Parents as People: Seiko and Hideaki are so grieving for Kiyotaka's death that Mihoko starts thinking that it would be better if she was dead instead and that her presence (and life) makes no difference to her parents. They don't notice until the girl's teacher told them Mihoko wants to quit school and she has a breakdown when confronted about it. Satsuki fails to notice the moment Tomoya needs her the most.
- Poor Communication Kills: Literally.
- Posthumous Character: Kiyotaka.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Mihoko is good at that. It helps that Kawashima Umika's eyes are so big.
- Put on a Bus: Ayano goes to Africa
- Redemption Earns Life: Sort of: Seiko wants Tomoya to have a long, full life and be happy to see what he took away from Kiyotaka.
- The Reveal
- Shrine to the Fallen: In Kiyotaka's home.
- Shrinking Violet: Tomoya.
- Sibling Rivalry: Mihoko and Kiyotaka; Satsuki and Ayano.
- Sympathetic Murderer
- Tearful Smile
- Tears of Remorse
- There Are No Therapists: Mrs. Tomita is extremely competent and menage to support Kiyotaka's family, Tomoya's mother and Tomoya... but still her role is to find out what happened, not supporting destroyed people.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Pretty much Hideaki's attitude.
- Tragic Mistake: If only Satsuki has asked to Tomoya what was wrong when he come home soaked instead of scolding him; if only Seiko wasn't 15 minutes late that day; if only Kazuhiko had taught Tomoya to play catchball...
- Troubled Child: Tomoya. Big time.
- The Unfavorite: Mihoko feels this way.
- Unstoppable Rage: Tomoya to Kiyotaka.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Mihoko and Tomoya.
- Viewers Are Goldfish
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
- Where Did We Go Wrong?: Played for drama.