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Series / Aishiteru

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A 10-episode show aired in Japan during 2009, Aishiteru is a human drama focusing on two average families after a 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 son’s 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Shattering: The Noguchi family photo. Instead of changing the glass, Satsuki puts duct tape on it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: Tomoya doesn't understand the gravity of his action, and his narration mirrors that.
  • 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.
  • Parental Favoritism: Seiko and Hideaki, but they don't realize it and are genuinely surprised when Mihoko tells them how much she felt neglected.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...