Kodaike no Hitobito (The Kodai Family) Movie Recap
This movie is downright hilarious and sweet. I think the only downside to this is, it’s so darn difficult to recap! Most of the funny scenes happened inside the mind and I’m afraid I won’t be able to give justice to the movie’s unique humor. But since I really want to share this nice movie with you guys, I decided to give this one a try.
I’m pretty satisfied with everything. I love the plot and the leads. I’ve seen Takumi Saito portray more mature roles before and it’s pretty exciting to watch him do a rom-com. As for Haruka Ayase, well, she’s THE Ayase so I already expect a great performance from her.
In a nutshell, this movie is about an ordinary office lady, Kie Hirano, who loves to daydream. One day, she meets the eldest son of the Kodai family, Mitsumasa Kodai, who can read people’s mind. It’s a gift he and his siblings inherited from their British grandmother. He finds her bizarre imagination amusing and fell in love with her outright. Everything’s going fine, until, Mitsumasa’s mom returns from London and disapproves of Kie. From there, their relationship starts to get a little rickety.
Kie Hirano (Haruka Ayase) is suffering from a bad cold and is absent from work for four days. On the fourth day, her fever has already gone down but because she’s feeling lazy, she decides to stay at home and daydream. She imagines that the company she’s working with is being invaded by some mysterious group. She tries to fight them off singlehandedly… but of course, she’s only joking. She can’t possibly win over thousands of goons on her own, even if it’s just her imagination. Haha!
On the fifth day, she returns to work. But the atmosphere is drastically changed. Her female co-workers are giddy about some blue-eyed prince. Her friend Yumiko informs her that the eldest son from the known noble Kodai family came to be their new boss. He studied in Oxford and his grandmother is British. Right on cue, the popular handsome Prince Kodai (Takumi Saito) strolls down their office in a breath-stopping slow-mo.
While photocopying some papers, Kie can’t help but stare at the prince. Yumiko then encourages her to get closer (in a romantic kind of way) to the new boss since he’s single. Kie is reluctant though. He’s totally from another world, they’re talking about Oxford after all. She then imagines Prince Kodai as a Royal Guard, a British detective and a young Royal Prince mired in conspiracy. The last one suits him better so she’ll have to stick with that. The mysterious group, led by Lord Dudley, is after his life so he made a harrowing escape to Japan. She’s busy daydreaming that she didn’t notice the photocopied papers scattering on the floor. She’s picking them up when someone helps her out. It’s no other than the Kodai Prince himself! Kyah!
In voice over, Kie admits that ever since she was a child, she always finds it difficult to talk to people. She has always been alone and has this habit of suddenly daydreaming on things she put her mind into. But looking enviously at the man who sweetly dries his rain-soaked girlfriend with handkerchief, she acknowledges the fact that she’s weak when it comes to love.
One day, she joins Prince Kodai in an elevator ride. She only knows his family name so she fondly calls him “Kodai What’s-His-First-Name” in her mind. Standing right next to him, Kie can’t help but continue her made-up story. Lord Dudley has finally taken over the building. The elevator door opens and they see Lord Dudley pointing a gun at Chief Wakita’s head. The evil villain demands that Prince Kodai handover the princess, who is of course, Kie. But the valiant Prince refuses to give her up and closes the elevator door. That solves the problem. Haha! Kie snaps out of her daydream when Prince Kodai suddenly laughs and informs her that they’ve arrived at her floor. Before the door closes, he gives her a small but knowing smile. Kyaah!
Kie is about to cross the street when someone suddenly pulls her arm. It’s Prince Kodai again! He’s literally everywhere. He greets her good morning and explains that the light’s still red. He tries to have a small conversation but all she can think about is “Why does he even know her name when they haven’t even spoken to each other?”. Haha! There’s only one explanation to that. A gnome must have informed the Prince that she knows of his real identity. Prince Kodai secretly laughs and to Kie’s surprise, he invites her to dinner. Kie is dumbfounded. Why on earth would “Kodai What’s-His-First-Name” ask her out?! Finally noticing that she doesn’t know his name, he formally introduces himself as Mitsumasa.
At the dinner date, Kie pictures herself as a well-dressed business woman, proposing a toast of red wine for the success of XXX Project. In reality, she’s only eating on her own while Mitsumasa leans on his elbows, watching her amusingly. By the time their done, it’s raining quite heavily. Having no umbrella, they run through the rain for shelter. Looking at Kie, Mitsumasa smiles and dries off her wet hair using his handkerchief. Aww! Kie can only smile shyly at him.
The next day, Yumiko asks Kie about her date with the Prince. Kie is rather disappointed. She thinks it was a failure. She sucks at communicating so Mitsumasa probably thinks she’s annoying. Yumiko comments that she’s being too negative and asks if Prince Kodai finds her boring. Kie thinks about it and admits he was surprisingly laughing a lot.
Kie and Mitsumasa are visiting a park. I think it’s another date. While looking at the clouds, Kie secretly wonders if she could ride them. Mitsumasa hears her thoughts and agrees that the cloud sure looks “rideable”. Kie is obviously surprised that he knows what she’s thinking and asks if he can read people’s minds. Immediately, she apologizes for asking a stupid question. Mitsumasa shares that if something like mind-reading is real, a person having that gift is rather unfortunate. For him, it’s better not to know about other people’s true feelings. But in their case, Mitsumasa doesn’t mind reading her thoughts just to know her more. Kie is completely against the idea though. She’ll probably die of embarrassment if it happens!
Mitsumasa is lying on the grass, his eyes closed. Kie, on the other hand, fondly looks down at him. She thinks that if he really can read her mind and if it’s the only way she could express her feelings to him, then it’s fine. She then imagines herself in a forest, shouting “I love You!!!” with all her might. Unfortunately, the nosy gnome hears her declaration of love. She gets mad and hits the poor gnome with a branch. Haha! She ends her short fantasy and lays down beside Mitsumasa. He looks at her and says “Me too”. Kyahh!
Kie and Mitsumasa are officially in a relationship. Mitsumasa took a bold step and introduces Kie to his siblings, Shigeko (Kiko Mizuhara) and Kazumasa (Shotaro Mamiya) and the family cat Yoshimasa. Kie is utterly amazed. These Kodai siblings are too good-looking to be mere humans. In fact, they’re vampires who lived thousands of years. They came to Japan to escape from Father Daffune who only wants to acquire their eternal life. Kie’s wild imagination ends when she catches the Kodai siblings trying to hide their laughs while looking knowingly at each other. She begins to suspect that the three of them can read minds.
Kie looks admiringly at the siblings’ grandparent’s wedding portrait. They share that when their grandfather fell sick, he decided to go back to England with their grandmother. He died half a year ago but their grandmother still visits his grave every day. Kie thinks that though she doesn’t know what it feels to lose someone she loves, she’s sure traces of their grandfather’s presence resides in them.
In Shigeko’s mind, she wonders how it was for their grandfather to be married to someone who can read minds. If it happened to her, she’ll surely hate it. I guess the Kodai siblings have a common distaste to their gifts. Apparently, she’s secretly in love with her drinking buddy Kohei Kishimoto (Kentaro Sakaguchi). But just like Mitsumasa, she pretends not knowing how he thinks. She’s scared to confess since it’s obviously impossible for her to have a normal relationship. And based on bad experiences, the siblings are agreed to keep their gift a secret.
Mitsumasa will be returning home from America. And if it’s “America”, Kie is sure it has something to do with FBI. Mitsumasa is actually out on a mission to catch a bad guy. He comes face to face with the villain in an abandoned building and they start to say their one-liner piece, like literally one-liner. Haha! Turns out, her English is so bad that her FBI story ended up revolving around apples. Haha! That’s the most hilarious scene!
Kie’s pretty excited for his return but disappointingly, he sends her a text that she can’t make it because of work. She’s walking with Yumiko and decides to admit having daydreams. Lately, she realizes she needs to stop with the fairy tales. Surprisingly, Yumiko already knows about her little habit. But contrary to Kie’s belief, she thinks daydreaming is normal, especially for people in love. Coincidentally, they see Mitsumasa having dinner with a girl. Of course, Kie is brokenhearted.
In Mitsumasa’s defense, he was only forced to dine with his colleague’s daughter since the latter said she wants to ask for advice about some research workshop. Well, she’s lying. She used that excuse to be with him. Since Mitsumasa knows what she’s up to, he suggests that they hurry up and end the meeting as quickly as possible. The daughter fakes a smile and says she understands he has plans with his girlfriend. But at the back of her mind, she questions why he even likes a gloomy, dull and timid-looking woman. It’s truly unfortunate that Mitsumasa hears everything.
Mitsumasa has been trying to call Kie but she keeps on ignoring him. So, he goes straight to her place and while at the door, he immediately feels a dark aura. He’s able to see himself in front of Kie’s grave. A priest explains that it’s for the better because she has become a savage monster.
He knocks on her door and she quietly invites him in. He notices the ingredients she intended to use for their dinner and volunteers to cook. All the while, Kie suspects that he came to tell her that he already found the person he truly loves. Mitsumasa is forced to admit that a colleague introduced him to his daughter and offered an arranged marriage but he declined because he is already engaged. Kie is shocked? He is engaged to whom? Mitsumasa is confused at her reaction. Just to end the misunderstanding, he hugs her tight. Aw, she’s the fiancee.
Among the Kodai siblings, Kazumasa’s the meanest. Well, he’s only mean to Jun Saito (Kaho), Shigeko’s friend and Yoshimasa’s vet. But though he may not admit it, he really likes Jun. Sadly, she only has her eyes set on Mitsumasa. One time, Jun accidentally confessed her feelings to Kazumasa thinking he was Mitsumasa. Since then, Jun sees Kazumasa as the annoying, stupid brother and he in turn, uses the incident to annoy her and get her attention.
Kazumasa and Shigeko are at home when their Mom, Yuuko Kodai (Mao Daichi), arrives. She’s with their Dad but he went straight to the company for work. They flew back to Japan for Mitsumasa’s engagement. Jun, who has been invited by Kazumasa, comes shortly after her. Mom assumes she’s the fiancee and gets pretty relieved. Just in time, Mitsumasa and Kie arrive, correcting Mom’s previous assumption.
Mom clearly doesn’t like the plain-looking Kie for her son. But Mitsumasa is resolved. He’ll be marrying Kie no matter. Still, Mom doesn’t get what’s so special about her. Poor Mitsumasa can’t even say that it’s because he can see through her heart.
Mitsumasa: It came suddenly to me. As I look at her all by herself. I wonder what she’ll do next. I got interested. I want to always stay by her side. That’s what I thought. All these times, I have never even thought of wanting to peek into people’s minds. Only Kie’s.
Mitsumasa apologizes to Kie for what happened. He assures that his Mom has nothing to do with their decisions and the wedding will push through. But Kie isn’t comfortable with that thought. She’s afraid that if she can’t get his Mom’s approval, they will be forced to elope. And then she imagines herself as a peasant girl and Mitsumasa is a young Master from old Japan. Mitsumasa’s family is against their relationship, so they eloped and Mitsumasa had to carry barrels for a living. Haha!
Mitsumasa’s Dad, Shigemasa Kodai Jr or Masao for short (Masachika Ichimura), invites Kie for dinner. Unlike Mom, he’s fond of Kie. Without beating around the bush, Mom frankly announces that she’s against the marriage. She doesn’t want to be mean, but being married to a Kodai has responsibilities and she believes Kie isn’t up to the task.
Dad agrees and relays the story of their grandma, Lady Anne Kodai (Charlotte Kate Fox), a popular socialite and Shigemasa Kodai (Takuro Ohno), an exiled Japanese student. They met on a social gathering and Lady Anne fell deeply in love with him. One day, she confessed and told him she wanted to marry him. Sadly, Shigemasa was already engaged. Though Lady Anne already knew about his situation, she was undeterred. They loved each other and it was all she needed to fight for him. Shigemasa realized she was right and from then, they became a couple. But Lady Anne’s father was against their relationship. In the end, he went back to Japan and Lady Anne followed him there. She left the comforts of England and chose to be with Shigemasa. The point of the story is, the more someone disapproves of their love, the more the passion of love burns.
With that, Kie is more motivated. She’s optimistic that Mitsumasa’s Mom will eventually approve of her if she gives her best. What does it mean? Well, since she’s only good at breaststrokes, it means she’ll aim at acing a breaststroke competition. Haha! Everyone will laugh at her at first but then she’ll get discovered by a brilliant Danish coach, Iyan Yakke, who could make even a dying person a medalist!
While Kie looks around the room, the siblings talk about Jun via telepathy. Kazumasa comments that it’s much better if Jun can read minds because it’ll be easier for her to accept reality. Mitsumasa responds that the one who needs to accept reality is him since it’s clear he’s into Jun. Shigeko agrees. With his siblings ganging up on him, Kazumasa gets fed up and makes a sudden outburst. Unfortunately, they didn’t notice Kie observing them. She puts two and two together and realize that they are indeed mind-readers.
The secret is out. Kie admits that she already had a hunch. Though startled at first, it’s okay. At least now, she can easily convey all her thoughts down to him. Mitsumasa is happy. He’s been called as someone who doesn’t laugh often but with her, he finds himself always laughing. He can only think of her as someone he wants to stay with.
Mitsumasa will be reassigned to London and hence, he wants the wedding as soon as possible. However, Kie is not up to the idea of fast-tracking it. The couple informs Mitsumasa’s parents about his plans. His Mom is still against their marriage and demands that Kie learns perfect oral English, ballroom dancing, horse riding etc. Next week, the family will be hosting a grand party and it’ll be the perfect venue for Kie’s debut. Kie musn’t mess it up or they won’t be having a wedding.
Because of pressure and fear of embarrassing herself, Kie develops a technique of shutting the Kodai siblings out of her mind. Every time they’re together, she refrains from thinking anything. Being with him is becoming a burden. She is hurting and unknowingly, she’s pushing him away. Mistumasa begins to worry and reminds Kie that she doesn’t need to change.
Kie’s Mom calls about her upcoming wedding. Her parents are obviously very proud of her. Without really having someone to turn to, Kie asks her Mom if it’s really necessary for a woman to keep up with her partner. Her Mom advises that she should just stay the way she is because when she forces herself too much, cracks will appear in the relationship.
Jun is at Kodai’s house to check on Yoshimasa, the cat. Kodai siblings and Kie are all present. Kie notices the way Kazumasa lovingly looks at Jun and mentally concludes that he really likes her. Kazumasa is too defensive for his own good and bursts out that she had it wrong. He doesn’t like Jun because she likes Mitsumasa. Jun is clearly embarrassed and walks out. Kazumasa then blames Kie for thinking such a thought. Because of what happened, Kie hides her thoughts from them even more. However, Kazumasa is non-apologetic. He believes, at least, by not knowing what Kie thinks, they’ve finally experienced being normal.
Shigeko’s love interest, Kohei, finds himself a girlfriend. This breaks her heart and the rude mental comments from his “girlfriend” only adds to her pain. She realizes how stupid it looks. She always peeks over people’s thoughts and not bothering to hear her own. She calls Kie, who is busy preparing for the party, and invites her for a drink. She isn’t really expecting Kie to show up but she did! Kie chooses to comfort her than attend the do-or-die party. It’s a noble act but Kie really needs to go to the party!
Though late, Kie and Shigeko finally arrives. Mitsumasa grabs Kie for some privacy and asks what happened. But she keeps her mouth and her mind shut. Mitsumasa begs that if she won’t tell him, he won’t know and he might lose her. She once told him that it’s fine if he can read her mind. He’s holding on to that. She doesn’t have to change. She can be like how she was before. That’s the problem. He keeps on saying that but Kie wonders how was she before? The truth is, she’s scared to come to the party and mess things up that’s why she chose to stay with Shigeko. It’s futile anyway. He will never understand how it feels to have his thoughts exposed.
Mitsumasa’s Mom is angry. Thankfully, Shigeko defends Kie, explaining that the latter stayed behind for her. She begs Mom to accept the marriage. At last, Mom gives in and Kie is introduced as Mitsumasa’s fiancee. Later that night, Kie’s imaginary gnome friend asks if she’s really okay to suppress her daydreams. Is she thinks it’s worth it, then it’s farewell.
It’s the big day and with Yuuko accepting Kie to the family and Jun giving up on her feelings for Mitsumasa, one can say everything’s settled. Kie should have been the happiest bride but she ain’t.
In the middle of the wedding ceremony, Kie finally decides. She talks to him through her mind. She can’t marry him after all. She’s deeply sorry for this decision but she needs to let him go. Lately, he seems sad and the smile he always wear when he’s with her is gone. She can’t make him happy. He had always been genuinely kind to her. He made her feel special but she never did something for him in return. Mitsumasa starts to panic. He firmly holds her and says it’s not true. It’s difficult to be with him. She can’t think freely and not think anything at the same time. She bows apologetically to the confused crowd and runs away. She leaves behind the man whom she loves the most to seek an easier life. Kie resigns from work and refuses to answer her phone after that.
Thinking about what happened, Mitsumasa acknowledges that Kazumasa was right. He never really understood Kie. People may speculate but for him, she’s a much stronger person. She can overcome problems on her own. She’s firm and kind and those were the reasons why he’s drawn to her. Dad, who is listening at the two boys, joins in. He tells Mistumasa to face Kie head on. Dad admits that he’s the kind of man who thinks lightly on things but one thing he’s proud of is he never gives up on the person who made him think that way. Because of Dad’s inspiring words, Mitsumasa calls Kie one last time. He’s leaving for England and he’ll be waiting for her at the airport. If ever she won’t come, he’ll respect her decisions.
The ruckus that happened between Kie and Mitsumasa make the Kodai siblings realize some things. For Shigeko’s part, she decides to confess her feelings despite the fact that Kohei has a girlfriend. She understands that though it may not change anything, she needs to at least try because she doesn’t want to give up on the person she loves. As for Kazumasa, he finally tells Jun the reason why he loves teasing her and it’s because he’s jealous that she likes his brother.
On the day of Mitsumasa’s travel to England, Yuuko receives two letters from Lady Anne. One is for her and the other one, for Kie.
Yuuko is still undeniably furious but for some reasons, she personally gives the letter to Kie. Truth be told, she doesn’t think Kie deserves Mitsumasa but if Kie really loves her son, then she advises Kie to fight for him and not run away.
Kie reads Lady Anne’s letter. Guess, nobody knows what Kie truly feels than the Kodai matriarch herself. After all, she has been in that situation before. Lady Anne shares what her late husband told her. He said he wasn’t really always confident in their marriage. Multiple times he wondered why such a beautiful person like her came to like an ordinary person like him. But then he realized, if it wouldn’t be him, it’s just impossible. He accepted her ability as a miracle and decided to just stay the way he was. He chose to believe in her the way she believed in him and he found himself willing to bare everything and anything to her. He knew they won’t have a perfect relationship but he wouldn’t have chosen to live other ways. They’ll hurt each other and they’ll have doubts but he’s sure they’ll just smile about it in the future. And they did. That’s why Lady Anne assures Kie. She doesn’t need to worry. Just like them, she’s sure they’ll be happy.
If that didn’t change Kie’s mind, then what would? She desperately tries to catch his flight but fails. Now, she’s planning her next move. Taking Yuuko’s advice not to run away, she has the perfect way to solve her problem. She’ll breaststroke her way to the Straight of Dover! Thanks to her Danish Coach, she will overcome the long distance swim. Haha! Our daydreaming Kie is back for good!
Mitsumasa is with Lady Anne, visiting his grandfather’s tomb. He then hears the voice of Kie’s Danish Coach and smiles. He remembers Kie and calls out to her and then…she’s standing right there! Kie survived and became the first and only swimmer to swim from Japan to England! Haha! The thought makes Mitsumasa laugh.
Kie runs towards him, hugging him tight, and he’s undeniably happy that she finally finds her way back to him. Kie says she already imagined spending her days with him and she’s sure they’ll be happy. She hopes that they’ll just smile about the quarrels and mistakes they made and will make. She asks if he’ll smile and forgive her then? He smiles. Of course, he’s already smiling right now.
They exchange sweet I Love You’s. Kie’s imaginary friends wouldn’t miss this momentous occasion and congratulates the newly-reunited couple.
The End. ❤