2 lead characters
37 years old, businessman. Born into a poor family, mom and dad were both middle class shortly after Ryo was born dad left leaving family behind meaning family was poor. Determined to lift himself and family out of poverty he worked hard in his youth, he excelled in school for the purpose of getting into a good school and worked various jobs to help mom with the bills. When he finished high school his grades were good enough to warrant admission to Keio University! He attended and studied business and with a degree from Keio things were looking bright! Forget to mention during his college days that he developed a taste for liquor. Anyway he graduates and shortly thereafter marries a woman, and starts a family with a child born (a boy) soon thereafter. As a successful businessman he provides well for family, moves mom in and family enjoys comfy existence. Ryosuke and wife have Kid #2 (a girl). The plot thickens, Ryo's mom passes away, he is devastated and starts to drink heavily and a strain is put on his marriage. Within 2 years of mom dying wife leaves and takes the kids with her. Ryo seeks comfort in work and drinking and eventually the liquor gets in the way of his business performance. Eventually it costs him not only his job but his professional reputation meaning not only is he out of work but good luck finding a decent job. After realizing the gravity of his situation Ryo finds himself at a local bridge and contemplates jumping. He gets up to the edge and begins climbing up when he hears a crying sound…
16 years old, a second year high school student and Hokkaido native, her life thus far has been the opposite of Ryosuke's. She has grown up in a middle class family with both parents still married and her grades are fair meaning cram school if she pursues education after high school. Her real jewel is her social life, she is a popular girl at her high school and this is actually 1 year to the day that she started dating her now ex-boyfriend. This was the first time that she had been serious with a boy and she had actually planned an outing with him this very day so they could see Diamond Dust together. That was until 4 days ago, she caught him cheating on her with a friend, red-handed. To a 16 year-old female that was like the sky falling, she was devastated and had caught on to Ryosuke's bright idea. As she approaches the bridge in tears she sees a man already on the ledge.
Ryosuke thinks of his daughter and his immediate response is anger, "What is this stupid kid doing? She is a kid and has not been on this Earth long enough to do anything enough to warrant this, unlike the miserable failure that is myself" Misao shares the same anger, "How dare this old guy tell me what to do! How could he possibly know what is going on in my life, the pain that I am in?" They both compare ledgers trying to outdo the other. This exchange dissolves the anger with the realization that here is another person who is actually thinking the same thing and in pain. Ryosuke thinking of his daughter tries to talk Misao out of jumping but as a 30-something businessman trying to reason with a teenage girl he can't really use logic or any kind of reason. He can simply use the emotion that he wants to end it all to. Misao calls him out on his hypocrisy, why is it OK for him to jump and not her? Ryo realizes that as bad as things are he would never forgive himself if she did indeed jump and realizes to convince her he needs to lead by example. Upon the realization that his focus is on another person and not on himself the suicidal ideation he posses is lessened somewhat. Life still sucks and he is certainly in pain but suicide does not have the appeal that it once had. Ryosuke steps down from the ledge and this brings Misao's focus out from herself as well and she has a similar experience as Ryo, life still sucks but suicide does not have the same appeal. As they both come to this realization Ryosuke steps down from the ledge. As soon as his feet hit the ground Misao notice's something in the sky around them, Diamond Dust! She tearfully remembers the plan to see it with her ex and Ryo remembers an old contact from Sapporo mentioning it. As Ryosuke steps down and they make a pact with each other, they will walk side by side and cross the bridge and walk three blocks together. Then they will split up and go in parallel direction and both Ryosuke and Misao would head back to their respective homes and get their lives back together.
Epilogue - 3 years later
Ryosuke so humbled by what he learned from a 16 year old girl never touched a drop of alcohol after that. Remembering his degree from Koei he began a second career as a teacher at cram school/community colleges and was able to work his way back into his kid's lives. He never got back together with his now ex-wife but he is in his kid's lives, he has found steady employment that he doesn't mind and he quit drinking. Indeed a happy ending if ever there was one.
Misao humbled that there was human suffering apart from her made it a point of being more aware of what was going on in the lives of those around her and not to get so caught up in another person. She finished high school with average grades and after taking some time off to work and only now finds herself pursuing higher education in cram school. She walks into her first class; both Ryosuke and Misao are shocked to find that their professor/student is the very person that talked them out of committing suicide three years ago!