Kurokouchi: Episode 4

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Since we wrapped up the little arc last episode, it’s time for a new case. It’s not exactly a riveting case, but it does its job, giving us little hints to the bigger mystery.

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December 10, 1968

The police discovered the police car in the abandoned field, but didn’t have any leads. They decided to release the serial numbers of a portion of the stolen bills. The bills were never found though, as the Sakura Fubuki Association (SFA) had separated them from the rest of the money. The robber hides the car at an apartment building, stowing away the police officer uniform in a bag. He looks at the empty backseat of the car for a  long moment before leaving. 

November 9, 2013

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Kurokouchi goes on a date with his apartment manager Tenten, but he’s distracted the whole time, looking at his phone. He blows her off to join a crowd watching a man die after jumping off a building. Everyone else is horrified, wondering what happened, but Kurokouchi merely smirks.

The man is Asanuma Kenji, the secretary to House of Representatives member Ijichi Densuke, who is running for cabinet minister. First Divison is assigned to the case, though all the clues point to suicide. Asanuma was being investigated for misappropriating Ijichi’s political funds, so he must have been under a lot of pressure. Still it’s strange that Asanuma was screaming as he jumped to his death willingly, not to mention he called his father the night before, claiming he was going to report Ijichi to the police. Not exactly the actions of a man about to kill himself.

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Asanuma’s father shows up at the crime scene, broken by the loss of his son and screaming that he was killed by Ijichi. They try to get Dad to the station, but he says the police told him to come here, in particularly a very offensive detective. Three guesses who. Seike gets Dad to calm down and he tells her that Asanuma had his hands on a notebook with information about Ijichi’s slush fund as well as the “Sakura” though Dad doesn’t remember the latter clearly. Seike thinks it must be the SFA and figures that’s what Kurokouchi is after.

With no sign of foul play, Asanuma’s death will be ruled as a suicide. There’s also no sign of the notebook, but Kurokouchi has other things to worry about. Kakizaki is acting as Ijichi’s lapdog (Ijichi was Kakizaki’s boss while he was part of the MPD), so to keep Kurokouchi from snooping around, Kakizaki transfers him to the Detention Administration Division.  It’s either transfer or resign, so Kurokouchi has no choice but to follow orders.

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This also puts an end to his partnership with Seike, though it doesn’t keep them from meeting anyway. Ijichi persuaded Sawatari to enter politics, so it’s possible that he’s also in the Sakura Fubuki Association. Since he has no authority to investigate, Kurokouchi instructs Seike to look into Asanuma’s death and hands over his new contact info in case she gets into trouble.

Just because he can’t ask questions doesn’t keep Kurokouchi from at least looking and he finds out that Ijichi keeps the black notebook on him all the time, but the problem is getting his hands on it.

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Are all the women on the forensics team lesbian or are they flirty with everyone? Maybe they all just like Seike, since the Sawa’s fill-in for the day, Madarame Yaeko, starts violating Seike’s personal space the minute she knows who she is. She informs Seike that though Asanuma took his shoes off before jumping, no fingerprints were found on the handrail, which he needed to climb over to jump. On top of that, Asanuma’s glasses also weren’t found.

Seike returns to the crime scene and starts digging around the garbage collection area across the street. She finds Asanuma’s glasses and calls up Kurokouchi, telling him what she found. She suspects that Asanuma was thrown off the building, but tossing a man of his height (176 cm or 5’9) is no small task.

She keeps on investigating as Kurokouchi sees Ijichi handing out tickets to his urban planning fundraiser. He starts to approach him, but then he sees Asanuma’s father suspiciously lurking in the background, holding a blade. He manages to stop him before he attacks and though the father bemoans the unfairness of his son’s death, Kurokouchi says there isn’t anything he can do for him anymore.

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Kurokouchi meets with Ijichi before he leaves, asking if he could get Kakizaki to cancel his transfer. He promises he won’t say anything about Asanuma’s murder, but Ijichi isn’t playing along. Kurokouchi notes his huge bodyguards and says they look big enough to throw a grown man off the roof. Ijichi still isn’t scared, so Kurokouchi snatches some of tickets he was handing out earlier.

He mentions the black notebook and its contents, finally catching Ijichi’s attention. He asks where he’s hiding it, but Ijichi doesn’t reply. Kurokouchi guarantees he’ll find it when Ijichi goes to jail for Asanuma’s murder before heading off.

Though he played cool in front of Kurokouchi, Ijichi runs to Sawatari for help. Sawatari assures him that he shouldn’t worry about Kurokouchi, but adds that he shouldn’t have come to see him. Sure enough, Kurokouchi followed Ijichi to the detention center, confirming that the notebook is important to the SFA.

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When Seike goes to see Madarame again, she warns Seike to not dig too much or else she’ll end up like Yakushiji. She knows about her father’s death as well (she sure knows a lot for a temp) and she shows her an article on Hazuki Tomo, the woman from the fire. A journalist, she died in an (supposedly) accidental fire eight years earlier and was also looking into the 300-million-yen robbery. Madarame mentions that Hazuki knew Kurokouchi, though she doesn’t say how close they were, but obviously the loss of Hazuki changed him.

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In prison, Sawatari thinks back to fifteen years earlier when he received one of the bills from the robbery. He pulls that bill out now before calling over his suspicious guard, asking for a favor.

Chief Ushii has been following Seike around and finally confronts her about investigating Ijichi. He tells her that Asanuma found out about Ijichi’s crimes from someone he didn’t even know. A certain shady police officer…

Asanuma’s dad holds the wake for his son and we see that he’s written a suicide note. As he hangs himself, we see Kurokouchi blankly watching from outside.

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Seike confronts Kurokouchi with the information that Ushii gave her. She knows he was investigating Ijichi before Asanuma even knew about the slush fund and pushed Asanuma into getting more information. Thanks to him, an innocent man died. Kurokouchi defends himself by saying he did warn Asanuma that this was dangerous and Seike asks if he warned Hazuki Tomo as well. Oh Seike, low blow, but also, well done for sticking it to Kurokouchi for once.

Hazuki is definitely a sore topic for him and he only says that there were various reasons. He asks what else she found out about Ijichi. She’s only memorized the company names since Ushii stopped her investigation, but that’s enough for Kurokouchi to give her a ticket to Ijichi’s fundraising party.

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Seike goes to the party, though she doesn’t know what Kurokouchi has planned and meets with Chief Kakizaki, who’s in charge of security. Ijichi’s guards spot a creepy clown and chase him down. They separate, which gives the clown the opportunity to take them down and hide them in the bathroom.

Ijichi goes up to make a speech as the clown re-enters the room. He easily bypasses the guards, pulling out the same knife Asanuma’s dad had. Oh, so Dad still is alive. He declares he’s avenging his son before charging at Ijichi, pressing the knife against his neck.

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Kakizaki and Seike try to reason with Dad, but he only wants to speak with Kurokouchi. They call him and are surprised to find he’s at the party. Kurokouchi was running around in the other clown costume and took out Ijichi’s goons earlier.

Kurokouchi would gladly talk to Dad, but he’s not allowed to investigate since his transfer. Kakizaki’s reluctant, but with Ijichi’s life at stake he has no choice but to take back the transfer.

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Kurokouchi takes a mic and starts acting like this is a talk show, introducing himself to the audience and asking what the problem is between Dad and Ijichi. He even gives the audience cues to gasp when Dad says Ijichi killed his son. C’mon Kurokouchi, this isn’t Maury.

Dad mentions the notebook and Kurokouchi asks if he knows where it is. Dad and Ijichi struggle as he tries to get the notebook out of Ijichi’s pocket. Ijichi resists, but in the end Dad manages to pull it out.

Kurokouchi tells Seike to confirm the contents of the notebook. She recognizes the company names as ones that Ijichi worked for as an advisor in the past and are associated with the public works project he’s currently promoting. He asks Kakizaki if this is enough to warrant a re-investigation of Asanuma’s death and with all these people watching, Kakizaki has no choice but to agree.

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Dad lets go of Ijichi and Kurokouchi gives him a little thumbs up before walking off. As he leaves, Seike says this was all part of Kurokouchi’s plan.

As the police go to arrest Ijichi, Ushii spots Sawatari’s guard leaving. When Seike and Kurokouchi finally get a chance to look at the notebook, all the pages concerning the Sakura Fubuki Association have been ripped out. Looks like Sawatari gets the last laugh again.

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As they look it over again, a 500 yen bill falls out of the back, and the serial number matches the one from the 300-million-yen robbery. They wonder if it’s possible that Sawatari was the actual robber. Exactly how old is he anyway?

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There’s a shot of Sawatari before we go back to the day of the robbery. After removing the 500 yen bills, the empty cases were put back in the getaway car. When asked what they were going to do with the robber, they said to prepare a suicide note. The culprit anxiously sits in his apartment, ignoring his ringing phone.

Thoughts: Sawatari is becoming a scarier guy with each episode. The show’s been teasing that Sawatari was the one who committed the crime, but he certainly doesn’t seem like the scared young man cowering in his apartment. The scene where Sawatari also received the 500 yen bill also made it seem like that was his initiation into the SFA, so it’s unclear what he was doing up until that time, and more importantly, how he kept safe from the SFA and the police.

.Kurokouchi has managed to surprise me with each episode, but everything was pretty straight this time. You figured that Kurokouchi was behind Asanuma’s death since he knew when he was going to die, so that wasn’t a big deal, and I didn’t care if Dad got revenge or not (especially since it was really Kurokouchi’s fault) so even the suicide fake-out fell flat. The big draw was the book, but we didn’t even get a payoff from that since Sawatari got to it before Kurokouchi did. We did get a teeny, tiny bit of info on Hazuki and her connection to Kurokouchi at least. Admittedly, I thought Hazuki was digging into the robbery of her own accord and that her death is what made Kurokouchi want to find out the truth, but when Seike asked about her, it made me think that Kurokouchi may have roped her into the investigation. Overall, not a bad episode, but definitely not as good as the last two. Hopefully episode five will be better.

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