Kurokouchi: Episode 6

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There’s no case for today as the main mystery takes center stage and though our hero suffered a major setback last episode, he’s not willing to call it quits yet.

December 1968

A suspect finally emerges, only known as Boy S. It’s the young man we saw before and the police decide to keep his identity secret from the public because of his father. However, Boy S committs suicide and the investigation comes to a screeching halt.

November 21, 2013

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Kurokouchi is rushed to the hospital in critical condition, putting Takahashi on edge.Takahashi meets Seike at the hospital, feigning concern as he anxiously waits to find out if his plan succeeded. He’s out of luck; Kurokouchi was saved by the thickness of his wallet, so Takahashi leaves to figure out his next move.

Seike sees Kurokouchi as he’s moved out of the emergency room, and for a brief moment, there’s a wild smile on his face. Either he’s happy to be alive or he planned this, I can never tell with this guy.

 Kurokouchi is his usual self once he wakes up and isn’t surprised that his wallet saved him. He asks Seike about the investigation and she says the culprit is Sano Mitsuru, a member of the Akaba-gumi gang. He turned himself in after Takahashi found out Kurokouchi survived, claiming that he doesn’t know Kurokouchi and shot him thinking he was a member of a rival gang.

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Kurokouchi figures that he dug a little too deep and forced Echigo and Sawatari to team up against him, but he’s learned one thing from this: the Akaba-gumi and SFA are connected. Kurokouchi’s ready to go find out what’s going on, but he seems to forget that he was shot and therefore isn’t in any condition to leave the hospital.

As Seike persuades him to stay put, she mentions how Takahashi came to see him and it finally dawns on Kurokouchi that something’s up about him. He asks Seike to go see Hatakeyama of the House of Representatives. He knows a lot about yakuza matters, so he can help them find out the connection between the SFA and the Akaba-gumi. And of course, put them one step closer to the 300 million yen robbery.

Seike pauses before asking what Kurokouchi’s final objective is in all this. Does he just want to take down the SFA? Or does he want to find that money and claim it as his own? That’s a good question; what are you trying to accomplish anyway? Kurokouchi says he wants to ask the culprit the same question, wants to know the truth about the robbery. That…didn’t answer Seike’s question at all.

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She asks if the perpetrator is still alive and he says that they need to find his true identity. Kurokouchi experiences another bout of pain, so he tells Seike to go speak with Hatakeyama, but as soon as he she leaves, he stretches comfortably in the bed. So you were faking to make Seike do all the work? I would say you have no shame (and you don’t), but since Takahashi’s still trying to take you out, it’s probably best to lie low right now.

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Echigo’s mad that Sawatari didn’t hold up his end of the deal, but Sawatari assures him that he’ll take care of it. As long as Echigo has the evidence re-evaluated, there will be no problem. Echigo steps out to take a message from Kurokouchi; it’s the video of Ayakawa’s testimony. Kurokouchi calls right after, letting him know he’s aware that Echigo switched sides. He won’t leak the video, as long as Echigo chooses the right side. Kurokouchi doesn’t wait for an answer, but it’s clear that Echigo is starting to waver.

Seike goes to see Hatakayama, but he denies knowing anything about the Akaba-gumi, that is until Seike reveals that she has evidence that Kurokouchi is blackmailing him. So Seike has tricks now too? About time.

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Ten years ago, most of the Akaba-gumi members changed their names and faces to become a legal corporation. They were bought out by the company Fubuki Holdings, though Hatakeyama says he doesn’t know why. He directs Seike to Akaba Jingoro, the former head of the Akaba-gumi gang.

Kurokouchi’s all healed up, but he’s taking full advantage of being in the hospital. Seike’s reluctant, especially considering Hatakeyama’s warning, but Kurokouchi tells her to retrieve a red sports bag from his apartment and give it to Akaba. The contents of that bag will ensure he talks.

Unexpectedly, Takahashi comes to the hospital and Kurokouchi looks at him like, “You’re here because…?”. Takahashi keeps up his nice old man act, bearing a basket, but Kurokouchi is careful too, pretending he’s still in bad shape. He tells Takahashi that this only happened because he’s looking into the 300 million yen robbery, but Takahashi pretends to be ignorant of the case, so Kurokouchi fills it in. He mentions Boy S and asks how old Takahashi is. He’s sixty-four, exactly the age Boy S would be if he was still alive.

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He asks Takahashi if he thinks it’s an urban legend that Boy S was actually the perpetrator in the robbery. Boy S lacked an alibi, knew the area well, and was the son of a police officer; all the evidence was against him. Kurokouchi points out that Boy S and Takahashi are the same age, but Takahashi doesn’t even flinch as he says Boy S died.

Kurokouchi mentions how Yakushiji believed the culprit was still alive and that he thinks it must be Boy S. Takahashi asks if he ever found out his name, but Kurokouchi says Yakushiji was killed before then, most likely by the same people after him.

Seike has been exploring Kurokouchi’s apartment after retrieving the bag and is shocked by all the surveillance cameras, newspaper clippings, and million and one locks on his door. She knew he was obsessed and paranoid, but not to this extent

Kurokouchi’s security guard is working for Takahashi and he sneaks into his room that night, a needle in hand. We don’t see what happens next, but the following morning, the police are in an uproar because Kurokouchi’s disappeared. Seike still hasn’t delivered the bag to Akaba, so she postpones looking for Kurokouchi.

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The sports bag contains money (duh), so Seike promises to give it to him if he tells her about Fubuki Holdings, but I guess money can’t buy everything as Akaba is unwilling to talk. Seike’s desperate, so she mentions how her father was murdered. Her dad’s name does trigger something, and Akaba seems willing to open up now.

He says that though it looked like all the gang members became respectable citizens once the Akaba-gumi became a subsidiary of Fubuki Holdings, whenever any gang rivalry incidents or crime occurred, only Akaba-gumi members were arrested. It turns out that the people behind Fubuki Holdings are the police. Oh, so the Akaba-gumi members are the fall guys for whenver an officer screws up.  In order to survive, the members had no choice but to yield to them. The only person who defied Fubuki Holdings, and was subsequently expelled from the group, was Akaba Jingoro.

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As Seike digests this information, she remembers how Kurokouchi said that she’d have to decide who is good and who is evil herself. Akaba takes the money and starts to leave, but Seike still has a lot of questions. Who killed her dad? How is the SFA and the 300 million yen case connected? She can’t ask them though because of the appearance of Akaba’s creepy home helper. It’s clear that he’s heard a little too much of their conversation, so Akaba asks that she come back tomorrow. If you’re still alive tomorrow.

Kurokouchi calls Seike and tells her he moved to a different room since he didn’t feel safe in his old room. She realizes that he was always planning to make her meet Akaba; he knew he wouldn’t talk just for money, but would be able to sympathize with another victim. She says she found out that Fubuki are the police and that the SFA formed because of the robbery. Kurokouchi is still lying low, so he tells her to start unraveling the strings of history to find out the true identity of Boy S. Would it kill you to give straight orders for once?

Seike checks the criminal records of the last ten years and notices that all the cases involving the Akaba-gumi have also involved the Public Security Bureau. Her investigation is cut short when she gets a call from Chief Ushii.

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The home helper decided that Akaba was talking too much and takes him out, though his official story is that Akaba abused him every day, so he killed him in rage. For once Seike’s not the only person who finds this suspicious; Machida’s a former gang member and he’s employed by one of Akaba-gumi’s companies.

It’s too much of a coincidence, but instead Chief Ushii wants to know what Seike was doing when she visited Akaba earlier. She says she was looking for Kurokouchi and she admits she knows where he is.

Sneaky police officer goes to Kurokouchi’s new room, thinking he’ll definitely get him this time, but he outsmarts him once again. He leaves behind the 500 yen bill Sawatari gave him, which now has a bullet hole.

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Kurokouchi has moved to a different hospital this time, an old, run-down place that doesn’t even look like it has any patients, but he’s not playing sick anymore as he’s back in his old suit.  Kurokouchi has dirt on the hospital, so he’s allowed to use this place as his emergency shelter until he’s no longer in danger.

Seike’s figured out Kurokouchi’s clue, so he says they should go catch the culprit behind the robbery.

Takahashi looks at the 500 yen Kurokouchi left behind and a quick flash of scenes seem to confirm that he is Boy S. It looks like they sent him out of the country after the funeral, but there’s an unusual pass-by between him and Sawatari after the latter joins the SFA. Takahashi is Boy S, right?

Echigo has approved the request for the gun to be re-evaluated, but he reminds Sawatari that he’s the one in power here. Sawatari always knows everything, so he says that Echigo doesn’t need to side with Kurokouchi and that everything’s been taken care of. That’s what you said last time, and we see how that turned out.

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Seike and Kurokouchi find Takahashi at the dock where Yakushiji died. Ugh, can we stop meeting here? This is just not a good place to meet your enemies at night. They reveal that they know about the SFA and its connection to the Akaba-gumi as well as the fact that the SFA members are part of the Public Security Bureau.

Kurokouchi realizes that Takahashi killed Yakushiji that night, but Takahashi continues to feign ignorance. Takahashi asks what does the SFA have to do with the 300 million yen robbery and Kurokouchi says that the SFA began there. He supposes that the culprit’s life was spared in exchange for the money and says that money really is everything.

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He directly asks if Takahashi was the robber all those years ago. We go back to 1968. Boy S met the police officer at a deserted building after the funeral ended, handing him a new passport, saying this would be him from now on. The name inside is Takahashi Hideo.

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We see that someone is watching from the surveillance van as we wait for Takahashi’s answer and for once, it seems like he might crack.

Thoughts: A drawback to Kurokouchi is that with all the plot maneuvering, we don’t get a chance to know any of the characters outside of the main cast and there are a lot of characters. You know to take note when a name comes across the screen, but sometimes it will be ages before we see them again and with new people and cases popping up every episode, it’s easy to forget about them. Hatakeyama, for instance, was shown way back in episode one or two only for him to reappear just now, so it’s easy to overlook Takahashi.

All signs have been pointing to Sawatari being Boy S, so it should be shocking that it’s actually the kind Takahashi, but I feel a little underwhelmed (though I was surprised that he killed Yakushiji). I guess it’s because there’s really no build-up to it; though we are informed of his connection to Sawatari when we first meet him, it’s very brief, and the next time we meet him, it’s obvious he has more than a little to do with the 300 million yen robbery. I do want to know what motivated Takahashi to try and pull off such a huge heist, especially at such a young age and why the police decided to keep him alive, in spite of the fact that he’s such a liability. Does he believe in what the SFA stands for or is he just doing this because otherwise the SFA will kill him? We’re slowly learning more and more about the SFA and its founding, so I hope that these questions will be answered soon.

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