Kurokouchi: Episode 7

The many faces of Kurokouchi
                                       The many faces of Kurokouchi

It took me a long time to write the recap for this episode and I don’t know why. I think I was just burnt out from all the stress that comes with the holidays and writing a recap was the last thing on my mind, because this was a pretty average episode. It pulls back on the usual twists in favor of packing in as much information as possible, though there’s still a lot of questions in the air.

December 1968

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Hmm, so Seike’s dad, Seike Shinji, was an officer during the time of the robbery. He runs into Boy S’s father, who’s burning all of his son’s belongings. Dad knows Seike thinks he’s burning the money his son stole, so he tells him to come look in the fire to confirm he doesn’t have it. Even if he did have the money, he probably would’ve burned it anyway, because that’s how parents are.

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Back in present day, Takahashi denies being Boy S, reminding Kurokouchi that he committed suicide. The two go back and forth, not getting anywhere until Takahashi tells him not to make such rash remarks because he never knows who is watching. Seike spots the camera above them and Kurokouchi asks if somebody was watching him back then. Takahashi maintains it doesn’t have anything to do with him before leaving.

Kurokouchi calls after him that there are other people he can target and that makes Takahashi stop for a moment, but he continues walking, though with a troubled look.

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I guess Kurokouchi isn’t as well as he seemed since he’s in pain when Seike changes his bandages. She asks if he plans to target one of the officers involved in the robbery forty-five years ago and he says it’s possible that he (or they) are still alive. Seike wonders if her father’s murderer is among them.

Kurokouchi asks if she really never heard anything about the robbery from her dad or one of his superiors, but he was tight-lipped about work.

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 The next day is her father’s memorial, so Seike plans to take a day off to visit his grave. Someone is already there when she arrives, a man called Endo Takeshi. He worked with her father forty-five years ago, but hasn’t seen him since then. He’s now part of the Judicial Research and Training Institute and gives her his business card so she can contact him.

Kurokouchi, who eavesdropped on the conversation, tells Seike to ask Endo about the robbery after he leaves. She asks again what he plans to do after finding out the truth and he gives a more straight-forward answer this time, saying he’ll do a lot of reporting for those that want to know the truth and those that couldn’t find out the truth. He mentions Seike’s father and says that she should ask Endo about his death as well.

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Kurokouchi calls up Echigo to ask how the investigation is going. He realizes Echigo is more scared of Sawatari than he is of him, so instead of threatening him, he tries to convince him that following along with Sawatari will only make him the slave of the SFA forever. Echigo knows he wants something, so Kurokouchi asks that he stall the re-investigation of the gun. He has something planned, so it wouldn’t be good for him to be caught just yet.

The worst hitman ever finally tracks down Kurokouchi’s location, but doesn’t make a move yet. Meanwhile, Kurokouchi has someone draw up a newspaper headline stating he died, complete with a photograph. This is how he plans to lure out another SFA member, though he doesn’t say how.

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When Seike goes to meet Endo, he freely admits that he was working on the robbery with her father forty-five years ago. Seike’s dad was very passionate about the case and when the statute of limitations expired, he was more than a little upset that they didn’t find out anything. However, Endo thought that Dad had let it go and was unaware that he was working on the case after it was closed.

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Seike is disappointed that Endo doesn’t know anything, but she spots a photo and Endo says it’s the men he worked with back when he was with the police. One face particularly stands out; it’s the officer that caught Boy S all those years ago and we finally get his name, Shiroo Eizo. Endo looks strangely uncomfortable as Seike memorizes their names and faces, asking what happened to them. He says he’s the only one left, ruling out investigating anyone else.

Seike goes to forensics to escape prying eyes as she investigates Endo’s colleagues. Though she finds out Shiroo was in Public Security, she doesn’t find out anything else important about the other officers. She tells Kurokouchi what she’s found out, disappointed, but he tells her to look more closely at the names, including Endo’s. Seike reads the first kanji of each officer’s names in different ways and comes up with Toyama Kinshiro, a popular character from the Edo period famous for his tattoo of scattered cherry blossoms (sakura fubuki). So these were the officers that founded the SFA.

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Seike is still thinking about Endo’s connection to her father’s death when bullets fly through her window. She hides under her desk for protection when her phone rings. Her voice shakes as she answers and the man on the other line tells her to back off, unless she wants to end up like her father. She calls Kurokouchi (who has her in his phone as Todai-chan, ha), but he doesn’t bother picking up.

Officer Hitman tries to kill Kurokouchi again, and he thinks he’s successful this time, but he only shoots a dummy. Kurokouchi is hiding under the bed and catches the spy offguard, capturing him.

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Cut to Kurokouchi in the middle of the forest with a shovel, but he didn’t kill anyone this time. He’s buries Officer Hitman, leaving only his head above ground. Judging by the look on Officer Hitman’s face, I think he wishes Kurokouchi killed him instead. Kurokouchi takes a picture with his phone, though I have no idea why and asks if he’s surprised that Kurokouchi let him live. He points a gun at his head, giving him three seconds to tell him where the money is. Uh, I don’t think you should kill another person considering what happened last time. He’s only toying with him, thankfully; he knows someone as low as him wouldn’t know.

He shows Officer Hitman the article he had drawn up and says it exposes what the police have been up to. If anything happens to him, then Officer Hitman’s face is going in the blank space. Ah, so that’s what the picture’s for.

Kurokouchi calls Takahashi so Officer Hitman can tell him to back off, but he doesn’t pick up, realizaing that his plan failed again. That doesn’t mean Officer Hitman still can’t be useful.

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Kurokouchi is surprised to learn Seike was attacked, thinking that she’d be safe because of the relationship between Endo and her father. Sawatari is the one pulling the strings this time and Endo is not happy he acted without asking. Sawatari ignores Endo’s chiding, saying he only did it for the sake of the organization.

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Kurokouchi lures Endo out with a text from Officer Hitman, asking to meet so he can withdraw from the SFA. Endo can’t hide his association with the SFA any longer, but when Seike asks if he was involved in his father’s death, he doesn’t answer. Kurokouchi realizes that he doesn’t want to tell Seike because he’s afraid of what will happen to her, but keeping quiet won’t solve anything.

Endo admits that Seike’s dad was murdered, but he didn’t have anything to do with it. Kurokouchi asks why they covered up the robbery; it couldn’t only be because Takahashi was the son of an officer.

Japan was experiencing a period of internal strife and revolution. The nation would’ve fallen into even more chaos if the public found out that the son of an officer committed such a huge crime. Hiding the crime didn’t only protect the police, but the nation. Seike’s dad knew too much, so he was killed, though Endo doesn’t know who did it.

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So what about the money? The police didn’t burn or hide it, so they must have used it for something. Shiroo, who was upset by how little compensation police officers received, suggested the money be used for the police and their families. So the 300 million yen became the slush fund of the police, and the SFA became its distributors.

Endo says that the crime ended up being for the greater good of the people, but Kurokouchi points out that today, that good has been corrupted. All the people that Sawatari has killed, as well as the fact that he and Seike have been in danger multiple times, can that really be called good? The only way to stop the SFA now is to reveal where the money is.

I don’t blame Endo for side-eyeing you Kurokouchi. You have a point, but at the same time, why do you keep pressing so hard for the money? Kurokouchi only says he’ll decide that once he tells him. Besides, he should know now because there won’t be a second chance once Sawatari finds out Endo told them everything.

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As they wait for Endo to hand over the evidence of the SFA’s activities, Kurokouchi reveals that he recorded everything Endo said. Seike thinks they’re betraying Endo’s trust, but hello, people have been trying to kill you, you need to leave behind some type of hard evidence. She asks what Kurokouchi plans to do with that information. He answers her question with a question; knowing that the police will lose all credibility once the SFA is revealed, does Seike think that’s a good or bad thing. Seike pauses before saying she’s not sure herself, but a body falls from the building before she can continue. It’s Endo. Can’t say I didn’t see that coming.

Kurokouchi rushes back inside, but all of the files in Endo’s office are gone.

When First Division arrives, they don’t buy that Kurokouchi and Seike have nothing to do with Endo’s death, especially shady Chief Ushii, but since they’re the only witnesses, no one can confirm or contradict their story.

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Seike asks why he didn’t tell First Division that Endo didn’t commit suicide, but he says there’s no point in exposing the deceased for a crime committed so long ago. She asks if he plans to start poking around Sawatari again, but he says there’s no need. He’ll only expose the information to the public if he gets his hands on the money. Sooooo, you are only after the money?

Kurokouchi goes to see Sawatari and reveals that he knows that the 300 million is still out there. He also says that he recorded everything Endo told him. Why the hell would you tell him that? I guess since he’s trying to kill you anyway, it doesn’t matter, but don’t reveal your entire hand Kurokouchi.

Kurokouchi points out that Endo’s death only benefits Sawatari; with all four founders of the SFA out of the way, he’s free to run the organization how he likes. However, Sawatari knows this was all part of Kurokouchi’s plan. He used Seike to get Endo to reveal what happened forty-five years ago and was counting on Sawatari to kill him. There would be no more middle-men and Kurokouchi could negotiate directly with Sawatari. Ok, we get it, you’re both smart, no need to go Sherlock Holmes on us.

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Kurokouchi admits this is true, but he only did it because Sawatari’s the only one who knows where the money is. Sawatari asks if he was in the same type of relationship with Hazuki, confirming he killed her as well. It strikes a nerve with Kurokouchi and he pulls out the results from the gun analysis, showing that Sawatari’s fingerprints don’t match. He doesn’t want Sawatari out of jail, but if he tells him where the money is, he’ll help him. He asks repeatedly where the money is until Sawatari finally replies that he’ll tell him after he joins the SFA. Wait, what? Why would you want him in your organization? Actually, why would he join your organization?

We don’t see what Kurokouchi says, but he runs into Takahashi while leaving and he asks if he found out anything good. Kurokouchi wonders how he managed to survive. Was he used by Shiroo? Even if that was true, why is he still working for the police? Takahashi merely says that they’ll await his answer, but Kurokouchi calls him back by calling him Boy S.

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He asks Takahashi what his life was like. Takahashi answers with a question, wondering what Kurokouchi thinks of the state of Japan today. Takahashi: “Forty-five years ago, what do you suppose Boy S saw?”

He doesn’t wait for an answer, but Kurokouchi takes that as confirmation that Takahashi is Boy S.

Thoughts: I was definitely raising an eyebrow when it was first revealed that the SFA was created to cover the mistake, not of an officer, but of his son. I couldn’t understand how big the repercussions would be for a crime committed by a nineteen-year-old, so I’m glad this episode tried to explain it. It is something that I still can’t quite wrap my head around since I’m not familiar with Japanese history, but I do find it easier to buy into the idea that the SFA was created due to the chaotic state of affairs affecting Japanese society at the time instead of merely to protect one officer.

Kurokouchi is very unpredictable, so I wonder what his response will be to Sawatari’s invitation.  We still don’t know what his endgame is (Money? Revenge? Power? The satisfaction of having solved an unsolved case? Who knows what he wants?), so I don’t know if joining the SFA would be to his advantage or not. If he’s just after money and power, then he should go with the SFA. But if he wants revenge for Hazuki and the others that have suffered at the SFA’s hands, then he’ll probably decline…unless he wants to take down the SFA from the inside, which I would love. But I doubt we can do that in three episodes. I just wish we knew his motivation, because while it’s fun watching him lie and manipulate to make things go his way, I can’t really root for you unless I know what you’re trying to accomplish.

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I could be overthinking it and Kurokouchi really is just after money. I mean, I can’t count how many times he took bribes in the first episode alone and it’s not like Kurokouchi has a strict moral code or anything. It’s just…that’s kind of a lame reason and I expect more from Kurokouchi, which has managed to surprise me at almost every turn.

Anyway, I’m glad we’re finally cutting out all the middlemen and getting back to the fight between Kurokouchi and Sawatari, because while the addition of characters like Takahashi and Endo was mildly interesting, I’m ready to see Sawatari do something else besides smile menacingly behind prison bars.

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