Kurokouchi: Episode 8

vlcsnap-2013-12-31-13h34m01s7Just when I think I’ve got Kurokouchi figured out, an episode like this comes along and changes everything.

April 9, 1969

vlcsnap-2013-12-31-13h16m27s180 Five months after the robbery, the police finally track down Boy S’s car known as Tama Goro. Shiroo visits the family of a deceased police officer, offering compensation money from the 300 million yen, like he promised. Obviously, 300 million isn’t enough to provide for the police and their families forever, so he decides to find a way to increase the money.

November 28, 2013

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Sugi, the guy who’s been keeping an eye on Kurokouchi and attacked Seike, doesn’t believe that Endo committed suicide. He thinks they’ve killed a lot of people lately (no kidding) and wonders if the top took out Endo so they could act freely. Takahashi assures him they didn’t have anything to do with his death, but Sugi wants to check with the boss himself.

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Kurokouchi pays a visit to Takamiya who is less than happy to see him. He needs his help, but Takamiya isn’t interested until Kurokouchi informs him that one of his former gang members killed Akaba Jingoro.He tells him the SFA was involved, but unfortunately he lost his entrance into the SFA with Endo’s death, so now he’s looking for an exit. And that exit is Takamiya.

Seike’s still spooked after her near-death experience, so she immediately freaks out when an unknown number calls her as soon as she gets home. It’s Sugi, digging for info about Endo’s death. Seike’s confused and says she thought his people were behind it, but Sugi only says that he’ll look into it before hanging up.

Takamiya and Kurokouchi go to Shuto Sohgo Security Services Company, but they hold back when they see Sugi go in first. He asks to see President Kaga about Endo, but Kaga’s not interested in talking. Security closes in on him until Sugi pulls out a knife. Next thing you know, Sugi’s holding the receptionist hostage as he heads to Kaga’s office, surrounded by security guards.

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Kaga comes out, undisturbed by the situation as Sugi demands to know how Endo died. Kaga tells the receptionist to follow the manual and like a robot, she takes the knife and stabs her hand. The security guards jump the defenseless Sugi, who goes down screaming. What the hell is going on right now? The craziest part though is Kurokouchi, who’s watching from behind with Takamiya as if this is amusing.

But he didn’t come for the show; he wanted to know where Kaga’s office was because that’s where the 300 million yen is.

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Seike has Madarame analyze the bullets at her house and she says they came from a rifle used by the Special Assault Team (SAT).

Seike is called away for another case. A body has been abandoned in an alleyway and it must be pretty bad; even the police officers look like they want to throw up. It turns out to be Sugi, who was dumped here after Kaga’s men took care of him. vlcsnap-2013-12-31-13h26m31s123vlcsnap-2013-12-31-13h26m52s75

Most of Sugi’s bones were broken and his joints dislocated, but he died after blood filled his lungs due to the rupture of his internal organs. But Kaga didn’t stop there; tetrodotoxin was also found in his body. It paralyzed him, so though he could feel pain, he couldn’t move at all. Ugh, I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

Until three years ago, Sugi served as a police sergeant and was a sniper on SAT. Seike quickly makes the connection and right on time, Kurokouchi comes to see her.

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She informs him about Sugi’s phone call and wonders why he didn’t know that the SFA took out Endo. Kurokouchi reminds her of all the murders the SFA has committed up until this point; they’ve all been disguised as suicides, but Sugi’s death was outright murder, no question about it.

He hands her Sugi’s real address, saying she’ll find a clue to the 300 million yen there. Seike thinks he’s coming with her, but he says he’ll be waiting at the goal.

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Takamiya meets Aomatsu, his former gang member who’s now the leader of Akaba group. He directly asks if one of their own killed Akaba Jingoro, and for a moment it seems that Aomatsu’s going to sell him out, but he puts on some music so that no one can hear them. The room’s bugged, so if Aomatsu steps out of line, they’ll torture his family.

Takamiya takes Aomatsu to Kurokouchi and since they’re armed and he’s not, he can’t leave.

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After a hilarious torture sequence that involves knives, nipple pinching, and nose hair ripping, Aomatsu is still unwilling to tell where all of Akaba group’s money is going.

Seike interrupts the torture session, tracing one of Sugi’s letters from the cleaners and finding his work uniform. It has the Shuto Sohgo company name on it. That’s all Kurokouchi needed to know and he hangs up before Seike can ask any questions.

So, the security company is the liaison for the SFA. He says that if Aomatsu doesn’t tell him the truth, he’ll tell Shuto Sohgo that he betrayed them. He doesn’t talk, though his face grows increasingly worried when Kurokouchi describes the state of Sugi’s body after the SFA got done with him. It’s only when Kurokouchi pretends to be on the phone with the security company that Aomatsu says he’ll talk.

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Yes, the security office is the liaison and the Akaba-gumi are laundering the money. Kurokouchi asks how much the 300 million is worth now. 1.5 billion? 3 billion? Aomatsu doesn’t answer, but Kurokouchi is done playing around and drives his knife in the chair, right between Aomatsu’s legs. Aomatsu mumbles that the rumor is that there’s at least 30 billion. Whoa, that’s a lot more that I was expecting.

It’s too much money for the Akaba-gumi to be laundering alone, so Kurokouchi asks who else is involved. Turns out Ayakawa was in on the scheme as well, at least until he was arrested. Ah, so that’s why you got Takamiya involved again.

Aomatsu confirms that the money’s in Kaga’s office, but he doubts that he’ll be able to crack the safe. Not even Kaga has the key to it. Time to visit Sawatari again.

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Takahashi pays a routine visit to Sawatari to inform him of what’s going on, but there’s a weird edge to the conversation. Apparently Sawatari didn’t order Sugi’s death, but Takahashi says it must have been Kaga acting on his own. Uh-oh, it looks like someone’s been in jail too long if your underlings are acting out. I guess Sawatari will overlook it, for now, but then he asks if Endo really committed suicide. Wait, you weren’t behind that either? Who exactly is staging the coup here? Takahashi definitely knows more than he’s letting on, but Sawatari accepts his confirmation that Endo got rid of the data he was keeping before dying.

Seike shows the uniform to Kakizaki and Ushii, but as soon as they hear the name Shuto Sohgo, they decide to defer to the top and order Seike not to act alone. The security company is a place that employs retired police officers and was founded by a revered officer known as Mr. Public Security aka Shiroo.

Seike meets up with Kurokouchi, revealing what she knows, but he’s already confirmed the security company is the exit and plans to meet with Sawatari.

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Sawatari thinks he’s here to answer his invitation, but Kurokouchi’s mind is still on the money and who he has to go through to get it. Sawatari informs him that Shiroo used to be his superior in addition to being the head of Shuto Sohgo.

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Before founding the security company, Shiroo used illegal methods to increase the money’s capital. He provided the United Red Army with money to buy weapons from the Eastern bloc, which he sold to terrorists overseas, initiating the Asama-Sanso incident, defrauded the president of Lockheed Corporation to reveal the Lockheed Scandal, and used the supposed hiding place of the M Fund (money taken from citizens after WWII by the US that was misappropiated by the Japanese government) to conceal the money. Using these events, Shiroo increased the 300 million to 35 billion. And I thought Sawatari was cold-blooded; he’s got nothing on Shiroo.

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Kurokouchi shakes his head, speechless, but Sawatari isn’t falling for it, saying that she must have told him at least that much. As usual, Kurokouchi doesn’t talk when it comes to Hazuki and instead plows on with his original question: Where’s the key?

 Sawatari merely pulls out the gun re-evaluation as an answer. Good luck with getting your hands on the money now.

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So Sawatari is released with lots of fanfare from the police, not that Echigo lives long enough to see it.

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Kurokouchi and Seike go to see Kaga and surprisingly meet little resistance, though Kurokouchi points out that all the security guards are from Public Security, so they should be on their toes. Kurokouchi decides to give Seike a secret mission.

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Seike meets Kaga alone and finds out that Sugi was hired as a security officer, but resigned after one day. It’s suspicious, but Kaga claims he doesn’t know anything else about Sugi, so Seike mentions that Sugi had a common law wife. Ha, so this is the secret mission Kurokouchi gave you? You can totally see Seike’s morality being crushed as she lies that the wife claims Sugi was offered a job at the security company by Sawatari. Strangely, Kaga doesn’t seem alarmed, but really excited.

 Seike says it’s strange that Sugi would quit after one day when he was personally recommended him for this job, so she asks Kaga to find further documentation. Kaga readily agrees, but as soon as she leaves, Kaga opens up the safe where there’s a black suitcase.

Kurokouchi has retreated to the car and watches Kaga leave with the briefcase. He starts to follow him, but Robot Receptionist runs in front of the car and collapses. vlcsnap-2013-12-31-13h59m01s162

Kurokouchi gets out to check on her and sees she’s passed out on the ground. Of course you would be a good Samaritan the one time you don’t need to be. Did you not see this crazy woman stab herself with a knife on purpose? Get back in the car! Sure enough, as soon as Kurokouchi gets close, she opens her eyes and tases him, knocking him out.

Seike sees Sawatari come into the company and tries to call Kurokouchi, but she doesn’t get an answer. Sawatari goes into Kaga’s office and is surprised to see he’s gone. He checks the safe and judging by the look on his face, things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to.

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Kurokouchi wakes up in a warehouse taped to a chair with Takahashi. He has the black briefcase, which is actually a computer. Kurokouchi asks if that’s the key to the 35 billion yen and says it’s turned out like he expected.

Kurokouchi: “In other words, the first entrance and the final exit, turned out to be one and the same.”

Takahashi says that he might as well tell Kurokouchi everything since he’s already here, but only if he decides to join the organization. Kurokouchi doesn’t even hesitate and says that he’ll be his accomplice, just like the one that Takahashi had forty-five years ago.

Thoughts:  This episode did have a rocky start (that opening sequence was just so weird) but it felt a little more grounded near the end.I thought the history behind the 300 million yen was interesting because it shows how corrupting a quest for power can be. Shiroo had the interests of the police and their families at heart, I don’t doubt that, but the fact that he was willing to use any means to gain it is what drove the SFA to be how it is today. There are no limits, no boundaries, and the members of the SFA have taken full advantage of that.

Takahashi has been a big question mark since he was introduced way back in episode four and even when it was revealed that he was Boy S, I was ready to dismiss him as a lowly lackey because he was always following Sawatari, so the fact that he’s double-crossing Sawatari took me by surprise (but in a good way).

Nothing against Sawatari, who has managed to play an interesting villain despite being locked away for half the drama, but Takahashi is definitely the more intriguing villain. He’s the one who started the mystery and helped give the SFA their start, and yet, as far as we know, he’s gained nothing, playing second fiddle to Sawatari who joined the organization long after he did (is what I’m guessing). So it makes sense that if an opportunity to stand at the top of the SFA presented itself, he would take it without question. However, with the revelation that Takahashi had an accomplice, this might be more personal than just a grab for power. I don’t know what he hopes to gain from dethroning Sawatari and getting rid of Endo, but I am ready to watch how this battle plays out.

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