Kurokouchi: Episode 9

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As we wind down to the finale, it’s time to get some answers, but since this is Kurokouchi we’re talking about, just when one question is answered, another one pops up.

Five years after the robbery, due to the numerous items found at the crime scene, the amount of suspects was overwhelming. Boy S (or Sawamura Hideto) was their best lead, so they decide to investigate those that were close to him, starting with Tomita George. However, George is part of the close-knit biker gang Tachikawa, so Seike’s dad is unsuccessful when he tries to meet him.

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George visits Sawamura’s supposed grave where he runs into Shiroo. He tells George it’s better to keep a low profile and forget about Sawamura, since he’ll never see that money.

In present-day, Kurokouchi continues questioning Takahashi about his accomplice. Takahashi, as usual, doesn’t confirm or deny Kurokouchi’s suspicions, only asking why Kurokouchi is so focused on the 300-million-yen robbery. Kurokouchi says it’s been a never ending circle of people trying to uncover the truth; if he doesn’t find out now, someone else will take over looking for him and the cycle will continue.

Kurokouchi tries to ask again about Takahashi’s motive behind stealing the money, but Takahashi diverts his attention to the laptop. He stole it to keep Sawatari from going on a rampage though he wasn’t able to keep him from adding another person to his increasingly long hit list.

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Echigo is finally discovered and though First Division is ready to dismiss it as a suicide, Seike lets slip that she thinks Sawatari is behind it, catching Ushii’s attention. He pulls her aside and asks where she was before coming to the crime scene. Seike is ready with a lie, but Ushii tells her to drop the act and divulge what she’s been doing with Kurokouchi. Whoa, when did Ushii get so flipping scary? Seike has no choice but to confess.

So Takahashi’s story is that he stole the laptop to prevent Sawatari’s evil plan. Which he doesn’t tell us. Ooookay. However, Takahashi can’t get his hands on the money with just the laptop, so he captured Kurokouchi to persuade him to get the password from Sawatari. He thinks he can stop Sawatari by cutting off the Sakura Fubuki Association’s funding. Kurokouchi thinks the best way to shake up Sawatari is for Takahashi to reveal who he really is. You’re just not going to drop that are you?

Takahashi points out that coming out in the open would make the police lose credibility and Kurokouchi decides not to push it. For now. Instead they strike a deal; Kurokouchi will get the password and Takahashi will confess everything.

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Kurokouchi meets with Sawatari, with Takahashi watching from a distance. Kurokouchi points out that Takahashi is watching and Sawatari gathers that Kurokouchi joined the association, though not on his side. Kurokouchi makes a dramatic declaration that he’ll get the password so he can find out how the 300 million yen was stolen and why. Gauntlet thrown.

Seike tells Ushii everything, and I mean everything. C’mon Seike, I know you’re new and everything, but think for just a second. The Sakura Fubuki Association is controlling the police. You’re telling everything you know to a police officer who’s been here for years, so more than likely, he’s a member of the SFA. I just don’t understand you Seike.

Anyway, Ushii pretends to be shocked at everything Seike tells him, but when she asks to investigate the security company, he shuts her down, pointing out they lack evidence.

Seike goes back to see Madarame who reveals that Sugi had a bloodstain on his arm that didn’t belong to him. Madarame suggests that he was involved in a struggle and Seike remembers the receptionist’s injured hand.

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She gets a call from Kurokouchi and runs right over to see him, relieved that he’s still alive. She admits that since she didn’t know what happened to him, she confessed everything to Ushii, but Kurokouchi isn’t mad, guessing that they won’t care since there’s no evidence. He fills her in on everything that’s happened since he last saw her, including the fact that he’s joined the SFA, so there’s no need to investigate anymore.

Seike’s flabbergasted, wondering if he’s joking, but Kurokouchi’s serious. He’s thought about who would gain from exposing the truth behind the 300 million yen robbery, but the more they’ve tried to find out, the more people have died. Wouldn’t Seike be happier if she never knew her father was murdered? That’s why he’s decided to let the case go.

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It all sounds a little too well-rehearsed, but Seike, who has been listening in silence this entire time, takes his words to heart and declares she’ll continue investigating. He tells her that backing off is how order has been maintained for the last forty-five years, so she should do the same. She reminds him how he said she would have to decide who is evil and who is good, but he says that he decided the SFA is good, so she should stop snooping. He warns her not to pursue any evidence behind Sugi’s killer, or else he’ll distribute the picture of her wetting herself. Pfft, that’s your best threat? Now I know you’re up to something.

He sends her the picture and says to think very carefully before making her next move. Seike looks at the picture as Kurokouchi leaves, but it’s not what she was expecting.

It’s the picture of Sugi holding the receptionist hostage and Seike shows it to Ushii. He figures that Kurokouchi is up to something.

Ayakawa is released from jail and keeps tabs on the money for Sawatari, but he’s tired of working behind the scenes. He hesitantly asks Sawatari for a bigger role, but the latter is all smiles, saying it won’t be a problem. He’ll just send his men to pick up the data first. He sends off the officer that’s been following him around since he was in jail and he tries to do his usual friendly smile, but his face twitches. Hmm, someone’s starting to crack.vlcsnap-2014-01-11-10h54m11s107vlcsnap-2014-01-11-10h54m25s238

The officer goes to get the USB drive and as soon as he gets it, he tries to strangle Ayakawa. It looks like the end, until Takamiya arrives. He shoves the guard off Ayakawa,  only to have the rope wrapped around his neck. Takamiya pulls out his blade, stabbing the officer in the stomach.This is why you don’t underestimate yakuza. He falls, dead, as Takamiya and Ayakawa try to catch their breath.

Kurokouchi belatedly arrives and he gets mad that Takamiya killed the officer; at least if he was alive they could’ve found out more information. He finds the USB on the officer and asks Ayakawa if the password’s on it. Unfortunately, it’s not, but he can at least see where all that money’s been going.

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Kurokouchi can’t stay too long though since Takahashi has Kaga and the receptionist following him. Kurokouchi informs them that he didn’t get anything from Ayakawa, and snatches the phone before Kaga can report to Takahashi. He speaks directly with Takahashi, saying he’ll definitely get back the money that belongs to him and George. Takahashi is still unwilling to admit he had an accomplice, but the flashbacks to the times he fixed bikes with George makes it clear they were good friends.

Seike decides to release the photo to the rest of her division, but it doesn’t look like they’ll get far with the security company involved. Kakizaki gets a call informing him that Ayakawa has disappeared. It puts an end to this case for now as Seike gets a text from Kurokouchi to meet.

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Seike knows Kurokouchi’s behind Ayakawa’s disappearance and asks why he would help him if he’s now with the SFA. He informs her of the fight between Takahashi and Sawatari and how he’s joined Takahashi’s side. She thinks that he’s working with Takahashi to get the money, but he says she’s only half correct. He’ll need a testimony as well if he wants to finish the case, so that’s why he approached Takahashi. However, Kaga and the receptionist keep getting in the way, so he sent Seike the photo, hoping that would lead to their arrest. She says they’re blocked from the security company, making any arrest impossible, but Kurokouchi has a plan.

Turns out Kurokouchi’s knows about the surveillance van and cameras in his apartment and points Ushii and Seike in Kaga and the receptionist’s direction. The best part about this is watching Kurokouchi mocking them from behind the camera.

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Takahashi is upset that Kurokouchi betrayed him and he asks what Kurokouchi’s planning. Kurokouchi says he’s only fulfilling is wishes; if Kaga spills everything, then Sawatari’s coup can be stopped. So did Ayakawa tell him something else?

When Ayakawa showed Kurokouchi the file, he saw that Sawatari was investing money in private military contractors. Sawatari’s planning to operate the SFA on a bigger scale by bringing in soldiers from abroad. Whaaaaaat? It’s completely insane, but Takahashi confirms it to be true. He tells Takahashi that he needs to come forward before someone else does.

Kaga’s unwilling to talk and ready to leave since questioning is voluntary, so Ushii sends Seike out. As soon as she’s gone, Kaga asks how long he plans to keep up the act, but Ushii isn’t playing around. He asks who gave Kaga the order to kill and to think really hard before answering. I wonder who’s side Ushii’s on in all of this.

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Takahashi visits George’s grave, but his reminiscing is interrupted by Kurokouchi. He supposes Takahashi doesn’t want to confess because he knows Kurokouchi will go public with the information. But now that he’s taken away all of Takahashi’s allies, it’s not like he’s got much of a choice. He can’t run away like he did forty-five years ago, so he can only trust Kurokouchi. So basically, you’re screwed right?

He asks if George was the reason that he committed the robbery, but Takahashi says that George only lent him a hand. Kurokouchi asks that Takahashi tell him everything and he asks again why Kurokouchi is so obsessed with this case. Kurokouchi just says he’s wanted to know for a long time and recalls the question Takahashi asked before: What did Boy S see forty-five years ago?

When he was young, Takahashi wanted to be a police officer, however, student activism was at an all-time high. It made him realize that there were things that the police couldn’t fight against. The officers that he looked up to were weak and he wanted them to be an absolute force.

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Around that time, George saved him when he was being picked on by thugs. He reveals George was part of Tachikawa Group, a gang famous for raiding supermarkets using smoke bombs that looked like dynamite. That was what gave Takahashi the idea for the robbery.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear about robberies involving tens of thousand yen. By stealing 300 million yen, it would disgrace the police like never before. He didn’t want to break them though, he wanted for the police to reassess their system. George agreed immediately to his plan and he laid out the strange evidence like women’s earrings and a hunting hat to slow down the investigation.

Takahashi really believed that he could change the police system and was so caught up in his excitement that he didn’t realize that Shiroo was following them months beforehand. When he was caught by Shiroo, he had no choice but to follow along with their plan.

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Kurokouchi asks what happened to George. Takahashi never saw him after that day; if he met up with George, he would be incriminated as well and who knows what the police would have done.  Kurokouchi says he saw the dark side of the police that day and asks what he did after he changed his name. Public Security sent him abroad to work at embassies and Red Cross. Kurokouchi remarks that’s why he was never caught, but Takahshi says he’s been captured this entire time. He had to join the Sakura Fubuki Association in order to survive.

Kurokouchi points out that even if he did it to live, that still doesn’t justify the many murders he’s been involved in. However, Takahashi says that the murders didn’t start until Sawatari became the head. Ok, so why did he follow Sawatari if he didn’t agree with what he’s doing? When Takahashi joined the Sakura Fubuki Association, Shiroo said that he would make sure that the organization became the nation’s investigation agency. Sawatari was aiming to make that happen, but then Kurokouchi interfered.

Sawatari was running in the national election for the sake of the organization. When he was arrested thanks to Kurokouchi, he couldn’t run anymore and that made Sawatari snap. Kurokouchi grins and says that’s what he was counting on. A police car drives by and Kurokouchi asks what he plans to do with the laptop. Since he originally stole the money, shouldn’t he be the one to return it? Takahashi asks if he can stop Sawatari and he answers that’s what the police are for.

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He hands the case over to Kurokouchi just as the police car drives up and Ushii and Seike get out. Takahashi says that Kurokouchi really is untrustworthy (you’re just now realizing this?), but before he’s arrested, he shares some shocking info we don’t hear.

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Kurokouchi meets Sawatari with the laptop, informing him that Takahashi’s been arrested. Sawatari asks what Kurokouchi wants and he promises that if Sawatari gives him half the money, he’ll disappear. Sawatari agrees and Kurokouchi says that finally everything is going to end…

…Or maybe not since Takahashi tases Seike and Ushii and escapes.

Thoughts: Let the game continue.

I’m kind of bummed that Sawatari and Takahashi aren’t really in a power struggle, not only because that would have been awesome, but because I couldn’t figure out why Takahashi was killing people behind Sawatari’s back. I mean, if you’re trying to stop Sawatari from bringing on WWIII, then you shouldn’t off one of the founders of the Sakura Fubuki Association, yeah?  So I’m going to chalk Endo’s death up to Endo about to reveal everything to Kurokouchi and Seike and in order to protect the police, he had to get rid of him. I can’t think of any other reason besides that. Unless Endo really did commit suicide, but the files disappeared so…I doubt it.

Sugi’s more of a question mark. I honestly can’t think of a reason for his death besides the writers thinking, “We have to kill someone in this episode and we have to introduce the security company.” He was Takahashi’s underling and he didn’t agree with the direction the association was taking. Why didn’t he just tell him what was going on instead of having Kaga brutally murder him? There’s strength in numbers you know. The best I can come up with, and I’m really reaching here, is that Takahashi did it to lure out Kurokouchi. Yeah, I’ll go with that until I can come up with something better.

Ok now that I’ve sorted that out (sort of), can talk about this episode. I’m glad that we finally see what motivated Takahashi to steal the 300 million and why he never came forward about the Sakura Fubuki Association. Yeah, he really didn’t have a choice about joining and was forced to give up his life, which does make him slightly sympathetic, but in the end, his actions led to the results he desired. It’s understandable that he would feel responsible for taking out Sawatari when he’s about to destroy something he’s devoted his life to.

 I wish we could have seen more of Sawatari’s unraveling before now, because then I think I would be able to buy more into the reasoning behind his Evil Plan. I mean, Sawatari was offing people left and right before Kurokouchi came into the picture, so I don’t really think all this mess arose just because Kurokouchi was a bigger problem than he thought. But that’s a small quibble.

I guess Kurokouchi plans to keep us guessing right till the end because right now, I don’t see how everything can be wrapped up. If Sawatari’s plan had been revealed earlier, then maybe I wouldn’t be so worried, but with Takahashi playing some hidden card and Ushii plotting who knows what, I’m worried about a satisfying ending. Don’t let me down Kurokouchi!

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