Posted by: cis | November 17, 2008

Drama Recaps: Maou Episode Four

This is uhm a month late? I blame… pirates. Or anarchists. Or perhaps both.

Maou, basic premise: a Revenge Drama and Crime Procedural; a Family Tragedy; concerned with Religion, Spiritual Power and The Nature Of Evil; with Injustices Both Systemic and Personal; with the Inescapability of one’s Past; with Guilt, with Righteousness, and with Moral Responsibility.

What I’m saying is: it’s your standard friday night renzoku fare, starring two JE idols and a dear sweet pretty girl the bulk of whose characterisation is carried by her selection of peasant smocks.

Let’s do this thing.

THE STORY SO FAR

Yōsuke, a shouty loan shark but nevertheless a cherished childhood comrade of our hero, the rebellious young detective Serizawa Naoto (as played with aquiline-nosed prowess by IKUTA Toma), has died, of an asthma attack brought on by having tear gas sprayed in his face by a woman who thought he’d kidnapped her daughter. In Serizawa’s opinion, the loan shark was killed – a murder caused by the indirect manipulations of a puppetmaster known as ‘Amano Makoto’. We believe him, because we know that the Angel Lawyer, Naruse Ryo (portrayed by OHNO Satoshi, ‘leader’ of boyband Arashi), nourishes a secret and bitter hatred for Serizawa, and all connected to him. This hatred manifests itself in an implausibly complex system of deaths-foretold using pseudonymous express deliveries or tarot cards and other objects which turn others’ long-held grudges into acts of murder, and also in the bland-yet-secretly-meaningful platitudes that he trots out in every conversation the two share.

Serizawa is having a bit of a breakdown, having just discovered the reason for this campaign of persecution: while in middle school (that’s years 7-10, for those of us who went to secondary school) he was part of a gang of bullies, and caused the death of a classmate. The verdict recorded was ‘justified self-defence’: the two murders that have occurred so far have had Naruse as defending lawyer, and in both cases he has achieved a verdict of ‘justified self-defence’. Serizawa no doubt thinks this an awful, awful irony: he does not, so far, appear to suspect Naruse of anything except being a lawyerly thorn in his maverick-detective side.

Also, there is a girl, called Shiori, who works as a librarian by day and in a friend’s coffee-shop in the evenings. She is very sweet and nice and she fancies Naruse: they have adorable conversations where they are polite to one another in a way that betrays interest. The viewer is torn between ‘awwww’ and ‘oh man this is a really bad idea given he is secretly eeeeevil’. The situation is complicated by the fact that she is helping out the police in their investigations, because she has psychic powers which enable her to see the left-behind memories associated with an object. The viewer is required to suspend disbelief about this part of the story. It’s not clear whether Naruse-the-evil-mastermind is aware of her use of her powers for the police bureau, or whether it is just a coincidence that she always sees the right thing to push the plot along. She has told Naruse-the-kindly-lawyer about her ~*psychic abilities*~, however, just in the last episode, and presumably is now afraid she’s convinced him she is a crazy person. The whole psychic thing is complicated by the fact that she’s a Catholic: she’d thought her ~*powers*~ were a gift from God but now she suspects they’re Satan-sent.

She led Serizawa to a place she’d seen in one vision: his old middle school, the site of his act of ‘justified self-defence’, the place where as a child she – da da daaaaaah – saw a boy dying, a knife in his chest.

This isn’t quite what was shown in the minute of background information the drama gives you, but… I think it’ll do? No, maybe it won’t, here’s a little more:

Ms Shinitani, the woman whose tear-gas caused Yōsuke’s fatal asthma attack, has a daughter. If you recall, a few paragraphs ago, the daughter was kidnapped: or rather, went off with a stranger to a playground. Naruse was at the church bazaar, with Shiori (I really dislike how the lead men are known by surnames and the lead woman by her first name. but am i doing anything to counter it? no–), so he has an alibi. The little girl, Sora, claimed to Serizawa that she does not remember who it was she went off with – and once out of eye-shot shot a surreptitious peace-sign at a feller lurking in the dark beyond her house. We’ve seen him before: a Mr Yamano, someone who knew Serizawa and his friends at middle school and certainly hates Serizawa’s old mucker Sōda. Mind you, I hate Sōda. Everyone hates the man, he’s a blight on civilisation.

That’s certainly enough background for now.

EPISODE FOUR

Naruse walks from the cemetery, in awful close-up.

Serizawa is driving away from the school, in no fit state. In a flashback, little Hideo says “don’t pick on Yamano!!” and hateful little Serizawa holds up the knife; the stab looks more like a punch in the gut; HIdeo falls forward and little Serizawa back; Hideo on the floor (wait wait wait did they roll over or something?); wide-eyed horror;

“look out!” Shiori shouts, and Serizawa looks up and stops the car just in time to not run over some kid on a zebra crossing.

“Mr… Detective?” Shiori asks, concernedly.

He’s still mid-bloody-and-flashback, curled toward the steering wheel. Apologises. Apologises.

Yōsuke’s cremation. His nose is stuffed up with cotton, which is… a detail I did not want to see. His brother cries and calls on him, his mother cries; Kasai and Sōda are sombre; Naruse looks saddened. The coffin slides smoothly into the incinerator.

And then Serizawa runs in – not in a suit this time – and runs to pull the incinerator doors open, calling Yōsuke’s name. He’s pulled back by Kasai.

“You’re late,” Sōda says. “Oi, what the fuck are you doing!” Wasn’t he your friend? If it was you who’d died, he would have come flying here. Serizawa folds down in grief; when he straightens up again, Naruse is in front of him.

“I’m dreadfully sorry for your loss,” he says. “I too understand what it is to lose someone important.” It is meaningful, do you see. The camera is wobbly on Serizawa’s face to express his turbulent spirit.

Naruse turns to look back, as he walks away from the crem, a horrible sneer across his features. And he’s caught, in the viewfinder of a camera: click, click, click (click click click bang bang bang).

Serizawa walks through the sliding doors of the police station (Shibuya East, location fans), up to the office.

“What have you been doing? I”ve been calling and calling,” says his asymetrically-haircutted colleague, graduate of a.n. university and the one woman who gets to have a career-track job in the entire show. Serizawa doesn’t grace her with an answer: he goes straight to the chief’s desk and lays down a white envelope. it’s his letter of resignation.

“What’s this,” says the chief; Universite Graduate and Anonymous Third Detective look equally confused.

“Please accept my resignation,” Serizawa says (in so many words). University Graduate feels her starttement can only be expressed in words.

“Come with me a minute,” says the chief, and with a manly tug at the shoulder of his coat they go up to the roof. “What happened? Give me a good reason and I’ll let you go. Answer me!”

“I’m not qualified to be a detective,” says Serizawa. “I’m a bad person. I’m not qualified to arrest people.”

“A bad person? What are you saying?” The chief asks, scornfully. Yeah, I was expecting him to say something about how he’s been completely unprofessional in attempting to investigate cases where he’s too intimately connected to the victim to successfully conduct an interrogation, too. OK, no, I wasn’t. “Don’t joke”

“No, it’s true,” Serizawa says. “I forgot, but-” and this is a fantastic face he pulls, right here, rueful and self-mocking. “I’m a bad person. I’m a wretch.” And off he goes.

Who could it be, cheerfully coming up the stairs? His face quietly happy, like he’s humming a tiny little tune inside? It’s everyone’s favourite lawyer! But the person he’s going to meet ~*by chance*~ on the stairs isn’t Serizawa this time: it’s a shady middle-aged man!

Shady Oyaji, also known as Ikehata, is a journalist with the ‘Shuukan Journal’, which is the kind of name that really inspires trust in a publication. “Angel Lawyer,’ wasn’t it?” He asks. “But aren’t you really a devil?”

Seriously, this binary is getting old.

House Of Serizawa. It’s a big house: not all that nice-looking, though, which is odd given I thought the family had its money from new-builds. Serizawa’s looking through a school yearbook. Ah, memories. Ah, seishun. And there’s the face of the boy he (in an act of justified self-defence) killed!

“Hideo,” he says. I don’t know whether he’s addressing the dead kid or… reading his name from the page? That would be really awful. He turns to the next page: photos of the middle-schoolers on various outings, etc: and Hideo’s always accompanied by the same friend. He’s got a bowl cut and glasses. suspenseful music!! flashback!!

The four-boy gang are sauntering as another boy runs, “Wait up,” someone shouts, menacingly. “Yamano!”

Back to the present time: three swoops of the camera to signify a lightbulb going off in Serizawa’s brain.

In Naruse’s office: “Ah, that was what you meant,” Naruse says, comfortably.

“Yes. A master lawyer like Kumada would never have foreseen that the case of his own death would go unprosecuted. To the victim, Naruse, you’re the very devil.” Gosh, you know, for a minute there I was so very worried that Shady Oyaji was onto Naruse’s evil side!! Or… not so much.

“And what you came here to talk about was?” Naruse prompts. So, what, Shady Oyaji just brought up that tiresome binary to get the audience’s Naruse’s attention? Teeeeedious.

“Well, I heard that you’d been asked to become the Serizawas’ family lawyer. Would you do me a favour and decline it?”

“Why?” Naruse asks. Quite correctly. Shady Oyaji, why are you asking such favours from strangers? That’s just weird.

“Because Serizawa Eisaku (i.e. Detective Serizawa’s dad) is the scum of the earth.” uhhhh… and? “Some years ago, I wrote an article on corruption he was involved in. And he used every means to get it pulled – bribery, threats, everything. And when that didn’t work, he went to my company and got me fired. I can’t forgive him!” He has a little fit of the hissing unintelligible apoplexy; recovers. “But if he’s got such a capable lawyer as you on his side, it’ll be difficult for me. So– please?” Smile~~~

o.k. what.

Naruse understands what he’s said, But he’ll decide for himself. Is that’s okay with you, crazy man who goes around asking completely excessive favours of total strangers?

It’s not as if Naruse has any tie with the Serizawas!

Funnily enough, Naruse says, I kind of do. The past two cases I’ve dealt with, the son was the detective in charge.

“A detective? Serizawa’s son?” Shady Oyaji asks. Oh, for heaven’s sake, man, do your homework. His eyes do the cunning sideways shift that’s pantomime for: i am a cruel person, and i have had a cruel idea. “‘scuse me,” and off he goes.

Naruse’s all– oh, did I say something very interesting? How curious. His minion pops on to exposit that Shady Ikehata is the kind of journalist who’ll use any methods to get a story. Yup, Naruse says, got that.

OPENING CREDITS. I’m starting to like this Arashi song– up until the vocals come in. Emoticon of frustration.

bangumi, sponsaa, teikyoo. It always seems to be the same sponsors, no matter what series I watch. Maybe I just fit a particular demographic? The demographic of… people who watch OL dramas with JE dudes in? I don’t feel like that’s a very specialised target market, somehow.

Serizawa’s power-walking and talking on the phone. Has Kasai (for it is he) had any sort of contact from Yamano Keita? Kasai hasn’t, but, come to think of it, Sōda mentioned seeing him the other day. No idea where, but he works for Kōsen publishing.

Run, Serizawa, run — but outside his house lurks creepy journalist oyaji, who has something to say. More than just ‘ah, young master, how lucky to suddenly run into you like this’ when he’s been waiting outside the house. I enjoy how pantomimically creepy people are able to go through their lives being pantomimically creepy with no-one thinking ‘but isn’t this guy super-shady and not to be trusted’ all the time.

He’s Ikehata, who wrote that article about that incident eleven years ago, does Serizawa remember? Anyway, how surprised he was to find out that Serizawa had become a detective, a defender of justice, is that really right? You might expect Serizawa to perhaps mention that he’d actually quit being a detective, so bog off, creep, and, seriously, stop standing so close, but this is not a world in which you volunteer such information.

Kōsen publishing: suddenly it’s late in the evening! Yet one person is still working, and that person is Yamano. His mouth works in terror, like a hamster’s. Perhaps Serizawa ought to not consider whether looming over a person you used to bully is the ideal strategy of approach.

“Do you remember me?” Serizawa asks, in I suppose unintentional echo of what creepy oyaji said in the last scene. “I wanted to talk to you: may I?”

“No,” Yamano says. Even knowing he was the one who ‘abducted’ Sora-chan earlier (and ergo is eeevil) it’s hard not to feel for him in this conversation. Especially not when Serizawa grabs him by the arm! Oh, Serizawa, you can do nothing right. Yamano breaks free, runs outside: Serizawa follows and grabs him again, by the coat this time.

“Ishimoto’s dead,” he asks, “did you know? Do you know why he died?” F-F-S, Serizawa, here I was thinking you might come and perhaps apologise for being a horrid little twerp in middle school and instead you’re here to jump to conclusions? Okay, from the evidence available to the viewer you’re totally right in those conclusions BUT. Flies, catch, honey, vinegar.

“Oh,” says Yamano unconvincingly, “Ishimoto died? When was that? How sad for you, I mean, it’s really hard, when your friend dies.” His command of irony really doesn’t match up to Naruse’s, does it. He walks off.

“Just– give it up already!” Serizawa shouts. Yamano’s face, turned away, is curdled with something like glee. “I was my fault – all of it was my fault. I’m your target, only me, so don’t involve people who had nothing to do with it!”

“What are you talking about?”

“What can I do? How can I make it up to you? Name it and I’ll do it. i”ll take whatever judgement.”

“What are you talking about? I don’t understand at all. But–” and Yamano turns around – “you were a really awful person. Of course you’ll be judged. And you’ll suffer.” and off he trots.

The cold hard light of flashback: young Yamano is watching the big four bullies play basketball from up on a roof. (how do schoolkids in j-drama seem to spend so much time on the roof? we were never allowed up there.) He has a knife! and he is using it to imaginary-stab them from a huge distance, face fevered with horrid rage. It’s great how everyone in this drama is a genuinely horrible person at at least one point in their life – except Shiori, because as a girl who wears flowy blouses she is all that is good and true. Oh, and except Hideo, because he was a saint. And martyr.

There’s Hideo himself: “What are you doing with that?” he asks. “Give it here.”

Yamano’s all “no! i’m gonna kill ’em!” but as he is a weed and a wet Hideo easily overpowers him, with such classic lines or persuasion as “don’t let them make you a bad person!”.

Hideo takes the knife into safe-keeping while Yamano weeps. BAD IDEA. And so adult Yamano weeps, in the street, and everyone politely ignores him. dude, dude, it was all your fault, you minor psycho.

Serizawa, meanwhile, stands head hanging where Yamano left him, Yamano’s words ringing through his brain.

SCENE CHANGE: Naruse! in a car!

SCENE CHANGE: Library, late! The lighting is really low for a place where people are meant to be able to read, I’m just saying. Shiori – loose yellow pinafore-dress-style thing over white blouse over jeans – puts some books away, then notices: Serizawa, standing on the other side of the bookshelf. She moves to join him, but stops when he speaks:

“I wonder,” he asks, “if God will forgive me?” Wait wait pick me I can answer this one: yes. Infinite forgiveness for infinite sin, that’s Catholicism. The thing about original sin, right, in terms of things you have to constantly atone for, at least it’s better than various esoteric buddhisms where you get lifetime after lifetime in hell for the crime of menstruating. Uh, total tangent, sorry. Let’s concentrate on the way their separation by a bookshelf is visually suggestive of the confessional. “Back when I used to go to that middle school,” he says, “I was an awful person. I’d pick on the weak kids, beat them up, bully them. And then, eleven years ago… I killed a classmate. In that scrap yard, I… this kid, Hideo, he was trying to protect another boy I bullied, but. And I thought if I worked hard, lived righteously, God might forgive me, but. I don’t know. Is it right to go on living? What should I do?”

Pause.

“Sorry for disturbing you so late.”

I can’t work out if this is honestly affecting or if I’m just a total sucker for people being emotionally retarded in a way that, for once, doesn’t involve telling pointless lies.

“You don’t have any choice but to live,” she says. “There’s no such thing as a perfect person. Live the best you can. You’re already a detective, for the sake of others–”

He looks up and she’s come around to his side of the book case. Awww. They stare at each other in silence, while a piano plays way too loud. Turn it down, guys, jesus.

Then he goes back to the office and apologises for being a drama queen, probably for the first time in his life. I like this new you, Serizawa, even though I know it won’t last. He has something to say! eleven years ago, he–

The chief already knows, he’s known since Serizawa transferred into his section, Serizawa’s not the type to run from his past, blah blah okay I’m bored of the emotional stuff now. Nameless Junior detective wants to know, but University Graduate practices some loyalty oneupmanship so he’d look like a tool if he tried to find out. Don’t tell me she won’t be googling it up the moment the chief’s back’s turned.

The plot’s bored of this emotional bobbins too: it’s a special delivery! It’s from Makoto! It contains… a red envelope! Which contains… pictures of Serizawa, from youth until today! And the scary scaaaary hand reaching in to the photo to squish his head strangulate his distant image!!

Serizawa is the target after all!! Ten out of ten for observation, cupcake.

And there’s a piece of paper, too: three lines of a quote. Where’s it from?

Shiori-san knows because Shiori-san is up on her esoterica. Or, at least, her Western Lit. It’s Dante! It’s what’s written over the gates of hell! No, not ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’: it’s (as Longfellow would have it):

through me the way into the suffering city
through me the way to the eternal pain
through me the way that runs among the lost

Serizawa would like Shiori to use her magical powers to see some psychic after-images, but she’s not sure. It’s not that she’s had enough of being his confessor and adviser, it’s just that… well, the criminal knows that she’s involved. So maybe he is controlling what psychic after-images are left on the paper. Because he is even more magic than her! They may have to have a psychic powers showdown! Look, look, it’s Naruse’s evil face: how much do you want them to combine their magical orphan psychic powers? They could totes destroy Tokyo. It’s sort of a pity that Shiori’s so concerned about not being used by the devil to do his evil works.

Serizawa doesn’t really care about her scruples. I suspect that he, like me, is a little fuzzy on this whole ‘can control which psychic afterimages are left on an object’ sorcery business. And even if he has to go to hell–

Shiori, who this evening is wearing a white blouse with little ruched capped sleeves and a gold necklace, works her mojo: a gloved hand, a red envelope, coin locker, number 333. She’s shaking: Serizawa reaches out and almost touches her, but doesn’t quite manage it, because the Japanese just don’t do skinship. I’d like to take a stand right here and say that I seriously hope there will be no romance between these two? It’s not just that they haven’t shown any romantic chemistry, it’s that it’s so good to see an opposite-sex pair of friends where neither fancies the other for once. Also, love triangles are super lame.

Shiori feels like she’s seen the 333 before? Huh, useful.

Secretary Kasai gets a red envelope: inside, a picture of himself and the boss’ wife. With the kind of timing you see in actual real life, the boss and his wife come in at that very moment, so he hides it away. It seems like boss is suspicious! But actually he’s telling Kazai to stop working so late! Ah, jokes, jokes. What’s that photo? It’s a photo from the past! Get a girlfriend, Kasai, you work too hard! Does the boss’ wife know anyone Kasai might like? Watching this programme leaves me incapable of appreciating irony in the wild.

Kasai and the wife have a ren-dez-vouz behind a pillar outside the building, where they’re obviously totally safe from prying eyes, so he can tell her about the photograph. She panics; he hugs her to calm her down: don’t worry, i’ll look after you, etc etc etc. YOU’RE IN THE OPEN. That’s not exactly sensible.

…aaaand someone takes a photograph. Maou: leaving no obvious scene un-shot.

Shiori’s coffee shop! Which is called Coffee Galanthus, galanthus being the Latin name for ‘snowdrop’, but the little image on the sign looks more like a… chipmunk? Is it just me?

Naruse is reading a story! It’s about a little girl whose big brother goes into a tunnel, but she doesn’t want him to, because there might be a witch inside, or a monster, and– yes, he’s reading to little Sora-chan, who is so scared at the thought of a monster that she runs and hugs Shiori (blue jeans, white t-shirt, pink overdress thing) and drags her back. Shiori and Naruse smile at each other and aaaaah why can’t they just run off and be politely into each other forever and she can stop being the confessor and go-to-girl for a maverick policeman and he can stop indirectly killing people in order to ruin the life of a maverick policeman and everything will be fine.

As if to ruin my little shippy moment, who is at the door but Serizawa. Damn you, Serizawa. He looks grumpy, even when greeted. Shiori’s friend takes Sora off so the adults can talk. Serizawa’s apologetic for calling them out: the thing is, they think they’ve found out who took Sora away. And they’d like Sora to identify him.

The music says: this is a sting op! Tension, tension. Sora et al are hanging out on some roof garden, Serizawa’s hanging out in the street, Univerity Graduate wishes her phone were a walkie-talkie, it’s all happening. Here comes someone! He’s got bad hair! It’s… Yamano!

Serizawa is supremely unconvincing: gee, thanks for coming out, I wanted to ask, uh, did you really know nothing about Yōsuke’s death? Really and truly?

Yamano insists he knew nothing and makes a bolt for it: Serizawa grabs after him, which ain’t going to help Serizawa’s rep much. Sora-chan definitely doesn’t approve. She’s asked if the man who took her away was like that man down in the street? maybe? possibly? extended pause? Naruse looks intent.

Leave me alone!, Yamano says. I’ve got work! and speeds off. Serizawa lopes up the stairs.

Wasn’t him, University Graduate indicates. Serizawa never believes anything she tells him and so asks Sora directly, in his usual pushy way. He’s so pushy she runs off to Naruse for a hug. burrrrrrrnnnnnnn. Naruse’s all, ‘Seriously, mate, what are you trying to do? are you saying this adorable little child lies?’

This adorable little child totally lies. peace sign~! Yamano returns the peace sign from some overpass somewhere down the street, except he then turns it the wrong way round and totally flicks the Vs at that innocent adorable little child. Dear Japan: please stop flicking the Vs and thinking it’s a peace sign.

Flash! back! Yamano tells Sora that if she waits at the church her mama will come and pick her up, and says: y-y-you haven’t forgotten your promise to me? If nasty people come and ask you if you know me, what will you say?

“I don’t~” says Sora. She’s such a good girl!

Back to Yamano in the present. He walks along the overpass, he’s heading down the stairs, and on the video-advert hoarding behind him appears a BRIGHT RED EYE what the actual fuck. And it watches him go down the stairs and this is some doors of perception shit right here.

Serizawa and University Graduate are sitting in a city park in a back-to-the-drawing-board kind of mood. Serizawa can’t believe it seriously wasn’t Yamano, because his instincts are actually better than all evidence.

Middle-aged men are talking in a corridor! That corridor is at the police station, and those middle-aged men are the Chief and another guy. The Chief spills the beans about Serizawa’s stabby stabby past and the connection to the current situ. So he’d like to find out about the relatives of that past stabbed kid. Please? People might die.

Naruse and Shiori are walking and talking, like they do. Remember that story Naruse was telling Sora? What does Shiori think were the little sister’s reasons for not following her brother into the scary dark tunnel? Did she go in to save him? Shiori – who by now is in a tunnel herself, with Naruse, because irony’s just another word for nothing left to lose – suggests that the little girl wavered about following because the tunnel was dark and scary. Oh, but there’s another reason, Naruse says. The little sister wanted her brother, who bullied her, to disappear. But when she asked for that he really didn’t come back. She felt guilty, so she couldn’t go and look for him. So long as you feel guilty, you will waver over the tiniest thing.

gyaaaaaaaaaaah

Naruse, on the riverbank: with his brother’s harmonica. Will there be a “Somewhere over the rainbow” flashback? No! It’s a different flashback!

Bad Dye Job Papa Serizawa, back when his hair was all one colour but looked convincing, accosted outside his house by a baseball-becapped boy. Who are you, he asks?

“I’m the one whose brother your son killed,” he says. It’s only marginally easier to say in Japanese. “I’ve come to ask you a favour: please live well from now on. Don’t die, stay just as you are: no, be better off–”

Papa Serizawa knows what he’s thinking, but it was, he says, an accident. Does young Naruse care? does he bollocks. He’s clearly practised this speech.

“Please remember this: no matter where or when, I will be watching you and your son and your family. And when we meet again– ”

Aaaaaaand we’re back in the present.

Bad Dye Job Dad’s office: oh, Naruse, Naruse, if you become our lawyer we will give you whatever conditions you like. Oh, Naruse says, well, I have just one? Don’t keep anything secret from me. Trust is so very important. Of course of course of course, Papa will tell him everything. They shake hands: a Handshake… Of Fate!

Naruse struts out of the building: Ikehata watches him go, with a comedy old man double-take. Papa Serizawa knows Ikehata’s about, too, but, pah: what can Ikehata do? he asks. What indeed.

Kasai wants to know who Ikehata is, too. Big Brother says: well, he’s an investigative reporter who loves digging up dirt so it’s a good thing you’ve not got any isn’t it, Kasai, unwitting irony unwitting irony. Okay, actually he doesn’t, he talks about the incident eleven years ago and how Ikehata wrote articles and Serizawa’s dad got him fired and blah blah exposition.

Even the director knows this is boring – we’ve moved to a shot of Naruse’s red red darkroom of doom, where’s he’s got some articles by Ikehata and some photographs of his shady reni-hatted physog, and some waily background music, And Naruse’s phone ringing. Does he answer the phone inside the darkroom of doom? Looks like a no.

Well aren’t we in trouble, Ikehata says, it seems like you’ve taken the Serizawa job. Now I’m going to have to investigate you. No doubt you’ve one or two things you want to keep hidden~

Naruse looks a little worried? Or, perhaps, constipated.

Kasai goes home after what seems to have been a thousand years at the office. Hey, I’m back, he says. Sōda, you in? I had almost forgotten Sōda existed, my dears, and my life was happier for it.

Sōda doesn’t seem to be around. Kasai suddenly thinks, oh, what if Sōda was behind that incriminating photo of me cuckolding my boss, and starts digging around in Sōda’s bag, which of course is a cue for Sōda to appear behind him. “Dude, that’s my bag,” he says, and wanders off with it.

Kasai says: oh, I was looking for something? For, uh, um, a… a tarot card? Because Yōsuke was killed, it’s true, Serizawa said so. Like, we might be targeted. And there was a tarot card. So I was looking. Uh.

Sōda looks… sleepy? Whatever, he says, you trust Serizawa too much, he’s a murderer. Bollocks was it an accident. He told you to say that, and you say it, because you’ve always been Naoto’s errand boy.

Oi, Kasai says, shut it. He grabs Sōda by the front of the shirt in the least butch fashion ever. Sōda’s all– you really want to do this? and Kasai lets him go. Don’t underestimate me, says Sōda.

Naruse: in his fashionable apartment, looking at photos, listening to his music box play “somewhere over the rainbow”. You’d think he’d be bored of that song by now. Or at least fed up with the super-twinky music box version (innocence, youthful dreaming, slowing down into hesitant intermittent plunks).

An empty apartment! Eleven years ago, University Graduate exposits, a mother and two sons lived here. Oh, no, wait, she’s asking the landlord. Well, yes, he says. The mother died. It was grief, well, a heart attack at the wake whatnot. Then the older son moved out.

They pass the news on to Unnamed Junior Detective, who’s got some of his own – that older son? Yeah, I’ve got a piece of paper here says he died. A year after Hideo.

Naruse’s walking through a corridor, with flowers.

Serizawa gets a phone call, from Shiori, who keeps wearing her librarian gloves even to use the phone, the weirdo. How can you even press the buttons with gloves on? Shiori’s worked out where the 333 is — so Serizawa runs runs runs to her side, probably just to get away from hanging out with his fellow detectives. They look a little lost without him, poor loves. What do we do know, they wonder, since there’s no clues within Hideo’s family? Hideo’s family name, by the way, is Manaka. Not Naruse. Curious!

University Graduate wants to know: what did happen to Manaka Hideo’s brother, Manaka Tomō? Maybe they should find out how he died.

Naruse, again with flowers. He’s in a cheery mood! There’s a girl in a wheelchair! There’s a perky nurse greeting Naruse by name! The sun is shining!

That 333 is written above a shelf in Shiori’s library: the Italian Literature section. Devilish in its simplicity, eh? Serizawa finds a book of Dante, and inside that book of Dante– an envelope, red. Addressed to Serizawa Naoto, Esq..

Naruse arrives at the girl in the wheelchair, who isn’t quite looking at him.

“It’s been a while,” he says, “big sis.”

Her head turns a little in his direction: “Ryō!” she says. She’s blind. How on earth did he manage that.

NEXT TIME ON MAOU:
Serizawa attacks Yamano!
Naruse asks Serizawa to catch the criminal!
Shiori thinks the criminal wants to be saved!
Sora’s crying cos her mum’s a murderer!
Naruse has something to say to Shiori!
Shiori faints!
Serizawa’s dad’s got heartburn!
etc!

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Responses

  1. I am completely lost. it sounds like there’s plot going on – none of that lark to wrangle with in the 1PG recaps. Hurrah! Still I am amused by 333 being the pivotal location, I can just imagine Toma and Ohno hanging out in Hoxditch dahling Hoxditch.

  2. Hey! I came across this site when looking up stuff on one pound gospel. u guys write interesting things!! Do u live in the UK? (cos i do and it’s rare to see people interested in JE). Keep blogging!!

  3. hello! Yes, we are UK-based. So nice of you to comment: it’s good to know there are other UK JE fans around! ^^


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