Leaving his apartment in the middle of the night, Shinkurou goes to the headquarters of the yakuza wakagashira Kunou Tadashi for Ginko’s job. There, he manages to “peacefully negotiate” (i.e. blackmail) the return of the Hanamura Kindergarten principal’s deed by providing evidence that links Tadashi to the photo threat. (It seems that the yakuza’s “front” company is a real estate business.) Much to Shinkurou’s surprise, Murasaki gets pulled into the room by one of the yakuza subordinates and after a big commotion, she suspects that Tadashi is lying to Shinkurou. In any case, the two of them are allowed to leave, only to be assaulted at the elevators. The attack leaves Murasaki knocked out, which causes Shinkurou to reveal a blade extruding from his elbow. Being able to deflect bullets with this “sword”, he quickly takes out all the yakuza. In the meantime, Yayoi makes her way into the building via the fire escape and is surprised to see Shinkurou’s weapon, mentioning that it is something of the Houzuki’s. Shortly after, Benika comes by and picks them all up. After a long lecture by Yayoi in the car, they return to Shinkurou’s apartment to let Murasaki rest. As Benika and Yayoi leave, Yayoi continues to express her concerns until Benika says she’ll explain it all properly very soon.
The next morning, Murasaki is in high spirits, but feels bad for causing Shinkurou trouble last night. As a gesture of good faith, she decides to make him breakfast and clean his room while he’s gone. At school, Shinkurou meets up with Ginko and returns the property deed that he retrieved. He then meets up with Yuuno, who advises that he shouldn’t take on jobs where he has to use the “horn”. Returning home, Shinkurou finds his room and futon clean and decides to take Murasaki to the public bath house. On their way back, Murasaki is curious as to why Shinkurou decided to work in resolving disputes, to which he replies that it’s probably because he yearns to be strong like Benika. In his explanation, Shinkurou brings up his childhood, which results in Murasaki asking more about it.
Back at their apartment, Shinkurou explains how a group of surviving children were abducted after an airport was bombed. (Elsewhere at the same time, Benika is telling the same story to Yayoi.) As it turns out, Shinkurou (along with Ginko) were in the group of children who were abducted. Also, Shinkurou’s parents died in the airport bombing just prior to the abduction. As a result, Shinkurou lost the will to live during the ordeal and even asked the abductors to kill him. Just before they could though, Benika and her rescue party busted in and saved Shinkurou and other children. After the abduction, Shinkurou was taken in by Yuuno’s family and lived with them for eight years while studying a Houzuki martial arts.
On Benika’s side, she also explains to Yayoi how Kuhouin Souju, Murasaki’s birth mother, had asked her to take Murasaki out of the Kuhouin home so that Murasaki doesn’t grow up like she did (i.e. a person who had never left the Kuhouin household). Benika also mentions how she felt the Kuhouin house was strange and that she had to fulfill the request after seeing the young Murasaki. Given their past, she feels that Shinkurou is someone who resembles Murasaki and is the only one who can truly understand her feelings. She also believes that Shinkurou is someone who will strive to become stronger in order to protect someone, hence why she feels he’s suited for this job. After hearing Benika’s reasons, Yayoi tells her that she now understands the situation, but will head back to Shinkurou’s place anyway since she’s worried about his inexperience.
Well, this episode finally revealed what the deal is with Shinkurou’s arm, but it didn’t actually explain too much about it. Based on the various hints though, it appears to be a technique devised by the Houzukis that uses his bone(s). In her discussion with Shinkurou, Yuuno also mentioned that she would bring him some medicine that her grandfather made for inexperienced users, so it seems like Shinkurou always get an exit wound injury from using this “horn”. (Note: Wolverine never had this problem due to superhuman regeneration. ^_^) On another note, I couldn’t help but think of Bio-Booster Armor Guyver when I saw the blade coming out of Shinkurou’s elbow.
Aside from that, it was interesting to see the reason why Shinkurou’s so attached to Benika. In the abduction flashback, I felt there was fair amount of sentimental background build-up not only for Shinkurou, but also for Ginko. Based on what Yuuno said last episode, I’m also getting the feeling that the Houzukis might be some sort of guardian family for the Kuhouins, but this is just a thought for now. There have been some signs that this might be the case, but nothing close to definitive, so I’m still eager to find out what the real relationship between these two households is.
Finally, I don’t really comment much on production, but it seems like there was a noticeable quality drop in faces in distant scenes this episode. Close-ups still looked fine as usual though. I just hope this reduction in quality doesn’t became a regular thing, especially given how well kurenai’s storyline is proceeding along.
– Kurenai Shinkurou (紅真 九郎) / Sawashiro Miyuki (沢城 みゆき)
– Kuhouin Murasaki (九鳳 院紫) / Yuuki Aoi (悠木 碧)
– Juuzawa Benika (柔沢 紅香) / Ishige Sawa (石毛 佐和)
– Inuzuka Yayoi (犬塚 弥生) / Ookubo Aiko (大久保 藍子)
– Mutou Tamaki (武藤 環) / Sanada Asami (真田 アサミ)
– Yamie (闇絵) / Kimura Haruka (木村 はるか)
– Houzuki Yuuno (崩月 夕乃) / Shintani Ryouko (新谷 良子)
– Murakami Ginko (村上 銀子) / Masu Nozomi (升 望)
– Kuhouin Souju (九鳳院 蒼樹) / Tsuru Hiromi (鶴 ひろみ)
– Tomoaki (友明) / Urata Yuu (浦田 優)
– Akio (秋生) / Yamaguchi Mayumi (山口 眞弓)
– Kunou Tadashi (久能 正) / Matsuda Yuuki (増田 裕生)
– Man 1 (男1) / Hikida Takashi (疋田 高志)
– Man 2 (男2) / Shiratori Shuma (白鳥 修馬)
– Man 3 (男3) / Shingaki Tarusuke (新垣 樽助)
– Kidnapper (誘拐犯) / Ueda Youji (上田 燿司)
– Benika’s subordinate (紅香の部下) / Kouno Tomoyuki (河野 智之)
– Preview narration (予告ナレーション) / Muramatsu Ken (村松 健)