Since they’ve got a lot of enemies, Hei and company find it hard to get out of Hokkaido in order to get to Tokyo. Hei decides to hire someone to smuggle them through the checkpoints, and this lady ends up disguising July as a corpse and Hei and Suou as the grieving family. Shortly after arriving in Aomori though, the car that Hei and Suou are in gets a flat tire, and the hearse with the lady and July doesn’t stop. Hei and Mao figure out that this was intentional and that the lady’s goal was to steal July and sell him, but Hei also thinks that it’s a waste of time to go after him. Suou disagrees, and after seeing July’s observer spirit on a departing truck’s window, she hops into the back of the truck with Mao in tow and leaves Hei behind. She’s convinced that July is feeling lonely and helpless, and she believes that Contractors and Dolls retain some fragment of their emotions.
Through July’s observer spirit’s guidance, Suou and Mao find him being held in a warehouse. Remembering the lessons Hei taught her, Suou makes use of some broken glass and throws severals shards at the woman who betrayed them until Mao finally stops her. While Suou is getting July though, a Contractor known as Ilya Sokolov who had been tracking them suddenly shows up. He kills off the woman with his Contractor ability to induce drugged states in people’s brains, and he easily captures Suou, July, and Mao. Fortunately, while he’s transporting them on the highway, their car is attacked by Hei. Despite hanging off the side of a moving car, Hei is able to use his wire as a garrote to strangle Sokolov to death and save everyone. He attributes some of his success though to July who had used an observer spirit to distract Sokolov, and in the aftermath, July notes his pain when Suou touches the bump on his head. The group then makes their way to Sendai and boards a train there, unaware that Repnin and Tanya are aboard the same train after having come to Japan because of a recent photograph showing Suou’s father alive in Tokyo.
This was a decent episode that moves the story along, but at a slightly slower pace than I would have expected from a 12-episode series (I didn’t think they’d make anything of the trip to Tokyo). It was nice to see July finally get some more character development, though it’s probably just as important that Suou got a bunch of her own development with the focus on her ruthless Contractor side contrasted with her care for July. That scene where she was repeated chucking glass shards at that woman certainly made the former point.
I do wish though that they wouldn’t keep introducing Contractors with cool powers (and in this case, a creepy remuneration) and then killing them off so quickly because it makes those characters seem like cheap roadblocks, like monsters-of-the-week. On the other hand, they are developing the mystery around the overarching story nicely with the Misaki/Genma scene, the Mr. Golgo 13 scene, and with the reappearance of Shion and Dr. Pavlichenko, so I can’t complain too much. It seems that it all has something to do with the ME network stuff, and maybe Repnin will explain it a bit more next episode when he meets with Hei.