「徐々に巻き込んで」 (Jojo ni Makikonde)
“Gradually Get Him Involved”
As Masa slowly gets dragged into the ways of the House of Five Leaves, a lot of Yaichi’s backstory is starting to flesh out and looking like it’ll explain how he got into this kidnapping “business” in the first place. As hinted in the very first episode and at the end of this one, the flashbacks Yaichi has of Seinoshin (Nemoto Keiko) seem to indicate that that was him when he was younger. This time around, we’re given a glimpse at how Seinoshin’s own mother hired some men to kill him and make it look like a kidnapping, which ultimately ended with the men deciding to fake his death and still collect money for the job. The twist though is the job was given by the one family servant that Seinoshin trusted the most, a man named Yaichi, suggesting that he chose to take on that name at some point. While there are still many questions revolving around that, this ordeal Seinoshin went through seems to be where the current Yaichi got his money-making kidnapping idea from. As such, I’m rather interested in seeing how he eventually got into this profession and formed the House of Five Leaves. Also, I’m anticipating that we’ll see the maple leaf burn mark on his back revealed at some point, just to confirm that Seinoshin is indeed the current Yaichi.
Progression-wise, I find it interesting how the story seems to revolve around Masa, but the focus so far has been primarily on Yaichi. It’s almost as if Masa is intended to serve as a medium for us to slowly take in the story, learning about the Five Leaves and how they came to be. In this particular episode, he unknowingly gets wrapped up in a job to kidnap the head of the Oomiya wholesale rice business by serving as their bodyguard. Based on how things unfolded with the target changed to the adopted son Yutarou, this week more or less showcased Matsu‘s role as an intelligence gathering spy and how the Five Leaves operates, in addition to the Yaichi backstory mentioned above. At times, I kind of feel bad for Masa taking part in activities he obviously isn’t comfortable with doing, but the fact that he acts as a doorway for me to learn about Yaichi and the others actually has me looking forward to seeing him to pulled deeper into the fray. Much like the series has shown to be so far, this was a fairly mellow episode, but I was pretty hooked while watching it — even at 3am in the morning. I attribute that to having already grown fond of the characters and wanting to see more of their pasts unravel.
Next week should be the follow-up to Yutarou’s kidnapping, showing how Masa takes being an accomplice of a crime for the very first time. Despite his timid nature, I can’t imagine him taking it well after befriending Yutarou and feeling like he was doing some honest work again, so I’m curious as to how he’ll handle it.