I know I’ve said this series isn’t for the faint of heart, but even I couldn’t help but wince and clutch my right hand when I saw Mario’s get crushed by some inmates in cahoots with Ishihara. The screen capture of that scene pretty much speaks for itself, which was not only difficult to watch for the obvious reasons, but also because his hopes of becoming a boxer like Sakuragi pretty much got crushed as well. It’s even more disheartening given how Mario let himself get beat up in hopes that the four cellmates from Block 1 Cell 8 would lay off of Sakuragi, after Ishihara and the perverted doctor Sasaki (Hashi Takaya) transferred him there for a hellish last month before his expected release from prison. In reality, those tyrants were hoping that Sakuragi would be killed so that he doesn’t speak of the atrocities they’ve committed and continue to commit to the inmates. When the sound of that even shocks the likes of the cellmates that Ishihara has bribed though, it really goes to show have evil those two are. At this point, it’s undeniable that Ishihara and Sasaki deserve nothing less than being put to death, but it’d be much more appropriate if they got a taste of their own medicine.
Seeing as this series has the tendency to invoke feels of anger towards the tyranny depicted, I’ve more or less approached each episode with the expectation that things will be like that so that I don’t get riled up. In spite of that, this episode was still really unsettling when the light at the end of the tunnel seemed visible. With Sakuragi’s pending release and the others still set to serve out their remaining sentences for the next while, I was relieved to see them get a respectable warden named Kumagai (Aoki Tsuyoshi) to replace Ishihara, who was sentenced to house arrest for the fire incident. Things were finally looking up for a change, so it was nice hearing everyone talk about their aspirations upon getting released. Similarly, there was some new-found hope when they decided to engrave those aspirations on a tree, with Mario’s one simply being that he hopes everyone else’s dreams come true.
After learning how Mario will put his friends before himself — a trait he likely picked up from hanging around Sakuragi — the sight of his dreams cruelly snatched away from him was almost too much to bear. As such, I was so relieved to see Sakuragi completely snap once he heard what those guys did to Mario. While he was willing to endure a month long beating and eat food off the floor after it’s been dumped on his head, believing that this level of abuse is better than what he’d get from Ishihara for retaliating, Sakuragi clearly won’t tolerate his friends getting injured in his place. This is unquestionably the best part of his character and why he warrants being looked up to and relied upon. Because of that, I’m eagerly looking forward to the absolute ass-kicking that he’s going to deliver to the remaining three assholes in Block 1 Cell 8, even though I realize things are probably going to get worse once Sakuragi fights back. The preview indicates as much, suggesting that everyone from Block 2 Cell 6 will suffer, and also hints at Sakuragi’s time in prison far from being over.