Even after the blackmailing with Hagino’s blood-stained will last time, it was fairly obvious that wasn’t going to be last we would see of Ishihara and Sasaki. However, I wasn’t expecting them to come back in full force the very next episode, with a drugged up Ishihara no less. It’s probably safe to say that the corrupt jailer is well beyond the point of return with how far he’s fallen, but Sasaki evidently still has his head attached to scheme his way out of things. I wasn’t expecting him to sell out Ishihara in the process by giving him a gun and then going to the police saying how his accomplice was the one who helped Mario and the others escape though. He even went so far as to use the gun as falsified evidence to help connect Ishihara’s involvement before convincing the police to lie in wait outside the American base to capture him, Mario, and An-chan.
I hate to admit it, but Sasaki was actually clever to use Ishihara as a scapegoat in all this. The fact that the latter has become so obsessed with killing Sakuragi that he’s shooting up on Hiropon (a post World War II methamphetamine) will make it pretty difficult for him to talk his way out of anything. In addition, if Ishihara does get caught and chooses to say that Sasaki was involved as well, it’s really unlikely anyone would believe him in his drugged up state. All Sasaki’s concerned about now is getting him to kill Sakuragi and Mario since he was unable to locate Hagino’s will after searching their hideout, and then having him take the full blame for their murders. Surprisingly, the one positive thing I took away from his elaborate plot is that they’re no longer working together, which should mean it’s only a matter of time before the truth behind both their crimes is exposed.
Amidst the never ending corruption of those two, the developments in the Rokurouta x Setsuko pairing is looking pretty promising. To that end, it was nice to see Mario actually bring it up with An-chan to see what he felt about her. Hearing Sakuragi say how he’s unsure if a guy like him would be able to do anything for Setsuko before adding that he wants to make her happy no matter what would have made for a really uplifting moment, had it not been overshadowed by the approaching Ishihara with gun in hand. In addition, Suppon just got arrested due to a tip-off from him earlier on. Suppon is clearly in less danger in police custody than Mario and Sakuragi, but I still couldn’t help but feel for him given how he just got settled into his new job doing dealings in the black market that Lily hooked him up with. Talk about a horrible break after just getting a taste of freedom again.
In contrast, Heitai getting an early release upon getting accepted into the Japan Self-Defense Forces was one of the few good things to come out of this otherwise horrible turn of events, though I wonder how much more we’ll see of him in the immediate future when he chose not to let Joe tell him where An-chan is hiding. It was to prevent that information to ever being leaked out of him, but without knowing where they’re staying, it may just mean he won’t be reunited with everyone until they meet under the tree again on June 6th of the following year. Regardless, his tearful departure gave hope that at least he would be moving onto better things.
Finally, there’s Mario’s second boxing match after getting some further training from An-chan. It seems like his right-hand is somewhat usable now, but with An-chan having to leave his corner to answer a phone call from Suppon warning them of Ishihara, it’ll be interesting to see if he can win this fight alone. Mario’s following An-chan’s advice of simply enduring the first round and then trying to win in the second, but he’s looking really beat up already in the preview. Also, it looks like Sakuragi will run into Ishihara outside, so I can only imagine what will go down then.