Wow, the last thing I was expecting Sakuragi to do in the face of a drugged up Ishihara out to kill him is show him some compassion. He deserves all the credit in the world for trying to save that poor pathetic soul rather than just putting him out of his misery, but it was pretty clear that Ishihara is well beyond the point of redemption. The only thing he can really do now if he actually had an ounce of conscience left within him is to apologize to the world and commit seppuku. This episode was so powerful yet utterly frustrating at the same time because of all the chances Sakuragi gave Ishihara to walk away from all this, yet the damn bastard just wouldn’t let it go. Even with the years of mistreatment, physical abuse, and straight-up torture Sakuragi endured at his hands, he didn’t hold one bit of hatred against him. I can’t even picture the purest minds doing what he did when he seized the opportunity to kill Ishihara for all his tyranny, so it just goes to show how strong Sakuragi is mentally. It takes a person who’s gone through hell and back to let someone who’s tried to kill them several times in the past and again at this very moment walk off scot-free.
I gather that Sakuragi didn’t want to let himself be consumed by hatred and resentment like Ishihara, but he still could have got him and Sasaki thrown into prison for the rest of their lives by handing over Hagino’s bloodstained will to the police. Instead, he ended up handing it to Ishihara thinking it would be his salvation and end things. In a way, that almost seemed out of character for Sakuragi to do since he’s ridiculously forgiving when it comes to his own suffering, but not when it’s the suffering of his friends. As such, it was weird seeing him apologizing emphatically to Hagino for handing over the will to the very man that caused him to commit suicide. He was more or less forsaking his friend’s death by letting the truth go unknown. Then there’s Mario too, who had his hand crushed by the inmates of Block 1 Cell 8 and may never be able to regain full use of it ever again. I don’t understand how Sakuragi could have been so naive and simply overlooked all that when he had Ishihara staring down the barrel of his own gun. The sensible solution would have been beating Ishihara up to within an inch of his life and then giving the note to Setsuko to turn over to the police. There’s a line between doing what looks cool and doing what’s right for the sake of those who died and suffered meaninglessly, which Sakuragi still didn’t get through to his head even after Ishihara ripped up Hagino’s will and came right back at him on his motorcycle trying to run him over.
After Ishihara wipes out in the process and puts up an act to get in close to stab Sakuragi, the latter STILL lets him go. Don’t get me wrong, it was powerful stuff to see Sakuragi bring Ishihara down to his knees trembling in fear with words alone, but now he’s going to bleed to death at this rate. To make matters worse, Sasaki’s shown up with the police to arrest him and they think he’s holding the knife as a weapon. This was truly a prime example of being far too trusting of the wrong kind of people. All this time, Mario’s fighting for his life inside the ring and was able to knock out the American boxer/soldier once the opportunity presented itself. When he got back up however, Mario basically knew things weren’t looking good for him yet he persevered with An-chan in mind and even broke his right hand further to try and win the match. Where was this same respect in return An-chan!? Ugh, the next episode looks like Sakuragi’s either going to get shot or simply not going to make it. Setsuko smiling over how the photograph they took turned out is way too ominous of a sign. It was like a death flag being waved. An-chan, you idiot…