Details behind Baremoto’s plan aside, the boys’ revenge on Sasaki did turn out more or less like I was expecting. The same goes for Ishihara, whom Mario deemed too worthless to kill after learning how Sakuragi gave him Hagino’s note to try and end things once and for all. I can’t say I’m surprised that Mario decided to spare Ishihara’s useless life, but I am a bit disappointed he didn’t beat him to within an inch of it first. This is the corrupt jailer who had the inmates of Block 1 Cell 8 beat on Sakuragi after all, which resulted in Mario’s right-hand getting crushed when he offered to take his place. If I were in Mario’s shoes, I would’ve at least taken out some well warranted rage, before drawing the line at outright killing him. The restraint he showed there was pretty unbelievable given how he was prepared to be locked up in jail for murder, as seen when he met up with Setsuko before coming to Numazu. What I found really odd though was how quickly Mario came to terms with knowing that Sakuragi decided not to kill Ishihara and simply tried to make it back to the ring to watch the rest of his match, after he was stabbed.

Even if Mario understood Sakuragi’s desire to end things without any bloodshed, I’m still a bit boggled how he can just let the whole stabbing part slide. If anything, I figured he would have been more pissed off to learn that Ishihara still attacked Sakuragi after being given a peaceful option to put an end to everything. The only way Mario’s inner peace makes sense to me is if he assumed the stabbing wasn’t fatal and that An-chan was killed by the US military police because of the knife he had in his hand. However, my main problem with accepting that idea is that it involves giving Ishihara the benefit of the doubt behind Sakuragi’s death, and he’s the absolute last person to deserve that, especially from Mario of all people. The end result with Ishihara living the rest of his life as a drug addict who’s haunted by the an immortal Sakuragi is fine, but I still have a hard time understanding Mario’s thought process leading up to that.

As for Sasaki, I don’t think things could have played out any better for his punishment. From everything to luring him out using his boy toy to Joe sticking a gun right in his head, burying him in the sand and watching him slowly drown from the incoming tide turned out to be the perfect finish to it all. At first, I really thought they were going to simply let him die like that, which didn’t sit too well with me to be honest given the whole torture aspect of it. Still, I love how that bastard finally got a taste of his own medicine and wasn’t given the easy way out of simply dying on the beach. It was much more satisfying learning that Joe and the others got to confess all his crimes by threatening to leave him for dead and then broadcast it all at his political campaign for everyone to hear. That was on top of scaring him half to death and dragging his ass back to the inn, making him believe that it was all just a horrible nightmare. It was great watching him live in fear, hoping that it was all just a bad dream.

I’m a bit skeptical that a plan like this would work as perfectly as it did — particularly with the part where Sasaki passed out — but I’m willing to cast believability aside in this case because I wanted to see Sasaki mentally scarred just like Ishihara. The only part where Baremoto’s plan seemed to fall short is that Sasaki wasn’t thrown in prison in the very end. He did have his reputation ruined and fortune taken away, but I’m not quite satisfied if he managed to escape the slammer. Whatever the case, this may mark the last we’ve seen of both him and Ishihara, which has me wondering what will happen now that Mario and the others have parted ways. The ending sequence has been updated with everyone as they are now, shows their lives taking a turn for the better, and hints at a relationship between Mario and Setsuko much like the preview for the next episode. It’s been suggested that he has a thing for her, but it still feels like he’s moving in on Sakuragi’s girl after his death, which I personally wouldn’t be cool with doing. Setsuko’s visit to Sakuragi’s grave does indicate that she’s moving on too, so I gather that partially means with Mario as well.


ED1.5 Sequence

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  1. Wow. This was really satisfying episode. I like how the guys decided not to dirty their hands and killed Ishihara and Sasaki from the inside rather than the outside. Now they can finally move on without having to feel that burden of guilt in them. I’m sure Sakuragi would be proud. It looks like the remaining episodes will focus on the boys following their dreams and their lives now that they can finally put their time at the Shounen Reformatory behind them.

    I liked how they changed the ED to reflect Mario’s older, present self and added a more colorful background to represent that the boys have finally begun to move out of the darkness they seemed trapped in. Coupled with Mario smiling through the entire ED, it feels a lot more uplifting and frankly just looks cooler. Seems that next episode will focus on Mario’s feelings for Setsuko, so that should be interesting to say the least.

    In relation to why Mario was satisfied with leaving Ishihara the mess he was even after finding out that he stabbed Sakuragi after being given the note, it’s simply because he realized that Sakuragi wanted everything to end and he would just be disappointing Sakuragi if he didn’t let it end peacefully, like you said before. It might not be realistic or believable, but it’s heartwarming.

    Also, I don’t think it feels like Mario is moving in on Sakuragi’s girl at all. I mean, he’s been dead for over a year, and as far as I can tell it looks like Mario is reluctant to confess and gets jealous over something next episode. Besides, I think if Sakuragi would want Setsuko to move on with anyone it would be with Mario.

  2. Now that I think about it, how old is Setsuko? She has to be at least a couple years older than Mario, right? I think she was even older than Sakuragi (even though Sakuragi was only a year older than Mario). I guess Mario likes older women lol.

    1. I’ve been wondering about her age lol, though in the end I always forget about it. Not familiar with the education system in Japan in 1950s, but if she’s already working in a hospital.. maybe she’s at least one year older than Sakuragi. They both like older women I suppose 😀

  3. YES. Finally!

    I have to agree, it felt a bit strange for Mario to “move in on Sakuragi’s girl” as you put it. But as Suzuku mentioned, it has actually been a year and possibly ample time (IMO) for Mario to approach her romantically. For me, I guess I’ll put it down to that fact that he had not been dead for more than one or two episodes, and the year that passed by wasn’t shown in detail, so it feels like Sakuragi died not too long ago. When reading the manga, I had some slightly conflicting feelings about it too.

  4. Havn’t watched the episode yet, but sadly after Episode 12 or well…after Sakuragi’s death the anime has felt like its slowed down in any type of supsense. Still love the anime though and its definitely one of the best suprises this season..or last season…? :S Im not sure how I would feel about Mario dating Setsuko.. even if Mario looks just like Sakuragi now lol.

    P.S. Anyone else think Setsuko looks a bit like Tifa from FFVII with her long hair?

  5. Just watched this, was playing tales of innocence everytime.
    This show rocks so much, but I guess I said it many times already and we still have more than 10 episode left of awesomeness and Setsuko long-hair mode goodness.


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