It turns out I gave Yamauchi a bit too much credit, even though she did call the Fukumoto Gang to deal with Tsubouchi and the Five Lemons. They didn’t arrive until Mario and Kyabetsu had already mopped the floor with their faces, but I suppose it’s the thought of calling in real yakuza that counts. It’s just too bad she didn’t show the same sympathy towards Joe’s situation when he was unable to make it to the Western Festival on time like she did when he was about to be killed right before her very eyes. Her stark change in character was a bit surprising to say the least, especially in light of how young head of the Fukumoto Gang, Aritou (Terasoma Masaki), even gave Mario the keys to one of his cars so that they can try to make it to the venue. Up until now, Naoko didn’t really give me any indication that she was out to make Joe’s life difficult, so I perceive her sudden change of heart as frustration towards her plaything being spoiled and an unwillingness to stick around to try and fix things. The moment Joe’s stardom hit a bump in the road like it did here, she was planning to get rid of him in a heartbeat. Seeing as their relationship was basically for sexual favors to begin with, I guess it’s not too horrible of an outcome. Joe was able to improve his singing a bit under her guidance and still has his head on his shoulders to sing another day, plus achieved what he was after in the first place — to be reunited with Meg.

If this were a happy-go-lucky series, then yes, it totally sucks how Joe’s dream was cruelly snatched from him right when it was within reach. However, the dark portrayal of everything these guys have been through make the loss of something that doesn’t involve death or bodily harm seem like a fortunate happenstance. While it’s a depressing outlook on life to lower one’s definition of happiness to such levels, their lives in face of all these hardships do look like they’re improving. It sure beats the days at Shonan where they would get tortured by corrupt jailers and screwed by doctors anyway. As long as they have their strong bonds and lean on one another in times of need, it’s been shown that they can overcome any type of obstacle together. It’s kind of weird how that’s been my crutch of sorts for getting through some of the more difficult scenes to watch, but it’s pretty much what’s made the latter half of series a lot more bearable.

In a way, it serves as a double-edged sword though. By holding onto the belief that the six of them will pull through somehow, I’m not nearly as caught up in the roller coaster of emotions that I was in earlier episodes. At the same time, I’m not entirely convinced that I miss that bone-chilling, goose bump-inducing type of depiction, as it usually entailed a very dire situation that didn’t have a glimmer of hope whatsoever. After witnessing the boys go through hell and back, the story has reached the stage where I’d like to see things moving towards some happier moments. The only problem with that is it doesn’t allow the story to unfold in a semi-twisted manner like it’s been known for, so I’m more or less torn between how things have gotten easier to digest at the loss of suspense, and the loss of that suspense because things have gotten easier to digest. Lately, it feels like things are drifting somewhere between the two, but nowhere near either extreme.

For now, it looks like Joe’s mini arc is done, while the one involving the Fukumoto Gang isn’t quite over yet since Kyabetsu is going to cross paths with them again. He’s always been one to drift between jobs, but ending up with the yakuza even trounces Suppon’s dealings with the black market. Organized crime might just be the thing to get my blood boiling again though, as our ex-reformatory boys would be up against one hell of a battle if it’s real gangsters we’re talking about. The thought of getting in the bad books with the yakuza is worse than anything Ishihara and Sasaki put them through, given how they probably wouldn’t hesitate to just kill someone on a whim.




  1. Please delete my post were I thought the manager was kind of good. Why she dropped him? That was cruel. The only real reason I can think off is that she realized Joe was still in contact with his friends when she told him to drop them. So he disobeyed a direct command from her. The excuse that Joe blow his chance was like 15% true. Too bad we didn’t got to see Meg and Joe explaining to each other about their lives. I know Joe will not pass judgement on Meg “work” but will really like to know if he can get her out that. Hopefully in the future we’ll know more. Also I’m always glad how An-chan memory always come back to tidy up things and the love they all share for him. Cabbage vs. yakuza for some reason that mix makes smile. Like he always does 🙂

    Island Esper
    1. It’s simply too time consuming. In the past, Divine had to quit blogging because writing long summaries for the tons of series he was covering contributed to his illness. :/

    2. I’m not really convinced a lot of people read the summaries either, especially when they were usually 500-1500 words long. With the way a lot of shows are simulcast nowadays, the need for summaries is rapidly diminishing as well.

      1. It’s not different at all from before the simulcast.
        Since a long long time ago subbed anime episodes were everywhere on the net and only required some 170 MB to download.
        Even when RC started, everyone could have just downloaded the episode and see for themselves. Nothing has changed.
        Plus there’s no proof no one’s reading or not reading them.

      2. I was alluding to simulcasts in the sense that they’re on a regular release schedule that doesn’t fluctuate. Aside from FUNimation’s, fansubs will almost never be able to match them in terms of timely releases. The only purpose of summaries as far as I’m concerned is aiding those who watch raws but don’t have a complete understanding of Japanese.

        In the cases where fansubs fell horribly behind, they served as a translation service of sorts as well, such as in the case of Nabari no Ou. I didn’t have a problem writing a 2000-word detailed summary then to help people understand the show, but I don’t see much point when that’s not needed.

        I’m willing to hear you out on why’d like to see summaries again, but be aware that I’ve never once enjoyed writing them. It feels like being a scribe where you’d have to write impressions on top. I’d rather have more impressions and no summary, rather than a summary with fewer impressions like Omni generally drifted towards (because he spent all his time summarizing). It took a while, but I convinced Omni to let me blog without summarizing at some point and have enjoyed it a lot more since then.

        In lieu of a dedicated summary, I still try to talk about all the key things that happened in an episode, which in conjunction with the text link screenshots, should provide a decent grasp of what happened. However, I feel like I talk about somewhat more meaningful things if I diverge from that pattern every so often, like in my Naruto manga posts where I never summarize.

      3. Please don’t ever change Divine, I love reading your impressions! 😛

        I have to admit that I am one of those people who would skip the summaries and go straight to the impressions. Same with a couple of my friends who sometimes visit RC.

        Keep it up! 🙂

  2. Looking for song title that Joe sang >:|

    Already tried looking it up too…

    On nights i can’t sleep, i can hear the rain make a melody. Let’s slowly go take a look into the future on our ship in the clouds. A bridge in the dark, starless sky. They say a magical rainbow appears for a moment on days like this. It’s an impossible trail.

  3. I dunno, what could the manager do? She probably would have a hell of a time getting anybody big to book him after missing such a gig and can’t afford to spend time trying. I hope some of what Joe does after this is explored since he was such an interesting character.

    I had suspected from day one that they had cast Joe for something other than his acting skills (I think he’s really aweful). I guess it was his voice (I looked him up on the Japanese wikipedia. Apparently he’s going to be a lawyer? O_o)

  4. I had tears in my eyes at the end.How many times I cried while watching this already?Damn.And I know what you mean Divine, even if last week I was total sucker for the cliffhanger, I knew they would make it somehow because they can’t make things any worse than in the first half of the series.And the episode title “reunion” gave it all.
    Yup the manager was a bitch after all.Pfff.At least she tried to help Joe by calling the Yakuza before dumping him.And dang Aritou-san looks fuckin badass.I’m so glad we’ll see more of him next week already.

    And of course, Meg is hot.Glad to see we’ll have at least another recurrent female now that Sexsuko is gone.

    1. Yeah, the series made me go through a rollercoaster of emotion and this episode was no different. Jou’s performance for his friends was a tear jerker and I’m glad Meg and him had reunited. They deserve all some peaceful and happy days.
      I don’t know if the manager was meant to be any good in the long run for Jou. I mean, the first thing she did was to sleep with him in exchange for her “support”? I got no good words for her anyway. Disgusting character.
      I hope Cabbage will be ok. Dealing with guards from the reformatory institute is one thing, organized criminals is another ball game.


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