“The Cursed Man, Part 2”
A Poisoned Painting:
Kudos to anyone who called that the painting would be the cause of all this. It was obvious that it had to play a role in this “curse”, but I couldn’t quite figure out the finer details. However, as others pointed out, the paint was toxic and the Fujioka’s coughing and the Mees’ lines on his fingernails were enough to give Sakurako a lead on her diagnosis. As is common with Sakurako, the delivery of her exposition/explanation is a convoluted and detailed as ever, explaining the toxic arsenic component that’s no longer in use, and that the deadly stuff comes behind the canvas where Scopulariopis brevicaulis mold has formed.
Sakurako’s loaded dialogue doesn’t end there, as she goes on to explain that the painter’s advice was shady (because apparently babies don’t respond to colours the same way as we grown ups do) and that the explanation for the early family deaths comes from something oh so simple: stress. Stress and anxiety are mentioned a few times here, but Sakurako’s hypothesises is that the family has congenital anomalies of the coronary arteries – something that can’t be discovered from a simple check up. When pressed about why only the men suffered from it, Sakurako explains that women’s body are able to handle stress better (while men’s bodies may be physically superior in some aspects, there are many ways that the female body wins out, and this is one of them). Truth be told, I’m not an expert in any this, but I’m going to assume enough research was done on the part of the author for this to all make sense; it’s not a diagnosis by any means, but there’s no doubt that it’s meant to suffice as an explanation. All things considered, I like how this was wrapped up – there aren’t any holes in what was said, and all the set-up came back to form a sensical conclusion.
As for Hector… it looks like Fujioka went out his way to take ownership of the allegedly cursed canine in hopes that it would serve as an explanation for his “death”, which he was so keen to make happen that he attempted (and failed) to hack off his own legs. It was a miserable end to this ordeal, yet fitting to what was being built up. At least by the end, everyone gets their time to shine (except for Shoutarou, who mainly watched and listened, as he does).
Butterflies and Colourful Lies:
However, the mystery doesn’t end there. The case may be solved, but Sakurako is correct in having that wriggling feeling that those words from the expert have a deeper meaning than one would originally assume. For once, we’re actually ahead of our ace investigator in this case, which seems like it’s going to carry over until she meets her destined final foe. We’ve seen glimpses of the ominous fedora-wearer with his butterfly imagery and now his colourful lies – clearly he’s got a larger role to play in all this. My main question is simply: why did he want Fujioka to bring out that painting and slowly poison himself (and perhaps his wife and child)? Also, it’s likely he was the presence that Sakurako felt in the last scene of the second episode. Whoever he is, he’s bound to play a crucial role in developing Sakurako’s past and explaining the way she is today.
Speaking of her past, the similarities between Shoutarou and Soutarou are becoming more prominent. Perhaps it’s the way he speaks, or just the way he looks, or because his name is near identical, but she’s seeing her deceased younger brother in Shoutarou, which results in a weird mix of emotions. Personally, I can’t wait to fully delve into this backstory so we can get some insight into here character and focus on some of her weaknesses, and hopefully make her seem like a real person. It’s being being set-up effectively, so when the time does come it’s sure to be a moment worth remembering.
Overview – What’s Next?:
I’m thrilled the set-up from the previous episode paid of in this one. More episodes like these, please!
I assume we’ll be going back to the one-offs from now on, but I would prefer some more overarching stories that are given time to breath. Because the characters were given space, and their conversations didn’t have to insert plots points A, B, and C in X amount of time, both the pacing and the atmosphere were improved as a result. With the tale of the Cursed Man, Sakurako-san proves it can be an effective mystery when given the time to flesh out the details and allow the audience to take an active role in figuring out just what the hell is going on.