“Asahi Bridge Irregulars”
The Suicide that Never Happened:
This episode was a waste of time, in the best way possible. It’s a hard one to break down, because at the end of the day it revolved around a mystery that was never there in the first place. This was the story of a suicide that never happened. Sakurako’s words were true: “Sorry you wasted your time on that” because that’s exactly what Kougami did. Still, this was one of the show’s better episodes, if I’m honest.
For one thing, it was a refreshing to have an episode where Sakurako and Shoutarou were almost entirely absent (up until the last few minutes), and instead focus on another wannabe detective duo: Kougami and her science teacher, Isozaki. If he wasn’t her teacher, there’s a chance there could be something romantic between them, but as with Shoutarou and Sakurako, the age difference is too vast to be anything other than creepy and inappropriate. Thankfully, their interactions were entertaining enough without needing hints of romance, instead relying on their contrasting point of views on the festival-goer who may or may not have wanted to throw herself from a bridge. It was nicely set-up, and allowed for both characters to bounce off one another. Sometimes their scenes were amusing, other times carrying more weight and questioning why they were running around looking for a woman they were unlikely to ever find.
The most important part of the episode has to be the discussion of whether another person has the right to decide if someone gets to kill themselves. It’s a tricky question; there’s two potential answers, yet there’s a lot to consider. If someone truly wants to end their life, is it not their right to do so? But on the other hand, what if that person’s struggles or depression that’s causing them to think that way can be mended? It got me thinking, and I’m probably more on Kougami’s side with this one, even if she shouldn’t have to feel guilty if she failed to find her in time.
A Simple Explanation:
Of course, by the end it’s revealed that the woman never intended to kill herself at all. What Kougami presumed was a suicide note was a note to her deceased husband, as she apologised for moving on and finding a new man. Sakurako showed up at just the right time (the missing child call for her was genius, and completely in character for her and Shoutarou) and quickly figured this all out. Honestly, I would have been fine if we didn’t see either of them appear in this episode. But she did her magic (with no recycled animation!) and revealed that the ring was in fact made from her previous lover’s bones, and her throwing it into the river along with the note was her way of sending it to the afterlife. A rather poignant end to a mystery that never even occurred in the first place.
Overview – What’s Next?:
I can see why some might not take to this episode, because in truth, it was pretty pointless. There wasn’t any game-changing revelations or massive character development, and I suppose you could think of this week’s mystery as a let down… yet still, I appreciate what we got. I liked seeing the side characters getting some time to shine, before it all tied together nicely in the end. Plus, this episode was easily the most gorgeous one so far, from the progression of colours throughout the festival, to the plentiful well-composed shots and smooth animation. All in all, I’d consider this the best episodic mystery to date, even if it was, as Sakurako pointed out, a waste of our time.