「蒼の使徒」 (Ao no Shito)
“The Azure Messenger”
This episode was a bit harder for me to follow for some reason. I just couldn’t get into the rhythm of the mystery because it felt so short and the pacing was all over the place. I understand what they were probably going for with bits and pieces of the mystery scattered around, with implied connections to Doppo. Unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the episode as I normally do and that’s a shame since I do think Doppo has a very interesting backstory. Hopefully I can get more invested in it next week as we get more familiar with the Azure Messenger.
This week focused most of its time on Doppo and the people around him and his story at the agency. We meet a young man by the name of Taguchi Rokuzou (Ishikawa Kaito) who turns out to be a hacker that works with the agency to provide information. At first, he reminded a bit of Frau from Robotics;Notes (anyone remember that one?) and very similar to Frau, he has his own story about a murdered parent. Rokuzou’s father was murdered during an explosion made by the Azure King when he committed suicide. We don’t much else about the Azure King, Rokuzou’s father or even Rokuzou himself – all we know is that Doppo feels a sense of responsibility for Rokuzou and looks over him like a fatherly figure. Doppo mentions that he was the one that revealed the location of the Azure King – to which several detectives (Rokuzou’s father included) went to investigate. Of course, none of this is yet linked back to the man in question – the Azure Messenger (yet) so we don’t know how everything is directly connected or correlated (yet).
The second character in question leads to the other part of the story this week. Her name is Sasaki Nobuko (Kobayashi Sanae) and she’s rescued by our MCs from drowning after she was captured by the taxi driver. I’ll save you the trouble of guessing because I can promise that she’ll be a recurring character – at least next week. But who is she? Well if you’re into spoilers, all you need to do is Google her name 😉 but let’s avoid pasting blatant spoilers here for people that want to guess on their own. Anyway, her story is linked to the string of people that keep disappearing in town – all suspiciously wearing glasses and vanishing after checking into their destination. As it turns out, the taxi driver is the man kidnapping all these people (and Nobuko) and they’re ultimately being used for organ trafficking. When our crew finds out, they also find out that one of these kidnapped individuals is a part of the Port Mafia! And then Ryuunosuke attacks. There’s not much conversation that’s exchanged between Doppo and Ryuunosuke, but at least we know that there’s another party in play that’s neither involved with either teams. Their fight was also short lived as the police show up.
This leads us to the place where the Azure King suicided and brings us full circle back our Azure Messenger. The people behind the kidnappings are no longer in the building but they were planning a bomb and that’s what next week’s episode is about. How is this going to link back to the Azure King and Rokuzou? I have no idea right now but this seems to be a good arc to expand on Doppo’s character and develop him a bit. As much as Atsushi is the main character, I keep saying that Doppo and Dazai are really the ones look out for. Their relationship dynamics work even though they’re not always hitting the punch lines and I think in some odd way, they complement one another. They’re foolish and random but they sure know how to solve their mysteries (without missing a beat on the taxi driver accusation) and that’s why they’re a duo in the Armed Detective Company. The only thing that I ask for is that they iron out how these arcs are told and don’t try and cram everything into a single episode that has no flow. This episode could’ve definitely benefited with either more time or better narration.