「暗号名ケルベロス」 (Angōmei Keruberosu )
“Codename: Kerberos”

Bit of a lighter entry this episode, no doubt as a bit of a breather before a heavier two-parter that will be coming up just around the corner. For now, our spy of the week, probably the one sometimes known as Amari (Morikawa Toshiyuki), is on a vacation cruise, dolphin watching and all (before anyone asks, he’s a classy superspy, of course he can whistle up dolphins for children). It’s a similar vein to last week’s leisurely cross-country train trip i.e. transport, children and murder, but unlike Asia Express, Codename: Kerberos is not exactly a murder mystery, per se. The ‘who’ of the murder is not really the question here, especially since she draws attention to herself quite early, and there was not much effort to hide the solution of the murder after that (contrast the double-culprit twist of Asia Express). Instead, the focus is on her motivation, and the story that leads up to it.

I don’t think it can ever be proper to do a World War II spy drama without at least mention of the Enigma Machine. Of all the cloak-and-dagger gadgetry that came out of the War, the Enigma was without question the crown jewel of them all. Even before the Information Age, the quintessential purpose of any intelligence agency was fundamentally about encryption and decryption, with the Enigma being representative of all the entire game during WWII. Alan Turing, one of the greats behind breaking the Enigma, has a movie about him now (which I unfortunately still haven’t managed to watch), but there are many interesting angles to this story beyond any one man. I dare say that, more so than any battle in the War, breaking the Enigma featured the most international cooperation of the conflict. Everybody wanted to solve this thing. Of course, Joker Game is about Japanese spies, who would probably rather the Enigma not be cracked, but we still get a pretty interesting perspective on what lengths some would go (sacrificing a ship, for example) to win the information war.

As much as I’d like Joker Game to delve more into the story of the Engima machine, and I do believe there would be enough material for an entire season of anime, it’s probably not the right show for it (again, Japanese spies). Instead, the main takeaway is a usual one for Joker Game, about what a nasty business international espionage actually is. Ex-Mi5 McCloud sacrificed an entire ship of souls. Double-agent Grane murders a man and leaves her child behind. It’s all quite unpleasant, as revenge plots usually are. Perhaps D Agency’s model is the best (though also probably least practical), where its spies don’t seem to have any particular personal reasons to be spies except their confidence in their mastery of the game, so they’d never make a poor decision spurred by passion like, ‘turn traitor and destroy my life to avenge my husband’s death’. And this is perhaps also why they’re trained not to kill (despite their ability), so that their job description remains purely about manipulation and information, and they remain aloof.

Some less aloof than others, though, because apparently our spy Amari has a kid now, unless he’s planning to unload her and the dog at an orphanage in Honolulu (which would be sad). I feel like Grane Jnr is the real loser in all of this, as children often are. I wouldn’t want to be the one to break the news that she’s all of a sudden now Japanese.




  1. Trivia: solving crosswords was hobby of the original british codebreaking team in the start of WW1 (which consisted of whole 3 men!)
    by the end of the ww1 it was a whole branch of intelligence
    And they managed to spell Pomorze right (though most people were going by the German name of the region back then, Pommern).
    And during WW2 there have been alleged cases like German Coventry air raid where RAF was supposedly not warned about it to not alert Germans about Enigma being cracked. So the plan to purposefully sacrifice merchant crews is not too farfetched… Sacrifice few to save many. Emiya Kiritsugu would be proud!

  2. Novel readers say the spy of the week episodes are just the prologue to the main story. Once all the Agency spies are introduced, they’ll bring in the main character and then the REAL plot will begin.

    1. About that, is this ‘main character’ the ninth spy that can be found in the opening sequence? I have been going through it several times trying to recognize who each spy is and discovered that there are actually nine faces not counting Lt. Colonel Yuuki and Lt. Sakuma (so grand total of eleven) in the final sequence of faces.

      So far we have been introduced to eight spies. If I haven’t gotten the faces wrong, it should be:
      Jitsui, Odagiri, Hatano, Amari, Sakuma, Yuuki, Miyoshi, Kaminaga, Fukumoto, Tazaki, and Mystery Spy 9
      Though if I haven’t gotten it wrong, it seems like he shows up in the next episode since he appears in the preview?

    2. Actually, the 9th guy has been shown in the website all this time

      The D-kikan series novels are just a collection of short stories of the spies’ adventures but there are two stories that deal directly with the agency. Joker Game (ep1-2) and upcoming Double Joker (8-9)

      I read the first three novels with my shitty Japanese years ago so the characters are a bit vague for me but from what I remember and what I’ve read in the anime’s website, Ep 8 will cover part of what’s been covered in the liveaction movie (chess game and acquiring intel) which somehow leads to EP 9
      Show Spoiler ▼

      I’m waiting for my copies to arrive now that I have a better handle at the language but at this point, I can only speculate about Gamou’s role in the upcoming episodes
      Show Spoiler ▼

  3. I don’t mind the episodic nature as well. The spies’ names and faces are still confusing me for now, but if they do come together again perhaps it’ll be easier remember them.

    Poor girl, losing her father at a young age and her mother arrested for being a traitor. Guess the spies are not all aloof people, unless he is planning on putting her in orphanage. Logically it wouldn’t make sense for him to bring her up by himself given his career path, but I’m wondering on the legal part if he does – will he forge a new identity for her, or can she legally live in another country with her original passport/”transfer” her citizenship?

  4. “Alan Turing, one of the greats behind breaking the Enigma, has a movie about him now (which I unfortunately still haven’t managed to watch)”

    Oh, Passerby, you really have to watch The Imitation Game when you get the chance. It is wonderful and gut-wrenching. I really cannot sing its praises high enough.


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