「暗号名ケルベロス」 (Angōmei Keruberosu )
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.