Politics has always been a tricky subject in regards to Joker Game, since it’s a Japanese show of a Japanese medium about Japanese espionage in a war Japan doesn’t like talking about. No matter how they portray any side, I’m sure it will offend someone’s sensibilities. But there’s one group that everybody has agreed is okay to vilify, and that’s Nazis. Nazis will always be bad guys. Especially ones wearing eye-patches—you just know that guy has a secret base on the moon. For those of you wondering what kind of opponent can stand up against Yuuki, then an old Nazi counterintelligence officer who shares a past with ‘the Magician’, who is specifically hunting an old nemesis, is a pretty good one. Pretty cool too; no offense to macrocephalic Howard Marks, but Colonel Wolff, while still defeated in the end, made for the cooler rival. Say what you like about Nazis (and I do—brave and controversial!) but they sure do dress snappily.
I’m surprised to be getting another episode about Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki—surprised and thrilled, because one just isn’t enough. One can only imagine the kind of stories behind the man that lead him to the creation of the D Agency, and it’s a shame that Joker Game will probably never be able to tell it all. Not that it should try to, because the mystery is part of the appeal, which is perhaps why we still don’t know his actual name. But the life and times of the real Yuuki—if there ever was a real Yuuki—is fascinating stuff, now that we’ve seen so much of his agency and his philosophy. We do learn quite a bit about him this episode, not just in his past (like how he lost his hand), but also his character. For one, we’ve never seen Yuuki moved to action quite like this. Sure, he snoops around in disguise, and sometimes even goes abroad, but for the most part he remains behind the scenes, only emerging to pass on instructions, or gloat. It seems that only the most serious of circumstances forces him to take an active hand—when one of his spies die.
Quite the chilling episode this week, and not just because of the Berlin winter (still loving Joker Game‘s sets, by the way). I wasn’t expecting Joker Game to kill any of its spies, though I suppose I should have since that is part and parcel of a very dangerous career. And it was Miyoshi (Shimono Hiro) too (I think), whom we came to know a bit in the first arc. But Coffin is not notable because of any shock factor, but because of the way it deals with death. Miyoshi’s death was a sudden and senseless accident. But he still dies with a smile, knowing that he’s protecting his information. It’s still all pretty sad. ‘Katsuhiko Maki’ died as a spy, buried in a foreign land, unmourned by friends and family. That’s the way of the spy; the MI6 agent last episode had a genuine human relationship, but that just meant he should have retired. Perhaps the one comfort that the D Agency men know is that their handler remembers them. Yuuki, sold out by his country in the past, does not abandon his people. We already know this from episode 05, but here in a spy’s darkest hour, their master is their only peace.
Remember the preview for this episode, featuring Mallais’s Ophelia? Is she alive or dead in that painting? And remember, Ophelia was a Catholic, which frowns upon suicide. Does she find salvation? For the spies of D Agency, Yuuki is unto a god. And Yuuki can at least, through the information these spies risk their lives to collect, have them live on.