It’s well-established now that Inuyashiki enjoys revealing the worst in people, but every week accentuates that fact just a little bit more. Bullying and cold-blooded murder of innocents not enough? How about some rape,
prison sauna sex, and a little despair for added dessert. And teasing some more Hiro murder, cannot forget that (don’t deny, you thought it would happen too). Sure the whole story this week was slightly heavy handed and more justice porn Liam Neeson kidnapper phone calling than serious story development, but Inuyashiki certainly does not let an opportunity go to waste.
While plenty can be said about our victims of the week and how common such kidnappings and sex slavery is in real life (particularly the use of drugs to induce dependency), the key for me this week was Ichiro’s evolution. Our geriatric hero is quickly growing into his new body, better harnessing those powers he could barely awaken before and finding new skills he never knew possible. Haphazard flying and nonlethal stun beams? Replaced by conscious activation and one particularly brutal coup de grace. It’s a somewhat surprising (and fast) change considering how unskilled Ichiro was before just last time, but it’s a necessary development for setting the stage for the penultimate fight with Hiro. When Ichiro finally meets his foil properly, he must be able to match Hiro’s strength head on—it’s the only way to make that fight impactful. This episode essentially laid the necessary groundwork, showing the hardening of Ichiro’s convictions and new willingness to use more extreme measures.
The risk with Inuyashiki’s approach, however, is turning Ichiro into too strong a good guy. Vigilante justice is cathartic and all, but having robotic grandpa effortlessly dispatch a villain of the week will eventually grow tiring if emphasized for too long. Much like Hiro with his friendship and (assumed) love for his family, Ichiro needs a similar limitation, something which can hold him back at times or otherwise interfere with his objectives. Part of me for example hoped Ichiro would not have been able to resuscitate/resurrect (it’s unclear which) the boyfriend for this reason; having our hero brutally learn the limitations of his powers would have put his mission in better perspective. If Ichiro learns death is permanent, it would only intensify his desire to save others and improve himself. Another option though relates directly to his body. Ichiro seemingly faints after every major attack, and it’s possible his new abilities may have a timer (ex. overheating) of a sorts. It could be nothing, but it’s happened enough now that it cannot be coincidence. We obviously won’t know until Ichiro finds himself in an actual fight, but it only makes sense for Inuyashiki to start revealing just what Ichiro can and cannot do.
Abilities and yakuza aside though, what happens next is anyone’s guess. With both hero and villain largely used to their powers now (and you can be sure Hiro knows more about them than Ichiro), all that’s missing is some event bringing both back into contact. We just need a spark to set the kindling alight, and I imagine one cannot be that far off. After all, Hiro if you recall is just one daughter away from discovering who Ichiro really is.