「宍上裕子」 (Yuko Shishigami)
Well wasn’t this a week for surprises. Inuyashiki has certainly pushed the envelope in terms of its characters, but I was always under the impression Hiro would inevitably drive the conflict. He would find out who Ichiro was, he would take measures against him, and he would ultimately force Ichiro into confronting him, likely by targeting Ichiro’s daughter. Colour me surprised then when the kid tries turning a new leaf, the cops get involved (finally), and Ichiro decides to go after Hiro first. Our sociopath may still technically be driving this story, but in a way I never thought would happen.
Probably the most important focus of this week was obviously on Hiro. I think it’s well documented by now that he is not evil, but his actions this week should prove the point for any remaining doubters. Hiro at his core is still human, he can feel love and happiness, sadness and regret. The problem is Hiro cannot feel these emotions beyond immediate family or friends. He aches at the thought of losing his mother, but throws off a girl’s confession with a gilded thanks and no second thought (not to mention that painful nickname spoken without regret). The kid simply lacks the variety of empathy we take as normal, the capacity to care about people and things not directly associated with our own lives. The spree of murders? An attempt to fill the void born from this lack of empathy. Hiro is not evil, he is defective. What particularly interests me though is the sincerity of Hiro’s revealed compassion. Does he actually care for the well-being of his family, the happiness of his mother, or does he care only for the feelings they induce within him? This is a critical question to answer because it will explain how Hiro acts from here on out. You could imagine genuine care would have him surrender peacefully (so not as to worsen his mother’s shock), while selfishness would probably see him fight back out of survival instinct. I admit I’m heavily expecting the latter next episode (he is the antagonist), but the former is definitely not out of the question.
The other tangent this week of course was Ichiro and his quest to stop Hiro. This I never saw coming, I always believed Ichiro would be forced into confronting Hiro after a major transgression, not actively pursue the kid himself. Probably not too surprising considering Ichiro’s act of justice last week, but still unexpected. Ichiro’s actions, however, continue to refine the foil he sets against Hiro, in a way solidifying him into a more stringent executor of good against Hiro’s permeating complexity. As our villain seeks to end the violence, our unlikely hero grows more rigid with his actions, now outright admitting he may have to kill for the sake of peace. It’s an intriguing dichotomy, made all the more meaty by Ichiro’s remarks about trying to forget his body’s potential by performing acts of good. Both characters know what they are, but one apparently accepts it outright (at least for now) while the other fears for the possibilities. Whether down to the moral nature of both Hiro and Ichiro or not, Inuyashiki is presenting a vividly realistic picture of what indomitable power in the hands of ordinary men can do. Some see it as a tool for personal use, others a means to help the world, but all at some level fear its will. Eventually it will come to define you, whether you want it to or not. What Inuyashiki is asking is when you’ll let it.
Starting next time, however, Inuyashiki looks set to explore the elephant in the room that is the impact of Hiro’s and Ichiro’s actions. Hiro may be the immediate target (likely thanks to Naoyuki), but I imagine Ichiro is not far from being outed as Tokyo’s miracle working angel. Both have attracted a great deal of attention, and the question now is how they will come to handle its piercing glare. Hurry up Thursday, I want to know.