「ビギナーズ・ラック」 (Bigināzu Rakku)
「ポリス・ジャングル」 (Porisu Janguru)
Domestic violence cases are always hard to deal with, and most often it’s women who have to deal with the backlash. Such a topic was touched in this episode of Hakozume. It was delivered with as much empathic touch as a police officer would allow themselves to feel for the victim of such cases. After all, much like doctors, their job is to find solutions to the problems that are presented to them without getting overly emotionally involved. Kawai being a newbie and all in this field might have been our conduit to the victims as she’s the one who felt more – or at least made visible her emotions. Meanwhile, veteran senpai Fuji dealt with it in an emphatic yet professional manner. Likewise, she was the one who gave the call to everyone else that something strange was going on. Of course, she noticed it before anyone else.
The first case starts with a normal routine patrol as they try and verify the age of people smoking in a public park, people who are not of age can get a fine or at least a stern warning, Kawai spots a girl who seems disoriented and lost, so they bring her in for questioning. All is normal and it seems this girl makes her living as a sex worker. Normal stuff, Kawai might have been a little uncomfortable at so many new sex terms, but overall it’s a routine day.
It’s when the parents of this girl come to get her that things take a toll for the worse. Fuji is quick to react and asks this girl to come back to the questioning room to ‘sign some documents’ she forgot, all but a bluff. Yamada Takeshi (Tsuchiya, Shinba), the red hair boy, kouhai to Fuji is quick on the uptake and brings in the father for questioning. The girl confesses everything in the other room and is brought to tears. Her stepdad raped her and her mother was unaware. This is what caused the girl to run away from home in the first place. Thankfully this case had a sort of happy ending as her mother divorced that man and left her home.
How did Fuji catch it? I believe a concerned dad with nothing to hide would have also stood up and apologized to the girl. Was his lack of action the thing that made Fuji’s sixth sense stand on edge? Or was it how this girl so glaringly and openly exposed her sex work secrets? Or was it her cheery voice that everything’s okay, while she compartmentalized her feelings? Call it a hunch, but Fuji’s been in the business for a long time, so there must have been some clues she picked up on to address this girl about the unspoken issue.
There were funny moments peppered throughout that served to break the tension between these two impactful cases. At the same time the conversion with Fuji, Kawai, and Makitaka, Miwa (Hanazawa, Kana) who is part of the CAU, also served to break the tension and give us some insight’s into their state of mind. Their conversation calls into question how scary men who are in the line of duty can be. Would this count as a reverse of a Bechdel Test? As they are indeed speaking about men, their conversation is not to sexualize them or see them as romantic partners. Instead in a clever twist they openly confess how sometimes talking to men can be scary as a woman, as they don’t really have a clear idea of what they are thinking, and get vague answers when they ask.
In comes one such men™ thinking he owns the place and demand’s to speak to a policeman, not a policewoman, Miwa tries to ask him to calmly lower his tone of voice, but he refuses it’s not until Houjou, Tamotsu (Koyama, Rikiya) who has that Yakuza look to him, that this guy actually calms down and realizes the situation he has placed himself into.
I’m glade male characters are sort of taking a back seat role in this one as the light shines on the women who take center stage in Hakozume and through that are able to speak on topics such as sexism in the workplace, hardships of not being heard, working against a system that is deliberately designed against you, the fact being born a certain gender brings discrimination with it, and bringing attention to the inequality gap that permeates through a macho driven culture. Not only that I’m ecstatic to learn more about the daily lives of these women outside of their day-to-day in the office and patrols.
What a wonderful episode, it’s clear it was addressing gender bias, prejudice, and how women in the force have to endure such hardships. Furthermore, I think the way it addressed it was quite well delivered for an anime, not only did it maintain the drama, but it showed how real women would react to this types of cases, and let’s not forget, it’s only a woman who can perk up their ears and activate their sixth sense because they themselves have gone through such atrocities.
Nothing beats first-hand experience! Even if that sentiment takes a whole new light in this context.
I’m glad it took its sweet time exploring these topics. Be it through cases or the daily lives of these women, I want to see more of this! Thanks to the fact the original work was written by a woman who was in the force for more than 10 years, this anime has that true-to-life quality that can only be achieved when a writer actually embodies the role, be it with intentional purpose or not.
Full-length images: 39.