「勝負は一瞬」 (Shōbu wa Isshun)
“Victory is Decided in an Instant”
「コマよ走れ」 (Koma yo Hashire)
Even though this episode was fairly interesting, was it enough to save the entire series?! I personally think not. Hakozume suffered greatly from a lack of direction and a deficient identity crisis. This final episode was certainly interesting, although nothing to write home about.
It continues from where we left last episode, Seiko and Seiji are still on a stakeout after the black minivan, this was after Miwa managed to get a tip from the victim on the case. After all the expedition escalated to such levels only because I get the feeling they thought that this was full-on organized crime, which it kinda was. The group actively targeted underage girls who walked alone at night. And this wasn’t the first time they had done the crime, as revealed the perpetrators had gotten away with it more than 20+ times.
What bothers me the most is that the guy driving the van had two preschoolers at home, and then justified his actions as sexual preferences. Personally, I can (can not) never (ever-ever) get behind CP or MAP as a sexual preference. It is not, it’s a mental disorder, it’s a sickness, a disease, and should be treated as such, But that’s an uncomfortable conversation we as a society don’t want to have. People with such deviant afflictions should be placed inside a maximum-security mental asylum prison. Anyway, that is not the point – however, those faces Seiji and Takeshi were giving this man were well merited. I don’t know if this man, the one who was being interrogated, is going to be left off with some kind of slap on the wrist, community service, or something like maybe six months in prison. As his testimony included being roped into crime. But the other one did actively commit the crimes so it’s not sure what he’s going to get for his crimes. He might be seen as the head of operations. And he is the man the police were actively searching for thanks to the police sketch and witness testimonies.
After Miwa, Takeshi and Kawai steal one of the keys to a police car, they end up going after the perpetrators, Kawai mentions the cram school that ends at 21, 300 hours. They assume that’s the place the perpetrators are going to actively target, so they go after it, then when a girl who fits the profile walks alone at night, they follow her on foot. When the black mini-van shows up to kidnap her, it’s the police officers who are on the scene! Kawai gets a moment that seems to be a running gag (get it?) at this point, she can’t run fast enough but keeps going at it because she can already imagine what her supervisors are going to say. But thankfully Sgt. Seiji arrives on the scene, in a very Deux-ex-Machina kinda way if you ask me, but let’s not think too hard about it. They catch the guy and all ends well! Kawai gets congratulated for her effort of not giving up and everyone goes out to celebrate, not before Takeshi mentions something about a call, and all their phones start ringing at once.
But yeah – that’s pretty much the whole episode, for a season finale, even though it ended on a good note, it was pretty much anticlimactic. Something – somewhere, this show just kinda messed up, focusing more on the comedy aspect of things, at some points, it turned into a Day in the life kind of thing, which is okay, it can do that, but it was never its original thesis. We were supposed to learn about these characters through the actions they took outside of the police box, so when the show switched gears to the internal structures of the policemen and women, it also changed its character dynamic and to me, made them feel flat. Characters were never fully developed, enough for me to say they were full-fledge 3D ones. Their quirks, personalities, difficulties, and anxieties, would come out through the cases, and that was far more engaging than whatever the hell this show turned into.
Is it a thriller, is it a cop drama, is it a comedy, or a day in the life, with the hijinx that ensues inside and outside of the police box? It was all of those things, but it never did any one of those things gracefully or satisfyingly. Concentrate on many things, and you won’t be able to master any of those things.
I’m not blaming the source material though, I think this was the fault of the adaptation. Someone at MAPPA decided that cops shows are not interesting or compelling enough to merit them being just that, and thus they needed to add all of these things that are simply way out of line for a show that is seriously trying to portray the other side of police work; That we rarely get to see or experience. Humanizing them in a way that shows cops are humans too, they have a job to society, but that doesn’t mean we should dehumanize them. Some people hate them, others understand that their job is difficult and comes with biases that citizens just don’t understand. Unless we see each other with empathy.
And that is some of the things Hakozume tried to figure out, explore and explain narratively, since the original manga had that intent as well, to explore how difficult it is as a woman in the police industry. But the show never really achieved that, it showed examples here and there, but it wasn’t its purpose. Instead, it groped Seiji and Takeshi into the mix mudding what was supposed to be a window into what a citizen would never have a clue about how hard it can be. Furthermore, animation is the perfect medium to do this. And in the end, I did end up simping for Takeshi more than anything, so that should tell you all you need to know.
Whatever the case, if Hakozume thought us anything is that trying to see the other side of a story, the other perspective with compassion, as well as trying to understand by placing ourselves in their shoes, is always the correct answer.
Full-length images: 36.
I take it you dint like the series?
not necessarily, I don’t sway one way or the other, it’s somewhere in the middle, however, this change of pacing did leave me jarred and questioning some of the choices behind the production.