Now aware of Otoro’s true character, a distraught Naruhodou turns to an unlikely source: his longtime rival. Mitsurugi comforts him – well, as comforting as Mitsurugi ever gets – by telling him that he needs to decide what he fights for. During his absence from the court, Mitsurugi dedicated himself to striving for the truth – and credits Naruhodou for inspiring the change in him.
Koroshiya calls again, but this time, a cat’s meow causes Naruhodou and Mitsurugi to realize that he is at Otoro’s house. They investigate the house together with Detective Itonokogiri, but find both Koroshiya and Mayoi long gone. What they do find is a photo of Kamiya Kirio’s older sister, Kamiya Yuria, addressed to Otoro “with love”.
The next day at the trial, Naruhodou once again accuses Kamiya, this time of hiring Koroshiya to do the deed. On the stand again, Kamiya admits the truth about her sister’s tragic fate. Yuria was Otoro’s girlfriend, but he left her and broke her heart. She moved on and dated Fujimino, who then left her after he heard about her former relationship from Otoro himself. The second heartbreak caused Yuria to commit suicide, leaving a letter implicating Otoro. Fujimino had found and taken the letter, and planned to reveal it – while in disguise as Otoro – at the ‘press conference’ on the night of the Grand Prix. She continues to protest her innocence, but admits to planting the knife with Otoro’s fingerprints at the scene in order to frame him.
The missing suicide note is found inside a souvenir bear taken from Otoro’s house, further implicating him. Meanwhile, Harumi channels Chihiro, who uses her spiritual powers to gain clues about Mayoi’s location while Itonokogiri races to rescue her. Naruhodou prolongs the verdict by demanding a handwriting analysis on the note, resulting in a recess. Itonokogiri calls claiming that he has found decisive evidence, but a car accident occurs before he can reach the courthouse. However, Mitsurugi successfully extends the trial further by calling a surprise witness – Koroshiya himself!
Well, I’ve been liking this case so far, though I really agree with a lot of what Moeronpan said about the previous episodes – Otoro and Kamiya coming across as fairly bland. While Otoro still hasn’t gotten much development, I did enjoy him this episode – he’s a lot more amusing as a smug, detestable jerk than as a generic airhead. Even though he didn’t do much more than sit smugly in the courtroom, he was still this menacing presence reminding Naruhodou of the awful task ahead of him.
Kamiya, on the other hand….unfortunately, she pretty much got screwed over by the anime. In the game, she is one of the most deep and nuanced witnesses. Her relationship with Yuria is that of a mentor and close friend – at least on Yuria’s side. Kamiya herself suffers from extreme co-dependency issues, and had an unhealthy fixation (as well as possibly romantic feelings) on Yuria. In the anime, they are instead sisters. This makes no sense to me – wouldn’t Fujimino / Otoro KNOW their ex-girlfriend’s younger sister? Why would they date her / hire her if they knew this? Also, I feel the relationship as presented in the game is a lot more compelling. Seeing Kamiya break down on the stand from this confident, collected distant woman to someone who is lost and confused without the person her life once centered around – it made interrogating her, and accusing her of murder even after you knew her to be innocent, almost physically painful. It was this brilliantly written, effective gut-punch that is just….gone…in the anime. Even when talking about her sister’s death, she remains composed and monotone. I think this has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the entire show for me, because I was a huge fan of game Kamiya and here, she’s just…nothing. (And that’s not even getting into the fact that they deliberately made a romantic relationship between two women, even a one-sided one, into a sibling relationship instead…)
On the bright side, however, this episode brings one of if not the BEST scenes between Naruhodou and Mitsurugi. One of the anime’s major strong points has been the decision to focus on the complicated but powerful relationship between the two rivals, and this episode just felt like the capstone of all the development Mitsurugi’s had over the course of two seasons. He and Naruhodou have a genuine conversation as friends, rather than courtroom enemies, and Mitsurugi gets to explain his new commitment to the truth. BEST OF ALL, he openly credits NARUHODOU with making him a stronger person. This scene was honestly so beautiful, from those powerful words to the little details like Mitsurugi taking Naruhodou’s teacup when he starts panicking about Koroshiya’s call.
Overall, aside from the Kamiya disappointment, this has been a decently adapted case. I really love the portrayal of everyone – Naruhodou, Mitsurugi, Yahari, Harumi, Itonokogiri and even Chihiro – working together to solve the case and rescue Mayoi. It’s a good climax to the series, especially as a third season has not yet been announced to my knowledge, and I eagerly await next week’s final episode!
Out of 5 Dios:
(almost entirely for that Mitsurugi scene)