Tension mounts between the ‘Bukro gangs but is Izaya the real Puppetmaster?
This was another informative episode providing details about how the gang war is playing out in the playfield of Ikebukro. All the pawns are aligned (Yellow Scarves, Dollars and Slashers) and it all starts from where we left off last time, Anri running away from Yellow Scarves’ hideout after discovering the identity of their Shogun. The discovery completely overwhelms her, while cramped in space hiding away from the Yellow Scarves.
The narrator this time is Kinnosuke, it’s strange in a way because we haven’t really seen him much after that encounter with Celty except for few glimpses. I’m very curious about him. He takes us back to how Anni ended up following on Yellow Scarves.
Mikado comes to pick her up when she gets discharged from hospital. Masaomi joins them too, cracking jokes at how Mikado had been looking forward to seeing her in school the whole day. Though, he becomes his broody self soon after, staring at Saki’s window. Anri picks up on that and observes that he has not been himself lately. She also remembered how upset he became seeing her bruised after the Saika attack.
As in last episode, Masaomi runs off for an ‘errand’ after receiving a phone call, pristinely asking Prince Mikado to escort Princess Anri home. He was trying to stop some rouge Yellow Scarves members beating up Dollars but as he reached the situation, Police had already arrived and Simon had meddled to save the kids.
On the chat board, Mikado comments that Yellow Scarves are now seen everywhere. Izaya inflames that they have become more overwhelming than Dollars, while Celty adds they don’t seem like themselves before and have become more violent. Saika (Anri), joins the conversation timidly and apologizes for her previous behavior.
Izaya knowing full well Anri’s identity soothes her that it was all due to a virus that she did all that and she’s all better now. He turns the conversation towards the Yellow Scarves and Dollars getting into a dangerous situation. Celty tries to divert the conversation but Izaya ploughs on saying that anyone living in ‘Bukro should know how things are. He blatantly talks about the Slasher attacks and how both the gangs got injured in the process, while Anri’s quite aghast at the revelation.
Mikado chimes in to say that Dollars didn’t think that Yellow Scarves were the culprits. Both the sides don’t know much about each other and that’s causing the confusion. Izaya however concurs that both the gangs have to soon lynch the person responsible, if not it’ll lead to a big scary gang war (oh, the dorama he cooks up! <.<)
Celty private messages Anri and tries to soothe her that she was not the cause behind the gang scuffle and there would be no point in getting herself involved in all it. Anri leaves the chat, apologizing and thanking them all, Celty follows suit.
Mikado PMs Izaya about finding out the identity of the Slasher. He doesn’t want any unrest in the city but Izaya assures that there are always elements in a gang that cause members to manipulate them, like roughing up anyone they liked, mugging, bullying, etc. Mikado’s quite adamant in not letting things get out of control; Izaya would love to see what ensues.
Like Mikado, Anri reasons that she should do something about the growing unrest. Masaomi thinks the same thing but he’s much more burdened and being controlled by his past, more than any of the trio. They meet up the next day (same scene shown in last episode) and as predicted, Anri was indeed concerned enough to go after Masaomi, leaving a clueless Mikado behind.
I’m sad to see S <3 M strap gone. ‘Course the mobile is changed too.
Anri sends out a feeler to her children—Saika gives her powers to connect to all her children like a WiMax connection, working anywhere and everywhere with unlimited coverage. Her discussion with Yellow Scarves is brief. They tell her that their leader is indeed Kida Masaomi, her friend and he has vowed to take revenge for her.
The obedient children take her to their hideout and she sees everything with her own eyes and thus bringing us back a full circle to the cramped space she’s hiding in. She doesn’t want to hurt them or show herself to Masaomi as a monster, even when Saika tells her to cut them, and she would love them in her place. Before Masaomi can get to the space where she is, Celty arrives as reinforcement. She rescues Anri and gives her the usual accompanying helmet that keeps her identity safe.
Masaomi is quite curious about the Headless Rider and the one accompanying her but Celty clearly understands that Anri doesn’t want him to see her. She turns on her shadow form of overwhelming and her bike turns into the true headless horse.
Little puzzle pieces come together and all the present Yellow Scarves members come to the same conclusion: Slasher was part of Dollars because s/he was rescued by the Headless Rider (already known as an active Dollars member). Thus, it was very easy to conclude that they have to wage a war against Dollars for revenge.
After their departure, Masaomi shows his knowledge about Dullahan and thinks about his friends (Mikado, Anri and Saki). The sky has fallen and it was not blue yet the Yellow Scarves have to rise up (A reference phrase from Romance of Three Kingdoms. Check out the Yellow Turbans Rebellion).
When the rebellion was proclaimed, the sixteen-word slogan was created by Zhang Jiao: 蒼天已死，黃天當立。歲在甲子，天下大吉。 (“The Blue Sky (i.e. the Han Dynasty) has perished, the Yellow Sky (i.e. the rebellion) will soon rise; in this year of Jia Zi, let there be prosperity in the world!”)
Mikado on the other hand has overheard people talking about Dollars member getting mugged by Yellow Scarves. On another chat session, Izaya tells him about the Yellow Scarves and Blue Squares gang war three years back. Many members of Blue Squares joined Yellow Scarves as both gangs became leaderless (Izumi got arrested while Masaomi left), and now their Shogun doesn’t know that people responsible for his girlfriend’s kidnapping were part of his own gang (Harada is an example as noticed in last episode review). He should be careful because there are people who are part of Yellow Scarves and Dollars both. Mikado listens to all this with growing concern that without his knowing even the Slasher could be a part of Dollars.
The next day, Anri’s quite down when Mikado encounters her in school. They are told by Takiguchi that Masaomi would not be showing up, who in turn visits Saki. She compels him to stand tall and fight, while he simply states, “If I could fight and be rid of my past with you, I’d love to. But, I can’t fight you.”
He finally comes to a conclusion that he had always wanted a place to be. In Yellow Scarves that place was Saki (reference to his past) and currently it was his friends due to whom he has rejoined the group and is ready to make a stand. He approaches Kadota for a man-to-man talk and it seems he already knows what’s on Masaomi’s mind.
End Thoughts: Finally not a cliffhanger ending, with only few episodes to go, all corners of plot are being filled to justify the incoming war.
After watching this episode, I’m on the fence over the argument about Izaya being the Puppetmaster. Yeah, he’s evil; he’s highly intelligent, manipulative and resourceful. Just take the chat with Mikado for instance; he’s actually listening to a person who has been the main cause of pain for Masaomi—meeting with Saki, she in turn influenced the Yellow Scarves to strategically hit on Blue Squares and finally her abused injury disbanding the gangs for some time. He gets inside people’s skins, inducing to act exactly as he would like them to. He’s an informant by profession but doesn’t everything boil down to that? He picks and chooses where to let slip what but he never joins the fray himself. He’s a sadistic voyeur, watching a circus unfold, raptly attentive.
Everything is pointing towards him but is it really that simple? He, the final boss that the trio has to destroy in order to save the day? I don’t think so. Getting to know how Narita twists words and characters, in the end Izaya could simply prance up as the savior, making everyone realize whatever they are doing is wrong and it was just a simple misunderstanding! Of course, that is how he ideally would want people to think but things never turn out the way one wants to, right? The reference of the Yellow Scarves Rebellion got me thinking that this story has always been about the ‘people’, how they react and take up chances and decisions as per their personal choices. If you remove Izaya from the equation, do you think Ikebukro would have been a safe place? The answer is a negative. People like Shingen and Yagiri were already there, who manipulated Celty and used her for experimentation. What about the underworld? And colour gangs? All would still be there even if Izaya never existed. Of course, things might not have gotten way out of hand and twisted like they are but a big showdown was imminent nonetheless. The three main protagonists are best friends yet they don’t talk about their secrets to each other just because they are afraid of the reaction but of course, if all of them were honest ‘Bukro would not have been the ’Bukro portrayed in Drrr!!
So, think what you may, everybody loves to hate Izaya; I do too. Yet, I can’t really call him THE Puppetmaster. The real twist and turns are caused by the people of this series, the amalgamation of different characters and their traits.
Coming back to the trio, I don’t like the level of trust between Mikado and Izaya, he better learns fast. Masaomi is simply too burdened by his past and next episode would show if he can actually get out of that vicious circle (maybe he has a plan that he wants to implement with the Dotachin gang?). Anri is only missing one piece of the puzzle, the leader of Dollars. As she has her children in both gangs (whatever you say, this line of plot is simply disturbing. She’s 15 and is a mother of hundreds. Some cool power! <.<), she can be the mediator to quell the warring intentions of both sides but I can guess it won’t be that simple.
I liked how Simon came to save the Dollars kids; he can look pretty threatening however he preaches that he hates fighting. Character like him and Kinnosuke are still a mystery waiting to be revealed.
Missed Shizu-chan and more of Dotachin gang but the next episode looks very promising with Masaomi’s tête-à-tête with Kadota at Simon’s sushi joint. Kadota’s hat is off and Yamasaki’s eyes are open! Something definitely is cooking! Also, the chatting is on between Celty, Anri, Mikado and Izaya, while Masaomi seems to announce something big to his gang.
Countdown: Only 5 more episodes to go! Till next time, Ja ne~