SPEC ~ First Blood – Episode 5

This episode definitely marks the turn toward a darker tone. For sure, this is a pivotal point for the series and not only because we’re at the halfway mark. Things get really serious, and this time our heroes feel it deep down their flesh and bones.

Song of the Post:

Spec Main Theme

Episode 5: 堕天刑事 (The Fallen Angel Detective)

We pick up from where we left Sebumi and Toma. Standing in the devastated office, Sebumi slowly scans the damages and finally looks at Toma, lying on the ground. She wakes up and yawns like nothing happened, while Sebumi asks the real question: “What the hell is going on?”

He’s bewildered that she’s being so calm, so she tells him the only thing she knows: they may be completely crushed if they’re not careful. Argh, so why are you being so carefree then?

At the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Hospital, Ninomae didn’t seem to have come to get his hand checked. He stops time, and reads the prescription Dr. Unno was filling for the little girl we saw last episode, named Satonaka Rika. Saying that it’s a good thing for “their criminal lives”, Ninomae writes down the info. Hmm, you wouldn’t kill a baby girl, would you?

On a construction site, a man operating a crane suddenly has a heart attack, causing big pipes to crash….on him. Ouch, bad day man. Now he appears in newspapers, and someone reads the article with a tensed face before throwing it out. He is Satonaka Mitsugu (I assume he’s Rika’s father), and enters a typical little japanese restaurant with customers flocked around the counter, facing the chef preparing the dishes. Standing in a corner like a living pole is Sebumi, who finally reacts when he notices Satonaka.

Turns out he’s Sebumi’s sempai, and is pretty much revered by him. He used to be a cop, but reminds Sebumi that it’s no longer the case, and that he should relax. Sebumi’s answer: Sir, Yes Sir! Ha, I guess that a leopard can’t change its spots.

But he does loosen up (oh, Sebumi without his jacket~) when both share some sake and strike up the SIT motto: “Life, let’s throw it away”. The social mechanism is totally at work, and it really feels nice to see Sebumi in that light, for once being the kouhai, the young one, and showing so much respect and adoration for his sempai after all his petty battles with Toma.

Satonaka shows off the pictures of his wife Sayuri, and their 5y/o daughter Rika who is “the source of his energy”. He advices Sebumi to quit the force and get hitched too, but this is asking too much. So instead, he goes on about how his life changed when he met his wife, and that he’s now working for a jewelry company. His position allows him to enjoy his family life, an unthinkable thing back when he were in the SIT unit.

They want to order「親子丼」- Oyakodon (a delicious type of Donburi, try it out!), but a customer already gulped down 11 servings and the Chef is out of ingredients. Any guess about this customer’s identity?

Sebumi asks if it’s good, and Toma replies with her mouth full that it’s delicious! You’re calling for it girl: ♥ Sebumi Punch In The Back Of The Head ♥

Surprised to see Sebumi here, Toma’s mood swings fast when he nags her about food, and she fires so much questions at him that he replies in pure Sebumi fashion: ♥ Sebumi Punch In The Face ♥

It gets really hilarious when Setonaka comes running and Sebumi deflates, swearing he doesn’t know this girl. HAHA

Later, when they both see her off, Satonaka jokes that they’re suited for each other, prompting Sebumi to ask for death then. And I realize that I never wished for them to form a couple, when I usually love me some romance. Their interactions are so fun to watch that I’m satisfied enough with them being best buddies.

But Satonaka gets serious, and advices Sebumi to live an ordinary life. Instead, Sebumi has flashes of Shimura and is determined to settle this case. Seeing that his mind is set, Setonaka abruptly asks for Sebumi not to come to him anymore. Ouch. His past is behind him, and he wants to go on with his new life. He thinks that Sebumi’s life will be doomed if he doesn’t do the same. Sounding ominous now, aren’t we?

At the Police Hospital, Dr. Unno is busy sucking from a IV drip. Ew, never thought I’d type such a sentence. Mirei enters, out of breath, and the poor girl came running only to hear that it’s about time she decides what to do with her (clinically) brain dead brother. Talk about a shitty day.

She recalls that very last morning she unfortunately wasted, clashing with her brother over her studies. She wanted to give up and work, and he insisted saying that their deceased parents wouldn’t want that. Throwing at him hurtful words, she stormed off, rejecting his hand when he tried to stop her: “Don’t touch me! It’s disgusting.” Funny how she’s now the one who always touches him and wants to speak with him. Karma bites hard, doesn’t it?

The Mishou team receives the visit of the Public Welfare Division’s Section Chief Akimoto Saizo, who came to show them a strange case. This month, five undercover detectives from the Public Welfare division died. Or rather, killed. The autopsy says that the cause of death is illness, but each time it’s a different one.

Section Chief Akimoto takes it as a challenge addressed to the Public Welfare division, and Toma reformulates saying that a murderer may target them, disguising the murders to look like illnesses. She laughs, which makes Akimoto ask her to prepare tea, addressing her using a very impolite pronoun (きさま – Kisama) downgrading her as a tea serving lady. You macho pig.

If Toma doesn’t mind preparing tea, she can’t let Akimoto insult her professionalism when he lightly says that she must consider this「アルバイト」- Arubaito (Part-time Job) stupid. Rightfully speaking up, she asserts that she’s also a Public Welfare detective and directly questions him: what kind of case these five agents worked on?

Of course, Akimoto brushes her demand aside, and reminds them that he only wants them to find the truth behind his agents’ death. Uh, so you want them to work on a case, but won’t give them any information? Sounds fishy. And discriminatory.

Still, our team is at work and goes visit the pathologist who wrote the authopsy. Toma notes that every agent had a good health, and the pathologist insists it wasn’t a murder but a death by natural causes.

Reviewing the agents’ data at the Mishou office, there’s a detail bugging Toma: all of them recently did a health check-up. Chief Nonomura’s eyes practically pop out of his head when she shows the Very Top Secret manual for Public Welfare undercover agents. Pffft.

But now they know that the higher ups usually give orders using cryptography. The agents all worked in different companies yet they went to the same place to get diagnosed. We see that they each received a different cipher, leading them to the same Health Center (or rather, bus). This is where they fell in the trap, according to Toma, though she can’t explain more at this point.

Coming unannounced, Akimoto and his minions make a beeline for Sebumi, accusing him of hacking the Public Welfare’s confidential high level database. Now, if only Sebumi could decipher what “confidential high level database” means, he would make a much more convincing suspect, don’t you think?

Still, they have proof: his ID data has been used to enter the system. Toma chimes in, and knows what she’s talking about since she’s clearly the Brain when he’s the Muscles. He’s too dumb to pull out such a smart hacking move. Ha, this girl has no time to waste with civilities.

And she skillfully turns the table, highlighting that if someone stole Sebumi’s ID and hacked the Super Top Secret database, he may very well be using it like NOW to plan a crime. In other words, do they really want to waste their precious time chasing the wrong guy when the criminal is out there? Smart kid.

Akimoto breaks her spell saying that he won’t take any order from her. She turns to him and asks what kind of data was stolen but he won’t tell because it’s Top Secret. Toma had enough, and finally gets to the (real) point: basically, he just doesn’t trust the Mishou unit?

Akimoto twists it by saying that they were too careless and asks Sebumi who stole his ID, but he has no idea. As Akimoto’s minion threaten Sebumi, Toma intervenes and berates their attitude. The minion barks at her to shut up, and try to threaten her as well but dude is ten years too early to impress our MasoQueen, even when he pulls out his gun at her.

Only this time, it’s Chief Nonomura who can’t let this move go unanswered and he takes the minion’s hand to place the gun on his own forehead. Daring the minion head-on, he advises him to quit it. Now being the one using the “きさま – Kisama” form, he icily tells them to get the hell out of here, glaring at them with a look full of cold anger. Which in my book has always been extra scary. It impresses Akimonoto and his minions enough for them to back off, for now. Uwah, you suddenly grew balls of steel, Persimmon Grandpa!

The bugs now out of the way, Chief Nonomura turns to Sebumi and gravely asks him if he knows who could have copied his ID. Sebumi doesn’t answer, but he does have an idea, and has a flashback of his meeting with Satonaka. Oh no, not your sempai!

Chief Nonomura doesn’t press him any further, and just reminds him that personal feelings are taboo for a detective. As Sebumi readies to go for his investigation, Chief Nonomura stops him and fills a paper bag with brand new guns. Handing it to Sebumi, he says: “I’ll entrust it to you”.

Toma runs to go as well, suitcase in tow, but is also stopped by Chief Nonomura. His words are different, though: “I’m entrusting Sebumi to you”. Aw, how I love that they’re all entwined now. More than a team, they’re like family.

Once alone, Chief Nonomura looks up at the Mishou signboard, wistfully thinking:

The Pandora’s box old people have always kept closed has finally opened.

Thankfully, the heavily sumber mood quickly swings to a light n’ fluffy one, when Persimmon Grandpa is being spoonfed by Miyabi-chan (ew), but the lovey-dovey act pretty much looks like torture to him, given how Miyabi-chan plays with his diabetes.

At the gyoza restaurant, Sebumi has only one (perfunctory) reply for Toma’s presumptions: Wrong! But he knows better, and she clearly hits the bullseye each time she’s speaking. Why his sempai would go through all this trouble? It must not have been easy for him to lie to Sebumi. But, it must be even worse for Sebumi himself. Not being able to help his sempai, she means. Ding Dong!

Indeed, Satonaka is the culprit, and we see him secretly contacting a Chinese man. He’s ready to pay cash $1M for help in kidnapping a person currently in the Public Welfare’s hands. Who else bet on Reisen?

While hubby is busy plotting, wifey receives the visit of Sebumi and Toma. She isn’t aware that her husband is still active in the spy activity, and believes he’s on a business trip. Rika-chan calls out her mom in her sleep, and Sayuri rushes up to her side, wiping her sweat.

When Sebumi mentions they must be looking forward to her future, a silent tear rolls down Sayuri’s cheek. This child doesn’t have much long to live, for she has “Jennifer’s disease” attacking her heart. Toma asks when did they find out, and Sayuri replies that it’s only recently, and breaks down, crying. It’s heartbreaking how she berates herself, saying that she must be strong for her child, and even Sebumi lets a tear flow down.

Outside, Toma stops him.

Toma: Happiness is more fragile than a sand castle. And for Sebumi, life can get messed up in an instant.

Sebumi: What about you?

This triggers a flashback in her mind, of an other time and life. Chii slips a ring on a well-manicured Toma’s finger (I know!), back when she was fashionable and without a sling. He proposed to her like that, and in her usual fashion she asks what’s that thing. Ha, THAT side never changed.

Chii is sure he’ll win the Nobel Prize in Physics, and he seriously wants to marry Toma. She runs off, and I’m already growling at this (typical coy Japanese girl) move, when she proves me wrong. She was just gaining momentum before jumping at him for a piggyback. YaY and sorry for doubting you, Toma! She asks if it’s heavy, and Chii says yes, only the ring. Cuuuute.

She giddily laughs while he shouts out TOMA SAYA, I LOVE YOU, like a kid, and we’re suddenly brought to a completely different scene. Lying prone on the ground, wounded, Toma wakes up to see a desolated landscape.

She gets back on her feet and looks at Ninomae, lying on his side and injured as well. She handcuffs herself to him (left hand!), announcing that he’s under arrest, but he smiles. The fire behind her propagates to what look like explosives, causing a blast. When she wakes up again her hand has been cut off and she can only stares at it, blankly.

Back in the present, Toma muses that what you’ve lost, you can’t help but think about it. Their job as detectives is to protect others’ happiness. Sebumi swears he’ll protect the Satonakas’ happiness and turning to her, he asks for Toma’s help going as far as bowing to her. She replies that personal feelings are taboo, but for this time she’ll overlook this rule.

She later hacks Akimoto’s computer, to see the five agents’ files, using Chief Nonomura’s ID. Pfft, he sure won’t be suspected. She discovers that Satonaka was still an active agent, on the same mission as the five dead detectives. She has no details about this, but it seems related to conglomerates. She also notices that he was investigating into Reisen, but more than that, she wonders why a Public Welfare detective would use Sebumi’s ID to hack into his own services database. Is he a double agent? Chief Nonomura ventures that maybe someone was taken hostage, which triggers something in Toma.

She goes with Sebumi at the Satonakas, and Sayuri confirms that Rika had a screening test a month ago, at the Police Hospital. Uh Oh. Sayuri recalls that while their usual doctor received them, the one who gave Rika the test was an old man with a white beard. And no, it wasn’t Santa.

Toma asks if her husband said anything particular and Sayuri remembers that he anxiously questioned her about the test, and wouldn’t leave Rika’s side after that. Three days after the test, Rika’s condition suddenly worsened.

On their way back, Sebumi requests Toma to do “that”, but never before was it so hard to perform it. She finally makes her brush dance to her hunch music, and successfully concludes it. She gets it but doesn’t smile this time, as she says to herself that it’s getting seriously dangerous.

Meanwhile, Sebumi meets a Chinese informer who apprises him of Satonaka’s mission: enter the police witness protection facility and kidnap a witness. He later gathers with the Mishou Team at a noisy and crowded「居酒屋」- Izakaya (type of Japanese Pub).

Toma has something to say, and is wary of other people listening. It’s just a hypothesis, but she thinks that a SPEC with the ability of giving illness to people killed the 5 agents. Both Chief Nonomura and Sebumi are incredulous, but Toma argues that if human cells can regenerate itself, then a SPEC with healing abilities may exist. If that’s true, then why couldn’t the opposite be possible as well?

Sebumi’s scepticism starts to fade, and it’s not a moment too soon for someone who was mysteriously healed by a shoulder bump. Toma brings the pieces together, and gets the picture: someone sent a notification to the agents using the Public Welfare cipher system, which led to them having a health screening at the same place, where the SPEC used his ability to give each a different illness. She then wonders if these deaths were used as a threat to make Satonaka kidnap Reisen.

Thanks to her hacking attack on Akimoto’s PC, she has found the witness protection facility location, which seems to be the spot used by the police to protect important people. Toma is sure of it: Satonaka will attack the place soon.

And indeed, Reisen is inside the facility, chanting his magical anime liturgy while doing his lemon thing. His vision makes him ecstatic (“♫Santa Monica! Santa Claus! Priest Sanzou!♫”), until he notices Creepy Cap Man Tsuda looking at him mockingly: “Are you happy?”. Uh, not anymore.It’s Reisen’s birthday, and Tsuda bought him sushis to celebrate. Funny how Reisen isn’t even sure it’s his birthday, though Tsuda actually doesn’t really care. When he opens the box, Reisen smells something fishy (pun totally intended): “Did you put something in it?” Ha, boy is learning, and turns the box, but returns it the way Tsuda displayed it.

Enjoying the treat, he tells Tsuda that he’s “surprisingly kind”, and Tsuda replies that Reisen (and us?) may not have realized it, but he’s been protecting him all this time from people who want to use his SPEC. Hum, playing the good guy now? Argh, what to believe? For all that we know, he may be playing with Reisen (and us!) so that he doesn’t try to escape. As Reisen asks more and more questions, Tsuda reminds him that there’s food, so Reisen eats a sushi…and stops, angry at himself: “It was this side!”, before falling unconscious. How easy, indeed.

The surveillance cameras suddenly get cut off, as the security system gets hacked, and we see Satonaka and his mercenaries rushing into the assault. Looking through the window, Tsuda calmly observes the attack while the mercenaries notice human presence in a room. Satonaka gives the OK and they barge in, while Tsuda gets his gun ready and loaded.

But the room looks totally different from the one used by Tsuda, and Satonaka carefully advances when he’s suddenly attacked from behind by none other than Sebumi. The two engage in a brawl, loosing their guns in the process, but both end up facing each other, guns pointed at the other.

Desperate, Satonaka urges Sebumi to spill the beans about Reisen’s location, but Sebumi only asks if his sempai is really going to shoot him. He will, without a doubt. Still clinging to his ideal sempai, Sebumi recites the SIT motto: Life, throw it away, but Satonaka won’t throw it anymore. His life has changed, since the birth of his child.

His crack at mollifying Sebumi doesn’t work, even when he pleads him to think about his little Rika. Obviously fighting with his inner self, Sebumi painfully chooses to stick with the rules, and repeats like a robot that he is a detective. They’re both incredibly tensed, glaring at each other when Sebumi adds: “And you too.” He shouts: “Aren’t you a detective?”, and it sounds just like he’s pleading not to change his world. His sempai, who’s a real role model to him, is suddenly walking on the dark side of the force, and it’s no wonder it affects Sebumi so much.

It’s into this fraught atmosphere that Satonaka’s men burst and fire at Sebumi. It gives Satonaka the opportunity to escape, though he does show concern about Sebumi. He and his men try to flee but they meet with a whole bunch of police forces coming from all sides. Sebumi secures the upper side and aims at them, warning the mercenaries (in chinese) to drop their weapons. The game is over, as the rest of the Mishou team appears, and finally Setonaka surrenders. Calling out Sebumi, he admits defeat.

Sebumi and the Mishou team prod him to reveal the name of the SPEC giving illness, and though taken aback at first, Setonaka decides to believe in them, saying: “His name is…” and–

Yeah, we all saw it coming miles away. Still, Sebumi’s face looks visibly shocked but he quickly snaps out of it and yells: “Sempai!” before jumping. His move goes sloooooooow-mo, and I confess I didn’t quite get it, but maybe it represents how even a second can seem an eternity when you’re desperate to run to someone’s side.

Crawling to Satonaka’s body, Sebumi presses it as if trying to stop the bleeding, but a quick check informs him that it’s useless. Dumbfounded, he looks at Toma and Chief Nonomura, both unable to utter a word. He turns his eyes back to his sempai, and breaks down, bursting into heavy tears while burying his head in Satonaka’s arm. My heart, it bleeds.

Toma is frozen, deeply moved by Sebumi’s grief. It feels like it has stirred something within her, and she shakes as she can’t do anything but watch.

Driving a car, Tsuda jokes about his luck and notes that the Mishou team has opened the Pandora’s box. Uh, two allusions to Pandora in one episode. It doesn’t sound foreboding at all. He wonders if he should erase them soon, and we see Reisen struggling behind, in what looks like a bag.

Cut to Toma and Sebumi, facing Satonaka’s body lying on a morgue table. Toma says she’ll contact Sayuri, but when she opens the door she discovers Chief Nonomura, standing as if waiting for it. He enters, and points out that the death of an undercover agent can’t be made public. It means that the family is always told lies, and in Satonaka’s case they’ll say he had an accident during his trip.

Toma can’t believe Sayuri and Rika won’t be able to see the corpse, but that’s the harsh truth of the world she’s in. Sebumi exits, and Chief Nonomura explains that it would only shock them. “When the truth is too cruel, it’s better to conceal it.” As detectives, they still have other things to take care of. Still, Toma can’t help but glance at the blood-stained pictures of Satonaka’s family.

Sebumi stands atop the roof, looking over Tokyo at dawn, and has a flashback of his SIT days, when he was on a mission with Satonaka. He was badly wounded, and hided from his enemies’ bullets. Satonaka came running to his side, dodging the shots, and when Sebumi told him to leave him behind, Satonaka berated that thought before grabbing him to escape.

A member of SIT can’t abandon a teammate!

Toma joins him, and he calls out her name.

Death is always there. Satonaka’s death was punishment for his crime. However, Satonaka sempai’s wife and daughter aren’t guilty of any sin.

As the sun rises to a new day, he vows to risk his life in order to protect their happiness and save Rika. Toma takes a breath, and after reciting the motto: “Personal feelings are taboo”, she simply says: “Yes”.

Impressions

Wowowowowowowow. I LOVE how this show never fails to surprise me and return the situation when I’m not expecting it at all. Even in little details, you can find that trait: the last scene has the Main theme as background music, and you’re totally in the flow when it abruptly stops to let the ending theme begins. This is it: don’t take things for granted.

I can’t believe I’m feeling so sad for a character who was just introduced in the very same episode he dies, but I do. Satonaka’s death may suffer a bit from the rush, but I think we can give the writer credit for making his storyline so well entwined to Sebumi’s. God, Sebumi.

So far, I enjoyed his character with his no-nonsense mentality and how he complements Toma’s quirkiness with his stoic attitude, but I confess it was hard to relate to him emotionally. With this episode, he simply lets feelings flow and I can totally connect with his heart. We get to know an other facet of his personality, and it contributes a lot to make him more human: why, he can also be the kouhai, the little brother, the junior of someone else! This Sebumi!

Toma isn’t left behind, though this episode was clearly a Sebumi one, and we’re given a glimpse of her past as well. Heck, a fashionable Toma! More seriously, seeing her hand cut off was a real shock. I was so sure her arm/hand was only broken and healing! Now I better understand Chii’s concern. Their relation was so sweet that it feels a waste to see them now, even though their friendship is great and fun to watch. That said, I can see why, after such a traumatic experience, Toma prefers to maintain a kind of distance (romantic wise) between them, though I remember Reisen’s prediction saying “your destined person”…

Her connection to Ninomae has yet to be detailed, although we can guess she was on an investigation mission to catch him. Was he already working for the same organisation? The moments with Reisen and Tsuda, our hilarious newlyweds, make me go crazy about who’s in the light and who’s in the dark. The key element is maybe that the world doesn’t offer such stark contrasts, and the “good guys” may use bad means. The police Public Welfare department seems quite ambiguous, to say the least…

I love how the director plays with symbols, and now we’re entering a new chapter under a new sun. What will you do, Mishou team?

NAMInoYUKUSAKI for SPEC【戊】

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