Episode 1: The bombing in the metropolis … The Public Security ace who lost his wife vs the amnesiac professional killer
At 3.08 p.m., an explosion rips through a bustling shopping street in Hibiya, Tokyo. The street is covered with rubble in an instant and dust swirls. Several moans echo. People covered in soot plead for help, a young man attempts to make a recording of the scene with his camera, a young girl cries as she stands rooted to the spot staring at something. A woman hurriedly carries the young girl away seconds before the signage for the department store Ginza Izutsuya comes crashing down.
There are many with serious and minor injuries. Lives have also been lost. The police announce that the possibility of terrorism will be investigated in this large-scale, devastating explosion.
Inspector Kuraki Naotake of the Public Security’s First Special Service Division arrives at the Tokyo Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the dead body of his wife, Chihiro. Her corpse has been disfigured beyond recognition because she was one of two people caught in the centre of the blast. Assistant Inspector Osugi Ryota of the First Investigative Division who has been waiting for Kuraki tries to warn him against seeing it, but Kuraki curtly replies that he has no problem with this. Osugi watches from a distance as Kuraki takes a look at the dead body. Without missing a beat, he confirms that this is his wife and leaves the room.
Osugi speaks to Kuraki with concern. However, Kuraki neither grieves nor gets angry. He probes Osugi about the details of the case as if he were interrogating him and learns that the other person caught in the centre of the blast is believed to be the bomber based on eyewitness accounts. His wife could be identified because she was with two friends. However, the police have not been able to ask for details as both of them are seriously injured. It seems to surprise Kuraki that his wife was with friends. He demands to have their names and addresses, and tells Osugi not to give unsolicited advice when Osugi tries to remind him that they cannot be questioned because they have serious injuries. His behaviour riles Osugi who starts to complain about Public Security. But Kuraki cuts him off and asks for the information again. An irritated Osugi tells him to follow procedure. Kuraki decides it is a waste of time talking to him and stalks off.
Meanwhile, Shingai Kazuhiko is travelling through the woods with a group of men. One of them expresses surprise at his handiwork this time; the use of a bomb. In the next moment, Shingai finds himself held at gunpoint at the top of a cliff. A man called Akai demands to know where a recovered IC chip is. They step towards him, forcing him closer to the edge of a cliff and a precipitous drop into the ocean. Shingai warns that they will leave traces if they mean to kill him this way, and his younger sister files a missing person’s report. Akai snorts that he will not be found. In response, Shingai tells them that they will be cursed. He lifts his head to look squarely at them, his eyes now a complete, eerie black. “You’ll be made the sacrifice of the shrike,” he says and gets kicked off the cliff.
That night, Kuraki walks into his empty apartment with a heavy, unsteady gait and pounding head when he suddenly hears Chihiro talking to him. She is in the kitchen blending a drink for him and wonders what they should do with their daughter Shizuku on Christmas Eve the next day. In the bedroom, he hears a young girl’s laughter coming from the bathroom. Gripping the door handle, Kuraki seems to steel himself for what he is about to see as a flashback of a young girl with the upper half of her body lying face down in a bathtub full of water comes to him. He starts to open the door, but Chihiro calls out from behind and points towards the living room. He turns to follow and finds her standing outside on the balcony. She says something to him that is inaudible through the glass windows. The next moment, Chihiro is enveloped in flames as a bomb explodes and shatters the glass. Kuraki steps out into the scene of an explosion … … and then wakes up with a start.
The investigation proceeds with a joint special investigation task force made up of Public Security officers and First Investigative Division detectives. Kakei Shunzo, a freelance writer whose dead body was found at the centre of the blast, is identified as the bomber. According to eyewitness reports, a homeless man was trying to pick a quarrel with Chihiro and her two friends when Kakei rushed towards them at the shopping street. His bag exploded right after that. The bomb was a small home-made time bomb, but the police do not yet know if the timer had been set. Although no group has claimed responsiblity for the bombing, the police suspect the international cyber terror group Parasite Net which has carried out attacks that crashed government and police servers. Public Security had been keeping an eye on Kakei who is one of the leaders of its Japanese branch, but found it difficult to get something on him. Now, Public Security insists it is in charge when it comes to Kakei and Parasite Net, and the First Investigative Division is told to keep its hands off. Naturally this does not go down well with Osugi and the other detectives who wonder if Public Security will even share investigation information.
Unhappy that Wakamatsu, the head of Public Security’s Second Division is conducting the investigation, Kuraki confronts his superior Muroi Gen and asks to be put in charge of the case. Muroi says he appointed Wakamatsu because he wants to bring it to a swift conclusion. He thinks Chihiro’s death must be tough on Kuraki, coming just after their daughter’s first death anniversary, and refuses to allow him to participate in the investigation because he will let personal feelings get in the way.
Kuraki makes contact with one of the leaders of Parasite Net called Chiba on his own. Dangling evidence of their latest offense, the hacking of the Ministry of Defence’s server and theft of top secret documents, and the suggestion that Public Security had his apartment bugged for a year, Kuraki gets him to divulge everything on Kakei in exchange for taking care of the evidence. Chiba says Kakei claimed he would soon threaten a big shot after obtaining the bomb. The drop-off was with a woman at a coffee shop. Kuraki takes this information back to Wakamatsu and the task force.
One morning several days after the explosion, Osugi detains Sergeant Akeboshi Miki of the Public Security’s Second Division for questioning while she is running in a park. Miki was near the scene at the time of the explosion, but states that it was mere coincidence and not because she was tailing Kakei. Osugi guesses that she is hiding some information and presses his luck with threats to haul her in for violating the local public service law or helping a criminal to avoid arrest. He declares that he can fabricate many reasons since the likelihood of her carrying a tape recorder while running is close to zero. In response, Miki coolly whips one out to show him. Osugi falters and stares helplessly at the tape recorder in her hand.
Not surprised that Kuraki has taken the liberty to investigate the bomb explosion on his own, Osugi starts to probe his background. He learns from Narumiya Kensuke, the head patrol officer of Iriya Police Box, that Kuraki was a member of the Public Security’s elite team Zero, a unit which controls intelligence gathering. Chihiro used to be Muroi’s subordinate and only quit work two years after her marriage to Kuraki. But Narumiya does not know the reason for her resignation.
Finding Kuraki at a sidewalk cafe, Osugi shares his theory that Kakei had a strong motive for targeting Chihiro because she is the wife of a Public Security officer unlike her two friends who are ordinary citizens. This was the first thing that crossed Kuraki’s mind, but he is not in charge of Kakei’s sector, so Kakei would not have the motive for murder. Osugi reaches into his jacket and hands over a photo which corroborates Chiba’s statement. It shows Kakei meeting a woman at a cafe before the bomb went off, but they do not know her identity or whereabouts. Kuraki advises Osugi to trace her if he has the time to be concerned about him.
That night, Kuraki tails Miki who is on her way home from work. She detects his presence and tries to shake him off in an underground passageway but he subdues her with brute force. They adjourn to a bar where Miki gives him the same brush-off as she had done with Osugi and tries to leave. However, Kuraki will not allow it and grips her arm tightly. He demands that she tell the truth, convinced that she was tailing Kakei. Miki insists that she only knew Kakei was one of the leaders of Parasite Net after his death, but eventually lets on that she cannot reveal the details of her assignment without authority, even to a senior in Public Security. Feeling “terrified” of Kuraki, Miki makes him promise not to reveal the information she is about to say.
On that day, Miki was following a man called Shingai Kazuhiko. Shingai was in turn tailing Kakei. That was how she saw Kakei with a mysterious woman at a cafe. Kakei excused himself to go to the toilet and Shingai followed. But Shingai was the only one to emerge a few minutes later. Shingai then trailed the woman when she left and entered a building nearby. However, he walked back and resumed following Kakei. When they were in front of Ginza Izutsuya, Kakei started running as if he had noticed something. Miki lost sight of Shingai in the blast and his whereabouts are unknown. She says Shingai is a professional killer hired by Japan’s largest security firm, Athena Security. Some of its top management are suspected of conducting illegal activities. This is her special assignment and even her boss, Wakamatsu, is not aware of it. Kuraki is not certain why Miki would share information that she will not even report to her boss. Miki claims to feel friendly towards him, but he observes that her words and facial expression do not match and wonders what her objective is.
Armed with this information, Kuraki stakes out the entrance of Athena Security’s headquarters and catches sight of Athena Security’s director and senior adviser Higashi Kazuo and martial arts advisor Nakagami Jin, as they emerge from the building and get into a chauffeur-driven car. In the car, Higashi tells Nakagami to transfer 5 million yen to Akai. Nakagami suggests that they cut Akai loose for his blunder in killing Shingai without learning whether he has the IC chip. But Higashi thinks they have use for such a fool. They could kill off Shingai because he had let down his guard with Akai. Nakagami who feels that he should have been the one to take care of Shingai asks if Higashi means that he would not have been able to kill Shingai.
On the other hand, Miki reports to Tsuki Shunsuke, the Special Inspector General of the Police Administration Bureau, that she has done as instructed and fed Kuraki with information on Athena Security’s Higashi. Tsuki says none of his sources seem to know where Shingai is. Then he tells Miki that they need to determine if there is any connection between the bomb explosion and a special mission that Kuraki’s wife was assigned five years ago. This news seems to unsettle Miki.
Osugi and Kuraki encounter each other at the hospital where Chihiro’s friends Riri and Asami have been warded. Asami has just died of her injuries but Kuraki managed to talk to Riri and learnt that his wife was the one who had initiated the meeting a week ago. The three friends were meeting for the first time since Chihiro’s wedding ceremony and Riri had described Chihiro as being her usual cheerful self. A choice of the word that Kuraki seemed to have difficulty reconciling with his wife. According to Riri, they met in front of Ginza Izutsuya where they were suddenly heckled by a strange man. Then she heard a loud voice and saw a man running towards them. She thought his words were, “Hey”, “Wait a minute” or something like that. That is all she remembers.
Osugi updates Kuraki that Parasite Net seems to have no connection with this bombing. His theory is that the bomb was accidentally set off while Kakei was carrying it, and Chihiro was an unfortunate victim. Kuraki believes what they are seeing is just a fragment that falls far short of the real truth. He relates the story of his daughter Shizuku who lost a massive amount of blood because of an injury when she was 2. Her life was saved through surgery and blood transfusion, and she made a quick recovery. But two days before Christmas, he came home to find Shizuku’s lifeless body in the bathtub and his wife sitting beside the tub in a daze. To this day, Kuraki is not sure if the drowning was an accident because Chihiro was mentally ill and had attempted to kill herself many times. Tired of the distorted facts he has seen fabricated at Public Security, he resolves to get to the bottom of Chihiro’s death. Osugi asks if he thinks there is a connection between the bomb explosion and his wife. However, Kuraki merely replies that he has in some way lost his heart to her.
On the other hand, Shingai who was brought to a general hospital in the outskirts of Tokyo after he was found at the bottom of a cliff, regains consciousness, but discovers he has lost his memory. The hospital director enlists the help of a young freelance journalist called Nakajima Ami who writes internet news articles. Ami offers to write a story on Shingai for the city’s newsletter and search for people who know him if he gives his consent.
Narumiya has been probing into the Public Security’s top secret mission five years ago that led to the resignation of Kuraki’s wife. He tells Osugi that this mission was largely connected to Glarke Alpha. Although the details as well as the investigators involved were not disclosed, there have been rumours of the people dying unnatural deaths or going missing. It is plausible that Chihiro quit Public Security because she got entangled in something related to that mission. To Osugi’s exasperation, Narumiya who usually knows everything, is not aware of what this is.
Narumiya knows some people have said the objective of the mission had a lot to do with the Daruma, and it surprises him that Osugi has not heard of this mysterious presence. While it is not known if the Daruma is an organisation or an individual, its name is heard whenever there is a big unsolved case. Narumiya slides the cupboard doors open to reveal two rows of monitor screens with the face of a man that he says has been seen in dreams that differ from person to person throughout Japan. A skeptical Osugi thinks this sounds like the occult and declares that the Daruma has been an urban legend since a long time ago. He may not believe in the Daruma, but Narumiya does. He has met the man in his dreams.
At Athena Security, Nakagami is shown the story of an amnesiac man on a city’s webpage and immediately issues an order to contact Akai. A young woman claiming to be Shingai’s sister, Hiromi, soon shows up with Akai at the general hospital where Shingai is hospitalised. Posing as Shingai’s boss, Akai feigns concern and tries to ask him about the IC chip but draws a blank. An unsuspecting Shingai is discharged from the hospital and leaves with them.
When night falls, Shingai finds himself being made to trudge through the woods in front of Akai and his man. Not understanding the situation, he asks what is happening and about the kind of person he is. Akai describes Shingai as a murderous fiend who botched things up. Then Shingai turns on Akai’s man without warning and attacks him.
As the two men as they tussle, Akai draws his gun and fires. Terror fills him when he realises he has unwittingly shot his own man dead while Shingai takes the opportunity to escape. Rustling sounds send Akai into a state of panic. After he spends all his bullets shooting randomly, he takes off at a run but is brought down by a dagger that lodges in his thigh. Desperate to save his own skin, Akai declares that he was hired and really did not want to do this. When Shingai demands to know who Akai is referring to, Akai names Higashi of Athena Security and adds that Shingai himself was hired through a middle-man. Now Higashi wants him killed because he was responsible for the bomb explosion. Akai volunteers to shelter Shingai and begs him to show himself.
Shingai appears and pulls the dagger out from Akai’s thigh. He warns Akai not to move or he will kill him, but a sudden searing pain in the head causes him to drop the dagger and crouch in an almost foetal position. Taking advantage of the situation, Akai reaches out for the dagger. He is about to plunge the weapon in Shingai’s back when Shingai suddenly turns to look up at him with those eerie black eyes again. In the next instant, Akai is dealt a swift, lethal blow.
After disposing off the bodies of Akai and his man, Shingai returns a phone call to Satomura who had been calling Akai’s phone. Identifying himself as a friend of Shingai, he tries to ask for his own contact address. However, Satomura recognises that he is Shingai from his voice and suggests that they meet. This is obviously a trap but Shingai goes along with it and travels to the meeting place.
Satomura gives himself away when he makes a slip and asks if Shingai has forgotten his younger sister too. Shingai wants to know who Satomura heard this from and is told that he is in the wrong because he broke the rules, just as a van pulls up and “cleaning crew” come in pursuit. Although Shingai flees, he lets himself get cornered in an alley and caught by them. He later comes back for Satomura who is reporting to someone over the phone that Shingai does not seem to know about the IC chip.
Threatening Satomura with a knife, Shingai demands answers about the IC chip and the younger sister he supposedly has. A fearful Satomura discloses that Athena Security suspects Shingai has the IC chip that was in Kakei’s possession. He presumes Shingai had targeted Kakei because of the bomb planted in the bag. Shingai does not learn much about his younger sister from Satomura who says he only caught a glimpse of her and noticed that they had similar facial features. He gets Satomura to tell him where his home is before killing him.
Meanwhile, Tsuki meets with Miki to tell her that a person resembling Shingai Kazuhiko was found but went missing again after his younger sister came to get him from a hospital. Miki wonders whether the bomb explosion will be dismissed as a mistaken bombing if things go on like this. Tsuki says he will not allow it to happen and is willing to make some sacrifices for that. Will she feel guilty using Kuraki as a pawn? When Miki replies that she will not, Tsuki warns her that once she does, she will be used by Kuraki since he is very much like a beast now.
The man at the centre of their discussion is brooding in the dark in his apartment as he is assailed by memories of the discovery of his daughter’s body face down in the bathtub, his wife sitting beside the tub, his daughter’s blood type … …
The next day, the young woman who had claimed to be Shingai’s sister is loaded into a van besides Satomura’s dead body, and transported to a treatment facility for industrial waste under Nakagami’s supervision. At the same moment, Shingai visits the memorial for the victims of the bomb explosion and walks past Kuraki in the streets.
Thank you, jadefrost, for your detailed synopsis.
“Kuraki reaches out to Miki” – that’s an understatement;))
Enjoying the show so far.
Oh yes, fixed “Kuraki reaches out to Miki” to a more respectable version!
I like the build up, but I fear the great reveal at the end. And I wish they would do more with Kagawa Teruyuki than have him go around yelling that he hates Public Security.
Ha, ha. It’s true. WHY U HATE Public Security, Teruyuki-san? It’s awesome how after insulting female police officers he is getting owned by Maki Yoko’s character, namely: the recorder in the park, the wrong-way escalator, and getting left in the dust after trying to block her car. Could be a running gag.
Thank you for the detailed synopsis which s a great help since I’m watching this raw at the moment.
MOZU is slowly becoming proof that whilst commercial terrestrial broadcasters might have the viewer figures, they could learn a thing or two on doing quality from WOWOW. If they aren’t going to innovate in new areas or set more stories in cities and towns outside of Tokyo/Kanto, turning their safe bets like detective/crime and medicals stories into cinematic, sophisticated cliff hangers like this is what may actually improve things after the past autumn and winter of crap like Otto no Kanojo, Dr DMAT etc.