Short Synopsis: Kiba continues to collect clues, and finally all of the four main characters are together.
Highlights: It was a long wait, but finally the developments continue.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
The biggest reason why I like this series so much is that even though its story is very confusing and complex, it never forget its subtlety and great characterization. The complex story combined with the down to earth storytelling is really why I consider this series to be among the best of the season. Some shows with lots of talking tend to get lost into meaningless exposition (I really need to stop using Soul Eater as a bad example for this…), but Mouryou no Hako manages to avoid this completely.
Thankfully this episode was also a bit easier to understand, although there were still plenty of tricky parts. It starts with Yoriko, as she continues to resent everyone around her, from classmates to her mother. None live up to her expectations set by Kanako. The next scene is about Sekiguchi, as he thinks back of the novel he read by Kubo Shunko, which I think inspired him to get more interested in the case of the boxed murders. He’s on his way to visit a certain doctor. When we reach the place, we make a time skip to later that day, when Kiba also got the idea to visit him.
I’m not exactly sure what the doctor is to the whole case, but Kiba too seems to have linked the boxed murder case with the disappearance of Kanako. The doctor was probably in charge of the autopsy of the girl who was found inside the boxes. He mentions that she wasn’t chopped up to be killed, but instead killed in order to be chopped up, suggesting that the killer had indeed been planning to box her right from the start, instead of thinking that it would be a strange way to cover up for his crime. The doctor seems to link this back to human experimentation again. A soldier that can’t die. We then switch to some flashbacks of Kiriko, claiming that Kanako can’t die, which I suspect have some disturbing truth in them.
The doctor then says that Sekiguchi also paid him a visit that morning, and Kiba is very surprised to see Sekiguchi investigating. He then shows him a few notes about the files that Sekiguchi was carrying, which prompt Kiba to pay Sekiguchi a visit. At the train station, Kiba recapitulates what happened back at the research institute.
The next half of the episode shows that Enokizu somehow has made contact with Akihiko. Toriguchi meanwhile has uncovered some new information about the box maker. A strange guy (probably a talented student) told him that he got a request for quite a large amount of boxes from the box maker. He seems to lead the same strange depression as Sekiguchi is (never noticed that, by the way). Toriguchi then shows an old-fashioned tape recorder. Toriguchi seems to have gotten it from his boss. The tape shows an ominous preaching by the box maker, but it seems to be faked. Next up Toriguchi shows a blueprint of the box maker’s dojo.
Enokizu then announces that he and Sekiguchi will be going to check up on a girl named Yoriko Kusumoto, Kusumoto Kimie’s daughter. Kimie, however, seems to stand in the box maker’s cult’s registry file. This isn’t something Akihiko surprised. Enokizu then comes with a surprising revelation: Yuuko isn’t Kanako’s aunt, but her mother. She got a baby on a very young age, and to avoid any scandals on her acting career at that time, it was just pretended that her mother had another baby. Wow…
Kiba then shows up from out of nowhere. I guess that he went to Sekiguchi’s house, only to find out from his wife/girlfriend that he was at Akihiko’s. He’s quite angry, but Akihiko cuts him off, wanting to hear his own story before that.
We then switch to Yoriko, as she seems to have met the mysterious man again in front of a painting store. He’s talking about eternal life. At first he seems a bit weird, but Yoriko is doubting whether to trust him or not. Sekiguchi and Enokizu then pop up. They don’t get much out of her, and she just leaves them to meet up with the mysterious man again. He invites her then in a room full of boxes… and the rest is left up to our imagination…
So the culprit is finally identified, it was indeed the mysterious man. The question now of course is where this guy ties in with the box maker and Kanako. Is he a member of the cult, and if he did push Kanako off the tracks as Yoriko said, then what did he want to accomplish with that? How did he get her out of the research institute?
I also have to say that I’m surprised that more and more anime are willing to use the Second World War as one of their themes. Last season, it was Nijuu Mensou no Musume; and okay, even though that one went wrong a bit, it’s good to see that some Japanese are willing to write stories about their darker parts in history. In the same way, you can see a lot of American-made games that do take place in this second world war, just as a lot of Dutch stories take place in our Golden Age, and you never get to hear anything about what “we” did in Indonesia. While an anime about Pearl Harbour is of course never going to happen, it’s good to see that there are at least some attempts to point at it.
The animation was a bit strange at times in this episode, but thankfully it was only the smoothness that suffered. The vivid expressions that make this series’ characters come to life are fortunately still there.