Two important figures from the opening pop in within these two episodes and yet, still I could find almost nothing to say about episode four without watching episode five with it. That’s the real trouble with two part stories in mystery shows. The first part almost always struggles to tell it’s own story because it’s working too hard to set you up for the second half.
Episode four can be basically summed up into this. Utsumi convinces Shotaro and Sakurako to go to his friend from middle schools house to convince him that curses don’t exist. They meet the guy, his wife, his baby and his cursed dog. So wait, a guy who is convinced that there is a curse on his family takes in a cursed dog. Also owns cursed painting.
I feel like there is a quote from the Mummy 2 that comes to mind here.
“This is cursed, that is cursed. You’re not happy without a good curse!”
The one bit of intrigue that episode four does leave us with is Utsumi’s friend talking to someone we don’t get to see the face of. However it’s highly implied that it’s the half obscured person from the opening song. Also the ‘cursed’ dog that he has, is just a dog with a good sense of death. He also appears in the opening, with Sakurako’s maid. I guess we know where he’s going to end up at the end of the arc.
Overall, the episode leaves us without much but does leave us with Sakurako who has been skeptical of this whole curse business the entire episode, demanding to see the painting.
That bridges us into episode five. Where all the little plot threads laid out for us last episode start coming together.
First, the painting. The ‘curse’ on the painting is a very old arsenic based paint and toxic mold from the picture being in a soggy storage area for long periods of time. The ‘curse’ on his family is loosely related to a heart condition that can show up stronger in males and is aggravated by stress.
So there, all curses debunked. Now he can have a nice happy birthday and…
It’s not that simple is it? To put it in Sakurako’s words, “The bones aren’t fitting together.” something in his behavior over the previous months. Even in his reconnecting with a friend that he hadn’t spoke with since middle school. This is when they rush out to where he was supposed to be and find him with a bleeding leg.
He claims the axe broke, but Sakurako calls him out on it immediately and says the wound is self inflicted. He admits that they’re about to go broke and he was going to commit suicide. Woah dude, I’m no expert on killing yourself but there have to be at least a hundred easier ways to kill yourself then cutting yourself in the leg.
They call the ambulance and everyone reams him a new one, reminding him that he’s leaving behind a wife and child. Luckily, he missed any major blood vessel but he could end up losing the leg if the Ambulance took much longer. Why was it taking so long, oh wait! The car that was blocking the main road to the house, yeah that was a thing last episode.
Who should be in that car but our long haired concealed face person. Who had been communicating with Utsumi’s friend throughout both episodes. Was the one that told him to hang up the arsenic laced painting in his home.
What’s the purpose here? To kill obviously, but not directly? To provide the means, but not dirty your hands yourself? Hang on there long hair, I feel like I need you and Makishima from Psycho-Pass to have a nice long talk.
Utsumi carries his friend out to meet the ambulance and we find out after the credits that he’s doing alright. We also see the dog living with Sakurako. Sakurako muses about the person who told the guy to hang the painting, something about it is nagging away at her. I’m glad that we’re getting a little deeper into the plot and seeing more of the importance of the characters from the opening. However, I don’t think we should have too many more two-part episodes. It’s not a problem with Sakurako-san itself, but a problem with the genre in general where the first part of a two part episode will struggle to hold it’s own.
A solid two episodes…but let’s stick to either an episodic motion or a generalized plotline now that we have our villain out in the open.