This episode we are finally starting to see the main plot coming together. Thanks to Takaomi’s recommendation, Rei has gone out to recruit another one of STAND’s candidates Tsuzuki Makoto, a famous crime author who is rumoured to be retiring soon, and apparently STAND wants Makoto to serve as a criminal profiler. We learned that his family is a victim of an incident where his sister Sara was hit by an overdosed driver, and has been stuck in the hospital ever since. Since his sister’s case was never resolved, he doesn’t have a lot of faith in NARCS. We also were introduced to his brother Kyosuke, who is also a public figure as an actor. He is the opposite of Makoto, more open to NARCS, lacks confidence and has a complex about his brother’s talent and popularity.
But man, this episode was an absolute snooze fest, and I find that really frustrating considering we are finally getting to see the DCD Team tackle a new drug case, dealing with a recent incident involving an overdosed man who had gone berserk. The drug he had in possession shares a component of Plus, that had circulated the black market ten-odd years ago, and appears to making rounds once more. (Basically around the same time of the Anonymous Case and Sara’s Incident, tying these things all together.)
In fact the latest development is quite juicy as Rei finds herself in a frustrating position where she is told to prioritize her responsibility as STAND’s scout rather than getting the chance to participate in the on-going investigation. Being pushed out prompts her to look into it on her own time, and by doing so she accidentally makes has a startling discovery that points to STAND potentially working with ulterior motives. She discovers this when she decides to look into Unsolved Drug Cases and finds the Anonymous Case is the first to pop up in the search engine. Until this point, the only thing we knew about the Anonymous Case was that its an unsolved case from 15 years ago, because they found a victim who had a suspicious death that went unidentified for 6 months, and while the suspect was on the run, they had kidnapped a child, Maki.
The additional information she had encountered lines up with what she already, and provided us a better picture of just how messy this case actually is.
- A victim who seemed to have died of suspicious activity was found somewhere in the city
- Rumoured this case involved drug smuggling
- Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare had their eyes on a certain drug smuggling organization, and those who sit at the top are people of influence in the medical field. There are also rumours that the Kujo Family has ties with them.
And after finding this, Rei realizes many of STAND’s candidates are involved with unresolved drug cases, Maki’s and Sara’s are the two we know of at the moment, while Kujo Soma is the biggest name drop right now in regards to prime suspects behind the case. (That being said, it is also highly likely that Hiyama’s family may very well had a hand in this as well).
The mystery that Rei is is going to have to solve is definitely coming together now. After taking the initiative to do her own research, we learn that it appears there may be an ulterior motive involved with the formation of STAND. There is an uncanny connection to all of the candidates she has met so far having a of history of being potentially involved in a number of unsolved drug cases.
This makes me wonder if the purpose of the operation isn’t to actually use these people, but deliberately bring them together for an entirely different purpose. The interesting part about this arrangement is how the candidates are a mix of victims and suspects of the crimes. I think it is also worth noting that if anyone has a good idea what the ulterior motive is, it is likely Takaomi and Soma, as it appears Takaomi has been keeping tabs on STAND, or at least possibly the ones running the show at the top. Either way, it has my attention and I am looking forward to seeing how this mystery will play out.
But after three episodes, I would say the weakest part of the series right now are the characters themselves. I thought this episode in particular was quite awful considering Makoto’s character was so blah, I couldn’t care less about him, and his brother Kyosuke wasn’t much better. In fact I think he made it even worse when he started going on about, “Choose me”, “Can’t it be me?”, and I was just sitting here thinking, “HUHHHHHHH?????????? What the hell is this guy going on about?” Was this supposed to come across as charming? Like seriously, YOU TWO HARDLY EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ironically, the ONLY character that I actually cared about and got a kick out of was Sosei, who turns out to be a huge fan of Makoto’s works. I thought it was hilarious how You baited him into accompanying Rei attempting to recruit Makoto, because while he’s prickly among others, he was stiff and nervous when he was in Makoto’s presence. It was great to see a different side of him.
It is unfortunate that our dear heroine Rei has yet to win me over. I keep on waiting to see if she will show us a bit more of her colors, but so far she has been… fairly bland so to speak, and hadn’t encountered any situations since Episode 1 to test her impulse. I was glad however to see her being proactive on her own time, by choosing to do some research about Sara’s unsolved incident, which led her to realizing all of the STAND’s candidates she has met so far share a common connection of either being a victim or suspects involved in the unsolved drug cases. Although she didn’t share what has crossed her mind, she did voice a concern that she seems to have made a startling discovery that there may very well be an ulterior motive for recruiting these specific candidates for STAND. I hope that she doesn’t try to overlook her suspicions and hold it close in the back of her mind.
Well, looks like Rei’s startling realization wasn’t her overthinking it after-all. While trying to obtain some leads on the latest case they have been working on, Natsume had gone rogue to obtain some classified information from the MPD, and found the reason why the drug’s component analysis had been “incomplete” all this time was because it was hidden within top secret files that only a select few from STAND had access to. With that, Kotaro was able to confirm the drug they have been investigating is in fact the very same Plus that had circulated fifteen years ago.
This is particularly alarming to the DCD crew because this information was kept from them. Just as Rei feared from her realization last week, Kotaro too shares his suspicions that STAND may have ulterior motives that they are not aware of. Now that they are aware of that, it certainly forces them to be cautious about who they share their findings with, as well as alters their perception of STAND.
But that wasn’t the only problem they had to face this week. Makoto was taken into police custody for questioning about something “Anonymous” (perhaps related to Maki’s Anonymous Case). However since they haven’t released a statement why he was taken in, the media has gone wild with the headlines, claiming he had been arrested. As result, the Tsuzuki brothers’ reputation are tanking. But when Rei goes to Section 1’s Investigation team in hopes they could do something to get the media under control, You dropped a heck of a bombshell onto her when he revealed Makoto is in fact in STAND’s custody, and the reason why she was never told this was because she is an outsider.
Geez, calling her a scout is generous. Let’s be real, she is STAND’s gopher. They are making Rei run around and do all of this all while keeping her out of the loop! And it is quite brutal considering she thought she was contributing in a meaningful way. Now that she realized she doesn’t actually have a place within STAND, I wonder how she will act from here on out? Will she continue the job, or will she quit? There looks to be potential for an interesting dynamic and conversation to be held between her and Sosei, who has developed a bit of a soft spot for her. (Just barely I’d say, haha!) Right now the one thing they share in common is the concern about Makoto’s reputation. I am curious to see whether or not he will show us yet another side of his character of bending the rules by working together with Rei.
Actually speaking of You, he is quite a mysterious character. I think today was really the first time we saw his more ruthless side with the way he had put Rei in her place. We also got to see he clearly has ties with Revel, or at least with Maki, who appears to have been sharing information with him today. In the matter of fact, it might have been because of that meeting Maki knew ahead of time things were about to get ugly for the Tsuzuki brothers since STAND had no intention of clarifying why Makoto was taken into custody in the first place. That or he just knew because they are good at collecting information.
Now that the plot is finally in the spotlight I am definitely invested to see what STAND’s true objective is really about. That being said, I gotta be real with you guys: I really can’t get a good grasp on how I feel about this show. It is one of those weird ones were I am certainly intrigued in its mystery, but I am not particularly attached to the characters. Yes, there are a few like Maki and Sosei who have both caught my interest, but Rei so far has been quite a lacklustre heroine. I want to like her, but she hasn’t really been given the chance to show us what she is capable of as a rookie NARC. I am also not particularly fond of how she was a doormat to Kyousuke this episode.
And speaking of the devil, I am not a fan of Kyosuke. I cannot tell you how hard I rolled my eyes when he said, “But as soon as my brother joins STAND, even you’ll forget all about me.” I really can’t stand these type of characters. He played the “sister’s gift card” to get her to hang out with him for the day, nor get a hint that when she doesn’t get back to you, SHE’S CLEARLY NOT INTERESTED.
But on the flip-side, it was thanks to him that we got to see the DCD team act like Rei’s protective big brothers. It was really fun and sweet to see! I also enjoyed that we finally got the chance to see more of the other members like Kotaro and Haru, and the overall group dynamic. It was amusing how they kept on passing around Kotaro’s crazy creation until it landed in front of Rei- who drank it and immediately regretted it!
Next week, I wonder if there will be much follow-up to Itsuki’s suspicions on Soma. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kujo Family were suspected to have played a prominent role in either producing and or circulating Plus fifteen years ago. I am also quite curious about the “Amusement Park in the Forest” bit he was looking at as well. It makes me think about the incident that happened when Rei was caught up in when she was little. I I imagine we will be revisiting that location at some point or another, and I do have some suspicions it may also be the location of a drug ring.
Although my head is a mess when it comes to this show, there’s a part of me that still wants to cover it. So despite my reservations I will continue my coverage and see where it goes!
11.04.2019 – Status Update: DROPPED
Unfortunately due to my poor health, I am required to reduce my workload, so I am going to have to give this one up. It’s a bit of a shame since Episode 5 had a fun end, so I’m looking forward for what’s to come!