Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 05

saks51

Just as Sakurako assembles piles of bones into completed skeletons, she assembles piles of clues into solved mysteries. And this week she wastes no time revealing Fujioka’s “curse” by applying a hefty dose of science. All the rain and humidity caused mold to grew behind the frame of his painting; a mold that reacts to the arsenic-based Sheele’s Green paint to generae diethyl arsine gas.

Fujioka’s banded nails and cough were symptoms of arsenic poisoning, from being in close proximity to the painting in his closed-off room. She “lifts” the curse by opening a window, hopeful the fresh air and truth will set Fujioka at ease. But when Fujioka goes off to smoke his last cigarette, Sakurako senses this skeleton isn’t quite complete: more bones lay scattered whose proper place must be found.

saks52

Among those bones: the fact Fujioka was fine having both a dog and a painting he believed to be cursed nearby; the fact he closely researched the causes and age of deaths of all his male relatives and printed out the results; the large life insurance policy he took out on himself; it all points to him looking to off himself and make it look like an accident; another victim of the family curse.

It almost works, too, but thanks to an alert Hector and a razor-sharp-minded Sakurako, his plan is foiled. She turniquets the leg he wounded with an axe, and as they wait for the ambulance, he confesses that after the global financial crisis, he’s broke, and could see no other way to provide for his wife and child than by sacrificing himself. But as someone who was “left behind” herself, Saku is personally offended by such an attitude.

Being alive and with his family is far more important to them than solving money troubles. So they sell the big black house—black, Saku believes, not because of that color’s association with death, but because of its psychological healing power: those in mourning who wear it aren’t merely expressing their grief, but fighting their fear of death.

saks53

We hear bits and pieces of what becomes of Fujioka and his family: his leg on the mend, he gets a job at an IT company; they sell the house and move into a small apartment; and Sakurako adopts Hector so he can have the proper space to run around. Despite being taken down a couple of pegs, it’s still a happy ending for Fujioka, because his wife’s hope that they’ll grow old together and see their great grandchildren remains.

Sakurako remains weary of the art appraiser who insisted Fujioka get close to the painting with his wife and son, believing he may have had sinister intentions toward the family. Ultimately, his manipulation of Fujioka, and all the heightening anxiety it entailed, may have been the real curse that threatened to kill him. Hopefully, it’s gone now. But Saku still carries her own curse; one pile of bones she has yet to touch, and which Shoutarou continues to remind her of. I wonder when we’ll learn how those bones fit together in earnest—those of the titular ‘corpse under Sakurako’s feet’.

Last week’s episode felt a bit too deliberate and hesitant, but the resolution (imperfect as it is in typical Sakurako-san fashion) more than made up for it, using every bone laid out last week to construct a beautiful skeleton. Saku’s science-y deductions continue to make this one of the smartest shows of the Fall, and references to the Great Recession firmly ground it in reality.

8_brav2

Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

2 thoughts on “Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 05”

  1. All the elements certainly did line up finally but with a slight twist based on Fujioka’s suicide plot. One loose end remains. The art dealer whose psychological manipulation almost leads to Fujioka’s death. I doubt that is the last we will see of him in this series.

    1. True: I said all of last week’s bones were assembled this week, but the art dealer was one bone whose place she’s not quite sure of, which of course pisses her off.

      Chemistry, pathology, physics, psychology, philosophy, color theory—Sakurako flexes all of her academic muscles this week, and it’s wonderful to watch her come to her conclusions, none of which are pulled out of the ether.

      There’s no magic or curses in play, only the “magic” or “curses” that victims believe in, which become self-fulfilling prophecies.

      I’m glad the cases of this show so far end optimistically, if not perfectly gift-wrapped.

      Sakurako isn’t coming up with this stuff out of the blue, she’s merely working at threads that are already there; threads that speak to an overarching decency and optimism in mankind that a few bad eggs can’t fundamentally alter.

      And as goofy and repetitive as it is, I still get chills every time the show uses her “Let’s Solve the Mystery” sequence, in which piles of bones around her assemble and begin to march.

      Part of that is the haunting music, but I also believe those skeletons represent all of her past solved cases—some big, some small—each of which taught her something new about the process.

      Those amassed lessons combine with and complement her considerable academic knowledge to make her one formidable detective.

Comments are closed.