During a brief recess when Goichi’s heirs get some air, Kurou lies down, but doesn’t get to rest long as a frisky Kotoko pounces on him with the full force of her 90-ish pounds (which is to say, not much). It’s another fun reminder of how close they’ve become, and it’s also a prime opportunity for Kotoko to confer with Kurou on her progress baiting the heirs into admitting their murder plans, which adequately prepares them for the false solution she’s prepared.
Of the three “contestants”, she believes Rion will be the first one to come upon that conclusion, as early as that night, and that proves to be exactly the case. While Susumu and Koya were successfully baited, the genuinely innocent Rion was also given everything she needed to craft a solution. A phone call with her dad is the catalyst that helps Rion organize and connect the clues swimming in her mind.
Missing from the meeting’s revelations is the true nature of Otonashi Sumi’s motivations. She wasn’t simply a tyrant bent on success at any cost, but was herself a puppet of her father Denjiro’s machinations. Denjirou laid out an intricately detailed plan, Sumi carried it out, and it resulted in the company’s success. Under that kind of pressure, it was virtually impossible for Sumi to disobey Denjirou even after he passed, even if she knew his plans were fracturing her family and eventually even the company.
That’s when Rion remembers how Kotoko phrased it—success sometimes harms people and leads them to their own destruction—and eureka, she has the solution: Sumi committed suicide. Trapped between her family’s happiness and the success of her company on one side an Denjiro’s orders on the other, Sumi took herself out of the equation.
Rion even surmises that Sumi made it look like a murder knowing her family had alibis to avoid harming the brand or their reputations. Kotoko looks happy with Rion’s answer—not necessarily because it’s the correct one, but because it’s the one she wanted Rion to come upon. Kotoko even softens the tension between them by saying her name is cute and brave, like a squirrel and a lion.
I like how that led to Susumu saying if Rion were a boy she’d be named Reo, since his big bro loved lions. It’s enough to suggest that amends between the brothers is possible. When the time comes to deliver the group’s answer to Goichi, Rion is the one to present it. Not only does Goichi accept it, and accept the even distribution of the inheritance, but laments that he didn’t do something like this sooner.
To do so would have saved his children undue guilt. While Susumu, Koya, and Kaoruko feel they’ve sinned, Goichi points out that there’s a very wide space between wishing to kill someone—and even holding a knife to someone’s neck—and actually going through with it. In doing his part to manipulate Sumi into commiting suicide, he believes himself the sole culprit in her death, and plans to pay for it by foregoing medication and dying a painful miserable death.
In this way, Goichi hopes to powerfully impress upon his heirs the lesson that one should never expect success as a result of murdering someone. The cost may have came late for him, but it will come all the same. That would wrap things up, except that Kotoko isn’t done. She rejects Rion’s theory of suicide, and provides valid reasons why.
The most important of these reasons is simply that making a suicide look like a murder carried far too much unnecessary risk and complexity. Engineering an accidental death, on the other hand, would have precluded the need for any alibis and prevented any police investigation.
Also, Goichi can claim he’ll pay for his crime, but the fact his family was protected by this solution means he doesn’t regret the choice he made or the success it led to. No, Otonahi Sumi didn’t commit suicide, she was murdered, and next week Kotoko will reveal the identity of the true killer. The question is, will that really be the fox ayakashi, or still someone else?