After a fairly unnecessary cliffhanger and a bizarrely-directed standoff, Yakumo levels out and turns in a decent happy ending for all (well, except for the bad guys, but that’s expected). The one Nanase shoots is Gotou, in hopes that killing him will be the final straw for Yakumo, despair-and-hatewise.
His father means to possess his physical body so that he can wreck havoc by himself. But when he tries, Yakumo fights him and keeps him out. Dejected that the plan has failed, Nanase books it, and Yakumo’s dad goes off somewhere, to keep egging weak people on to commit crimes.
Yakumo has despair and hatred, but those things don’t automatically make someone evil; it all depends on what you do with it. He hates the doctor who made Isshin brain dead, but rather let the doctor’s innocent daughter die for spite, and consents to have his uncle’s organs harvested. He breaks the chain of hatred and shows his father that while they share blood, evil isn’t for him.
Gotou recovers quickly. and after sending off Isshin, life goes back to normal for Yakumo, Haruka, his family (Gotou and his wife adopt Nao), and everyone else. A surprisingly feel-good ending. Rating: 3.5
Series Mean Ranking: 3.308 (Ranked 11th out of 15 Fall 2010 Series)
My deductive skills aren’t that good – perhaps due to inexperience. So on more than one occasion with Yakumo, I’ve come away with the wrong conclusions. I assumed Miyuki Nanase stabbed Isshin, under orders from Yakumo’s father, but it turns out the culprit was the attending physician. He did this because he’s the father of the girl who has six months to live without a transplant. Isshin is an organ donor and perfect match, and so the doctor is the one who stabs him.
Since I’m not yet a father, I cannot say how strong the drive to save my child’s life would be under these circumstances. Would a distinguished physician really throw all of his morals out the window and kill someone to save his child’s life? This one did. His even car hit Yakumo’s on his way back to the hospital. Yakumo’s dad was still involved: he presented the opportunity to the doctor (some would say he egged him on).
In any case, Yakumo is not happy about what has transpired. He hates his father more than ever; and is teetering on that same fence Luke Skywalker was one while his dad and Palpatine were constantly trying to make him give in to anger and hate. Now that there are so many people associated with Yakumo, it would seem there are many opportunities for him to knock him off that fence and into darkness. After all, all of his friends and family came up to the hospital roof and are sitting ducks for Miyuki Nanase. We don’t yet know who she’s aiming at, but no matter who it is, it won’t be good. Rating: 3.5
Last week Miyuki told the cops that Yakumo’s dad would kill Isshin. This week he all but does, as blood loss from a stabbing results in his brain death. We’re not sure who stabs him though, as spirits can’t handle physical objects. What we do learn is that at least part of him now possesses Miyuki, and through inducing a seizure, she has been released from prison. Something tells me she’ll slip out of the hospital without to much difficulty.
The real meat of this episode was how everyone dealt with Isshin’s plight. Yakumo knew he had a year to live anyway, and lets Haruka know. Both Haruka and Gotou’s roles are similar now: Haruka needs to be there for Yakumo, and Gotou needs to be there for Nao. He’s even sent home to spend time with his new ward, which means also spending actual time with his beautiful but sheltered wife. They have a very interesting relationship: they hardly see each other or talk, yet they love each other deeply. All but adopting Nao could be the best thing to ever happen to all involved.
In a final gesture of her resolve to stay by his side, Haruka presents Yakumo with a red contact for his non-red eye. She’ll have to, if he’s to stay out of the darkness his father wants him in. This rich episode even managed tie up the loose end of the patient-haunting girl at the hospital, whose heart Isshin soothed. I will certainly miss his cool-headed, zen presence, but his demise wasn’t in vain, as it brought people closer together. Rating: 4
Things pretty much return to normal this week, with Yakumo safe and sound and another ghost mystery surfacing. Yakumo has opened up a little more after his ordeal, and the barbs he directs at Haruka are a little less malicious. i wouldn’t exactly call him chipper, but the difference is noticeable after nine weeks of cold, detached Yakumos. When Haruka’s mom mails them an album full of Yakumo baby pictures, Haruka and Nao go nuts.
Yakumo happens to learn from the medical examiner that his father gave off an aura akin to a corpse, bringing up the possibility that his father, like Takeda, is actually a spirit that humans are able to see. In any case, he’s a supernatural being. Meanwhile, the cops are successful in capturing Miyuki, but Chief Miyagawa is worried that higher-ups may sandbag further investigation to save face…so she’s going to meet with Miyuki ASAP. Gotou tags along.
The only thing she says to them (that we hear) is that Isshin will be killed. This is after Isshin goes to the hospital with a headache and leaves learning he has a year to live. Is this coincidence, or did Yakumo’s father do something to him? I don’t have enough info yet; but I will say I really enjoyed the touching scenes in which Isshin comforts Yoshikio, a dying girl in despair. The fact that he shares her fate allows him to connect better than ever with someone’s pain. His reaction to his plight is suitibly enlightened: all things die; live seems short, but it’s long; scary and sad things are simply scary and sad. Rating: 3.5
Finally, the payoff: this episode puts to rest the mysteries of who killed the Nanase family and more importantly, why Yakumo’s mother tried to kill him. There’s adequate suspense and action, but also lots of lengthy scenes of people explaining things, which is kind of an undesirable by-product of creating such a complex story fraught with twists and turns. Still, I’m glad things were cleared up; my mind was glazing over with all the connections.
First of all, Miyuki herself killed her family. She went all O-Ren Ishii on them to be precise; having simply had it with them all. Takeda, who proposed to Azusa just before the murders, was framed for them, sending her into a spiral of depression and confusion. The glasses-wearing guy everyone calls “That Man” exploited that, driving Azusa into even deeper despair. Her attempt on Yakumo wasn’t an act of hate, but desperation. Her spirit confirms this; having shot out of the red pendant he gave Haruka, which gets them out of a pickle.
With this new knowledge of his mother’s feelings, and the temporary retreat of Nanase and “That Man”, Yakumo opens up a bit more, now cognizant that far from being alone, he is in fact connected to gobs of people – living and dead – who truly care about him; especially Haruka. With a more clearer picture of his past and his place in the world, he seems to be on a path of caring about her in kind. Rating: 3.5
The revelations and twists come fast and furiously this week, as Haruka’s friends and non-evil family team up to try to ascertain what the hell happened to him and Gotou. I like how despite trying to distance himself from everyone (because he thinks he causes everyone unhappiness due to his ability), the number of people who care about him has only increased.
Not only that, Haruka in particular springs into full Detective Girl Mode, swapping character roles with Yakumo. She also snaps Ishii out of his funk, and he has his best and most serious episode. We delve ever deeper into Yakumo’s past and reveals even more about him, as well as a strange and intricate connection between Haruka and Yakumo: their mothers exchanged letters with one another.
Haruka becomes a target for Miyuki Nanase, but Takeda of all people, the one suspected of murdering her family (but likely didn’t) and on the run from the cops, is waiting there to block her. Whatever happens next, it’s clear that Haruka needs to find Yakumo and Gotou soon, before Miyuki manages to capture her too. Her plans for Haurka vis-à-vis Yakumo aren’t exactly savory. Rating: 3.5
Yakumo isn’t the flashiest series around this season, but damn it all if it doesn’t have one of the best soundtracks. The incidental music is just about continuous, and it’s continually kick-ass. In this episode they even threw some new tracks in, which makes sense, as the series is finally on its feet and ready to run in terms of moving the story forward.
It was about time they started bringing the glasses chick into the picture. She’s Miyuki Nanase, the sole survivor of her family who were victims in a quadruple homicide fifteen years ago. The long and short of the episode is that a ghost video was made as as trap in order to isolate Yakumo and bring him into her stun gun-equipped clutches. I think Miyuki wants him to start using his gift to serve the powers of evil, rather than to help people. In any case, she’s one tough gal.
There are some great interactions between Gotou and his section chief, Miyagawa (another strong, no-nonsense female character in true Beetrain fashion), as well as between Miyagawa and Ishii when he comes back to the station with his tail between his legs (Miyuki also got Gotou with the stun gun in the haunted mansion where the video was taken. She’s a busy bee…) Ishii in particular was hardly inspiring in this episode, and fully deserved the cross to the face from Miyagawa. Let’s hope he redeems himself in future episodes.
Haruka wasn’t really around in this episode, except to invite Yakumo to her concert. However, rather than blow her off, Yakumo actually calls her up to politely tell her he can’t make it (he has to go walk into a trap). The old Yakumo surely wouldn’t have done something so kind-hearted. We’ll see if Ms. Frizzle, Assassin changes all that. Rating: 3.5
With Haruka safe and the reporter un-possessed, Yakumo 6 returned to more detective-y stuff, involving the ghost of a plain-jane girl who haunts the apartment where she lived. It serves as a vehicle for the message that just about everyone has a side to themselves that they never show anyone. In the ghost’s case, it was dressing up and wearing make-up. In Yakumo’s case, well…he hardly ever shows any side to himself save the angsty tactless know-it-all side.
When Haruka’s friends press her about Yakumo, she organizes their relationship cryptically. Despite the verbal abuse and apparent indifference to her existence Yakumo exhibits whenever she’s around him, she still feels more like herself around him. She wants to peel away Yakumo’s thick, introverted armor. It may protect him against getting hurt, but it also deprives him of the rewards of putting one’s heart on the line. Rating: 3
There were quite a few issues left to resolve last week, and thankfully most of them were in this episode. Haruka is abducted by the doctor (who turns out to be bad) and is dropped into a river where the guy’s daughter died. His hope is that his daughter’s spirit will possess Haruka and she’ll be resurrected. Which begs the question: won’t Haruka, the vessel, just drown in the water?
Anyway, Yakumo and Gotou arrive just in time and save Haruka, which leaves the possessed news reporter. The guy possessing her was the one who kidnapped girls for the doctor (he made numerous attempts to resurrect his daughter in this way) and he killed him so he wouldn’t blab to the cops. Anyway, this dead guy releases his hold on the reporter when he sees the doctor is in custody. After all, possessing somebody can’t bring you back from the dead.
That leaves…the sunglasses couple. The man is apparently Yakumo’s father, and even helped the doctor capture Haruka. The question is, why is he doing this to Yakumo, why is he involving Haurka, and what is Yakumo going to do about it? Inquiring minds want to know. Rating: 3
Now we’re learning a lot more about Yakumo. He’s in his mid-twenties, his mother was afraid of him as soon as he was born, tried to kill him when he was still a little squirt, and took off somewhere, never to be seen again. Obviously, he’s confused and bitter about all this, and combined with the eye, he’s grown up into the wolfpack of one that he is, refusing to share feelings with anyone. Haruka seeks to change that.
But then, crap, she wakes up in a gynecologists office, and has no idea how she got there. That is never a good thing. Worse still, the dark, stylish couple watching Yakumo from the shadows have taken an interest in her, and the doctor who delivered Yakumo (at that same office) seems to be in cahoots with them. Really not good.
According to Yakumo, there are two kinds of people in his life: those who find his eye strange, and those who want to profit from it in some way. Interestingly, Haruka doesn’t seem to be either. But by meeting and befriending him, she may be kissing her ordinary life goodbye. Rating: 3
This episode dealt with another lost spirit, but this time it wasn’t saved or comforted by Saitou, but instead was dragged away by demons, possibly to hell. All the more depressing since the spirit in question was that of a small boy who was run over by the Vice Prez at Haruka’s old job (of all people).
He even paid a mechanic to finish the job and get rid of the evidence. Not a nice guy. I kinda had him pegged as the perp pretty fast, but It’s fortuitous he didn’t get his comeuppance in his car, because Haruka was in it at the time, and Saitou wasn’t about to let her get killed.
In the end, everyone’s safe and sound…save that boy’s spirit. Saitou can’t save ’em all, and it weighs upon him. Haruka, who now owes him her life, has assured that she won’t just be a passing acquaintance of Saitou’s to be cast aside. Future troubles needn’t be endured alone. Rating: 3
Another week, another case for Yakumo the Psychic Dick. He continues to be an aloof dick too, with nothing nice to say to Haruka the whole episode. That said, he does see dead people, whether he wants to or not. That kind of condition would make someone, well…the way he is.
Regardless of his callousness, it’s’ good to see Haruka “get” him, and seems to want to be his friend, and isn’t going to give up easily. She’s even jealous when she sees him with another broad, although this turns out to be another client and nothing more. It’s obvious it will be a steep hill for Haruka to climb before she can get him to open up to her.
The mystery, again, was solved pretty much instantly, with some off-camera deduction. The story of a guy losing the woman he was eloping with because he was stubborn was a bit transient, but it had a decent payoff, and no shrines were relocated after all. In all, this was a quiet episode; but it did hint that some potential villains lurking in the shadows would start to move soon. Rating: 3
Psychic Detective Yakumo’s opening act was solid and confident. It had a decent detective story that introduced the key players and exhibited the skills of the ‘psychic detective’ (he can see and hear dead spirits and can act as a medium between the living and dead, for instance). There’s a nice, airy, effortless quality to how Yakumo does his detective work…he cares and doesn’t care at the same time.
I’m liking the return of Beetrain to my watchlist, their last major effort, Phantom, frankly kicked so much ass, Yakumo has its work cut out for it. Both series share similar character design and muted palette. That was about assassins; this is about a detective, who can also be a real jerk sometimes. This series also provided perhaps the best burn of the fall season, when Yakumo made light of his detective friend’s marital status (it was all in the delivery).
There isn’t much else in terms of horsing around in this series; it’s mature and serious, which is as it should be when you’re trying to solve murders. Finally, I love how this series starts off like all good private dick yarns: a damsel in distress walks into the dark office…and is unenthusiastically welcomed by an apathetic lone wolf. All that was missing was a bottle of scotch and the shadow of window blinds on the desk. Rating: 3