Kotoko’s next case is brought to her by her parents, and the client is Otonashi Goichi, the president of a successful international hotel and hospitality chain. He ascended due to the murder by stabbing of his wife Sumi, who was detrimentally controlling the lives of their three children and about to drive the company off a fiscal cliff. The timing of her death was no accident; Goichi comes right out and informs Kotoko that he is the culprit. Kotoko’s reaction is classic Kotoko: cheerfully sardonic!
While Goichi didn’t wield the blade that killed Sumi, it was Goichi, who had cloistered himself in a mountain villa, who turned to the supernatural to solve his company and childrens’ problems. Specifically, a fox ayakashi known as a yoko came before him and offered to kill Sumi for him if he agreed to acquire and develop the next mountain over, where the yoko’s rivals lived. Within ten days, Sumi was slain by an unknown assailant, and Goichi was president.
He held up his end of the bargain, and not only did he back the company off a cliff, he shored up its finances to ensure long-term survival and success. Similarly, with the influence of their controlling mother removed, Goichi’s two sons and daughter could pursue their own life goals. His first son became a successful chef; his daughter married the man she loved (who was also successful); and his younger son became the heir apparent to the company.
Goichi waited for the consequences for turning to supernatural means to kill his wife to arrive, but the never came until recently, when he has been diagnosed with cancer and given about a year to live. Before he dies, he wants his children to know—and believe—that he was the one responsible for their mother’s death, and that what he did isn’t something that should be repeated lest they invite the wrath of the universe upon them. That’s where Kotoko comes in.
After meeting with the mountain yoko Fubuki, captured by his rivals, Kotoko works out a deal: he’ll tell her everything there is to know about his arrangement with Goichi, and she’ll use her stature in to ensure the severity of his punishment for his crimes is lessoned. From there, Goichi gave Kotoko free rein to create whatever plausible lie or web of lies is necessary to get his kids on board with the idea that he killed their mom.
After Kotoko completes her preliminary investigations, she brings Kurou up to speed, and Kurou is characteristically reluctant to be roped into this, even if he knows full well that’s what Kotoko is going to do. Over several rounds of a crane game to win a pack of naughty pens packed with fantastically adorable reactions, Kotoko lays out the basics of the plan.
It’s the classic In/Spectre move of spicing up what is otherwise a scene of exposition by having Kotoko/Kurou engage in something interesting. There’s a fair amount of suspense in whether they’ll nab the pens or not, and when they finally do, it’s because Kotoko is mad that Kurou tells her there’s nothing sexy about her…not even her paisley underwear. Rude!
When Goichi’s second son Susumu, the daughter of his first son Rion, and the husband of his daughter, Koya, are invited to a meeting with Goichi, Kotoko, and Kurou, they are tasked with coming up with their own explanations for how Goichi killed Sumi.
Kotoko, assisted by Kurou, will judge their explanations, give them a chance to amend them over the two-day-period, and will be the one who decides who has the best one based on truth and order. The winner will receive precedence in Goichi’s inheritance, so there is no small incentive for them to take this seriously.
While largely a table-setting episode, the GF/BF interactions between Kotoko and Kurou and the supernatural Succession-esque tale of corporate intrigue make it a table for a meal I’m looking forward to tucking into, especially once we get to know the three contestants.