Isn’t anybody ever going to learn? Crime just doesn’t pay - - least of all in the Edo period.
As nerdy as it sounds, this show’s piqued my interest in reading about the history of crime and law enforcement in Japan. Most likely, the ship for a full exploration of that topic really sailed as soon as I finished picking classes for my History minor in college. Sad to say, I don’t get much of any opportunity to read non-fiction that’s unrelated to work these days; so a case like this, where a show gets me interested in a topic, sadly ends in a quick and awful Wikipedia perusal.
(Writing that out makes me feel as disgusted with myself as this pickpocket should’ve been with himself. Ha.)
Getting back on topic, this show’s absolutely riding the stride it just established with the Holland romp. The trio of leads are playing off each other nicely, I’m continually impressed by the inventiveness of what I’m getting each episode (what happened to the hip hop scratching, though?) and I’m man enough to admit that the show's Comedy/Tragedy mask dance moved me. The bones of the plot seem like they’ve been plucked right out of an old EC crime comic, but the transplantation to the samurai setting was wonderfully novel (to my experience, at least.)
The real trick, however, was the centering of all this drama on Fuu’s bittersweet naiveté. As I said, it takes a smart show to allow its characters to act stupidly sometimes; and you can’t help but feel for this cute young girl who gets a little crush on this cute young boy who loves his Momma so much. Even while it was amusing to watch how her voyeurism was interpreted as something healthy by the pickpocket’s mother (if the genders were reversed, I really don’t think a Peeping Tom would ever be mistaken for the boyfriend) it was an effectively sad narrative conceit to give us that fleeting glimpse of what a normal relationship for these kids might look like.
We can have all some fun with the evil, Leprechaun-like yakuza hood's charming sadism and Mugen's bull-in-China-shop approach to heroics... but it's that wistful stuff that really gives it weight. Let's see what absurdities and tragedies come next!
Watch this episode, "A Risky Racket” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.