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Migi to Dari – 05

This remains the weirdest show of the season, in a way I find very appealing.  I will say, though, that this episode pushed the needle pretty far into the red in that respect, getting into almost David Lynch territory.  As an American I certainly appreciate the idea of deconstructing the perverse and twisted underbelly of suburbia – it’s a flat-out genre all to itself.  What I’m not sure of is whether in transplanting a facsimile of Americana into Kobe, Sano Nami is satirizing American suburban perversity, or some side of Japan’s that I’m not really aware of.

The epicentre of depravity in Origon Village is definitely the Ichijou house, where the Sonoyamas have been invited for dinner.  The matriarch Reiko is played by Paku Romi, and she’s a twisted one – but no more so than Eiji.  As we saw at the end of Episode 4, Eiji had an unhealthy interest in that snowflake button.  And he accuses Migi (buying time at the dinner table for Dari to search the house) of stealing it, forcing him to strip in front of everyone.  Dari institutes a last-ditch save to keep the truth from being discovered, but an even bigger secret is almost revealed when Eiji brings his dog in to sniff out the truth.  Migi really takes one for the team here – though if he’d known where it would lead, he might have acted differently.

The revelation that the button came off of Eiji’s pajamas is an interesting one.  Why would the boys’ mother (it’s later confirmed that she was indeed a maid in that house) have taken that button?  At this point things take a pretty sick turn, as Reiko strongarms Yochan and Papa into leaving Hitori in the Ichijou house to “reeducate” him.  This involves some fetishistic stuff like bondage and age regression, pretty heavy humiliation stuff that Eiji obviously intends to use to find out the truth about the button.  But it’s not clear what Reiko wants out of this, and I suspect she may just be doing it because she enjoys it.

Migi again sticks his neck out, telling Dari that he’ll remain a captive if it means Dari has a free hand to search the house.  Eventually he runs across Micchan doing so, as she cleans there every Wednesday.  The two of them turn into a sort of de facto detective squad, each of them obsessed with snooping though for very different reasons.  In the father’s study Dari finds a photograph with a reflection of his mother taking it, and Micchan notes that this is odd because “the Ichhijous don’t want anyone under 50”.  Again, it very much looks as if Migi and Dari’s mother had an affair with someone in the house (presumably the father) but there are still many pieces of the puzzle remaining to be fitted.

Migi’s prison, as it turns out, is a secret room that’s one and the same as the one where they hid under the bed waiting for their mother.  But another secret is discovered – a secret attic room where a diorama of Origon is kept, complete with miniature figures in the houses.  The Ichijous are obviously spying on everyone in town and compiling a database on them but again – why?  My suspicion that the joke here was that most of the sinister stuff was just boyish fantasy is starting to look a little shaky – the weird shit going on in this small town looks like more than just the usual small town weird shit.

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