New Anime

The Fable – 07

Setting aside the blandness of the production, The Fable has pretty much won me over. There are a few quite good yakuza anime to be found from the past few years, but they tend to run pretty hard towards the fairy tale side of the equation. The Fable is theoretically a comedy, but it’s an order of magnitude grittier than stuff like Hinamatsuri and its ilk. The style of humor here feels appropriate for a series about gangsters, which is a rarity in anime.

Kojima’s arrival was a pretty obvious game-changer right from the start, but how much and how fast comes as a bit of a shock. In contrast to the mostly misfit group we’ve met so far, he’s a straight-up psychopath. He loves violence for its own sake and seems perpetually to be looking for a reason to engage in it. Unfortunately for him Takahashi gets caught up in Kojima’s orbit when coming over to drop off a warehouse key. Kojima starts off by attacking him for sitting down first, then for accepting a beer with one hand. Ebihara is gone for a long time, and it turns out he’s collapsed in the bath – possibly a heart attack.

This is the moment when it really hits the fan, because it’s clear that without Ebihara to keep him in-line Kojima is going to be a complete loose cannon. The boss can see this, but chooses (so far) not to do anything about it. Meanwhile Youko continues to be an extremely obnoxious drunk, though Misaki is patient as a saint with her. The next day Fable tries to convince her to change her keys, knowing full well what likely happened, but Misaki declines. After Ebi is admitted to the hospital Kojima comes around to stir up trouble with “the boss’ relatives”, and extorts Fable for ¥100,000 protection money – chump change to Kojima, but he’s in it for the fun of it.

Of course Fable could cut Kojima down to size anytime he wants. But the minute he does, he blows his cover – so for now, he keeps up the act. Kojima meanwhile, having been granted Takahashi as a lackey while Ebihara is out of commission, buys a .357 magnum from Maguro’s weapons broker and heads off on a personal revenge tour. Starting with a guy who borrowed 3 million Yen from him before he got sent away. Takahashi’s reaction to what goes down confirms that’s indisputably a small-fry, wholly unprepared for the sort of underworld activity Kojima lives for.

This is a now a powder keg of a situation to say the least. At some point I imagine the organization is going to have to act before Kojima brings too much unwanted attention on them with his explosion of violence, but until then there’s no buffer between Kojima and Fable. And Fable has to deal with Kuro, who stalks him to his house to beg to become his disciple. Kuro is utterly clueless about how Fable became the legend he did, as witness his comment about wanting to “leave a mark” in the underworld. No one who thinks that way could ever succeed in Fable’s job.

Fable may just be the only one who could take Kojima down while Ebihara is laid up, but for the moment at least his hands are tied. I wonder if the Boss might untie them – go to Fable and ask that he step in and bring Kojima under control. He’s skilled enough that he could probably do so without violating the letter of his orders from his own boss, if not the spirit of them. If not, it’s going to be interesting to see how far Fable is willing to let himself be pushed before he starts pushing back.

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