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The Fable – 11

It’s a dangerous game The Fable is playing, turning Akira (since the Boss calls him that I guess I will too – maybe it’s really his name?) into a sympathetic figure. Just because he’s emotionless about killing dozens of people – and most of them are mob-related – that doesn’t absolve him from blame for doing it. But it’s the same game pretty much all gangster stories play. Anti-heroes can often make the most magnetic protagonists, it’s true. Still, The Fable is a bit different from most and so is Akira. And at this point, the chemistry is extremely effective.

I think it’s pretty obvious that Akira doesn’t feel emotions in the way “normal” people do. Whatever he is, he’s different. Detached, clinical, totally unflappable. But he does feel, that much is clear. No one could be more gleeful at the notion of him falling for Misaki (“Running Woman”) than Youko, but I’m not sure that’s what’s happening. I’m not sure it can happen with Akira. But she is changing him and that can’t be disputed. She was kind to him when no one else was. She supports him without any good reason to do so. He wants to protect her, and he likes it when she smiles. And if anyone ever needed protecting, it’s Misaki right now.

The Pro Sanagawa has brought in seems to be thorough, at the very least. He’s using a high-frequency pest control device (which don’t work, by the way) as his signal to take out Kojima (after Sanagawa has had a chance to find out what happened to his flunky). Sanagawa has no interest in this meeting as anything but a pretext to eliminate Kojima, at which point he’ll take possession of Misaki and use her as part of his operation. There are no good guys in this confrontation, even if Kojima is especially easy to loathe.

Akira could resolve this all easily enough if he didn’t have at least one hand tied behind his back. But clearly he has no intention to do anything but win, and no one is more thorough than he is. He has Youko make up some explosive Pokeballs, and she joins him in her usual role as driver and logistical support. Meanwhile Ebihara gets a visitor in the hospital – Akira’s boss, who doesn’t resist being called Fable. Ebihara is dead to rights here. He’s helpless, and has no conceivable means of pretending he hasn’t broken the promise his boss made to Fable.

With all these elements colliding, it would be a good time not to stand in front of the fan. Fable is a wild card – we don’t know what he’s going to do. Akira has to try and extract Misaki from both her short and long-term peril without breaking his promise either to Fable or Ebihara. And Sanagawa is presumably seconds away from signalling his assassin to take Kojima out (which I could easily see Akira getting blamed for, if it came to that). And all the while Sanagawa’s flunky is about to “test-drive” Misaki, who’s understandably in complete panic mode. What a mess.

The most interesting moment of the episode, I think is the exchange where Youko urges Akira to be careful, telling him “If you and Misaki get killed, it can also be kept under wraps.” To which he replies, “Youko, you still don’t understand me.” It’s not immediately obvious what he means here, but I think he’s scolding her believing, even for a moment, that he isn’t going to win. That such a thing could ever happen. As it stands Akira arrives in the nick of time to save Misaki from a very nasty fate, presumably by less than fatal means. But Misaki now knows her ¥900 man is not who she thought he was, which complicates matters in and of itself.

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