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The Fable – 12

This has certainly developed into one of the more interesting and even thought-provoking series of the season. By anime (less so manga) standards The Fable is pretty unsparing in its depiction of the yakuza and those who people it. There’s an element of fantasy here, no doubt, but not a lot of whitewashing. As I’ve said before I’m certainly not knowledgeable enough to know whether its depiction of average mobsters is accurate, but I sense that it may not be that far off.

Apparently Misaki didn’t recognize Akira under that hood (I would have thought the voice was a giveaway, but dramatic license). That makes things less complicated long-term but does mean he has to preserve his identity for the moment. I almost feel sorry for Akira here – this would all be so easy for him if only he could follow his usual M.O.. But as it stands he has to foil a rape, subdue a rival hitman, and get both Misaki and Kojima out of that warehouse alive without killing anybody (and carrying effectively a homemade gun besides). Even for him, that’s a pain in the ass.

Then we have the fascinating conversation between Fable (for lack of a better name) and Ebihara. This hospital visit comes in terms of a warning for Ebihara, lucky for him. He’s foiled the best-laid plans of Fable, to see if Akira is capable of living a normal life (with the long-term goal of easing him into one). Fable muses that Akira is a killing savant, a young Mozart of assassination. But like the variation of the “Rambo” Jimmy Lile knife Fable carries, Akira is outdated. An “analog” hitman in a digital age. Yet Fable still carries the knife – and he hates the idea of such a maestro as Akira not being part of the business.

The fact is, even if he’s not killing Akira is still a maestro of mayhem. He may not be able to calm Misaki down, but he can deal with Sunagawa’s “pro” with only a modicum of his attention – never mind the other zaku present. There’s a clear hierarchy here – a pyramid with the pro at the top, his muscle one level below him, and all the other plebs at the bottom (including the so-called kickboxing pro). But Akira doesn’t even fit on the chart. He’s The Col du Tourmalet and Mont Ventoux all rolled into one.

Akira’s “bam bam bam” approach has thoroughly disabled Misaki’s would-be assailant, and though he’s not 100% sure, Akira has avoided killing him. Akira drafts the kickboxer – who he heard speak in Misaki’s defense – into driving Misaki home once he takes out the mosquito tone (and the pro) despite the man having been slashed by the Pro’s assistant. He then turns his attention to said Pro, firstly by interfering just as he was about to take Kojima out (much to my disappointment). Using only his homemade smoke bombs and makeshift firearm and rounds, he soon dispenses with the man without much trouble. He also shoots Kojima non-fatally through the office door (how he managed to pull that precision off I’m not sure) with the Pro’s gun and drags him off into the trunk of the Hakosuka.

All in all I think you’d have to say Akira handled that with admirable dexterity. Misaki is shaken but not physically hurt – the kickboxer even gives her his number and offers to testify against Kojima if she goes to the cops. Everyone is indeed alive, somehow. There’s still the matter of whoever the second person Sunagawa wants taken out is, but Kojima is the most obvious unresolved problem now. I can’t imagine any scenario where he doesn’t cause trouble if allowed to, no matter who orders or threatens him to the contrary. He’s not Akira’s problem but he does know who Akira is now, and if he continues to make trouble for Misaki Akira is going to be his problem, that’s for sure…

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