Yaichi's past finally comes to light and it's most definitely not pretty.
What They Say
Masanosuke begins to understand what motivates Yaichi to keep kidnapping, even when the rest of the gang sees no need. Hoping to learn more of Yaichi's past, Masanosuke visits Elder.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Money is slowly but surely becoming less of an issue for the members of the House of Five Leaves so they're becoming less interested in the kidnapping business that Yaichi can't seem to shake. Yaichi is still bringing in those jobs though and he has a new one lined up that he need Masanosuke for. Masanosuke for his part though is still pretty much an honorable guy as he states he won't use his sword for this business. His size and general frame goes a long way towards making him useful though when he works at Yaichi's side since he adds a bit of menace to the event.
Te latest kidnapping event goes well and the young man is brought in, though the situation is bad because his family obviously doesn't want him as they don't pay the ransom. In fact, they've given money to kill him since he's not of true blood to the family which makes him problematic. The whole event is awkward because of this since you have those who don't want to do anything with it, but it's speaking more about Yaichi's real intentions with all of the kidnappings. Masanosuke can't help but to believe that Yaichi is going through all of this to save others through somewhat subtle ways. If true, it's still something that isn't clear to everyone and even if it was, it's not clear that they'd help out with this kind of endeavour.
What it comes down to though is that these people have had difficult lives at times and they're trying to focus on the present as opposed to the past. Yet with that in mind, Yaichi is unable to even though he's the one that formed this group around this idea. It's positively surprising when Masanosuke brings this up to Yaichi and he reacts so visibly and strongly, indicating just how much it's struck a chord with those words. It unleashes a torrent of memories from the past, revealed by the Elder, where we see Yaichi in his previous life with the kind of cruelty that really defined him, cruelty that certainly explains the kind of quiet insanity that may possess him now in how he deals with the people he's kidnapped and those that offer up the money to have them killed or lost. It's an enlightening piece of his past that definitely shows a side to him that you felt may have been there but gone unseen until now.
While most episodes of the series are pretty laid back, and a good part of this one is too, it's the small bursts of intensity that really defines this one as something different. Yaichi's past and the path of his life are becoming very clear at this point and we understand what has driven him to where he is now. Masanosuke has some very good quiet moments here, especially early on where he says he won't use his sword for this business, and that has a whole new meaning once we see the flashback to Yaichi's past and his use of the sword. House of Five Leaves has had a lot of good material to it, though it slowed down too much for my tastes with the pacing, but this is an episode that will help define it as to whether it will be viewed as a good series overall or one that can be forgotten.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.