Yaichi's secrets are slowly being ferreted out and laid before him in crisp detail.
What They Say
Yaichi joins Yagi for a drink, where they reminisce about the past and old friends. Later, tensions escalate after a confrontation between Jin and Yaichi leads to a confession about the kidnapping.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yaichi's past has certainly been a subject of interest from almost the start of the series as he took to someone like Masanosuke so easily. With his business being all about kidnappings, ones that often have led to having the victim escape on his own with some funds to get as far away as possible, he hasn't been a traditionalist in the area, so to speak. His reasons for doing so were never clear and while it confused others in the group, they made their money regardless so they went along with it. But now something feels very different and they're starting to fall away from participating in the group anymore.
And that happens at the same time that Masanosuke starts to understand more of Yaichi's past through Yagi. And it's Yagi that pretty much openly confronts Yaichi about his past and how he acquired his name over a simple series of drinks together one night. As Yagi slowly lays everything out and the small things that Yaichi thought would be eternally quiet are revealed, the tension rises in his face and how he carries himself as he's certain nothing good will come of this. The most telling of moments comes when Yagi simply calls him by his shortened first real name and Yaichi seems resigned to the fact that someone has figured it all out.
Yaichi's internal confrontation is just as powerful as the one he faces externally with the man who has come to kill him. Yaichi's inability to deal with what he went through in the past has finally surfaced and it's little surprise that it's Masanosuke that he feels he can be himself around, so he can finally allow those emotions to come out even a little bit. This experience is changing Yaichi in a way that nobody could have suspected as he's now actively asking for help with things, something that's very out of character for him. The others in the group who were all set to be done with things aren't sure what to make of it, but there's this hope that it could lead to something better and different. A sense of hope in order to send things off here to the next phase of living.
House of Five Leaves draws to a close with this episode and it's one that after twelve episodes that focused mostly on drab and moody pieces that now ends with a sense of light and hope. What feels like the brightest scenes of the series comes just towards the end and it's a spot on beautiful moment between Yaichi and Masanosuke that speaks well of both men and of the changes that Yaichi has found himself being forced to go through. The moody nature, the abrupt and brutal violence, is still present in much of this episode as is the languid dialogue segments and they all work well to continue building up a series that has a very distinct feel to it. While there have been several occasions where I realized that the House of Five Leaves is the only series to really make me yawn, it's one that I liked overall and enjoyed seeing the journey of the characters through to this point. It's not a show you can say is fun or even highly engaging, but it's distinct and intriguing in its own way.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.