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Hajimemashite minna san....welcome to my site on my fave Japanese Pop Culture likes such as dramas, movies, magazine scans, promo events etc. Mainly concentrate on my faves...Risa Watanabe... Kyoko Saito... Yui Kobayashi....Miyuki Watanabe.... Nene Shida.... if you're a fan at all of any of them then you've come to the right place(!) but many others are featured here besides them. Do mainly quick reviews on things I've watched, try to make the reviews brief, quick to read through with not too many spoilers, just whether they're good or bad and why I thought so plus whether you may find them enjoyable. Many, many screenshots are included from everything I've watched plus any video trailers if they're available. Hope you find something that interests you, don't hesitate to comment, arigato gozaimasu!

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Saturday, April 20, 2024

"Akai Meiro" drama, episode nine of 26 recap


 Air Dates: October 4, 1974 until March 28, 1975... Friday nights at 9:00 pm on TBS/Daiei
There's 26 episodes that are 46 minutes in length, this series is also known as Red Maze
 Once again the subs were done by GEO9875, fifth series I've recapped by them. This is the first of a long running RED series, there were a few more dramas and some TV specials.
The average rating for the drama was 18.9% with a high of 22.7%.

Main Cast: Thanks again to GEO9875 for doing the subs for this series, another classic that has been revived. This could prove to be a challenge for me and may write up 6-8 recaps before publishing any. The recent series I finished "Abunai Deka" had 51 episodes but all were stand alone stories. This drama is one long 26 episode story so don't want to have long gaps between the recaps, every now and again do need a break so that's where the challenge will be. Am writing most of this up after viewing two shows, know there will be much editing to the character's bios and a few new ones may have to be added in. But I am looking forward to this series and it has started off strongly, except for a pair of Sentai shows this is the oldest drama I've viewed. 

 This drama has such a strong cast, so many were stars at the time or became one. Ken Utsui is the older man above, he sadly died ten years ago but what a terrific actor he was. Playing his wife who died early on was Akiko Koyama, she'll be turning ninety this year and have seen her in so many older films, she was so classy and attractive. Momoe Yamaguchi needs no intro as she may be the most popular Idol in the history of Japan, recommend reading up on her. Yusaku Matsuda died at the age of forty in 1989, he was a star actor but could be known more for being the father of two current popular actors Ryuhei and Shota Matsuda. Some others in the main cast are also known, will talk about a few of them in future posts. Below on the left is Takeo who was killed at the end of the first episode, on the right is her old friend Yukiho and could that conversation be the key behind everything that will take place?

 Ken Utsui as Masato Yuki.... A psychiatrist who has just returned to Japan after spending three years in NYC as a college lecturer/professor about the minds of criminals. In Tokyo Masato works at Towa Medical University Hospital, he's the leader of a new section called Laboratory of Criminal Psychology and Medicine. Masato's wife was Takeo who was murdered early on, he's the father of the next character Akiko. He seems to be a calm and collected individual but does Masato have a secret past, such as did he have an affair with Yukiko? That is still unknown but in the fifth episode did learn that Masato isn't the true father of Akiko, who is?

 Momoe Yamaguchi as Akiko Yuki.... Masato's fifteen year old daughter who is a freshman in high school. She's also the daughter of the following woman and a major question is if Akiko is truly Taeko's daughter, will be doing much editing for this character. Which hasn't happened yet through nine shows but her role is becoming slightly more important.

 Akiko Koyama as Taeko Yuki.... Though she was murdered at the end of the first episode still have her in this section as Taeko is so important to the story. We will be seeing her in flashbacks as the main story is finding out who was her killer? While Masato was in America a huge question is was Taeko having an affair, she acted so secretly upon his return. Another puzzle for now is if Taeko is the birth mother of Akiko? No and that was revealed in the fourth episode but Taeko had raised her since birth.

Yusaki Matsuda as Jun Tsuzuki.... Jun is 26 in age and is currently unemployed, he had been a construction worker. He's the younger brother of the below woman, something unknown(for now) happened in Jun's past which has made him so dour and unsociable. At the end of the second episode he was arrested for the murder of Taeko but personally think he's innocent. In March 1971 his then girlfriend Fujiko had been raped and murdered by a middle aged man. Masato had done the evaluation on this man who he deemed unfit to stand trial which would be Jun's motive if he is the actual killer of Taeko. Jun was arrested again in the sixth episode for Taeko's murder but near the end of episode eight was released. The key bit of evidence had been his work helmet but according to the Forensics Unit it had been tampered with and who is trying to frame Jun?

Aiko Nagayama as Yukiko Sakurai.... Jun's older sister who is married but it seems to be a loveless marriage. Yukiko also has a few mysteries surrounding her, one is did she have an affair with Masato before he went to America three years ago? She had grown up with Taeko but the pair did drift apart, because of the affair? Or perhaps something else such as I'm thinking that Yukiko is the birth mother of Akiko!!!! The two women hold a very dark secret and have for fifteen years, that happens to be the age of Akiko! **** In episode five it was revealed Yukiko is the true mother of Akiko, the father's name is Egami who killed someone fifteen years ago and is still on the lam.

Ryoko Nakano as Kyoko Sonoda.... New clinical psychologist in Masato's criminal unit. Kyoko seems to be such a nosy woman but also very competent at her work, she is very attractive and wonder if she has set her eyes upon her leader Masato? Yes she does which many have noticed though not Masato, Kyoko had attended a university in Germany.

 Makoto Sato as Yusaku Yanagida.... Prosecutor who is also Masato's lawyer, advisor and his best friend. The pair have known each other for decades and Yanagida seems to be a real decent man who is also trying to solve the mystery of Taeko's murder, that's him on the left below. He too once had the hots for Taeko but lost out to Masato though it never affected their friendship.

Masaya Takahashi as Professor Oyama.... He's Masato's superior at the university and don't know much about him to to date but he doesn't seem to like Masato and may not be trustworthy. That's Oyama on the right below, he cares more about the college's image than his own staff. In the fifth show some anger had arisen with the university staff because of Masato doing the evaluation of Jun, in a surprise Oyama has his back and will stand up for him.

 Here's a few others of the cast who we see now and again though don't have huge roles.

Goro Oshi as Goro Murai.... Owner of the snack bar seen often and Jun's best friend. Goro is also good friends with Misaki who visits his snack bar often and we do see him briefly in each episode. Misaki is a photographer and though not knowing Masato seems to dislike him immensely.

Goro Tarumi as Hidehiko Sakurai.... Yukiko's husband and manages his wife's clothing factory.

Isao Tamagawa as Sakazaki.... Lead detective for Taeko's murder case.

Toshiaki Nishizawa as Masaru Egami.... We first learned of him at the end of the fifth episode. Over fifteen years ago he had been dating Yukiko in Kyoto and had gotten her pregnant. In March 1959 Egami had robbed and murdered a woman, since then he's been on the lam but is the.... true father of Akiko!!!! Many who knew of Egami thought he was dead but has now resurfaced in Tokyo, why as the statue of limitations ends in less than four months and could be have been involved in Taeko's murder?

Previous recaps.... May be difficult to read many of them but if you've been following the story there would be no need. However much does happen in each show so don't have the time to explain everything that has taken place up until this point, some of the above is very informative but reading a few of these would definitely help.

 Above is how the previous episode ended with Masato receiving a note in his home mailbox saying he's not the father of Akiko. We all knew that he wasn't however only four other people were aware of that, actually just three now as his wife Taeko was murdered and finding her killer is still the main  story to this series. The four alive who know of Masato not being Akiko's true father is of course himself, also Masato's best friend the prosecutor Yanagida whose role has really expanded. The other two are Yukiko who grew up with Taeko and still knows Masato fairly well, she's Akiko's birth mother. Finally there is the newish character Masaru Egami who is the father of Akiko, the huge question is did he know that Yukiko was pregnant when they last saw each other fifteen years ago and if so is he aware that Akiko is his daughter? Coming into this show we viewers thought Egami had no clue about Akiko but Yukiko will finally tell Masato the entire story of what took place in her life fifteen years ago. So that should get everyone up to date, odds ae very high(for now) it was Egami who put that note in Masato's mailbox but am thinking is there a fifth person above who knows of this long kept secret?

 Masato still works as a professor at Towa University but his Criminal Psych Lab in which he would interview suspects and victims for the police has been put on ice for a while. So Masato's superior Oyama had put him back in the classroom for a while though Masato has been taking so much time off from teaching to investigate Taeko's death. Masato received that note at night, the following morning he met up with Yukiko which is the top three screenshots. During this encounter she revealed much of what was unknown to Masato about her past. In 1959 Yukiko had been dating Masaru Egami in Kyoto when she had become pregnant. She told Masato that Egami was aware of the pregnancy which was a shock to him and us viewers, we thought he had no clue about it. Egami was a designer turned thug with no job, in order to get funds to support his upcoming family he robbed a woman but went a bit crazy during the theft and ended up murdering her. So Egami has been on the lam for fifteen years though the statue of limitations ends in less than four months. With no father around Yukiko's family sent her to a small island in the Seto Sea to avoid the shame of her being unmarried. Yukiko stayed with a man named Bhaya and there she had Akiko

 Yukiko had grown up with Taeko who made the trip to the island and a few days after the birth adopted Akiko and save for a few no one has known the truth of Akiko's past. Need to now update the bio section for the next post and after that informative session with Yukiko Masato visited his best friend Yanagida. Masato did show him the note which Yukiko felt came from Egami though Yanagida isn't so sure. He still wondered why would Egami resurface just a few months before his statue of limitations would expire? Yanagida feels strongly this is the first step in Masato being blackmailed, if so Masato doesn't care as he'll pay any costs do keep Akiko from hearing about her past. Bit more about the blackmail angle later on and while Akiko was at school that day there was a very odd sign posted on the bullet board, one meant for her! The poster said it was almost impossible for two people who aren't blood type O to give birth to a child who isn't, that's what Akiko told her father that night. The mother Taeko had A blood type and Masato has type AB though he did tell Akiko it was type O to avoid suspicions. Later that night Masato went to the school and tore down the poster, whoever is doing these acts towards Masato is making his life extremely uncomfortable. 

 If you've been reading these recaps you know that for the second time Jun has been released as the main suspect in the death of Taeko. He met up with his sister Yukiko and wanted answers on why she happened to enter the Kawasaki motel just prior to the murder of Taeko, another question is why was Jun also outside that motel? Have a feeling Yukiko may not have been telling the truth as her answer to Jun was that Yukiko felt Taeko may have been having an affair and followed her there but left before the killing and never met up with Taeko. Jun seemed to believe the tale and wondered if the true killer then was framing Yukiko and not him? The note shoved in Masato's mailbox was of a very unique variety of paper, he did some investigating about it and found the paper came from an Inn in Hakone which is fifty miles SW of Tokyo. Masato is still playing the role of a junior detective but without much success, he was hoping to find some evidence at the Inn. It was reported that an unknown man did stay there two nights ago but left no name and was hard to describe, Masato checked his room for hair on the pillows and whatever else this man may have left. The outcome to this scene was one of the best to date, this unknown man had laid a trap for Masato who he felt would travel to Hakone looking for this paper which the Inn did produce. 

 You can see above that once the housekeeper removed the blankets and pillows from the closet a note had been left.... for Masato!!!! It said that Egami's blood type is O and who is toying with Masato's mind? Towards the end of the previous episode Masato and his new assistant Kyoko were having a discussion about Egami outside the university. It was noticed by their superior Oyama who feels the pair may be having an affair but am surprised that was never mentioned in this show. For the second time Oyama did offer Kyoko a regular teaching position but once again she turned it down. Shortly after Masato finally made it to the school and that's been a rarity. We can all tell Kyoko does have the 'hots' for Masato who hasn't noticed or is pretending not to. For the first time Kyoko was a bit peeved at the way Masato has been ignoring her and she's extremely frustrated but what can she do? Kyoko too has been doing investigating about Taeko's murder but not so much in this show and had even been threatened to back off. She really wished Masato would turn to her for help but there's just so much info about this murder case he can't reveal to anyone.

 Kyoko left Masato's office in such a flustered state and ran off to a temple not far from Towa University. Kyoko began to ring the temple's bell in frustration and who should be there observing her but Jun. The pair did amble off to the seaside but not much was said, thought there would have been but Jun did add in that he's come to like Kyoko. Later that evening Masato did pay a visit to Kyoko's apartment for the first time but just to apologize for his actions, it was a very short scene and Kyoko was disappointed when he left. Now Jun is also playing detective, he wants to know who could have framed either him or Yukiko for the murder of Taeko. Jun had that magazine photo of him that also showed Egami in the bottom right hand corner. Jun visited many construction sites showing them the photo and didn't find all that much info about the very elusive Egami. But did discover that he had hailed from Kyoto however hadn't been back there in at least a decade, also that Egami often uses the name of Kacchan. **** Just went back and read a few older recaps to make sure they were ready to be published. What I noticed in the fifth recap was the info about Jun's girlfriend Fujiko being murdered in March of 1971. That is a very important incident or it should have been, wonder why no mention has been made of it in the last four episodes?

 Jun's screen time has increased these last two shows, later on that day for the second time he happened to run into Akiko who had a drawing she had done get flown away by the wind. Jun had picked it up for her and when they met in the last show wasn't sure if Akiko knew who Jun was. But it appears she does as she asked if Jun was his name and did apologize for the police falsely arresting him twice for the murder of her mother. Jun's demeanor has really changed since that second release, he's not nearly as dour and depressive as he once was. It's now night and back at home Akiko did show her father Masato the drawing but hadn't told him about seeing Jun. Akiko thought artistic talent was hereditary but her parents weren't, Masato was thinking that he wished Akiko would stop being curious about such matters. While Masato was checking his mail there was a suspicious envelope and the contents were the bottom screenshot above. It was a note for Masato to bring 5 million yen the next day to Hinokicho Park at 2:00 pm, now the blackmail Yanagida warned of is about to begin!!!!

 These episodes are 46 minutes but it seems like so much less as the story is just so compelling. There's about eight minutes to go in this show and the following day Masato first met up with Kyoko, he didn't tell his friend/prosecutor Yanagida about the blackmail note. But Masato did write up a letter for Yanagida, he gave it to Kyoko saying that if anything should happen to him deliver it to Yanagida and he couldn't tell her any more info. After that brief scene Kyoko once again ran into Jun at the site of the temple's bell. Jun knows that Egami is such a key figure in the murder of Taeko and the life of his sister Yukiko, he wanted to know what does Kyoko know about him? Not much was her reply which was the truth but did say why not team up together to find Egami and other clues about Taeko's death? **** May sound far fetched but I'm beginning to become a bit leery about Kyoko. After viewing the next show may expand on this thought but could she have been involved in Taeko's murder(!), Kyoko hadn't begun to work with Masato yet when her killing took place so was all of this planned out well in advance????

 Masato did show up at the park with a package containing five million yen. The meeting was set up for 2:00 pm but Masato waited and waited and waited but the blackmailer never arrived, it was now well past 3:00 pm. But suddenly a very little boy ran up to Masato with a note which he said was from a masked man who asked the boy to deliver it. The note said the meeting was cancelled and for Masato to wait at home for further instructions. Which was via a phone call and Akiko overheard much of it. The new plan was for Masato to deposit the money into his own account which was a bit odd to me, how could this blackmailer access Masato's account? Sure the answer will be easy enough to understand and that's how the tenth episode will begin, the recap for that is the following post.


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