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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

"Akai Meiro" drama, episode seven 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.

 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.

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 owns a 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.
 Did add in one new character in the above section, unless we meet some new people that could be it though do keep updating the info on everyone. When the credits run at the beginning of an episode it starts out with an eerie organ playing which I really like and wish it continued for the entire credit segment. But it changes into a bit of a happy-go-lucky song that has no lyrics which you may hear at a carnival or festival, this drama has had zero happy go lucky moments! No intense cliffhanger ended the previous episode nor this one also but quite a bit did happen though in a way everything remained the same.

 With about ten minutes to go in the last show Jun had been arrested again for the murder of Taeko. That was because the police found his work helmet at a park near the Kawasaki motel where Taeko was murdered. Her blood was on it plus it did have Jun's fingerprints but there were also prints from others which was never checked out, least not yet. That was enough for the prosecutor and Masato's best friend Yanagida to issue another warrant for Jun's arrest. When Masato heard that he rushed to Yanagida's office to plead for a private conversation with Jun. Which was denied by Yamagida as it breaks procedures though think he pulled some strings after and called Masato at his home to say a meeting with Jun was set up for the following morning. Masato and his assistant Kyoko do have free time as their Criminal Psych Lab at Towa University has been put on hiatus for a while as the staff was not pleased that Masato had done the evaluation on Jun.

 These conversations with Jun tend to be so frustrating for the interviewer as he says so little but a bit later on did start to open up a tad more. The new character added into the above section was a man named Masaru Egami, all his info is there and in the last recap. Masato wanted to know why Egami happened to be in a photo that was taken at the construction site for a new Tokyo subway. Jun claimed not to know the man personally, he had seen him at the site but never exchanged words with him and that's at least Jun's story. This was the second time he had been asked questions about Egami which did infuriate Jun, if this man is so important to solving Taeko's case why won't anyone tell Jun who this man actually is? Masato did tell Jun at this session he believes that he is innocent, someone has done an excellent job at framing Jun and perhaps that's why he began to open up a bit more later on. After that fruitless session with Jun Masato did meet up with the prosecutor Yanagida again, the pair have been friends for over twenty years. Yanagida is getting a bit peeved with his friend, Masato has been very secretive about things as of late and has never told Yanagida about his findings involving Egami.

 Masato continues to play the role of a 'junior detective', for the third time he paid a visit to the work site of a new Tokyo subway line where Jun worked and also Egami who was the main reason for this visit. Egami hasn't been seen for a month, he hadn't worked there long so was there an ulterior motive for him starting this job? No one knew Egami well so Masato paid a visit to a nearby bar where many workers hung out. There was a man who knew Egami slightly well and told Masato he often uses the name of Sasaki, no doubt because he's still on the run from the law. When Egami isn't working he often travels north to Chiba to do some fishing and help the fishermen out, that was Masato's next destination. Which was Iiola in Chiba and there he was told Egami did come to the beach and is currently out on a boat that will be returning tomorrow. Here Masato made a huge blunder, he asked the wharf captain to call up the boat and tell them to return so Masato could talk with Egami. Of course he wouldn't return and more on that later. Masato is stuck in Iiola for the night so he called up Kyoko to have her tell Akiko to spend the night with her cousin, Kyoko said forget that she'll stay with Akiko so she doesn't miss school.

 Two episodes ago Akiko didn't seem to enjoy being around Kyoko though the pair did have a good time together in this show, that is until Akiko went to get something from her father's room. There she found her mother Taeko's diary, I had forgotten all about that as it hadn't been mentioned for four shows. Taeko's entries were very upbeat and she had been writing how much she was looking forward to Masato's return from America. But when Akiko got to the most recent entries the tone changed, Taeko had written some mysterious man named A had been calling her and that did frighten Taeko, bit more on that soon. Jun has been transferred from the Setagaya precinct to the prefect's main prison awaiting trial but no date has bene set yet. Yukiko paid her first visit to her brother who for the first time said to her he didn't commit the murder! Jun said he had left his helmet at the work site, as Masato had said earlier someone must be framing Jun but why... and by who? It was true that Jun was around the Kawasaki motel on the day Taeko was killed there, why that was is still unknown. Jun did drop a semi bombshell on to the lap of his sister Yukiko and it was the first we've heard of this, why was she also hanging around the motel on the same day Taeko was killed????

 Outside the prison waiting for Yukiko was Yanagida, he's so angry with his friend Masato for keeping many secrets from him and he deduced Yukiko is the main reason, he wants some answers now! Which at first weren't revealed by Yukiko but when a frustrated Yamagida began to walk away saying he would make sure Jun got the death penalty Yukiko couldn't stop talking. Yanagida did know that Akiko wasn't the true daughter of Masato and Taeko, he had an inkling Yukiko could be the birth mother which she did reveal in this scene. The key detail explained to Yanagida was who the father of Akiko is a man named Masaru Egami who has been on the lam since 1959 for a murder he committed in Kyoto. All had thought Egami was dead by now which isn't the case, Yukiko also told of the magazine photo that showed Egami near Jun, was that a coincidence and even if not why is Egami back in Yukiko's life? As far as Egami goes that call made by Masato proved to be a massive blunder as Egami may have figured the call was from the police, he got off the boat well before it's return to Iioka. We only saw Egami for about ten seconds in this episode but he's become so key to the story.

 Now that Yanagida knows about Egami he did some checking up on the man but the trail ran cold after 1959 up until now which is November 1974. Yanagida did question Jun once again and he's getting tired of being asked about Egami and Jun isn't lying when he says he has no clue who this man is. Jun also isn't aware that Yukiko had a child with this criminal and that she gave it away to Masato and Taeko! Yanagida had been so irate with Masato for keeping this info about Egami a secret, but the pair have been friends for twenty years so Yanagida had to clear the air to make sure they remain best buddies. The pair had dinner together and Yanagida did ask Masato some questions he hadn't thought of, that's why Yanagida is a top notch prosecutor. For instance why has Egami resurfaced now as the statue of limitations for his 1959 murder expires in four months, why take the chance of being caught now? Plus what motive would Egami have in killing Taeko, he hadn't even been aware that Yukiko was pregnant. Also how does anyone know that it was Egami who put the photo in Yukiko's mailbox, she's just presuming it was him and could there be one other suspect then that they're not aware of?

 There isn't action in this drama like there was in the recent series I recapped "Abunai Deka" but in a way the intensity level is much higher. May have made the above paragraphs just a tad too long but at the time it didn't seem that way, there's only about five minutes to go in this show. Once again above is Kyoko paying a visit to the Snack Village shop, the owner Goro was getting slightly tired of her but she did admit to him she thinks his best friend Jun is innocent but can't say why, she and Masato had so little screen time in this show together. In the final scene which is right above Masato had returned home from Iioka and his daughter Akiko did confess about finding her mother's diary and reading it. Which really didn't upset Masato that much, he did tell Akiko he would have let her read it but was waiting for her to get a bit older.

 Akiko was so impressed with what her mother had written about her and Masato, she feels so blessed to have such a pair of perfect birth parents!!!! Of course that stunned Masato but he can keep his emotions in check which he did here. Naturally Akiko has no clue that Yukiko and the murderer Egami are her true birth parents, wonder when she will discover that sordid fact? But both Akiko and Masato are both curious about something else from the diary, the mysterious man who had been calling Taeko just before Masato returned form America. She only wrote the name of A for this man, seems Taeko was quite frightened of him and could this end up being another suspect in her murder investigation? That wraps up this recap and I've been zooming through this drama as it's been so terrific and compelling. In five days have viewed and written up four recaps which is quite a few for me. Many more screenshots of the action are below and the next post has the recap for episode eight.

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