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Saturday, April 27, 2024

"Akai Meiro" drama, episode sixteen 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 ten 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? That is still unknown but Jun had zero to do with Taeko's killing.

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. Beginning with the 14th show began to wonder if Kyoko may be involved with all of these sordid incidents, if so that would make for such an interesting storyline.

 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. No longer as in episode ten Oyama will now be the leader of Masato's criminal lab and will take all of the credit!

 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 combo clothing factory and store. They had been in Yukiko's family for decades but had fallen upon hard times, Hidehiko has worked hard to make it profitable again.

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? By the end of the eleventh show is doesn't appear so but it also seems as though an unknown man is trying to protect Egami from the police and Masato.

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.


 Can't beat beginning a post with a screenshot of Ryoko who plays Kyoko, trying to think of more attractive women than her I've seen in a drama but can't think of any! At the end of the last recap did mull over a thought about Kyoko being involved in Taeko's murder and all of the mysterious happenings involving Masato and his daughter Akiko. When I was viewing this episode thought perhaps those thoughts were a mistake and was going to delete what had been written. However with about four minutes to go a comment was made by Jun to Kyoko and just maybe she could be playing a part in what has been taking place but will refrain from more guesswork in this recap. No intense ending to the prior show, Akiko had a note put in her school locker saying Masato wasn't her true father which did shake her up but sure you've already read that recap.

 Masato never did have a chance to discuss the note with Akiko the next morning as she had left for school very early though did leave her father a cooked breakfast. Akiko is also worried that she may have to end up living with her birth mother Yukiko and her husband Hidehiko which she does not want to see happen! Akiko still feels Masato has been and always will be her one and only father as she's really matured since the first episode. That morning Masato brought that note to his best friend, the prosecutor Yanagida. Who feels the impending danger from this mysterious man is growing so quickly and is worried about his friend along with Akiko. When Yukiko's husband Hidehiko visited Masato the previous night Hidehiko said he would grant Yukiko a divorce but on the condition that Masato marry her! That he told Yanagida who feels Hidehiko is up to some fiendish trick for he manages Yukiko's family clothing business, with a divorce he could own it all plus it's lucrative patents! That's the main reason for Hidehiko finally granting Yukiko a divorce though have a feeling it'll never happen.

 We didn't see Yukiko in the last show but we did for a few scenes in this one, the second was quite important and will get to it later. Yukiko is in the hospital as she does have a heart condition which is growing worse due to the strain of what's been happening, her younger brother did pay a visit. Where Yukiko asked Jun if he was still searching for Akiko's real father Egami which he said Yes to but Jun himself can't figure out why he's still looking for the man. The police too are still on the hunt for Egami, Jun noticed that as there were some undercover officers at the hospital as they think Egami may try to visit Yukiko. Which will happen later on(!), as you can see in one screenshot above Masato is back to work at Towa University and along with  his assistant Kyoko have quite a backlog of suspects and victims to interview though we never saw any of them. While he was at work Akiko was returning home from school which was always a safe walk. Not on this day as she was accosted by a trio of punks right near the Snack Village shop which is mentioned often in these recaps. At the shop was Jun who had just returned from visiting Yukiko, when he saw the commotion outside ran to Akiko's aid and pummeled all three, Jun is a tough man but underneath does have a soft heart and if you've forgotten he's the uncle of Akiko.

 Jun had arrived in the nick of time as the punks weren't able to lay a finger on Akiko nor drag her away which was their true intention. Jun did catch one of these creeps who had run away and he's in the middle screenshot above. This unnamed man told Jun a man had approached him and his two mates offering then 10,000 yen to nab Akiko, to Jun that seemed like a way too low amount. The man paid 5,000 yen up front and the rest would be paid that evening at the M-On bar, Jun will cling to this guy for the rest of the day and go to the bar with him. Akiko wasn't hurt but was quite shook up, the owner of the Snack Village shop Goro called up Masaato to let him know what had taken place. Masato had two evaluations lined up so couldn't leave Towa University for a while, 'no problem' said Goro as Akiko could stay at his shop until Masato was done with work. Masato let Kyoko know what had taken place and this Mysterious Man is quite an enigma. To Masato he could be any man walking along the street and Kyoko offered in that perhaps this culprit could have Dissociative Identity Disorder. Which Masato thought too might be the case but also had another puzzling question, why is this man stretching out these acts of 'amusement' and not finalizing whatever punishment he wants to give Masato, Akiko and possibly those surrounding them????

 Kyoko also added in that this person seems to know Masato so well, it has to be someone a bit close to him or knows his routines so well. That's what the prosecutor Yanagida told Masato in the last show, as far fetched as it may seem to me he could also be on the list of suspects!!!! He met up with Kyoko as she was leaving work, that's when my suspicions of him began to appear as no one knows Masato better than Yanagida. He told Kyoko of what Hidehiko had said to Masato about divorcing Yukiko so she could be with Akiko and possibly Masato! Of course all know there's no way Masato would allow that but Hidehiko is using her offer of getting a divorce to control Yukiko's family's clothing business plus to Yanagida Hidehiko wants to drive a wedge between her and Masato. So Yanagida warned Kyoko of this man as she could be in danger too, she already is as Kyoko has received some threatening phone calls but none for the past two shows. So though the murder case of Taeko hasn't been brought up too often it does tie in with what has been happening with Akiko and odds are high this unknown man is also the killer of Taeko and in the next recap will discuss who who I think the suspects could be.

 Episodes are 46 minutes in length, there's about twenty minutes left in this show and it may have been the best half of an episode to date. So much took place and the mysteries somehow increased even more! Masato paid Yukiko a visit and who knows how long she'll be in the hospital, she does have a heart condition but think staying away from her husband Hidehiko is another reason for remaining there. Wasn't much that Masato had to say, think he mainly wanted to let Yukiko know there's zero chance of him ever having her come live with him and Akiko which I think she already realized. This is where the pace really picked up and stayed that way until the end. Masato had to make a quick call, when he returned to the room Yukiko was no longer there and the nurses were clueless too. Yukiko was taking a stroll outside and wonder if she knew what was about to take place would happen? Which is of finally seeing her ex-boyfriend and father of Akiko Egami for the first time in over fifteen years! Seeing Egami didn't appear to shock Yukiko all that much and he didn't have much time to talk. He briefly explained what had happened during that botched robbery attempt back in 1959 which went awry, we did see a brief flashback of Egami murdering someone and it was a brutal killing which was out of character for him. To this point Yukiko was unsure if Egami knew about their 'love child' but he blurted out he knew about Akiko and would do anything to protect her.

 That conversation had to be cut short for the police were on the grounds of the hospital should Egami ever make an appearance. He was spotted so Egami tore away and sure there will be a few more reunions coming up between the pair. Yukiko wasn't doing well and had to be escorted back to her hospital room, Masato pleaded with Yukiko to tell him about Egami but it appears she didn't or perhaps couldn't. All of what's taken place is affecting Masato and in a surprise later on he did tell Kyoko maybe it would be best to let Akiko go and live with Yukiko, it took Kyoko's wisdom to talk some common sense into Masato and let's face it, there's no way he would ever give up Akiko who I think in about two weeks will be hitting the age of sixteen. She was still at the Snack Village shop, she was supposed to stay with Goro until until her father picked her up. But Akiko wanted to go home and she thought what happened with those punks earlier was just a one time deal. Goro's friend Misaki is a puzzle to me, he seems to have his eyes set on Akiko but is it a crush or does he want to use her to get back at Masato for some reason we don't know about. Goro didn't have a choice so he let Misaki escort Akiko home as by this time it was night, that bottom screenshot above and first one below show a matchbox that Misaki had left behind and it was from the M-On club which turned out to be a very key item.

 As briefly mentioned Jun had nabbed one of the creeps who tried to abduct Akiko, the man said he was supposed to pick up 5,000 more yen that night from the man who wanted it done. The payoff was scheduled to be at around 7:00 pm at the M-On bar but the man never arrived, Jun gave up and returned to the Snack Village shop a few minutes after Akiko had left with Misaki. Jun saw that M-On matchbox and quickly thought is his friend Misaki the man behind everything that's been taking place(?), he tore from the shop in search for the two. Misaki is a very suspicious dude, not just to me but to Akiko as he led her on a roundabout way back to her home. Which was going down a dark and narrow street, I wonder what may have happened if what took place didn't? Which was of a masked man jumping out from some bushes and began to pummel Misaki endlessly with a wooden pole, it appeared this creep was going to kill him! However this Mysterious Person had to stop as the voice of Jun was heard, this masked person zoomed away and because of that Misaki's life was spared as he was rushed to the hospital, he's hurt badly but should live. However this incident has raised so many more questions to me and sure other viewers too. Why did Misaki take that odd route to bring Akiko home, did he have something devilish in mind such as sexually attacking her or perhaps even kidnapping her?

 Also could Misaki have been working with this masked person and was double crossed by him, this thug may have wanted to kill Misaki as he could identify him. There could be a few other possibilities and perhaps we'll hear about them in the next episode. Jun too was very suspicious of his friend Misaki, especially after he found that M-On matchbox. He told Kyoko of those suspicions as she had arrived at the hospital, with that beating Misaki may just be an innocent victim but at this point who knows? While they were talking things over Jun told Kyoko he had tried calling her at 7:00 pm but she wasn't home, where was she? That comment made me think again that Kyoko just may be involved in these incidents, none of us viewers have had a good look at this mysterious person who I've always presumed to be a man though it also could be a woman!!!! Akiko was quite shook up with what has taken place, she couldn't give the police much info as the culprit had worn a mask. So Masato brought her home and this show did have a semi happing ending which are the above bottom two screenshots. The stress of everything had made Akiko swoon while making dinner, Masato brought Akiko to her room where she told him she wants Masato to be her father forever and nothing could please him more. So that wraps up this recap and what a superb show this was, probably the best one in a long while though all have been good. We're now down to ten episodes to go, seeing as how I did this pair of recaps two days early the next pair will be in five days.

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