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Friday, April 26, 2024

"Akai Meiro" drama, episode thirteen 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?

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. 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.


 We're now at the halfway point to this extremely interesting series though will admit this episode wasn't as good as the first dozen. Not too much intensity nor drama compared to the previous shows, every good series always has a show or two in the middle that just aren't as good as the others. But there has been so much going on as Jun said above during this episode. A murder, threatening phone calls, being shot at, blackmailing and much more have taken place. The main story is of Masato's wife being murdered at the end of the first show but save for a few scenes here and there the biggest part of the show has become protecting Akiko from finding out who her real birth parents are. If you've been reading these recaps you already know that and let's get to what took place in this show. Not an intense ending to the previous show but this Mysterious Man who we know zero about is causing such havoc in the lives of everyone, he had sent quite a few people photos of Masato and Yukiko leaving a love motel together!

 We saw a bit more of Hidehiko in this show, he's in three of the top four screenshots and is the husband of Yukiko. He's been so confident the last few episodes that her and Masato have been having an affair. Hidehiko was one of the persons who received those photos of Masato and Yukiko leaving that love motel, that was all the evidence he needed and confronted Masato at his house! Of course Masato pleaded once again to Hidehiko that nothing has been going in between the two which of course is true but that fell on deaf ears. It wasn't a long chat between the two men, when Hidehiko was leaving he did tell Masato he would bring this up with his superiors at Towa University but that didn't happen in this show. Overhearing some of the conversation was Masato's fifteen year old daughter Akiko, she heard Hidehiko say 'Your daughter was born to_____'!!!! But Masato cut him off before the name was mentioned, Akiko then fled the house and has she been severely suffering. First her mother was killed, then there's been all this evidence about possibly Yukiko being her true birth mother. That is the truth but Akiko feels that she was the end result of an affair between Masato and Yukiko!!!!

 Those photos are spreading like wildfire, Yukiko's brother Jun has seen them along with his mates Goro and Misaki at the Snack Village shop. Masato's assistant Kyoko was there at the time, Jun may not be too fond of Masato but was fuming at the photos for he knew they were fake, the work of this Mysterious Man who none of us know anything about? Masato only appeared at his job at Towa University for one scene, we never did see his superior Oyama much to the relief of Masato. While there he was informed a man had just called, he wanted to meet Masato at 3:00 pm at the cemetery behind Komyoji Temple. Was this that man finally exposing himself(?), NO for when he arrived waiting for Masato was none other than Jun. Who had to pull this trick for he didn't feel Masato would talk to him, Jun really needed to discuss his sister Yukiko. According to Jun she's been in rough shape, physically and mentally, so these events are close to sending her over the edge plus there is that possible divorce from Hidehiko. Jun feels the best solution would be for Akiko to go live with Yukiko, he knew Masato would never agree to that but felt he needed to know about the situation. As long as Masato is breathing there's no way he would ever give up Akiko and Jun knew that, he also knew how it's still very important to keep the secret of her true birth parents from her.

 So Masato departed quickly after telling Jun that he won't give up Akiko, arriving shortly after was Kyoko who is still such a prying woman. She knew of this meeting but Masato told her to stay behind as it could be dangerous. Jun did tell Kyoko that the conversation was about his sister Yukiko but didn't go into much detail. The pair both have the same goal in finding Akiko's birth father Egami but his name was rarely mentioned in this episode, really the main theme was of Akiko and keeping the secret of her past from her. In a surprise move Akiko visited Yukiko's house as she's become certain she's her true mother but has no concrete proof. Yukiko wasn't there as she was paying a visit to the hospital though her husband Hidehiko was home and invited Akiko in. He seems like a decent man but with all that's been going on Hidehiko has become so furious with Masato and his family. He wanted to know what the true relationship between Akiko and Yukiko is, to that Akiko remained mum and just said she knew her because Yukiko and her deceased mother Taeko had grown up together. That didn't satisfy Hidehiko who dropped a bombshell after that, did Akiko know his wife had once had a child fifteen years ago for that's a rumor floating around?

 That disturbed Akiko who quickly left, she did meet her uncle Jun on the way home but gave him the brushoff, of course she doesn't know yet that Jun is her uncle. At home Akiko did make a few comments to her father Masato about remarrying, was she thinking Yukiko could become her new mother? To that Masato gave a firm NO, he has no plans to ever marry anyone else and he's perfectly fine with just the two of them which did seem to put Akiko much more at ease. Akiko did admit to seeing the photos of Masato and Yukiko together but had burnt them, she knew there was something fishy about them and soon we may know who took the photos. There was a mini second scene at Towa University the following day, the screenshots right above and the next one below. Masato was telling Kyoko how Akiko's secret past is getting harder to keep, he feels Akiko believes that he and Yukiko had an affair which resulted in her. But Akiko is only half right, Yukiko is her mother but the murderer Egami is her true father. Kyoko's suggestion was for Masato to tell his daughter the entire story of how she was born and then adopted, it would be so much better coming from him which is is true. However Masato is quite stubborn, he wants the facts to remain a secret for eternity!

 Don't know how Jun has been getting his info but of everyone looking into the murder of Taeko and keeping Akiko's past a secret Jun has been the most successful in finding clues. He had been following his brother in law Hidehiko and guess where the tailing led to? Of Hidehiko visiting a love motel with a very attractive and much younger woman, Jun confronted them as they were departing. Hidehiko swore it was just a business meeting but Jun wasn't born yesterday, he wanted a private meeting with the man. Hidehiko did attempt to bribe Jun to remain quiet on this matter which he refused, what Jun has been worrying about is the condition of his sister Yukiko and wants Hidehiko to cool things with her. Though he has no concrete evidence Jun has deduced something which he's kept to himself, it's about the photos of Yukiko and Masato leaving a motel. Jun is positive Hidehiko was behind that, did he take the photos or hire someone else to do it? There was no answer from Hidehiko so add one more minor mystery to that ever increasing list. **** On a personal thought it wouldn't surprise me if it was Jun's buddy Misaki who took the photos, there is something very unsettling about him.

 When Hidehiko arrived home that night Yukiko was nowhere to be found neither was their servant. Hidehiko felt sure she was with Masato and called his 'rival' right away but Masato had no clue what Hidehiko was talking about, Yukiko is missing???? Hidehiko didn't believe a word Masato said who soon took matters into his own hands. The next day Masato visited Jun at the subway construction site, now that he's been cleared of all murder charges he's been able to find work. Jun did admit he's the reason for Yukiko suddenly disappearing, he was so worried about her condition being far away from Tokyo was the best solution. So after that confrontation with Hidehiko Jun whisked Yukiko over to Hakone to spend 3-4 days, that's west of Tokyo and is known for it's hot springs. Masato didn't utter a word but knew Jun had made a wise decision, it was best for Yukiko to remain out of the picture for a while so things could be sorted out.

 While it seemed not as much took place in this episode it flew right by, we're down to the final scene which was a longish one. There's been no dates mentioned in these shows, Taeko was killed on October 4th so since then have had to guess at how much time has passed. But in this final scene we did learn it's after Christmas but about three weeks days before Akiko's 16th birthday which is in mid-January so it's about December 28th. At the Snack Village shop the owner Goro along with his friend Misaki are throwing a late Christmas, early birthday bash for Akiko. Also there was her father Masato along with Kyoko, we did learn the reason Yanagida has been missing is that he's been in Osaka helping their DA out with a case. This was not too happy of an occasion, Masato did give a brief speech saying how he'll miss Akiko for she'll soon be leaving the house to live on her own but that wouldn't be for over two years. To me it seems only the five in attendance would have known about this party but arriving on the scene was a delivery man with a bouquet of flowers for Akiko, was the sender this Mysterious Man who we still haven't met?

 With the flowers was a note, you can see what it says above which was 'Congratulations Akiko, from your mother'!!!! You'd think then perhaps Yukiko may have sent the note but it wasn't her, if not then who? That freaked Akiko out who left the party with Kyoko, Misaki then threw in a comment asking is there a bomb in the flowers???? Masato actually believed him and unwrapped the bouquet, to his relief there was no bomb but then again that note was a bombshell! As the episode ended Masato met up with Akiko in a nearby park, she turned and asked 'Who is my real mother?'. To that Masato gave no reply and as the show ended Akiko embraced her father, she thinks Masato is her real father and Taeko wasn't her mother which is just half true. While not as intense as the previous episodes it still was a decent watch and the second half was quite good. As usual there was a cliffhanger and the following post has the recap for episode fourteen.

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