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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

"Akai Meiro" drama, episode twelve 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 hadn't happened yet through ten shows but her role will become much 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 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.


 Just took a five day break from viewing and recapping any episodes. Not getting tired at all with this drama but wanted to make sure it stayed that way so thought it was a good time for a mini vacation. Bit of a sluggish first ten minutes but things did fall into place, once again there's were so many mysteries and posing questions added into the main storyline, so many need a scorecard to keep track of them! When the last episode ended Jun had almost got run over by a car that was driven by a mysterious man whose face we still haven't seen clearly. Jun was okay though he did go to the hospital where he was met by his sister Yukiko along with Masato. While there Jun received a call, who but the driver of the car would know where he was? The caller said to back off trying to find Egami, if not Kyoko will meet the same fate as Masato's wife Taeko! Jun knew that was a signal that Kyoko's life was in danger, him and Masato rushed to her apartment and above is what they found!

 The pair arrived in the nick of time, someone had turned on Kyoko's gas stove while she was sleeping and quickly fled, they also cut her phone line. Figured Kyoko would have been rushed to the hospital but after getting a bit of fresh air seemed okay but this new mysterious man is quite dangerous. Did he try to kill Jun with his car and also was this a true attempt on Kyoko's life or is this man giving them warnings about trying to find Egami? Jun was a bit frustrated with Masato who won't give his all in hunting down Egami, the true father of his daughter Akiko so Jun stormed out saying he'll handle things his own way. Jun was successful and more on that later, other things in Masato's life just aren't going well at all also. Of course his wife Taeko was killed three months ago, the present time is a few weeks before Christmas. Then he has the pressure of keeping the secret from Akiko about her true birth parents, these two incidents with Jun and Kyoko plus how his work is going at Towa University. Masato's superior Oyama is not happy with the amount of time Masato has been taking off to run 'personal errands', Oyama will also be taking credit for any future evaluations he and Kyoko do but doesn't seem Masato cares about things like that these days. 

 Masato's daughter Akiko has become so suspicious of her father, especially with the amount of time he's been spending with Yukiko. Who off course is Akiko's real birth mother, she doesn't know that yet but the secret is coming so close to being exposed. Akiko did pay a visit to Yukiko's house and demanded to know what was going on between her and Masato? Yukiko wouldn't reveal much and told Akiko to get the thought of them having an affair out of her head, there's zero going on between the two which is the truth. But instead of returning home Akiko went to Towa University and asked Kyoko if she could spend the night with her, Akiko just couldn't face her father. The pair did have a pleasant night together, with Akiko being fifteen in age and missing her mother perhaps she just needs the company and advice of an older woman. Kyoko did notify Masato of Akiko's struggles, told him not to worry and everything seemed to turn out fine. Least as far as Akiko goes for arriving at Masato's house was Yukiko's husband Hidehiko, he wants to know why Akiko visited his house that day and the husband is convinced there's an affair going on between Masato and his wife. 

 Masato's house was a busy place as shortly after her husband left Yukiko arrived. Once again she pleaded with Masato to let her have Akiko but off course there's no way he would ever let that happen, will she ever learn who her real birth parents are? A few minutes after her arrival Yukiko's husband Hidehiko came to the house again, this time to drag Yukiko home and he's more suspicious of Masato than ever! But the following night Masato did clear up things with Akiko to an extent which is right above but deep down Akiko knows something is quite amiss in her father's life. We haven't seen that much of the prosecutor and Masato's best friend Yanagida in the last few shows but Masato did meet up with him the next morning. Yanagida and the Setagaya police are still working hard on Taeko's murder, new info has been found out. When Taeko left Masato's homecoming party in the first episode she had been killed that evening at a love hotel in Kawasaki. But before that she had checked into another motel with a man, the same one who is targeting Jun and Kyoko????

 The motel was in the Hanazono section of Tokyo, think that could be an area of Shinjuku. However no witness saw this man's face for he had a hood on, now a question is was Taeko murdered in Shinjuku or the motel in Kawasaki? Mentioned earlier how Jun wanted to do things his own way as far as finding Egami goes, he even kept Kyoko in the dark about his discovery. But Jun did plan to meet Kyoko that afternoon at the Village Snack shop but he was a no show. The owner Goro told her Jun had borrowed his car to take a trip down to Miura Beach, that's about 55 miles due south of Tokyo. Goro had said Jun finally has found Egami which was the reason for the trip, of course Kyoko also dashed there but wonder how as she has no vehicle. Jun didn't want to reveal anything to her for trying to find Egami has proved to be quite dangerous but eventually Jun did tell Kyoko some details. The following morning Egami is supposed to dock at the wharf at Miura Beach, he's there well ahead of time as not to miss him. So the pair did spend the night waiting on the wharf, zero happened between the two but we did learn Kyoko had originally hailed from Shimane prefecture.

 Two episodes ago began to have a very strong feeling Egami had nothing to do with Taeko's murder, so haven't all of the other main characters though he's still wanted for a 1959 murder in Kyoto. That waiting paid off for Jun and Kyoko as arriving at the pier on a boat was Egami, that's him in the top three screenshots above. He was quickly cornered by Jun and Kyoko who want answers, for instance has Egami been calling up Kyoko at night threatening her? No was Egami's response and he was telling the truth though he wouldn't add anything else in about what has been taking place. Egami told the pair that in ten weeks the statue of limitations for his 1959 murder expires, then he can't be charged with the crime. So if Jun, Kyoko, Masato and whoever else can wait ten more weeks Egami will explain everything he knows but does that include Taeko's murder? Plus if Egami does know many important details wouldn't it help his cause now as it may save some lives? But the conversation didn't get any farther than that as secretly at this wharf was that Mysterious Man who has been mentioned a few times. He unscrewed the tire nuts on the left front wheel of Jun's car, then headed to where the trio were but remained hidden.

 From across this very small channel the man began to fire at everyone, was he a bad shot for all of his shots missed! But it did allow Egami to flee and was that the main purpose of this man firing as he only had an air rifle. Jun gave chase but after he zoomed away in his car trying to catch this shooter his left wheel fell off, the reasoning for that wasn't to hurt Jun but to prevent him from following. So that scene did raise a few more questions, such as why does this Mysterious Man want to prevent Egami from talking? While this was taking place Masato was having his own troubles, that morning he had received a call from Yukiko saying she wanted to divorce her husband! Who is Hidehiko and once again he paid Masato a visit, this time at his office at Towa University. Masato swore up and down to Hidehiko that he had nothing to do with Yukiko wanting a divorce which was true. Listening in to this chat was Masato's superior Oyama who is getting a bit peeved at Masato's personal life. Oyama had one time felt Masato may be having an affair with Kyoko which never happened(will it?) and now is wondering if it was Yukiko as why would her husband show up at his office? Have no clue but wouldn't be surprised if Masato doesn't get suspended or goes on hiatus not too far in the future, it may not bother him as it would mean more time he could spend on Taeko's death case.

 Kyoko ended up returning to Tokyo that day, are her and Jun going to be safe? She told Masato the entire story of what happened, he felt the target could be Egami but if so why should the shooter use an air rifle? Can't wait to find out who this very Mysterious Man is, he is very intelligent and devious. He called up both Yukiko and Masato, if they want info about Taeko's death to meet him at the Shinjuku motel she stayed at. Neither Masato or Yukiko knew the other had been told to come to the motel, when both met in the room they knew something was amiss. Masato had a call asking how does it feel to be in the room where his wife died(?), to that he slammed the phone down and left immediately with Yukiko. But hidden in some bushes was this Mysterious Man who took photos of the pair leaving the motel. he worked quick as the following day this creep had sent copies of the photos to Yukiko's husband, Masato's boss at Towa University and possibly some others. Masato told his boss Oyama someone is playing a cruel prank on him but he can't explain why, how much longer will Masato retain his job as a professor?

 To Hidehiko the photos are the proof he needed about his wife having an affair with Masato, because of that there's no way he'll grant her a divorce! It is a cruel scheme but what an ingenious one by this man but do wonder what kind of outcome is he expecting? One other person has seen the photos for when Masato's daughter Akiko arrived at home that night there was an envelope in the mailbox. Of course in it were the photos of her father and Yukiko together but Akiko handled it very maturely. She started a small bonfire in the backyard, when Masato arrived home Akiko said she was burning some old garden flowers, she said it's time to cook dinner so went into the house. But Masato looked a bit closely at the fire, as you can see above there was a small remain of a photo. So of course Masato knew exactly what took place, as the episode ended he looked into the house to see Akiko silently sobbing. So much has been happening in these episodes though not much progress has been made solving the murder of Taeko. There still are fourteen shows to go so of course it'll eventually happen but these new incidents are keeping the series fresh, next pair of recaps will be in three days.

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