Episode 03: “Komaoto” [Note: Komaoto is the sound of shougi pieces]
Summary: The detectives are wondering why there were 2 threats addressed to Shion and the other one also handwritten. They are wondering if it was done by the same man who murdered Shion’s parents years ago. Just then, the younger detective comes running with a newspaper at hand with a headline regarding Shion and the murder incident. He is worried that the culprit might be reading this and may know of Shion’s present whereabouts since her photo is included in the article. The older detective notes that Shion may have used her own power to open the door that has been closed all this time regarding that incident.
The blonde guy from last episode (whom I’ll refer to as “blondie” until his name is revealed) is talking over the phone with Kobayashi and encourages them to write more articles like that about Shion, saying that he can gather however much money is needed for this. Back in the Yasuoka residence, Shinji is telling off reporters and denying permission for interviews with Shion. Same is happening at the Shougi Association as Furuta denies permission interviews regarding Shion as well. Meanwhile, Shion is safely and calmly sitting inside the building with Hisatani. Saori arrives and gives Shion a hug. We also learn from her that Shion has never lost a match ever since she became a professional kishi. Ayumi then arrives and gives Shion a nod. Shion runs over to him and stares at him for a while, causing an annoyed Ayumi to ask if there’s something on his face, which makes Shion blush as she shakes her head “no.” The elevator opens and Hani-meijin gets off as Ayumi gives him a courteous bow and gets on the elevator. Hani-meijin notices Shion and company and says hello. He invites Shion and company later to dinner as sort of a victory party or good luck blessing, adding that he still had to thank Shion for the cookies. Shion gladly accepts. Hani-meijin adds that Shion is in a rough spot right now with all the attention from the media, but cheers her on to not lose. Shion warmly thanks him via her notepad.
Back home, Shinji asks Shion if she enjoyed having dinner with Hani-meijin, to which Shion nods. Shifting topics, Shinji tells her that they heard she also got a threatening note at the association and says he and Sachiko are worried about her and would prefer her to not attend the matches. However, this is Shion’s battle and they won’t force her to quit if she doesn’t want to. Shinji then holds Shion’s hand and starts to tell her what happened to her and her parents 8 years ago. Shion reacts and shows them her necklace with tears in her eyes. They ask them if she already knows. Shion tearfully nods “yes.” Later, she makes a letter for Shinji and Sachiko, thanking them for taking care of her and letting them know that she has been having bad dreams for quite some time now and she didn’t know if it was real or not. She says they are completely red dreams of a completely red room. She says that’s how she knew and that her memory is still fuzzy but she knows that her real parents were really murdered that night. She adds that she is fine and that they shouldn’t worry about her since she has shougi and everyone is kind to her and she has the both of them, reassuring them that she is fine and she’ll keep on fighting.
Meanwhile, the police are checking out the surveillance tape of the suspect. They are wondering why the culprit, who left no evidence other than the king shougi piece 8 years ago would be careless to show himself now. Just then, they receive a call with new information regarding the threatening letter that the Yasuokas received at their home. A fingerprint was lifted from it and a match was found in the database. It turns out to belong to a man who was arrested 3 years ago in another stalker case. The older detective decide that they should first confirm the identity of the man by asking Shion and then comparing this fingerprint to the one from 8 years ago to see if it’s the same guy, so they drop by the Yasuoka residence. As Sachiko calls out to Shion in her room, nobody answers so she proceeds on opening the door. She notices Shion sitting by the shougi board and goes to her. Shion realizes her mom is here and hands her a note before collapsing.
At the hospital, they learn that Shion is physically fine but it seems she went into shock and lapsed into unconsciousness. Shinji thinks he’s a bad father for not noticing how Shion frequently had nightmares and suffered alone. The older detective says otherwise, assuring him that he has loved and raised Shion as his own and that it can be seen whenever you look at Shion. Sachiko hands the detective the note Shion gave her before she collapsed. Sachiko wonders if it helps the investigation at all. The older detective says that on the night of the murder, a single shougi piece was placed on her murdered father’s forehead. He adds that the only people who know about that are the murderer and eyewitnesses, so Shion must have seen it. The older detective takes the opportunity to tell Shinji and Sachiko that he would like Shion to ID some suspects from the stalker incident as well as hear what she has to say about the murder, adding that he will of course wait until she has recovered and be careful not to interfere with her shougi.
Kobayashi and one of his reporters are discussing business in the car, with the former being satisfied with the stories circulating regarding Shion. None of them really care much about the story of the means of getting it, they only care that they’re able to sell the story well to the public. Over at the Shougi Association, Saori and Hisatani are playing some friendly shougi as Hani-meijin drops by while he is waiting for his opponent’s next move, saying that it’s boring. Hisatani thanks him for dinner the other night and says that Shion also enjoyed it. Hani-meijin says he’s glad to hear that then notices that Shion isn’t there today, noting that if she were, he would’ve treated her to dinner again. Just then, some guy interrupts them, asking if he can take Hanii-meijin’s photo. He agrees but asks that Saori and Hisatani join him in the photo. As he assists Saori in standing up, the reporter takes a stolen shot of the 2 of them together, a mischievous smile on his face knowing that he got the shot he wanted. As Hani-meijin pulls Hisatani over to join them for the photo, he mentions that Hisatani is a good shougi player and also an apprentice of Yasuoka-sensei. Hearing this, the reporter inquires about Shion, to which Hisatani replies that Shion is doing well but will be taking the day off to have some rest, keeping the secret to himself that Shion is actually in the hospital right now.
At the hospital, Shinji is playing a game of shougi by himself. When Sachiko questions him, he says the sound of the pieces helps him relax and he feels the same thing goes for Shion as well. Later that night, the older detective drops by to visit Shion. He enters the room and notices that her parents have already gone home. He thinks to himself that he doesn’t know much but he now knows that Shion recalls some details about the murder 8 years ago. He sees the shougi board by Shion’s bed so he sits for a while and arranges the pieces. Shion is dreaming about her last match with Ayumi and remembers that she wanted to try harder. She suddenly wakes up and sits up in bed, surprising the detective who then calls out for the doctor. Later on, Shinji and Sachiko are back and the doctor informs them the Shion’s vital signs appear to be stable. Shion learns that she has been asleep for 5 days. Shinji then proceeds to ask the doctor if it’s okay for Shion to attend her match tomorrow. The doctor advises against it since Shion has been unconscious for quite a while. The detective manages to squeeze in his request and asks Shion if she could identify the man who stalked her from the photo he is showing. Shion confirms the identity, so he was later able to apprehend the stalker. As they initially thought, the man in their custody is merely a stalker and is different from the murderer 8 years ago.
In the hospital the next day, Sachiko walks in on Shinji and Shion getting ready for the match. Sachiko tries to stop them since Shion is still quite weak from her recent ordeal, but despite this, Shion tells her mom that she wants to go and has decided this herself. Seeing the determined look in her eyes, Sachiko gives Shion a hug and says that she understands and that she will be waiting here in the hospital for her return after the match. Shion makes it in time for her second match with Ayumi. Shion is glad to have another game against Ayumi, noting that she won’t lose this time. Ayumi starts off the game strongly but gets a surprised look on her face as she looks at Shion’s reaction. Shion seems to suddenly have an epiphany and is staring at Ayumi with tears in her eyes.
~ end of episode
My Impression: The time has moved forward again, it’s now 6 months later from the last episode; therefore, making it 1 year later from the first episode. It’s really annoying that these reporters are hounding Shion in their quest to publish their so-called scoops and raise their circulation in print. I wonder who that blondie is and why he wants this kind of ugly publicity for Shion. I suspect blondie is also the one who is behind that stolen shot regarding Hani-meijin and Saori since he was talking to that Kobayashi guy earlier about some sort of evil plan. If it’s not only Shion that he’s after, whatever his agenda is, I’m sure it won’t be any good.
Regarding Shion’s reaction by the end of the episode, I doubt she was just surprised with the shougi move Ayumi made. I think it’s much deeper than that, probably that she even realizes that Ayumi was the one who saved her from that stalker and that she is actually a guy. It gets more and more interesting as the story progresses. Despite the long jumps in the timeline which can be a little bit confusing, I really like how the story is progressing. It doesn’t beat around the bush and gives us some immediate answers with regard to some of the questions brought up in the previous episodes. I think we’d be able to know who exactly that blondie is in a couple of episodes or so and I think I can safely say that we would know the identity of the murderer by the season’s end.
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