Guys I’m worried. I didn’t think I would be. I mean it’s not lie there are any surprises here and the Woodpecker Detective’s Office is hardly my favourite series. It’s not even my favourite of the season. It’s like in 3rd place. And I’m only watching 3 shows!

And yet here I am, worried and actually a little sad. It’s telling when my least favourite show of a season (I’m only watching 3) makes me care enough about it’s characters that I can feel genuine sadness at heir fate. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As you may (or most likely may not) remember, Ishikawa and Kyosuke are still arguing for…wel.. it’s a bit complicated. As a side note, it seems that the only way to make me remember characters names is to name them after historical authors. How bougie of me!

At the core the fight is about a clash of values and perceptions. Ishikawa essentially  sold off Oen into marriage to a rich man. Having no father to do so for her this wasn’t exactly uncommon. Still from Kyosuke’s perspective Ishikawa essentially acted as a pimp and sent away a woman who was in love with him and followed his wishes out of those emotions so that he could enrich himself. A purely selfish act that also happened to take advantage of someone else’s love. And very disappointing behavior from a friend.

From Ishi’s pint of vue, he helped a woman he was rather fond of find a secure and better life with someone that could provide for her n a way he never could. And both he and Oen discussed and agreed on the terms together. Maybe she did feel a little obligated to him but ultimately Ishi really did believe it was a mutually beneficial situation, better for her than him even, and doesn’t understand how it’s anyone else’s business.

See, complicated. And difficult to really parse. Is confort more important than love? The answer is probably different for everyone. And you can’t say one is right or wrong. Let’s remeber that comfort here means being able to eat. Pretty important comfort and all.

I didn’t get any screenshots of te apparently dedicated back scrubbers in straps. I’m sure they were historically accurate and all but it was a strange view.

The episode itself gave us Ishi’s ridiculous plan to mend his friendship with Kyosuke. After the case of a gentleman thief having stolen 5000 yen (a lot of money at the time) makes the rounds, Ishikawa concocts this elaborate prank to make Kyosuke think he’s solved the crime. It’s a little convoluted but not bad. There were enough connecting threads to make it sort of work and it made me smile so I call it a pass.

Had it been the actual crime I would have rolled my eyes a bit. However, in the context of a precise little mystery created specifically to be solved by someone the author knows very well, it worked.

The idea was that the fun of the adventure and the elation of having solved the mystery would put Kyosuke in a good enough mood to forgive his friend and they could go back to how things were.

Bear in mind that Ishikawa really doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong and yet he is still willing to be the one asking for forgiveness. This may actually come from the fact that he usually is the one at fault so he may just be used to asking for forgiveness. It’s like his default position. But it may also be  sign that he cares about his friend more than he lets on. Not only that but he spent a lot of money on that prank (I’m glad they addressed that!). For a guy so perpetually broke and in search of money as Ishikawa, investing such a large sum just to give his friend a fun day or two, is a huge gesture!

If you’re into that sort of thing, Akutagawa heavily insinuated tha Kyosuke may have some romantic feelings for Ihikawa, which is why he took the idea of Ishi just giving away someone who loves him so badly. I don’t care about this. First it was super obvious without having a character spell it out and second I think the show woefully underuses Akutagawa and should not have included him. I’ve mentioned it before but I do really love the way he wrote and I’m sad that every time  see him in shows he’s a weirdo who watches others be brilliant.

You know that he actual Osamu Dazai considered Akutagawa to be a genius and his idol.

Wow that was a weird out of nowhere rant. Almost like I’m avoiding something.

Throughout the episode the show heavily foreshadows Ishikawa’s failing health. With a cough of all things. Well of course with a cough. Takuboku Ishikawa dies of tuberculosis after all. It’s not like you can change that. But with everything that’s happening it does hit surprisingly close to home and I’m surprised no one thought to maybe omit that part.

The again, it might not be possible. There are still quite a few episodes to go though so he may hang around for some time but by the closing scene, things were starting to look grim.

And I’m a little sad. Which makes no sense. We all knew this was going to happen. I already knew about the actual Ishikawa’s short life as well. It’s not like the show hasn’t made it amply clear where it was heading. And it’s messy and uneven which means I haven’t been able to bond to the characters as much as I could have. Or at least I thought so… Maybe I’m getting soft. That’s o.k. Soft is good, and comfy.

Woodpecker Detective's Office ep7 (43)

2 thoughts

  1. It’s good to care; it makes the show more fun. I’m a little jealous, because I find myself not really caring. Also, about Ishikawa’s illness, I recently came across a comment somewhere (at Animefeminist? I can’t remember), where someone speculated about certain connections that I haven’t made and found very interesting:

    Remember when Ishikawa dragged Kyousuke to the brothel, tried to follow up on what’s going on, and then actually got angry at Kyousuke for a while, which led to the prank that got him arrested? The comment drew a connection between the prostitute’s fatal illness and Ishikawa’s health situation: basically, Kyousuke not fulfilling someone’s dying wish would have been very personal. I totally didn’t get that. The closest I came was near the resolution of the arc, with the message in the foreign-language diary. I think, if I had been more into the show, I might have picked up on it.

    There’s all this stuff I’m missing because I can’t bring myself to pay proper attention. So, yeah, it’s good to care, as you get more out of the show.

    As for Oen, I’m more inclined to side with Ishikawa, here. Kyousuke seems to be operating from principle, while Ishikawa actually interacted plenty with Oen, and in their last scene together, she seemed to be actually grateful. I obviously can’t judge the entire situation, having too little information. It’s just that, between messing up from sticking to moral principles, and messing up from misjudging (and possibly indulgement), I tend to prefer the latter.

    I think what this episode demonstrated is that the first episode’s musing that solving mysteries isn’t unlike writing fiction was more than just a gimmick for this show. They’re actually quite good at running through permutations, here, and then relating it to life.

    1. That is a very interesting comment. Sort of sad and I’m not sure I agree with the perceived messaging but the show is a bit messy with its morals so I can see it

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