Toonami Airdate: November 21st, 2015
I guess Shinsuke will never realize his dream of playing Blitzball.
The episode opens with Michiko driving an old beat-up truck down a long barren highway, stopping at a busted up water tower. Looking ahead, she sees two extremely long forks in the road and wonders about which one she should take.
We then cut to a desolate ruined town called Casa Vento, where Satoshi and Hatchin have recently arrived. The two are walking through town, with Hatchin being forced to carry Satoshi’s stuff, and they stop for a bit as he proceeds to… stomp around randomly. He says it’s just his hysteria, and then he proceeds to ruminate on his history with the town, claiming to be responsible for its destruction. We get a flashback to 10 years ago, with a shootout taking place in the town, and we see Satoshi and his crew. He gets a call on his walkie-talkie from Shinsuke, who claims to have found a person they were looking for (some guy named Tito). They meet up with Shinsuke who’s holding the man at gunpoint in the sewer, and they proceed to threaten and intimidate him. Eventually, the gang ties him up underneath the windmill at the center of town, and Satoshi shoots at him a couple of times before deciding to end him for good. Shinsuke interrupts with a plan of his own: tying up Tito’s head in a plastic bag and agreeing to let him go if he can survive for 10 minutes.
Back in the present, Shinsuke gets a call from Satoshi, pissed as hell and demanding a 1-on-1 match between the two to settle their conflict. The call gets more and more tense, with Shinsuke furious at Satoshi for running him over several episodes earlier and for Satoshi reaching boss status within Monstro Preto even though he was the one doing the real work. He invites Shinsuke to Casa Vento before angrily hanging up, and then he goes to the building where he and Hatchin are staying, jumping straight into bed. Satoshi informs her that assassins are heading to the town to get him and that the only way to be safe is to stick with him. The two argue for a bit over this, and Hatchin even chews out Satoshi for not taking a bath in who knows how long, to which he responds by taking off his pants and letting one rip. After that particular ill-mannered display, she asks him about Hiroshi, and he proceeds to talk about him. Back during Satoshi’s days as the boss of Monstro, he suspected everyone he knew was out to get him, but he knew that Hiroshi was the only one who wasn’t, given their status as friends from childhood. He speaks about Hiroshi in an uncharacteristically sentimental manner, echoing the way Michiko always seems to romanticize her history with Hiroshi. Hatchin responds by denying his claims and saying that Hiroshi probably isn’t as great of a friend as Satoshi thinks he is, and then he responds by asking why Hatchin’s been hanging around with Michiko all this time. He suspects that Hatchin’s never actually met Hiroshi and that her supposed “leads” on him are nonexistent, pointing out that Michiko is only using her to get to him. Hatchin denies this, fervently believing in Michiko’s ability to help the two of them, and then Satoshi turns on a radio tuned into a news broadcast about the train derailment from last episode.
Michiko also happens to be listening to this story as she’s driving down the road (which fork in the path she chose, the episode doesn’t make clear), and she suddenly comes across a barricade of police cars, unsure of how she’ll proceed. Michiko ultimately decides to just speed right through the barricade, which somehow works as she’s able to get past, and they begin to chase her down. She thinks she has the upper hand in this chase, but the truck’s engine catches on fire and ends up flipping over and crashing. The cops search the scene for any sign of Michiko, and one of them finds her looking somewhat disoriented from the crash. As it turns out, she was faking it, waiting for a cop to get close enough to her so that she could grab his gun and hold him hostage.
Back at Casa Vento, Hatchin is lying awake in bed as Satoshi is sitting by the window trying to sleep. She gets up, which gets Satoshi’s attention as he tells her not to worry. The two switch their positions as Hatchin tells Satoshi to get some rest and he quickly falls into bed. Out on the highway, the cops are driving as Michiko is holding the officer at gunpoint still, using him to take her wherever it is she ultimately wants to go. Hatchin goes outside the building for a bit, and she notices a couple of cars pull up, and she immediately suspects these are the men coming for Satoshi. She’s correct of course, as after she runs upstairs to warn him, they immediately open fire on the building. After firing for a while, they’re sent inside by Shinsuke to take care of business, and Satoshi tells Hatchin to stay in the room while he goes out and takes care of his own business. He manages to kill off one of the henchmen before he runs back to the room and fires a hole in the ground for him and her to escape through. One of the henchmen notices the hole and looks through, only for Satoshi to shoot him before he can react. He hands Hatchin a gun to defend herself as he goes out to deal with the rest. As the shootout proceeds, Shinsuke is patiently sitting in the car, when suddenly one of his henchmen falls and collides with the hood. Satoshi leaps out onto the roof of the car, and one of Shinsuke’s other henchmen, who’s in the car with him, immediately tries to escape, but as soon as he ducks out of the car, Satoshi shoots him in the chest. He aims a gun at Shinsuke who responds with two guns of his own, and Satoshi invites him to actually settle their problems for good. They go to the windmill in town, and Satoshi presents Shinsuke with a familiar challenge: hold his breath while face-first in a bucket of water for 10 minutes, and all will be forgiven.
Shinsuke, scared out of his mind, decides to go through with it anyway. 10 minutes later, he fails to respond to Satoshi’s words, having failed to survive for the amount of time given; he is now dead. Later, Satoshi and Hatchin prepare to leave town, with Satoshi reminding her of her promise to take them to Hiroshi, wherever he is.
While still in the police car, Michiko and the officer pick up a message about another police barricade outside of Goinia, and she immediately kicks him out of the car. She drives off on her own, eventually approaching the barricade. She reassures herself that Goinia is where she’ll find Hatchin and possibly Hiroshi as well, and the episode ends with her somehow managing to drive through this other barricade successfully… despite the fact that it seems to have at least twice as many cars as the barricade before.
I found that there was quite a lot to like in this episode, mainly owing to the characterization and development of Satoshi. As we see, he serves as sort of an odd mirror parallel to Michiko here i.e. both of them have a highly romanticized idealistic view of Hiroshi that drives their need to find him. In addition, this episode unveils a sense of weariness and desperation underlying his own savagery. Despite the vicious nature that he’s exhibited across the entire series, we get an overwhelming sense of regret at everything that’s happened so far, and he wants to escape his own torment. He’s a character that, much like everyone else in this series, is haunted by his own past and wants any way out that he can find. We can especially see this in the conflict with Shinsuke, as he looks like he regrets having to put Shinsuke through the challenge with the bucket. The complex emotions on display, however, are undercut somewhat by the conflict’s resolution being anti-climactic. All of the build-up and crazy shit that’s been going on between the two across the series, and all we really get for it at the end is Shinsuke drowning in a bucket. The episode even feels like it just rushes to this as well as rushes through this as well, and while I get that Shinsuke, being the pathetic guy that he is, wasn’t going to die a particularly dignified death, the show still could have done more to make this feel like a proper end. One other thing I want to mention is the music in this episode. The soundtrack of this series has been a consistent strength of the series across its entire run so far, but this episode probably boasts some of the finest work to date, with the musical highlight being the piece that plays over the aforementioned drowning scene. It’s so good that it actually makes me overlook the anti-climax and feel the tense emotion of what just happened. This is a great episode, and I look forward to the final two. However, we’ll have to wait a little bit. Next weekend there will be no Michiko & Hatchin on Toonami, as they will be showing a Parasyte marathon for Thanksgiving weekend.
Michiko & Hatchin airs every Saturday at 1:30 AM, only on Toonami.
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