ATARU Episode 9 Recap
Wow. A lot happened. A lot. And Larry…he might NOT be all that bad, but ignorance is NOT an excuse for what he did to Ataru, especially without Ataru’s parents’ knowledge. You can tell that there is genuine affection for Ataru, but what you can’t tell is how much of that is due to Ataru’s savant syndrome and how much because Ataru is, well, Ataru.
We start with Ataru being dressed up in a suit (borrowed from Mr. Ebina back from his days working as a designer for automobiles). He gets compliments for his good looks, but Ebina is not happy as the suit does not seem very Chokozai-like. Sawa tells her that it suits him very well and that Ataru can even go to a casino like that. The three then set off to meet with Ataru’s parents.
They arrive at the hospital where they meet Ataru’s father. Sawa and Ebina show their badges and introduce themselves. Chokozai is really cute and introduces himself as well. To his own father! Ataru’s father then scolds Ataru for running away from Larry at the airport. Sawa and Ebina keep calling him Ataru and he keeps interjecting “Chokozai.” Looks like he doesn’t like going by his real name. Sawa apologizes for not contacting Ataru’s father earlier, but since they didn’t know Ataru’s real name, it took longer. Ataru’s father then apologizes as his son must have caused quite a bit of trouble. We also learn that Chokozai originally hailed from Nakakamata, but his parents moved to Hachiouji 10 years ago. Sawa then gets called out to investigate a case in Hachiouji where a child was found dead in the woods. Chokozai sees this broadcast and immediately accepts the mission.
Sawa is the first to arrive on scene since he was in Hachiouji already. Nozaki and Matsushima are there as well. Nozaki seems very…effected…by the case. I can’t say I blame him. Children’s deaths are always tragic (even if they died of natural causes). Mrs. Murai doesn’t want her son’s (Hogara’s) body taken away for an autopsy. Nozaki then says coldly that they don’t need her permission for the autopsy and the boy’s body is taken to the forensics department. Given with the amount of bruises the kid had (not fresh mind you), I think its pretty obvious why the mother wouldn’t want him to be examined. It’s also pretty obvious that Nozaki thinks the mother is definitely the criminal.
Meanwhile, Ataru’s father explains that 25 years ago, he tried to find help on Ataru’s savant syndrome, but very few resources could be located. After much frustration, he finally met Larry who was working for the NYPD. Ebina asks if Ataru’s father knows that Ataru works for the FBI. Ataru’s father replies that he does, his son handles the filing of the cases… Um. Not quite. Looks like Larry wasn’t 100% honest just what Ataru would be doing in the states. Don’t you think that would be a red flag to Ebina?
Mrs. Murai explains how she went on a picnic with her son. When she went to throw the trash away, she came back and found Hogara missing. Matsushima takes Sawa, Nozaki and crew around. He has found a swingset just above where Hogara’s body was found. That means that it’s most likely an accident and another discarded case, right? Nozaki actually steps in and says that he’s wrong. This is NOT a discard case. Why? We all know it’s because the victim is a child and it just so happens that child has signs of being physically abused.
Back at the hospital, Inoguchi reveals that he meets Ataru once a year. Go figure. From Ataru’s memory fragments that we have seen, I didn’t think he was still in touch with his family. Ebina asks if Ataru comes to Japan once a year. Ataru’s father says that he has visited his son in New York since Ataru is now a legal resident. Inoguchi then tells his son three times that he can’t sleep on the cot in the office. Ataru springs up and updates. Poor Ataru needs sleep! But this shows he trusts his father since he updated. Meanwhile, Sawa and crew head to Inoguchi’s hospital to talk about the case.
While waiting for Sawa and the others to arrive, Ebina apologizes for the interruption of the family reunion. Ataru then pulls out his rat and starts playing with it. He complains that it has no tail. Inoguchi is surprised. Ataru’s mother made that for him to resemble his beloved pet Choro. Ataru still has it after all of these years. Mrs. Inoguchi then brings Sawa and crew in and she greets her son. Awkward. That’s all I have to say. There is a giant awkwardness between mother and son (more in the mother’s case rather than Chokozai’s). Sawa then sends Ebina and Ataru home with Mrs. Inoguchi (its her first time seeing Ataru since he left 10 years ago). while he talks to Dr. Inoguchi about the Murai case.
Dr. Inoguchi explains that Hogara was found throwing up in the street and a woman brought him to the hospital. When Dr. Inoguchi examined him, he found old bruises and burn marks. He talked to Mrs. Murai who, of course, blames the bruising and burns on a child’s clumsiness. With her being reported so many times, she did end up getting home visits from protective services and things quieted down a lot, but looks like she started up again and Dr. Inoguchi reported her again since her explanations did not match with the wounds on the boy’s body. Inoguchi was not 100% certain of there being abuse, but her explanations made him believe that was most likely the case.
Mrs. Inoguchi invites Ebina to stay for dinner, but she declines so the Inoguchis can spend quality family time together. Ebina then bids Chokozai goodbye and leaves the two alone. Chokozai tries to follow and runs into the closed door. Aww, it’s cute. He’s following after Ebina like a little puppy. At the Ebina apartment, Sawa is NOT happy to learn that Larry kept Chokozai’s training a secret from the Inoguchis. Ebina believes this is because you cannot indulge too much information while working for the FBI. Sawa wonders why she’s so trusting and Ebina equally wonders why Sawa is so mistrusting. Sawa tries to explain about what happened with Inukai,but Ebina doesn’t get what Sawa is driving at. with the whole Swimming Detective and Larry being a consultant and Inukai now being slightly zombie-like and watching the show. Ebina then says that Chokozai has helped them solve many cases which is thanks to Larry’s training. Shouldn’t they be grateful?
Sho and Mr. Ebina then arrive and ask after Chokozai. They are all sad to think that Choko-kun won’t be coming back again. Then in comes Chokozai. Ebina asks him what’s wrong and Chokozai says that place is his home. Ebina then recalls that she forgot to update Chokozai before leaving. Chokozai then murmurs because that place has flowers as he looks at his precious flowers. I think this really shows Chokozai’s growth and attachment to the Ebinas (Maiko in particularly) and Sawa. He has come to trust and love them (in his own way) and they have in turn made him their family. It’s really quite sweet. Although you do feel bad for Chokozai’s parents.
The next morning Sawa gets a call asking about Chokozai who has disappeared! Where did he go this time? As it turns out, he showed up at Atsumi’s office requesting curry soup. Sawa keeps true to his word from the previous episode and tries to keep Chokozai from investigating. Chokozai, however, will not be deterred. Him trying to creep his way to the photos was really funny. Atsumi and Sawa discuss the wounds and the possibility of poisoning. If Hogara WAS poisoned, it would be hard to tell has only small doses can be lethal to children, PLUS they metabolize poison faster than adults making it harder to detect. Ataru mentions the swollen eyes and this sets Atsumi and Sawa off on whether or not the child could have been poisoned. Ebina then comes in and finds Chokozai hiding under the table with pictures of the burn marks. How he got them, who knows? Chokozai then keeps repeating words and numbers once again and Sawa looks at how Chokozai put the pictures together. Just what made that burn mark?
Chokozai lays on a bench in the hall and Ebina asks him why he came there. Sawa replies that was probably how Chokozai was trained by Larry. Larry is listening in on this conversation like awlways. He smiles and says that it was not his training that made Chokozai go to the station on his own. It was because he wanted to help Ebina Maiko (she asked for his help later as she left him with his mother). One of Larry’s lackeys then wonders if it might be possible that Ataru is doing this because he has ROMANTIC feelings for Ebina. Larry declares this impossible. And I just have to interject here and say while it may not be PROBABLE, that doesn’t mean its IMPOSSIBLE. One should never use absolutes anyways. Just because a person may have a developmental disorder or a mental handicap does not mean that they cannot love another person romantically.
Sawa then gets a call from Kuroki who tells him that Chokozai’s mutterings were about a certain tea kettle made in China. That’s how the boy got the burn. They confront Mrs. Murai about this, but she just says that the child ran into the hot teapot. Sawa then shows pictures of the bruises and she sticks to her story that Hogara fell down often and hurt himself. Ok. In this case that is PROBABLE, but in all actuality probably NOT the real reason behind the bruises and burns.
At the Inoguchi house, Ebina learns Mrs. Inoguchi’s side of the story. It turns out that she was a lot like the electric guy’s mother in the previous episode. Ataru’s abilities were not gifts, but rather curses or disabilities. His memorization and putting together random pieces to create the bigger picture caused a lot of trouble for his parents and lost him all of his friends in elementary school. Mrs. Inoguchi couldn’t not take the stress and she soon learned she was pregnant with a second child Tasuku.So Ataru has a little brother. Shocking. Mrs. Inoguchi tried flower therapy to calm herself, but that did not work. She came home one day and saw Ataru holding Choro by his tail. The tail and rat became detached and she started freaking out. At that time, she did not know that the tail coming off was perfectly natural for that species and became afraid that Ataru would become violent towards his baby brother. That’s when Larry showed up and she got rid of Ataru. Poor Ataru is lying on the couch listening to everything. Although, he probably understood to an extent that his mother was suffering. This explains why there is so much awkwardness. Every time Mrs. Inoguchi sees her eldest son, she feels guilty.
Ebina then reports all of this to Sawa who is angry that Ebina took Chokozai back with her instead of leaving him with her mother. Well, I don’t think Ebina was 100% wrong, but Sawa is right as well. Chokozai does need to reconnect with his family. After Sawa tells her to angrily take Chokozai back to the Inoguchi home, he leaves and Chokozai tugs on Ebina’s sleeve and says “family.” I interpret this to mean that Chokozai has adopted Ebina as his family. But I could be wrong.
Sawa meets with Atsumi who could not find any traces of poison, even within the swollen eyelids. But that doesn’t mean the child wasn’t. Why? Children metabolize poisons faster. So if it was a small amount of a very lethal poison, then there is a chance that it could have already metabolized (meaning also that it would have disappeared). Atsumi then points out that the swollen eyes indicated the boy cried very hard just before his death. Then in pops Ebina followed by Chokozai. Sawa scolds her and tells her to leave saying that case isn’t discarded this time. Sawa then claims Ebina is just as bad as Larry as she is only using Chokozai for his abilities.. T_T Well. That’s not entirely true. Yes, Ebina has come to depend on him, but you know she genuinely cares for our little Chokozai and is not using him for glory (as Sawa insinuates). Chokozai then points out a wound and Atsumi promises to look into it as Chokozai leaves. Ebina then reveals that Chokai was released into Larry’s custody. Sawa is even more furious about this.
Sawa goes to Naka to update him on the investigation. Naka wonders if it is all because of Chokozai again. Well, even though Sawa and team were investigating hard, it is because of Chokzai that there are major breakthroughs. Sawa goes to explain abut Chokozai being in the FBI and all, but Naka doesn’t want to hear. That’s how he’s kept his job all of these years, but not being curious. Nice. Sawa gets his warrant and he and the team search the Murai household for a poison that could have killed the little boy.
Ebina goes to visit Dr. Inoguchi. Ataru has crept away by himself once again and tries to sleep on one of the hospital beds. Ebina then gets a call and she quickly pulls out pictures to show to Dr. Inoguchi. Of course, since this is Ebina, the pictures go flying and Ataru looks through them. Ebina quickly finds the picture that Ataru pointed out earlier about a wound on the finger. Dr. Inoguchi says that wasn’t there when he last saw Hogara. Ataru then gets up and moves out and Ebina rushes after him saying that Ataru is investigating a case. This floors Dr. Inoguchi.
Chokozai takes Ebina to a place that Sawa’s team passed by in their own investigating. Chokozai takes everything in and points out flower petals on the ground. Sawa looks at the petals and things they are from peach blossoms, but Chokozai says he is wrong. The flowers are then taken in to be analyzed and Chokozai tells Ebina to stop getting Chokozai involved in cases. Larry shows up concerned about Chokozai who is not sleeping well at all. Sawa asks how he knows and Larry explains he knows everything about Ataru. Creepy.
Larry, Ebina, Chokozai, and Sawa all end up at the Inoguchis for dinner. Why? Sawa doesn’t trust Larry. Awkward dinner. Even in front of his mother’s home cooked meals Chokozai only drinks ketchup and mustard. Mrs. Inoguchi takes this as a sign that Chokozai hasn’t forgiven her for abandoning him. Larry points out that Chokozai never ate a proper meal in the states either. This earns Larry a scolding from Sawa for not taking care of Ataru’s nutrition. Ebina intervenes and tries to get the two men to stop arguing in front of Ataru and his parents. Chokzai then yells out that it’s not Ataru, it’s Chokozai. Dr. Inoguchi then recalls that Ataru once had a good friend who called him Chokozai (a mispronunciation of the kanji that makes up Ataru’s name). Dr. Inoguchi then looks to Sawa and Ebina and tells them to keep calling Ataru Chokozai. Awww. This makes both Ebina and Sawa smile.
Ebina then asks after what Chokozai used to eat when he lived in Japan. Dr. Inoguchi thinks and recalls onigiri (rice balls wrapped in seaweed). We then learn how Ataru was supposed to go on a field trip, but the school wouldn’t allow him to go, so his mother made him onigiri which he would have taken on the trip. We then get the memory (from Chokozai) of Mrs. Inoguchi silently crying while making the onigiri and giving them to her son. Sawa then says that Chokozai turned down the onigiri he gave him earlier. Chokozai then is asked if he wants his mother’s homemade onigiri. Chokozai agrees to this. So that’s what he wanted all along. Still, onigiri isn’t the most balanced meal either. Mrs. Inoguchi quickly gets up to make them and Chokozai gets up as well, all fidgety and excited.
He then points out that there is no flowers. Ebina says that Chokozai must always have flowers and Larry says that it was the one habit that Chokozai had in the states as well. Ebina shows a picture of the flowers and Dr. Inoguchi is surprised. Those lilies where what they used in flower therapy. A single stem of lilies that had exactly four blooms. Ebina starts putting things together. Chokozai was never angry at his mother in the first place. He kept the flowers as a token of his family. This makes Mrs. Inoguchi, and everyone else save Larry and Sawa, tear up. Chokozai then pats his mother’s shoulder and asks her for onigiri. He then makes the rice ball shaping motions with his own hands. Such a deeply emotional scene.
Sawa then goes out to meet Kuroki and the others. He is followed by Chokozai, Larry, and Ebina. Sawa orders Chokozai to stay behind and Larry asks Sawa to let him go as it is healing for Ataru to solve cases. Larry smiles and says that is the exact opposite. Solving cases stresses Chokozai and causes him pain. Larry is then shown Chokozai’s hands and the nail marks dug into the palms. Larry is completely shocked. Sawa and team leave and Larry looks at Ataru. Surely all their years together (25) can’t have been a wrong. Larry then looks at Ebina. Chokozai pulls away and walks off while Ebina stares after him in tears. You can tell she’s feeling hurt and guilty.
Sawa meets with Mrs. Murai and tells her what happened. When she went to throw the trash away, her son got lost. He found a field of flowers that resembled peach blossoms and picked them for her. Trying to find his way back, he passed by a farm where no one was around. He burned himself on the incinerator and dropped the flowers inside. The flowers were oleanders (they are deadly, you know) and emitted a poisonous gas when burned. The boy then stumbled his way back into the woods in great pain where he collapsed and died. Mrs. Murai is heartbroken. Thanks to her life going sour, she vented her frustrations out on her only child. When did the line of discipline cross into abuse? The day of the picnic was her promise to her son to never abuse him again. And that was the day he died.
She collapses to her knees. Her son’s accidental death hurting her as much as if she had really killed him with her own hands. She begs to be arrested. Chokzai comes with Larry following behind. He says his normal mission completed by then something different happens. The mother’s crying face and her begging to be arrested trigger something. Chokozai suddenly puts his hands over his ears and starts screaming before he collapses.
Ebina rushes to the hospital where she finds Sho and Sawa. Sho reveals that Chokozai won’t be waking up any time soon. Why? He’s fallen into a coma and they have no idea why! Say it isn’t so. And, of course, that’s where this episode ends. Ebina has realized the error of her thinking. For a minute, Chokozai was a tool, but she was wrong and she doesn’t want him to hurt anymore. Of course, it’s a little late now as Chokozai’s worsening symptoms (that no one could actually see) has caused him to land in a coma.
Previews show that Chokozai might be connected to Mrs. Ebina’s death. How? Stay tuned to find out. I really loved how Chokozai didn’t like Sawa and Ebina fighting. It was cute. And Sawa turning on Larry and blaming him for what happened? I’m glad that someone’s finally slapping Larry awake. The human mind may be limitless, but that doesn’t mean the human body can take the taxation.