ATARU SP Recap
Yay for more of our loveable sleuthing savant Chokozai! I admit reluctance after hearing there was a lot of recapping…I didn’t know it was two episodes.
This special was broken up into two episodes. The first really needs no recapping whatsoever as it really is just an overview of the entire series. Ebina has opened her own detective agency and has no clients or clients who refuse to pay and she just cannot forget about her times with Chokozai. We get this story told from both her and Sawa’s perspectives. For those who haven’t seen the series, it’s helpful, for those who have and need a refresher, it’s helpful. I didn’t really need the recaps, but that’s okay. It was interesting to see how Ebina is rather useless as a detective. She can’t do anything on her own. Sawa points out her decision to her all the time and you know he thinks it was the wrong move for her.
The heart of the drama starts in the second episode: “ATARU Kanzen Shinsaku Special—New York kara no Chousenjou!!!” The literal translation meaning “Challenge from New York.” This title is very misleading because it’s not taking place in New York.
Ebina is out passing out and hanging up fliers for her detective agency when she comes across a man and woman fighting in a parking lot below. She jumps the fence and slides down a pole to get to them. She scolds the man for picking on a defenseless woman only to see the woman knife the man in front of her. Ebina wrestles her to the ground and calls Sawa to send in help. At the station, it turns out the victim and attacker did not know each other at all. The girl got an anonymous email saying that the man she stabbed stole her sword and armor. Sawa asks Ebina if such things were found on the victim, but they weren’t. The girl then asks them to check into her stalker. Sawa says the police will not do that as they are more interested in the fact that she stabbed someone versus someone stalking her. Of course, Ebina agrees to take on that part of the case.
Ebina goes to the bar where the stalker works. He’s busy playing a video game and doesn’t notice Ebina come up behind him. He tells her she can’t be behind the bar. Ebina sits down and starts questioning him about the girl. Tasuku [Okada Misaki – love him!] is relieved that she is alright since he had been trying to get in touch with her for awhile. He then gets more annoyed and refuses to answer questions and tells her to buy a drink or leave. Thus Ebina orders a very complicated and strong cocktail just in order to talk to him while he makes the drink.
Chief Nakatsugawa is not happy that Sawa got involved in a petty thief and stabbing case thanks to Ebina. He then sends him off to investigate a murder where a man was stabbed three times in the side before having his right wrist stabbed to a tree. While he’s off investigating this, Chokozai sees the news report in New York. He sees Sawa in the background and bows to him. He accepts the mission. LOL. Good ol’ Chokozai never changes. Well, that’s not true. He’s become more open and friendly and he’s not under as much stress when solving cases any more, which is good. Of course, his Japan cases cannot be replicated in the US. I’m guessing this is because Japan holds a special place in Chokozai’s heart. Plus…Ebina was there and Chokozai changed mostly because of her.
At the Ebina house for breakfast, Sawa reveals that the stabber was upset over having game items stolen. This shocks Ebina. What is even more shocking is when her father comes in and talks about how hard it is to earn items in a game and how hacking to steal items is inexcusable…well…of course not to the point of stabbing or murder. Ebina then recalls Tsukasu’s words and decides to stalk him. She follows him to a church and sits through the service with him. Afterward Ebina goes to talk to him and he denies being a Christian…weren’t you just in church? Anywho, she tries to ask him for more information, but Tsukasu refuses to answer questions since she is unrelated to the police. This hits her a bit hard. She left the police force to do what she wants, but she also lost authority and what not by doing so.
Meanwhile, Sawa and team are following up on a lead to a murder. Turns out that the man was reported as stalking a certain woman. Before she can answer any more questions, a different team of detectives shows up at her door with a warrant to look at her computer. Why? It turns out that the stabbing case is connected to the murder case through her! She supposedly sent the anonymous email to the stabber reporting just who the thief was. This shocks the girl. She has no idea what they are talking about. Enter Ebina who is following up on the case as well. She shows the picture of the victim and stabber to the other girl, but she has never seen them either (actually, when it comes to the girl who stabbed the thief, the other girl kind of hesitates so you know she’s lying about not knowing her). But thanks to the evidence found on her computer, she is taken in by the other team of detectives since Sawa has no proof about a tangible connection to his murder case.
Ebina and Sawa go back to his condo (which doubles as her office) and Ebina is horrified to see that Choro (the degu toy Chokozai gave her is gone). She and Sawa begin discussing the case and how there are no similar murders when hear a voice saying there is and look over at Chokozai the degu (Sawa bought her this in the first SP to help her deal with Ataru leaving) thinking that it spoke. Nope, it wasn’t the animal. The two look up at the loft and there is the real Chokozai spouting off dates and places in the US. The ecstatic Ebina goes to climb up to where he is and end up getting kicked in the head as Chokozai goes to climb down. Whoops. Some things never change. Ebina then gets up and does her usual cheek rub with Chokozai while poor Sawa gets rebuffed every time he goes in for a hug. LOL. Yep, some things never change.
Sho has returned home from school finally and looks up the dates and places Chokozai talked about. They all point to a crucifixion serial killer who killed others to atone for his own sins. When the police tracked him down, he then killed himself. After learning this information, the subject then turns to how Chokozai was able to get into the condo. Sho pipes up and says such a feat is nothing for Chokozai. This upsets Sawa. This means the locks on the condo are easy to pick, right? Ebina then reprimands Chokozai for picking the lock. She then tells him three times that he cannot do such things again. There is a long pause, but Chokozai finally says he “updated.” He then complains he’s hungry.
So Ebina and Sawa take him to the Inoguchi household so he can eat his mother’s rice balls and miso soup. Larry is there, of course, since he had a feeling Chokozai would show up at his parents eventually. Mrs. and Mr. Inoguchi are happy to have their son home once more. Ebina, Sawa, and Larry are then invited to dinner. Sawa declines at first, but after Larry goads him, he sits down to eat. We then learn that the rice balls that Mrs. Inoguchi has been sending to the US isn’t actually enough. Chokozai has two a day while Mrs. Inoguchi only makes 31. Larry says this is to acclimate Chokozai to the time that his parents are no longer with him. Besides, once they are gone, he goes back to the ketchup and mustard he so dearly loves and which carries enough nutrients. I still don’t see how that is possible. Mr. and Mrs. Inoguchi get very upset over this, especially when Larry calls making the onigiri a burden. It’s not a burden for Mrs. Inoguchi, but a joy that she is able to do something like that for her eldest son. Mr. Inoguchi and Larry then agree to butt heads over the handling of Chokozai while Mrs. Inoguchi vows to double the amount of onigiri she makes for her son and to continue to do so until the day she dies.
The next day Ebina is sleeping when Chokozai comes knocking on her window looking for curry soup. We then get a silly scene where a man comes to deliver curry udon and Chokozai complains that isn’t curry soup. Ebina invites him inside and gives him his usual curry udon minus the udon noodles. Chokozai looks at the newspaper and sees articles about the incident and starts thinking. He then asks for the internet. Mr. Ebina and Maiko immediately think this is because Chokozai wants to watch his usual detective drama. Nope. He doesn’t watch it any more (this is said by Larry standing outside of Ebina’s window). He then goes to let himself in the house when Sawa comes in and Chokozai asks for the stabber’s ID and password. Ebina grabs the notebook from Sawa and Chokozai manages to see it before Sawa grabs it back and he enters the game Sen Quixote that led the stabber to stab the thief.
Enter Larry. Of course, like always, Sawa is not happy to see Larry. He’s also not happy to see Chokozai hacking the game account. Plus, it’s illegal to hack computers that are currently in police custody. Larry says he will deal with the police if they find out and complain. Sawa points out that he is the police. Chokozai then begins investigating other computers that connected to stabber’s and one of them is the other girl, but her computer was just a smokescreen as someone else really sent the message. Sawa tries to update Chokozai to stop investigating, but he gets an urgent call and has to leave while Larry commands Chokozai to keep up the search. Chokozai notices something and then says “Wizard.”
Sawa goes to a scene where a new male victim is found. This time the opposite wrist had been stabbed. It’s happening just like the original crucifixion murders back in the US! When they go to the murdered professor’s house they see that he was stalking one person in particular. You have to love that younger detective who has a crush on Ebina as he does all the things that the stalkers in these cases do and he’s a police officer! Sawa and Noguchi then go to confront the stalkee Uchida. The girl then explains that she didn’t know who to turn to for help and thus went to an online bulletin board about stalking. It turns out the three other girls who complained of stalkers posted their problems there as well (Sasai Junko and Yumi—the girl who supposedly sent the anonymous email and the stabber). Of course, with the information given on the forum, it is relatively easy to figure out the true identities of the stalkers. So…someone accessed this bulletin and went after the men accused of stalking.
Ebina and Chokozai then arrive at the office to ask for Atsumi’s help in investigating the real computer that sent the anonymous email to Shimokawa Yumi about the item thief. Atsumi only agrees since this is a clue given by Chokozai. Sawa then questions Ebina about Tasuku and she can only give irrelevant information. And she was a detective and is now a private detective. Shakes head. She does says that he may be a secret Christian which could make him a prime suspect since these crimes mimic the crucifixion murders. They then ask if it is okay for Atsumi to stay late when he has seven children at home. Atsumi then cries that his wife and kids are gone to his wife’s mother’s since his wife can’t take care of such a large brood by herself and Atsumi needs to work to ensure they have money. I like how they keep referencing fairytale characters and Chokozai says their references of both Cinderella and Snow White are both wrong.
A news report then breaks about stalkers being murdered. Uh-oh. Information got leaked to the press. Enter Tasuku rushing into the station begging for protection as he has just seen the news report. It turns out that the stalking bartender is none other than Chokozai’s baby brother. It also turns out that Takusu wants nothing to do with his older brother and you can see this really hurts Chokozai as he really does love the baby brother (that he never has seen before in his life…correct?). Tasuku rushes out of the office followed by Sawa, Ebina, and Chokozai. When he bumps into the forensic woman back from maternity leave, she kicks which sends him flying into Atsumi which sends pictures from the crime scene flying as well. Chokozai processes all of this and then goes to help his little brother up, but Tasuku yells at him not to touch him.
Sawa takes Tasuku back for questioning and tells Ebina to watch Chokozai. She tries to sneak in for the questioning, but is stopped. Tasuku denies stalking Yumi. He only sent her tons of emails and followed her. Right. You’re sooo not a stalker. Tasuku then reveals he was attacked by a person wielding a knife and barely made it to the safety of his home. Then he saw the news report and came to the police for protection. Nakatsugawa then says they don’t have a strong enough connection to assign officers to look after Tasuku. Ebina tosses the guard away and barges in offering her own services as a private detective that will do what the police can’t. Sawa then asks Ebina quietly to make sure to keep Takusu in her sight.
Ebina is walking with Takusu when she notices a man on a motorcycle aiming at Tasuku with a baton. She shoves him out of the away twice. She yells at him to run and Tasuku goes to do so when the biker comes at him again. Ebina is too far away to save him, but Chokozai tackles him to safety. Enter Sawa who tells the biker to freeze as he comes at Ebina with a knife. Ebina freezes as well and this allows enough of a distraction for the culprit to take off, but Ebina tackles him down while Sawa chases after his accomplice. Sawa radios Inuguchi for help in finding the accomplice as the rest of the team arrive on scene to help.
Tasuku pushes his older brother off of him and Ebina scolds him as Chokozai was just trying to help. Tasuku yells that he doesn’t need help especially from him. Sawa returns just in time to catch Chokozai crying over Tasuku’s hurtful words. Ebina rushes after Tasuku and leaves Chokozai in Sawa’s care. Chokozai holds out his red finger and keeps saying “Japanese Spindle Tree.” Sawa doesn’t understand this as it is in English, but he does wipe the stuff off his hand to have it investigated. Larry then shows up looking for Ataru. Sawa goes through Chokozai’s bag and finds the doll with many dolls inside. In the last and smallest doll is a tracking device. Sawa then gets a call, thus allowing Larry enough time to take Chokozai with him.
At the Inoguchi house, the parents are horrified to learn that a murderer is targeting their youngest son. They are also horrified to learn that their son is stalking. Of course, Tasuku keeps denying this and rushes off followed by Ebina. Larry then takes Chokozai to his parents and tells them he will go back to the US with Chokozai as it is unsafe for him in Japan. His parents aren’t happy to hear their eldest son will be leaving, but they want him to be safe as well. When Larry tells Chokozai to go with him, Chokozai actually gets angry and yells that this is his home where his family is and he won’t be leaving. Awww. How nice to see Chokozai asserting his familial rights. This definitely throws Larry and upsets him since he has been training and raising Ataru for the past 25 years. Or something like that.
Tasuku is spending the night at Sawa’s condo and Sawa gets the boy to open up about just why he was stalking Yumi and why he hates his brother. Chokozai was taken away from the Inoguchi family just before Tasuku was born. Even though it was for his sake, he feels he has missed out on a lot of his parents’ love because they only one in their heart was the son they sent away. While all the other kids ate onigiri made by their parents, he never got to since making rice balls reminded his mother of Ataru. So on the day of his fieldtrip, Tasuku skipped out and happened upon a church. The singing calmed him and he began attending. Yet he still denies that he is a Christian. Sawa asks why the boy just doesn’t discuss his feelings with his parents and Tasuku says he believes the day he says something is the day his parents will sever all ties with him.
At the station, Sawa hands over the red goo from Chokozai’s finger for Atsumi to analyze and Atsumi then hands over the IP information about the originating computer. It turns out it’s from London. However, the Japanese law enforcement has no rights to investigate that area. Only the British intelligence and CIA can do such things. Thus, Sawa goes to Larry to ask for his help. These two men really don’t get along at all. Of course, Larry will do the favor, but he won’t be happy doing it since it was Sawa who asked him to.
Anywho, Sawa goes back to Ebina’s house where he finds her and Tasuku lying on her bed looking at some doll. Sawa then chides Tasuku that when he said to love well, he didn’t mean Ebina. Both Ebina and Tasuku are quick to assert they are not like that at all. Ebina then demands Tsukahara’s (the man who attacked Tasuku and got away) ID and password for Sen Quixote. Sawa hands it over and when Ebina logs in there is a new battleground called “Stalker Killer” and it is attached to the stalking forum. Those who kill stalkers from that forum and prove it get 1,000,000 of the game’s money. The other team then questions the captured culprit who says that he was stopped before he could make his first kill.
Ebina is having no luck playing the game so Sawa tries. He’s just as bad. Meanwhile Noguchi is informed that this battleground is not part of the real game and was created by someone else. Who? They don’t know yet. Tasuku says he will do it instead as such a basic character is not hard for him to beat at all. As Tasuku plays he then gets a challenge from a character named Wizard who is very strong. Sawa calls in to have where Wizard is located found. Tasuku is in danger of losing his life when a helper named Tasuku comes in to rescue him. Ebina then looks out her window and there is Chokozai playing the game on her smart phone and helping Tasuku battle. Chokozai then comes into the room and sits next to his brother. Sawa and Ebina watch happily as it is the first time the two brothers interacted like that. They were bonding while playing a game.
They find Wizard’s hiding place only to find Tsukahara already dead. Chokozai starts thinking over all the pieces of the puzzle and then goes to Tsukahara’s phone and begins rattling off a string of code that no one understands. After this, he falls asleep and Sawa piggybacks him back to the Inoguchi apartment. Tasuku sees the onigiri for his brother and goes to head off to work. Ebina asks if he has a phone. Of course. She then gives Chokozai her phone so he can play games again with Tasuku. This is news to the Inoguchi parents. Tasuku plays games? Sawa then starts talking about his conversation with Tasuku and what was in the boy’s heart. His parents reveal that if they had heard such concerns from their son at an earlier time, they just might have severed ties, but they try to assure Tasuku that they love him as much as his elder brother. Tasuku then talks about how much he hates the flowers that represent Chokozai. This upsets Chokozai who is now awake. He yells loudly that his little brother is wrong and Ebina explains the meaning behind the lilies as a family. She also talks about how Chokozai always is calling out for Tasuku and looking for him. Chokozai then gives his baby brother one of the onigiri to eat. Awww.
The caught attacker was about to get off with a lighter sentence as he hadn’t killed and only attempted to kill, when Atsumi’s research shows that the string of code Chokozai rattled off is a hack which stole the money from him. Thus, the attacker killed both the stalkers and Tsukahara. The man then says that he found out about Tsukahara’s theft through an anonymous email. Sheesh. Larry then shows up as he has the final location for the originating computer. It’s from a London airport. So our team heads off to London where they find the computer and look at security footage from the days when both emails were sent. They spot the same girl dressed all in black and acting much like Ataru acts. Chokozai recognizes her immediately. It is Alessandro (isn’t that a boy’s name in Italian?) Carolina Madoka (cameo by Horikita Maki). She was part of the savant program, too, after an accident gave her savant-like abilities. She was very close to Ataru and left the bureau in 2000. The girl looks up at the camera and mouths something. Chokozai repeats it: “Even you, Ataru, can become a criminal.” Since it is in English, Sawa and Ebina don’t understand what it means.
Unfortunately, this is where the series ends. On this cliffhanger. The crime will be put on Tsukahara instead of Madoka and the investigation will be stopped. This makes Sawa unhappy, but the case is out of their jurisdiction now. Sawa also gets a translation from Sho about what Chokozai said and this has Sawa worrying if Chokozai will become a criminal or not. He and Ebina go to see off their friend. Chokozai gives Choro back and Ebina gives her rather badly made version to Chokozai.
Will there be a second season or another SP? I hope so as I want to know more about this Madoka and why she left the program and just why she’s telling Chokozai he can also become a criminal. Overall, this wasn’t a bad special. I could have done without the first episode being a complete recap, but for people needing a refresher it was good. I was also happy to see the plot revolving around Chokozai’s relationship with his younger brother and family as well as Ebina coming to terms with what it means to leave the police force to strike out on her own as a private detective. I’m pretty sure this show was pretty darn silly to begin with, but there were some moments where it seemed even sillier in the SP.