Kazoku Game Episodes 8-10 Recap
I admit to being sad that this drama is over. Ok, it’s been over for quite some time now, gomen. This was really well acted, well written, and really socially relevant if you think about it. The pacing was good and you were kept guessing and trying to piece things together until they all click into place in the final episodes. The ending didn’t feel rushed and while we are left to question a bit about how much of Tago Yudai’s story is true and how much is made up…you know his motivations and what drives him.
Episode 8 has Kazu telling his background and story. The prideful father who can’t own up to his own mistakes. His life was sailing relatively smoothly until Koya came into his family’s life and then he met Asami at the same time. Since Kayoko lost 10 million yen and Kazu is too prideful to get help from her family, his idea is to embezzle company funds in order to pay back the debt and keep the house.
While Kazu is plotting this, Shinichi who desperately wants to trust Maki is beginning to doubt just who she is and what her relationship with Koya is. However, he takes her word when she says that she was just getting information about Shinichi from the tutor. Shinichi then makes a bet with Koya. If Shinichi drops out of school, then Shinichi must do what Koya tells him, and conversely if Shinichi successfully graduates, then Koya must do what Shinichi tells him. Even if that means killing himself? Of course. At the same time, Shige is being conflicted by his friends suddenly bullying his bully. The bullying makes Shige uncomfortable, but he inevitably follows in his friends’ footsteps and starts bullying Yamao.
Kazu is caught by his coworker Katsuno who throws back all of Kazu’s pride and advice back in his face. Kazu is ultimately fired and asked to pay back the money he stole. He goes home and gets drunk. Shige has to bring him inside. Koya was getting ready to leave, but before he did, he sobered the drunk Kazu up and then told the Numata family how they all fell into his trap. He then complains that no matter how he taught them, they didn’t get it. They have not changed themselves at all. He also shakes off all responsibilities of shattering the family by saying he only laid the foundation and hoped for a better outcome—it was the Numata family themselves who set the family up for the greatest fall.
Koya then makes his exit and the family implodes. Kayoko begins smashing dishes, Kazu takes a pipe and begins smashing the TV and walls, Shinichi starts slashing at everything in sight with his box cutter, and Shige starts throwing paint everywhere.
We see Maki and Koya parting ways. It turns out that Koya, whose real name is Tago Yudai, was Maki’s teacher back in middle school! To her, Tago will always be her beloved teacher.
Episode nine shows the family has now entered a period of malaise. They are no longer talking to one another after their shouting match and finger pointing. The wrecked house only gets worse as no one bothers cleaning up and trash, clothes, etc. just keep piling up. Eventually, Kayoko packs up her bags and just walks out, Kazu cleans up and tries to find a job, and Shige goes back to school where he finds his friends bullying of Yamao is only getting worse. Only Shinichi has nowhere to go and nothing to do. He grabs his box cutter and blames Koya for destroying everything and ruining his life…not that he was truly living his life nor enjoying his family.
Shinichi goes to Koya’s apartment and breaks in when he gets no response. There he finds a flier for Maki’s, or rather Mizukawa Sara’s, acting troupe. He immediately heads over and the young woman demands he buy her lunch. They sit down and Sara finally tells the whole story of what happened 8 years ago.
Sara’s best friend was Sanada Souta (the boy we kept seeing in flashbacks and as a sort of “ghost”). One day, Toga came back from a trip and hands over a homemade good luck charm he made himself since he did not have time to buy Sara and Souta the charm as promised. There we meet the real Yoshimoto-sensei for the first time. It’s obvious that Sara has a crush on this seemingly perfect teacher. Later that day after school, Souta rushes back in to retrieve the charm and catches Yoshimoto egging two teachers on in doing some bad things. He is caught and soon Yoshimoto and the other two teachers begin to bully him. Tago catches on that something is up and finally gets a confession out of Souta. Tago confronts Yoshimoto who promises to never do such a thing again, but Yoshimoto starts bullying Tago as well and ruining his reputation as a teacher. Thus, Tago starts to turn his back on Souta to save himself. Sara then gets involved when Yoshimoto uses torturing Souta to get Sara to strip and then take pictures of her to destroy Tago.
After that incident, Yoshimoto goes to plant the pictures on Tago, but Souta runs down the stairs and fights over the briefcase with the evidence. In this struggle, Yoshimoto falls and hits his head on the stairs. Tago immediately calls for an ambulance. All the teachers in the school are pointing fingers at Tago who insists that Yoshimoto just slipped and fell. Tago then gets a call from a devastated Souta who confesses everything. Tago runs in search of the boy who has hidden himself away in a shed in a forest. Before Tago can get to Souta, the boy clutches the charm, thanks Toga for saying he would be his strength and says he wishes no more weaklings like himself are born and no more monsters like Yoshimoto. By the time Tago gets to the shed, Souta has already slit is wrists and died.
This does not answer all of the questions Shinichi has, but Sara promises to reveal everything another time as she is also done running and hiding from the painful past. Shinichi goes home after getting a call from his father. There is his brother and runaway mother. Kazu says he must sell the house and Kayoko says that she wants a divorce. Shige tries to destroy the divorce papers, but Kayoko keeps bringing out more and more. Enter Koya.
In episode ten, Koya comes back into the Numata house and takes down all of his bugs and tells the family to ignore him as he is just there to retrieve these as he completely forgot he had then on rental. He does complain about how bad the family is and that they are even worse than he imagined. He goes to leave and looks up at Shinichi who is in his room looking down. Koya says that since Shinichi dropped out, Shinichi must obey him. What? Does Koya want him to kill himself? Koya looks up and earnestly pleas with Shinichi to save his family. It’s the same plea that Koya gave to Shige—he told the youngest Numata that it was only him who could save the family.
Shinichi again meets up with Sara at the school where Tago and Yoshimoto use to work. She tells him that the Numata family was the 4th family that Tago was working on rehabilitating—his goal is to prevent future Souta and Yoshimotos. After successfully rehabilitating three other students, the Numata family was quite the challenge. Shinichi wonders why Tago would resort to becoming another Yoshimoto to get the job done. Because in only becoming the embodiment of evil, could he push the students and their families forward. Sara then reveals that Tago acting as Yoshimoto says he killed someone, right? As Yoshimoto, that person is Souta, but that isn’t who Toga really killed. When Sara reveals who Tago really killed, Shinichi has tears rolling down his face.
We then cut to see Tago visiting Mrs. Yoshimoto and her son in the hospital. He tells her that the education of Numata Shinichi has ended and there is no way that Shinichi will turn out to be another Yoshimoto. Mrs. Yoshimoto tells Tago to stop referring to her son as being synonymous with evil. That’s right. Tago smiles and then turns the tables on her. Isn’t it partly her fault that her son was the way he was? Monsters, after all, are not born, they are created by families and their environments. Mrs. Yoshimoto takes offense at this, but Tago reminds her about how she asked him to keep her son’s crimes a secret. Who wouldn’t want to protect their child? Even knowing they did such grievous wrongs? Tago leaves the hospital room and looks back once to say that perhaps Yoshimoto was a victim in his own right, too.
Katsuno sees the job hunting Kazu and stops to give him a business card of a former coworker that Kazu let go. He then gets a call from his eldest son and returns home. Shinichi then steps forward and pulls out the tutor book that Koya left behind. Shinichi reads out all the entries about his family and himself. Soon we get an image of Tago channeling Yoshimoto and talking about how worthless their family is and how it deserves to be destroyed as there is no family bonds because this family had ceased to interact at all. Shinichi doesn’t want Yoshimoto to win, he wants to prove their family can survive. Unfortunately, his parents aren’t of the same sentiment. Kazu gets up and goes to his room saying that Yoshimoto is right…their family has no bond.
The next day it is Shige’s turn to call out the Numata family. They go to a warehouse where Shige was once beaten and bullied. There they see Shige’s friends beating Yamao. Kayoko and Kazu try to go in to interfere, but Shinichi stops them. They then see Shige stand up for Yamao. Bullying is wrong. But they are doing it for Shige, aren’t they? But that’s not what Shige wants. If his friends can’t accept that, then they can hit him instead of Yamao. Soon another friend steps in front of Shige saying that they can hit him, too. Thus the bullying ends. Shige extends his hand to Yamao who swats it away weakly and asks what the deal is. Shige then repeats back Koya’s words about know death to be grateful to live which in turn makes you learn kindness. He and Yamao should now be able to be kind, right? Thus Yamao is no longer bully or the bullied and one of Shige’s friends. The three Numatas who were watching behind the scenes are amazed at just how brave and strong Shige has become. Can they not change as well?
Kazu runs off to a job interview where he confesses to his former coworker Otto about his pride and maliciousness and how he is getting what he deserved. Otto is happy to see this change in Kazu and tells him that he will soon find a job with that attitude. Meanwhile, Kayoko and Shinichi get back home and the two start cleaning up. Slowly…they are picking up the pieces of their lives and their family. Kazu sells the car and the house and it’s time to move to make a fresh start.
On moving day, Sara comes and lets Shinichi know that if he wishes to see Tago, he can go to the shed where Souta died on May 26. Shinichi thanks her for this information. He then goes back to his girlfriend to apologize and ask her to start over, which she agrees to. Shinichi then begins studying to get into…I don’t know if its his old high school or some college, he tutors Shige to get into his high school, and the family bickers, talks, and honestly starts communicating and enjoying each other once more.
May 26th finally rolls around and Shinichi goes to the shed where he finds Tago putting flowers where Souta died. Tago steps out and Shinichi takes out the box cutter and stabs it into a tree. He’s there to beat Tago. Shinichi then attacks and Tago easily dodges. Shinichi curses at him and screams that he was wrong. Wrong for the evil he did, wrong for killing Tago Yuudai in order to become Yoshimoto Koya. Shinichi gets some good punches in and then he bows and thanks Tago for creating a bond in the Numata family. Tago then says for the first time in a long time he earnestly smiled as himself and not as the embodiment of evil Yoshimoto. The end.
Well, we then get a scene where Shinichi asks Tago if Sara told the complete truth about what happened 8 years ago and we get a grin and Koya’s favorite expression.
End series. Really, it was great. To see the evolution of a family that wasn’t really a family and to see the ultimate sacrifice Tago made, killing himself (figuratively), in order to prevent future tragedies like Yoshimoto’s and Souta’s. You honestly know what this drama was up for a lot of awards, don’t you? I don’t think you could find better actors. Sakurai Sho was amazing as was Kamiki Ryunosuke and the rest of the cast. I will say this, Oshinari Shugo’s version of Yoshimoto Koya…was NOT as good as Sakurai’s. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just that he really didn’t seem to have that evil, crazy vibe that Sakurai gave out so well and Sakurai’s character isn’t even supposed to be the original, but a replica. Go figure.