Joker Game Episode 2: Loyalties

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Starting the episode off with some high-level propaganda, huh? “Don’t even think about politics! Just do what you’re told!” Maybe this is meant to explain why the lieutenant from last week’s episode was so straightlaced.

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Not a really great sign when we’re about 5 minutes into the second episode and we’ve seen mostly scenes from the previous episode. That being said, I understand what the show’s trying to get across about the stuff the spies were saying last week. I just really want to see how much of this situation was set up by the D-Agency (and whether it was done as a teaching exercise).

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That’s a pretty big tell, Gordon…then again, he’s pretty screwed. Anyway, this basically solidifies the lieutenant (I guess I should start calling him Sakuma now) as the main character. He seems like he could be an interesting foil to the characters in the spy agency.

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One of us! One of us! One of us!

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Ahh…the classic “I’ll wait until my significant other makes a mistake themselves before I tell them about the big mistake I made” line of logic. That never fails!

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Well…he’s not wrong. Making people think they’ve cracked an encryption when they really haven’t is stronger than confirming to them that they haven’t cracked the encryption. Still, I doubt it’s as easy as changing the encryption. Small changes in a cipher probably cause messages to be wildly garbled if translated with a different cipher, so you’d have to send a subset of messages with false information with the previous cipher as well as changing the cipher for the real messages.

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Pretty good detective work there, Sakuma.

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You sent a guy to a spy agency and you’re surprised he betrayed you? (I’m joking…that’s a bit of a stretch)

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Here’s the part I don’t fully understand. I get that the point of the scene in Gordon’s house was meant to illustrate the fallacy in Sakuma’s “kill or commit suicide” mentality, but I really don’t understand how it was refuted by what happened. It seemed like Sakuma should have considered the imperial portrait as a hiding place from the start, regardless of whether he was acting like a spy or anything. Is the show trying to say that a spy would never even consider actually committing suicide and would instead devote all mental faculties to figuring out the situation? That Sakuma was ready to give up too early because of his pride as a soldier? I’m not well-versed in this type of situation, so it’s hard for me to see Sakuma’s side.

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Oh hey…this is cool. I was actually going to ask why Sakuma didn’t try looking for fingerprints on the cigarette case to identify Yuuki as the one who touched the case at the geisha place. I was going to write it off as “maybe they didn’t have that level of sophisticated forensics at that time”, but the show managed to explain it with Yuuki’s prosthetic. I think it’s cool that Sakuma was able to use this information to deduce Yuuki’s prosthetic hand as well.

Alright, I’m convinced. I think this series is entertaining enough that I want to keep watching, so add it to the list. Looking forward to the next episode.

Joker Game First Impressions (1): The scout is a spy!

I don’t think I even read the synopsis of this series before going in. I just saw the historical style and military tag…and just went for it.

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Starting things off with the white guy speaking with some terrible Engrish? Not a great first impression…

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This one is more acceptable because it’s supposed to be broken English from the Japanese guy. Still, do you really “do harakiri” or would you “perform harakiri”? That’s not really a complaint…I’m just curious. The more interesting question is why there aren’t any Japanese subtitles for this line which is clearly English. Are the Japanese subtitles in the previous lines not actually from the TV release?

Side note: the music in the background sounds very familiar…is that Kawai Kenji? It has the Gundam 00 “feel” to it.

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Opening animation focuses heavily on the card game, which is fine with me. I love playing card games…that being said, I get the sense that the card game is just going to be a medium to get people in a room together talking. The song is pretty good…nothing spectacular, but it’s a decent song for listening.

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Don’t try this at home, kids.

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Wait…this series is about a spy training facility? That sounds awesome!

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“easily” (I’m joking…I’m sure he’s referring to the people who passed and these people obviously failed)

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Yeah…spending all my time using a fake name to converse with other people with fake names…I have no idea what that’s like.

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So it’s poker? I’m liking this series already.

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Oh this is cool. So it’s like a spy’s game of Diplomacy? The card game itself is just a way to prove you won. I’m on board!

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You’re asking a group of spies why they have fun by deceiving others? Come on, buddy…surely you can’t be that dumb.

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This conversation is really interesting, and naturally I agree with the spies on it because it actually requires quick thinking and adaptability.

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Coming back around to the beginning of the episode. Is this Gordon guy going to show us an example of the spy diplomacy that contradicts the soldier’s “kill or suicide” answer?

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This conversation is interesting. I like the line about a spy failing once they are suspected of being a spy. It makes sense because people will start to become wary of the spy and no longer allow him access to privileged information. I’m guessing that’s what he means when he says the spy will disappear by himself if left alone.

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Wait…was everything in the episode meant to kill this guy? Or was it meant to teach him a lesson? The latter seems more likely, but the former is much more interesting.

The ending song falls closer to the standard j-rock genre of song than the opening song. I think that the ending is my preference of the two.

I’m really curious to see what happens next week. The title seems to indicate that it’s a continuation of this week’s episode, which suggests that the spies will save this unfortunate character. I still think it would be really amazing if this entire scenario was thought up as an elaborate way for the D-Agency to kill him, though (like “he was the target all along!”). Anyway, this first episode definitely hooked me, so I’m probably going to keep watching.