Episode 3 of Police in a Pod by MADHOUSE is here. And once again, the Yuzo Sate-directed series delivers an episode incorporating humorous elements about mundane police activities and then transitioning to serious and sensitive topics. In episode 2, we have seen how Police in a Pod touched on the subject of domestic violence and gender inequality among the workforce.
In the first part of episode three titled The Ace Appears, we are introduced properly to detective Seiji Minamoto (who was hilariously stopped by Kawai for a routine police checkpoint for speeding). We see how Minamoto dealt casually and properly with everything: from forgiving Kawai for being such a “slow-poke” in writing out a ticket to I think one of the most hilarious yet heartwarming moments of this episode: dealing with an old woman arrested for shoplifting.
During this part, we see how Minamoto casually approached the old lady like somewhat of a “regular”. But as the episode progresses, we see more context of how Minamoto convinced the old lady’s daughter and grandson to look over for their mother. We see Minamoto going out to visit the old lady to report the incident first, and even catching up with the grandson over ice cream and discussing more his relationship with the old lady.
What makes this part endearing for me is that the first part of episode 3 discusses the ever-ongoing issue of Japan’s aging problem. According to statistics from 2020, Japan’s aging society comprises around 28.7% of Japan’s population, and it is expected to balloon to a third of Japan’s population by 2036.
Fast forward to the episode’s second part The Body Speaks, we see Kawai and Fuji report to a reported crime scene, and it turns out they will be going to Yuta’s house, the high school delinquent we saw during episode 2. As they were to prepare to start the autopsy–which also includes a team from the Criminal Division–they pray first to the dead person as a sign of respect.
After the autopsy for the old man–which turns out was the father of Yuta’s mother’s husband–we see Fuji showing gratitude to the mother for taking care of the old man up until his last breath. As the police officers left, Yuta sees her mother sobbing, and realizes how her mother has spent most of the time taking care of the old man despite exhaustion.
Again, this is just another great example of showing the current issue of the aging population in Japan, as research showed that there has been a lack of social welfare facilities dedicated to the elderly despite the rising numbers. Furthermore, the researchers noted that there is also a lack of support from the Japanese medical system for the elderly to remain active even at their homes.
Interestingly, the episode also touched lightly on the subject of an autopsy, as it has been known factually that Japan’s police rarely perform autopsies due to lack of post-mortem examiners, lack of funds, as well as uncertainty to the cause of death. Once again, Police in a Pod used its opportunity to shed a light on Japan’s ongoing social issues which are also reflective across the world.
In summary, Police in a Pod episode 3’s theme of the police officers going out the way of their typical duties to show more of the “human side” is what I expected–and hopefully, what to show will continue to deliver. What inspired me to watch this series in the first place was a report made by CBS News about police officers in Japan’s koban or police box going out the extra mile to perform duties for the community, from visiting stores for CCTV checks to hearing marital spats. I am hopeful that the following episodes will continue to perfectly blend perfect comedic timings as well as shine light on several societal issues.
All images via Muse Asia.
© Miko Yasu, Kodansha/Hakozume Production Committee