Waging war against organized crime is one of the steepest hills to climb for those who pursue truth and justice, and it is twice as treacherous if a diabolical, influential organization like the Yakuza is posited as the opponent. As the second season of Max’s Tokyo Vice returns with two new episodes, the rookie investigative journalist Jake Adelstein learns a harsh lesson about that, and the veteran detective, Katagiri, too gets a reminder, as he had presumably forgotten about the danger that his trade entails.
In the previous season, as a newcomer and the first foreign journalist at Japan’s most prestigious newspaper, Meicho Shimbun, Jake Adelstein quickly found himself entangled in the ongoing conflict between two rival Yakuza clans of Tokyo—Tozawa and Chihara-Kai—and was also taken under the wing of Detective Katagiri. A migrant hostess, Samantha, and her boyfriend and Chihara-Kai member, Sato, were introduced as Jake’s new associates, and their personal journey to survive in the sinful world of crime contributed to interesting plot threads in the first season. After clan leader Tozawa’s continuous attempts to dismantle Chihara-Kai, and profiteer through dubious money lending methods by forcing people to kill themselves, threatens the existing peace between Yakuza clans and police, he becomes a target of both the Chihara-Kai leader Ishida and the Jake/Katagiri duo. In his desperate attempt to nab Tozawa, Jake convolutes the situation by trusting the rogue cop Miyamoto, who was on Tozawa’s payroll. Eventually, Katagiri apprehends Miyamoto, and the duo secretly plans to flush out Tozawa, only for the heinous Yakuza boss to discover their plan, presumably killing Miyamoto and threatening Katagiri with the lives of his family.
As the first season came to an end, things turned from bad to worse as Samantha’s friend Polina went missing and Sato got stabbed by his Chihara-Kai underling, Gen. Jake learns about Polina’s tragic fate of being trafficked by Tozawa’s crew to a sex cruise, and a videotape addressed to him showcases her final moments as she gets viciously beaten to death by one of Tozawa’s goons. Continuing right from where the first season ended, the first episode of the second season chronicles Jake taking the evidence to Katagiri in efforts to start their investigation anew, but they are up for a brutal awakening, as underestimating a formidable opponent is going to cost them dearly.
Why Did Jake And Katagiri Drop The Tozawa Case For The Time Being?
With the beginning of the first episode, the horrifying final moments of Polina in the inner cabins of the luxury cruise, Yoshino, are revisited, and Katagiri recognizes her client to be Jotaro Shigematsu, Japan’s vice minister of foreign affairs. Jake identifies the assailant as one of Tozawa’s henchmen, who had attacked him in his apartment previously. It goes beyond saying that such a high-profile and scandalous revelation can change the political and underworld scenario of the country forever, and even Tozawa will feel the brunt of the heat. Katagiri advises Jake to run the story in Meicho and wait until the news is published, while he himself decides to investigate further to bring down Tozawa.
In a closed-door meeting at Meicho, one of the chief executives decides to contact Shigemetsu to get his comments about the incident; Maruyama and Jake are assigned to interview him for that purpose. As the vice minister refuses to comment and straight up denies his involvement, an infuriated Jake taunts him for fearing Tozawa and offers to cut him some slack if he gives Tozawa up. Needless to say, the interview terminates then and there, and Maruyama scolds Jake for acting hastily, reminding him of the fate of the banker who killed himself after Jake pressured him regarding his connection with Yakuza. Later, Jake learns that the cruise was bought under Tozawa’s mistress, Misaki’s name, and goes to warn her about the situation. Misaki isn’t able to share anything substantial about Tozawa that can help build a case, but she requests Jake keep her name off of the report for obvious reasons. Jake goes to Samantha to inform her about Polina’s fate, but as he starts asking questions regarding her background to form a credible report, Samantha misunderstands him as being disrespectful toward Polina’s memory and drives him away. Jake forms the report, mentioning Misaki’s name and the Tozawa connection, but later gets to know that an orchestrated arson incident in the Meicho office has destroyed the video evidence, thereby nullifying the entire investigation. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that cornering the vice minister about the scandalous incident resulted in quick retaliation from him and Tozawa’s men, and quite ludicrously, there were no copies made of the tape despite the gravity of the situation.
On the other hand, after receiving an anonymous tip (from Tozawa’s men), Katagiri finds Miyamoto’s corpse in a love hotel, with circumstantial evidence suggesting that he had overdosed himself with drugs. However, Katagiri knows the truth and is wracked with guilt as he considers himself responsible for Miyamoto’s death. Eventually, he acknowledges the secret plan he and Miyamoto had concocted to nab Tozawa in front of his superior and is promptly demoted for acting irresponsibly. To add to his misery, the case against Tozawa is dropped as well, as the superiors don’t want to tarnish the image of the force, which can very well happen if news of Miyamoto’s Yakuza connection becomes public.
Is Sato Alive?
Kaito enters the Chihara-Kai base to search for his elder brother, Sato, but is unable to learn his whereabouts. Soon after, he is informed by a nearby hospital about his brother being admitted and rushes to meet him. It turns out Sato had survived the assault, as fortunately his internal organs remained unharmed. Chihara-Kai members arrive at the spot after learning about Sato’s condition and forcibly take him to their base, against the wishes of Kaito and the hospital attendants. The clan Oyabun, Ishida, promises swift retribution by eliminating whoever attacked Sato, and fearing for his life, the culprit Gen goes to Tozawa’s hotel to seek asylum in exchange for information.
In the absence of Tozawa, his right-hand man Yabuki drags Gen down right under Ishida’s feet, as unlike their Oyabun Tozawa, he wishes to maintain a respectful relationship with the Chihara-Kai clan. Whether it’s an ulterior long-term plan of betrayal or a genuine show of goodwill, time will tell. Anyway, as Ishida presents Gen in front of Sato, he decides to spare his life. Meanwhile, Samantha’s life turns to shambles for a moment as she starts clinging to pain and despair in Polina’s memory. Eventually, she gathers herself together, and to honor the memory of her friend, names her dream—her own club as Polina.
Will Jake And Katagiri Resume Their Investigation Against Tozawa?
After failing miserably to apprehend Tozawa, Katagiri decides to stop the pursuit for the time being for the sake of his family and career and advises Jake to do the same. However, he goes to threaten the vice minister all alone to learn what favor Tozawa asked in exchange for providing carnal amenities and learns that the Yakuza boss wanted to visit the States for reasons unknown. Being prohibited from entering the country legally, he sought the help of the vice minister and kept the videotape to avoid chances of betrayal in the future.
Three months later, everyone seems to have moved on with their lives. Sato has strengthened his position in the clan, and a former notorious member, Hayama, joins Chihara-Kai as Ishida’s second in command after serving a seven year sentence. Tozawa’s absence after Miyamoto’s death has made people complacent. Jake has carefully avoided any form of Yakuza-related investigation in the meantime, but he keeps in touch with Katagiri to learn about any form of new intelligence. On the other hand, NPA Deputy Superintendent Shoko Nagata arrives in Tokyo with the intention of cracking down on organized crime and asks Katagiri’s assistance for his experience with Yakuza-related affairs, but to no avail as he strictly refrains from being involved for obvious concerns for his family. Sato and Samantha have reconnected, but the rift that was created during their past has contributed to a permanent distance.
In Tozawa’s absence, the hot-headed Hayama expresses his wish to instigate opposition clan by asserting Chihara-Kai’s dominance, which Ishida surprisingly approves. Anticipating a larger conflict, Sato advises bringing in firearms, but Ishida chooses to adhere to the clan’s tradition of not using guns. Sato secretly buys firearms anyway as a contingency and hides them in Samantha’s club. Jake gets busy with a bike thief case and, while investigating, gets acquainted with a bosozoku biker gang, the impulsive leader of which turns out to be the bike thief. Despite finding success in running her own business, Samantha faces hurdles as her top hostess, Claudine, starts stealing from her and, upon confronting her with the truth, threatens to incriminate Samantha in front of Ishida. Samantha promptly fires her, refuses Chihara-Kai’s directive to rehire her, and brings in her former employer, Erika, as the new hostess. Eventually, one of Claudine’s rich clients, Ohno, gets acquainted with Samantha, and it is hinted that there might be more to look forward to in their relationship.
Sato gradually reconnects with his brother Kaito and even goes on to seek his help in making a website to sell a certain inventory he seized as a Chihara-Kai enforcer. Katagiri’s family hasn’t returned from his wife Junko’s mother’s place for safety concerns; after making a visit there, the veteran detective reconsiders his previous decision and decides to assist Nagata in her efforts to destabilize Yakuza. Jake, on the other hand, is invited by Misaki, and the duo give in to their carnal instincts despite knowing how terrible the ramifications might be.
While the first episode of the second season progressed at a rapid pace to reset the investigation with multiple setbacks, the second episode builds up new troubles that will be focused on in the second season. Tozawa’s absence, his intention of visiting the states, and his illness, which was highlighted in the first season, seem interconnected, and his return will once again shuffle things up like his absence did. Both Katagiri and Jake seem to be still flirting with danger, for which they might have to pay a hefty cost if they refuse to learn from their past.