Please note: this is one seriously long chapter. Do not do what I’ve done, and pick this one up just before you’ve got a Finance exam on the horizon: there’s a lot going on here, and you’re not going to get away from it quickly, or if you do, you’re going to miss out on a lot of cool shit.
Ugajin and JJ walk through Dragon Nest, and we invoke that mafia trope where the higher-up is basically revered by onlookers as some kind of god amongst mortals as he navigates the streets.
Well, that’s Ugajin, anyway, who gets that treatment, making it quite clear to JJ how much respect– or fear– and how much power– the guy has. Maybe he will be able to take down Dragon Head? After all, he’s the one doing the majority of the puppeteering and practically does run the organisation anyway.
The reach the inside part of Dragon Nest, where Wong is about to go upstairs to take some booze up to Liu Jien. Ugajin insists on doing it himself, even though Wong is his underling, and tells the other guys to basically keep an eye out for trouble or anyone planning on messing up their private meeting upstairs.
They go up, and we catch a glimpse of Liu Jien.
And… it’s weird. Really weird. Liu puts an arm around Ugajin, who seems almost disgusted by the gesture and shirks away; and JJ notices that Liu’s Japanese is perfect, and that Liu and Ugajin are so similar in terms of body language and speech that it’s like the two of them are watching a reflection in a mirror.
Ugajin wants to pour Liu a drink, and Liu insists JJ drink with them.
Liu, of course, knows who JJ is, and finds it interesting that Ugajin would want to take him on as an associate. But the entire situation is interesting, if, by interesting, you mean really damned odd, where there’s this sort of relationship where it looks like Liu has both groomed and copied Ugajin, there’s tension between the two of them suggesting that the relationship goes a lot deeper than just a crime lord and his right hand man– it seems both paternal AND full of sexual innuendo at the same time, and knowing what we do about Liu holding Ugajin’s dad hostage somewhere just makes the whole thing even more complicated. Then there’s the fact that JJ has been all but pulled in as a third wheel… and that we’re, by now, fully aware that Ugajin isn’t just some simpering yes-man, but utterly terrifying, and scheming, and that he can hold his own in his own right.
Ever walked in on a couple that you sort of know socially, but not well, but you can tell they’ve been fighting and they’re trying to make everything look normal? It’s kind of like that sort of weirdness, only a whole lot more fucked up.
JJ is given a drink by Liu, who then says that Ugajin is allowed one as well, and as we can see from the picture, Liu has no problem with getting a bit handsy with JJ in the way he has with Ugajin.
Ugajin tries to avoid having a drink, until Liu literally forces the drink on him. And, okay, maybe we’re starting to get a little insight into where Ugajin gets his inspiration from as a crime lord.
It gets weirder; Ugajin coughs up his drink as JJ starts to feel its affects, and again, we see Liu touching Ugajin in a somewhat intimate fashion, stroking his cheek, while Ugajin becomes a bit embarrassed and shirks away. Is this him not liking people touching him, or is this because JJ is there?
In addition to Liu Jien being said to be unkillable, and in addition to all his secrecy, you know what is truly terrifying about this dude? He is pretty much the only person able to reduce Ugajin to something close to well-behaved: he’s likely the one person Ugajin is actually almost scared of, and having seen how damned scary Ugajin is, that is seriously huge.
And he seems to be able to read Ugajin’s mind, and predict his responses so well that it’s uncanny. It all but renders Ugajin completely benign, even though the whole rest of the Dragon Head route makes it very clear that he’s not.
Turns out Ugajin’s been a naughty boy, hiding a few key things from his boss: his acquisition of JJ, for one, and keeping Azusa, heir to a fortune, it seems, as hostage. Liu is pissed, and is feeling betrayed. It seems he knows what’s going on, too- how?– and he’s wanting to know, basically, wtf Ugajin’s game is.
We get that “I gave you everything, why would you do this to me?!” betrayed mob boss trope come up, and to be fair, aside from the fact that Ugajin’s dad is being held hostage, I can kind of see Liu’s point. Ugajin wields pretty much the most power of anyone across Big Nest and Dragon Palace, having 2000 people under him, he’s pretty much allowed to do whatever he damn well feels like without Liu intervening or questioning him, and he’s got that sweet apartment in the nicer part of town.
Liu’s planned ahead, too, and has Red Pole dudes stationed outside the door; somehow he’s overridden Ugajin and managed to set this up this without him knowing. JJ and Ugajin take down the Red Pole guys when they storm the room, and then Ugajin quite coldly and indifferently shoots Liu.
To be honest, it all feels a little bit anticlimatic, but it turns out that Liu is still very much alive, and Ugajin plans on asking him a few questions.
“What makes you think I’ll just answer?” Liu asks, to which, Ugajin pulls out a heap of filled syringes.
“Perhaps after this?” Truth serum.
Liu is basically still fairly uncooperative, to which Ugajin decides he’s had enough of that and slices underneath one of Liu’s fingernails.
Ever got your finger caught in a door? Ever had a very-well-bonded acrylic nail get forced off after it’s been attached to your finger for a few months? I’m thinking that’s maybe a two on the smiley-face-pain-scale, compared to what Ugajin just did.
This pretty much gets rid of Liu’s cool, and Ugajin quite chillingly just carries on in his perfectly detached, mildly disgusted “how-dare-you-look-at-me” haughtiness.
Ugajin continues, but Liu actually isn’t giving him anything, which is just another one of those moments of “OMFG, how badass and scary is this dude, anyway?” Ugajin asks him about his father, and pulls off a third fingernail, and Liu… starts laughing.
Which seems entirely crazy, but sometimes, shit like that happens. Something so entirely hideous and disgusting is happening to you, you have no way of fighting back or running, so what happens? You start laughing uncontrollably. Even if what’s going on really isn’t very funny. Of course, it can be entirely destabilising towards whoever’s trying to destroy you, but it’s not even necessarily a planned reaction. It’s not that Liu is masochistic or that it isn’t hurting him, it’s just that… some part of him, whether consciously or otherwise, has risen above it.
Just think about that: this is some next-level terrifying badassery.
Liu then taunts him about how what he’s doing is so “weak,” and asks if he really thinks he’ll crack. Good question: Liu’s already reacting like this, but seems to be well aware that Ugajin is capable of far worse, but on Ugajin’s side… people gonna break eventually. Ugajin continues torturing Liu. Liu starts screaming, then laughing again. Ugajin starts laughing, for an entirely different reason, most likely.
JJ is standing there watching the whole mess, completely tripped out, as you would be. And here we were thinking the situation when they first turned up was uncomfortable and weird and awkward.
“I can’t tell who’s crazier here. Somehow, it’s both of them.”
Ugajin continues torturing Liu, and Liu continues holding out. Even JJ is very much aware that Liu might, you know, die before saying anything, and eventually, Liu gives up two words: “Island hotel.”
Turns out Ugajin’s not heard of that one, on a small, abandoned island (I wasn’t exactly thinking the prisoners were living it up in Ibiza, but this sounds a lot worse) but Liu explains that it can only be reached by boat and where abouts it actually is.
Liu then tells Ugajin that he’s done what he wanted, and asks Ugajin to kill him, because yes, he really is that badass. Ugajin’s sort of stuck: he doesn’t want to kill Liu now that he’s asking him to. He dies, anyway.
Yeah, Liu just died, and still didn’t entirely give in, and was still a complete badass who held his own as he was going down. Watch and learn, kids.
Ugajin says they’re heading off, and that they only witnessed the incident and were powerless to stop it, so casually that again, his indifference is completely chilling.
JJ tries to talk to Ugajin about his father, and Ugajin ain’t in the mood for discussion, or to be insulted with the suggestion that he actually loves someone. They head downstairs, only to be approached by Uozumi, and Ugajin basically sends him out to find out who these horrible people were who did this, and to keep it under wraps, lest others find out as well. Typically elegant, and typically strategic, from Ugajin, I’ll say. He gives Uozumi, who is obviously quite freaked out, leeway to kill whoever needs to be killed, and they head off.
The get on the boat and head towards the island, and this is where JJ reflects on the similarity of their situations.
They reach the deserted island, and, seeing a building hidden on it, decide to go in and investigate. There are guards, but JJ and Ugajin deal with them fairly quickly, and Ugajin directs JJ to go on ahead. Not finding any guards, they do, however, find the prisoners, and then…
Azusa is there.
Ugajin is pissed. He’d organised for Azusa to be held somewhere else, not here, and it seems like there’s absolutely no sign of his father anywhere, either.
Azusa explains that everyone needs water, and to let them out, pointing to where the guard with the key is. But Ugajin cracks the shits: he wanted to find his dad, he didn’t, and now he’s prepared to take it out on the rest of the prisoners, and JJ. JJ manages to talk him down, and reluctantly, Ugajin agrees to help the hostages. They get food and water to them, and then Azusa challenges Ugajin directly, asking if Ugajin forced JJ to join Dragon Head. Ugajin’s a bit flustered, and has a kind of… anger with Azusa… but JJ intervenes and everyone stays cool. They investigate the island in search of more buildings, only to find nothing.
And I’m feeling quite sorry for Ugajin now: he’s gone to all of this effort, all of this craziness… and for what? Nothing, really, plus he’s seen JJ get what he was looking for, knowing completely well that JJ will probably cut loose now. His disappointment is enormous. All that work, all that risk… for this?
JJ says they’ll find Ugajin’s father, though, and Ugajin is genuinely, “Why do you care?” But that’s the thing: in a weird kind of way, JJ just naturally does, and has admitted to himself that while he can’t quite forgive Ugajin, he aslo can’t quite hate, or, it seems, abandon him. And then Ugajin starts having a panic attack.
Earlier, when the weird meeting with Liu was happening, Liu made reference to “those pills you take” to Ugajin, something which was kind of overshadowed by the general tension and oddness and then the carnage that went down afterwards. But Ugajin reaches into a pocket and takes out some medication. Problem is, he can’t take the stuff because there’s no clean water around. JJ thinks about what to do, and asks what the meds are for: anxiety. “It’s not like I’m going to die if I don’t take it,” Ugajin explains, but given what he’s like when he’s frantic and panicked, JJ probably worries about other people dying if Ugajin doesn’t chill the fuck out.
Ugajin asks JJ why he didn’t just kill him (no, his anxiety isn’t affecting him that much, right? < / sarcasm >) and JJ tells him to just calm down and wait, even though he himself doesn’t quite know why he didn’t kill Ugajin. He goes and finds water, and returns, only to have Ugajin saying he won’t touch the water since JJ has drank from that bottle. Which he hasn’t, but Ugajin is being panicky and not making any sense, even though JJ has gone to all this effort for him.
Frustrated by now, JJ takes a sip and presses his mouth to Ugajin’s and makes him swallow the water. And it kind of has become an awkward kiss, and Ugajin eventually pulls away, all flustered, and “WTF did you bother and not just kill me after finding Azusa?”
JJ wonders if Azusa being transferred there was actually some part of a trap laid out, hoping that JJ would do that, and basically Ugajin is all nervy and blushy and confused as fuck and trying to maintain some composure even though he’s basically his head is a mess, and he now believes his father dead… it’s the same hopelessness JJ had earlier in the game.
Ugajin admits he hasn’t heard his father’s voice in a decade, but he needed the hope of believing him to still be alive, to keep on going. And this is where we find out how Ugajin wound up in the whole mess he’s in… His dad owned a trading company, which fell into insolvency. Liu offered to assist financially, which allowed Ugajin to be able to complete university and get a law degree, but basically, from, there on, Liu all but owned Ugajin Sr. …and his son.
In much the same way as Ugajin kept JJ in debt to Dragon Head, Liu did the same thing to the Ugajins, and then threatened to kill Ugajin Sr if Ugajin didn’t submit to his whims and be the perfect little associate. (And, let’s face it, we’ve seen how Ugajin sees fit to treat his associates, so what the hell did Liu subject him to?)
And… it’s all occurred to him, now, really, that he’s turned into the exact same monster who did exactly what he was fighting against himself, to JJ. Along with his general hopelessness, his pride is smashed. But JJ wants to help him out, and assures him that he’ll stand by his side and help him until it’s all over. A bit overtaken, he offers to do something for JJ for all that he’s done for him.
Given that we’re getting the ‘Hate-you-and-love-you” love theme now, I think everyone knows just how Ugajin intends to “repay” JJ for looking out for him, but, um, seriously? Ugajin, you are a mess, sweetheart… where did you get the idea that sex was a form of payment for someone being a decent person to you, dude? I mean… what shaped his thinking on this?
JJ basically gives him the chance to back out, and says if he keeps up with it, he’ll actually take him up on the offer. And then Ugajin basically admits that, okay, he wants JJ.
JJ, is pointedly thinking that it would be so easy to kill him right now, but… he doesn’t want to. He actually is a bit into the guy, too… even though Ugajin is nervous and says JJ will probably regret things. Seems a bit weird, but then he gets naked and we get a full reveal: Ugajin has been, erm, sorry for the pun here, but consumed by the dragon that JJ was warned about, his entire body pretty much taken up with the Dragon Head tattoo.
He built on it, Jack-in-Mass-Effect style; every time he killed someone, or achieved something Dragon Head related, he added to it. He tells JJ about the tattoo, about its connection to who he is as a Dragon Head member, about how it’s becoming him, consuming him.
And then the most OBVIOUS THING EVER, which I will admit I entirely missed until JJ mentioned it and Cro’s notes in the translation did: it’s, like, the perfect metaphor for how Liu has gotten under his skin and become part of him, and threatens to destroy him. Cro cleverly notes, too, that “Ryu” (which would have very similar pronunciation to “Liu”) means “dragon” in Japanese! So in addition to having killed the guy, Ugajin is undeniably connected to him… and has been for a long time. Dude’s gotta have some major conflict issues going on there.
JJ’s got conflicting issues, too: he realises he doesn’t hate Ugajin, and there’s actually some understanding and warmth he has to the guy… but he just can’t forgive him for everything he’s done to him, either, so basically he’s dominating him hard as a way of relieving his frustration at the whole situation.
Ugajin seems to understand what’s going on and is perfectly fine with “apologising” to JJ like this, too, especially since he kind of really really really wants JJ as well. JJ seems aware that this isn’t exactly a first for Ugajin, and starts getting unreasonably jealous– even he realises he’s being unreasonable– about the fact that Liu has been having sex with Ugajin. And that annoys him, too. Anyway, they finish up having this weird apologetic/healing/understanding-one-another/power-exchange/relieving mutual tension sex, and Ugajin lets his guard down enough to actually fall asleep in front of JJ. They wake up the next morning, and I have to admit, it’s pretty damned cute.
They head outside, where the wind is raging wild, and where Ugajin has another confession, worried that JJ is going to regret having slept with him.
It seems that someone might be watching them in the distance, but Ugajin confesses regardless: he was the one who killed Azusa’s parents five years ago.
He’d found out about King Caesar’s hit on Wanibuchi, and tortured the King Caesar contact into ringing up JJ and lying about the details of where he was to go, essentially setting him up, planning on taking Azusa with him.
JJ is in complete shock that basically the entire situation that’s turned his– and Azusa’s– life into this mess was pretty much engineered by Ugajin. I mean… it’s not exactly unbelievable when you consider it: Ugajin’s a pretty damned good little strategist who’s whipped up some fairly crazy plans before, but, like JJ wants to know–
Because it’d save Wanibuchi, and put him in Dragon Head’s debt, and he’s useful, for one, and it was what got him promoted to top position at Dragon Head. He’d proven that Death Scythe could be beaten, that he could fix things so that Death Scythe’s lethal accuracy could be averted.
And because he wanted the Tono fortune and Azusa.
But JJ, in getting Azusa to leave with him, and then Azusa, in staying by his side, had kind of fucked up that part of the plan.
JJ is basically in shock: he can’t forgive Ugajin for this, either, even though there are feelings involved, and Ugajin has basically done the honorable thing and come clean.
Azusa, however, has overheard everything, and tells JJ to step aside, rushing at Ugajin with a knife he’s grabbed from one of the dead guards.
…only to stab JJ, literally in the back, when he’d jumped in front, to protect Ugajin.
Poor Azusa is furious and confused, especially when JJ tells him to back off and that his job right now is to protect Ugajin. And JJ even gets it, but he’s dealt with his rage towards Ugajin, even though he can see how frustrated poor little Azusa is. He tells him they’re leaving the island, but to wait there, and that he’ll ensure someone comes to collect him.
JJ and Ugajin have a little exchange then, where it becomes apparent that they are both extremely concerned about one another, and Ugajin advises JJ on how to get assistance to the people on the island. And that they’ll go for Dragon Keep, a cruise ship off the coast, where possibly Ugajin’s dad is. JJ reminds Ugajin that he’s effectively now the head of Dragon Head, and that he can pretty much do anything.
They leave on the boat, contacting Todo at Epilogue to get help for Azusa and the rest of the prisoners, and make their way to Dragon Keep.
Yay, another mobster movie trope: the luxurious cruise ship, though JJ seems to think of it as “an enormous seabound fortress” rather than some sort of rich drug baron’s playhouse.
Ugajin admits that this is where Liu usually hangs out, which would explain why no one sees the guy, like, ever, but it all adds to his mystique, and keeps him safe, so it all works out quite nicely. Something troubles Ugajin about the whole boat situation, and he expresses this to JJ, to just keep on going, no matter what the guy sees, which feels a bit cryptic and weird, but oh-fucking-kay, there’s so much weird going on with Dragon Head that there’s probably nothing too shocking on the boat. Since this is a yaoi game and we know the sorts of things the leader get up to, I’m half expecting some sort of mad drugged up mobster gay orgy, but on second thoughts, I don’t think that would bother Ugajin too much.
The lookouts on the ship treat Ugajin with the reverence he is usually treated with, and he says he’s meeting with the boss and basically walks off. It’s a bit weird that Ugajin talked about meeting the boss since we all saw what happened to Liu, but perhaps he’s assuming word hasn’t gotten back to to the guys on the ship?
It all gets weirder, when who should rock up but, er, Liu.
Dragons are this guy’s thing? Should be phoenixes. The dude looks perfectly unscathed, and, completely chill, says he hasn’t seen Ugajin for awhile. Ugajin seems equally chill, as though the whole start of this godamned chapter never actually happened.
Liu calmly says he knew Ugajin was coming, and acts as though he’s a mindreader who knows everything about him, which inspires some anger– and possibly jealousy– in poor JJ, who is also dealing with the monumental headfuck that has just taken place. Liu then says hello to JJ, saying he’s heard so much about Death Scythe, which is also really weird… he invites JJ to go into a guest cabin, because he’s got important private stuff to discuss with Ugajin, to which JJ looks at him, all “WTF do I do now?” and Ugajin just nods and tells him to go to the guest cabin.
Ugajin and Liu have their Secret Men’s Business discussion in Liu’s cabin, where Ugajin says that he’s been avoiding Liu because there’s been mutiny back on the mainland and he’s trying to sort out what’s been going on. And then Liu sniffs him, and says that for a clean freak, it’s funny that he can smell something on Ugajin.
And then he comments that Ugajin seems to be “quite infatuated with that man.”
Ugajin denies it, but Liu is like, “You reek of him,” which makes me think of that episode of Queer as Folk where Justin’s been cheating on Brian with that dude the entire fandom christened “Fiddle Fuck,” whose name has evaded me.
JJ’s outside, wandering about, trying to get his head around the entire situation, which is kind of understandable, though he’s also worried as all hell about Ugajin, and decides to go in after him. He looks around for an alternative way to get into Liu’s suite, and hear’s Ugajin’s voice from an open window… and peers in to see Ugajin giving Liu the same sort of “I’ll make it up to you” blowjob reminiscent of what Ugajin did with JJ the previous night at the Island Hotel.
JJ’s standing outside the door, thinking about going in and killing Liu, only to be called in by Liu himself, after a few taunts from him to Ugajin about how “that slave of yours belongs to me, too.”
JJ goes in, to see Liu and Ugajin, naked, Liu holding a gun to Ugajin’s head while raping him. Liu taunts both of them, JJ’s more like, “Still alive,” and Liu completely evades the question and tells JJ to get naked and join in, or else he’ll shoot Ugajin.
Yeah, starting to see just how Ugajin developed all these fucked up ideas about keeping his staff under control.
Liu taunts JJ some more, basically saying that Ugajin’s just a giant insatiable slut, and Ugajin basically agrees with him, asking JJ to violate him as well. JJ isn’t aroused: JJ is freaking horrified, and turns away even though Ugajin is basically begging him to cooperate. Eventually JJ winds up having sex with Ugajin at Liu’s command, probably in the hopes of having divided them, as he presumably did with relocating Ugajin Sr. and Azusa, so Azusa was found at the island. Then Liu starts raping JJ, so it’s basically turned into this horror nightmare threesome from hell and more of a terrifying headfuck designed to break Ugajin, than anything even remotely sexy. Liu gets bored after everyone climaxes, and tells them to piss off.
JJ tries to talk to Ugajin, but Ugajin wants to be left alone, and then holes himself up in his cabin. JJ tries to see him there, but assuming JJ despises him for what’s happened, Ugajin is basically closed off on him, too. Finally, Ugajin lets JJ in.
“Why is Liu still alive?”
“Because he’s immortal.”
This is the point where I am wanting to start headdesking. It reminds me of years ago when I was in a Criminology class and we had a visiting forensics lecturer talk about why a murderer might sexually interfere with the body of a victim post-mortem.
“Why would someone do that?” the lecturer asked. Someone’s hand goes up. The lecturer nods. “Because they’re a necrophiliac,” replies the student. “Yeees…” the lecturer continues, sort of looking for a bit more than that. “But why would they do that?” “Because they’d get off on it,” someone else says. “Yeees…. but… why would they get off on it?” Like, this poor lecturer was doing what he could to try and get people to understand what was happening and think about criminal motives and deviant behaviour and all the rest of it. The dude was trying so damned hard.
The look on his face, when someone else then said, “Because he’s a necrophiliac!” was probably the same expression I just made when I saw the above exchange between JJ and Ugajin.
They discuss, sort of, what’s happened since and how Ugajin being left along with Liu was just a terrible idea. Ugajin miserably admits that, well, now JJ knows what the relationship between them is really like, and that he goes to pieces when left alone to kill this dude who has so much hold over him. JJ says he gets that and forgives him and his terrible past, and it’s actually really damned sweet and they’re totally in this together despite the horrible circumstances.
Turns out Liu has overheard everything, and he taunts them via the in-room speaker. He tells them their plan is a failure, and that JJ should have killed Ugajin, since he’d gone to all the trouble of returning Azusa to him… basically, he’d counted on JJ not having empathy or decency towards Ugajin, given his reputation as a ruthless hitman.
And, well, wasn’t that what threw a spanner into the works with the original plan? People discounting JJ’s empathy?
Liu then promises a decent reward for whoever brings down JJ and Ugajin, as long as they’re taken alive.
So they’ve now got a ship full of people hellbent on getting them after them, and we get badass Omerta theme music playing, and they start popping off guards while running around and trying to find where Liu now is, grabbing their discarded weapons. Ugajin finds hand grenades and has some fun with them.
Were Ugajin to become my enemy, it would be rather frightening. But right now, I find it reassuring.
JJ comments that they might as well sink the ship since they’re already blowing up stuff, and Ugajin thinks that’s a great idea and mentions that there’s some plastic explosives on board.
They head out onto the main deck area, only to be confronted by more dudes trying to kill them, and Ugajin goes a bit hectic with an uzi he’s picked up along the way.
Unfortunately, as they’re about to leave, Ugajin gets shot in the thigh and can’t run, and tells JJ to take back the Gulf, to save his dad, to kill Liu. JJ makes a run for it, only to encounter Liu himself, and some other dudes trying to kill him. Liu kills them, and forces the others in the area to retreat. See, Liu wants to take down Death Scythe himself, doesn’t he? There’s some taunting, and JJ basically is ready to kill Liu, until Liu kicks down a door to see a familiar-looking face behind it.
Ugajin Kyoichi, aka Ugajin’s dad.
He’s a grey-haired version of Ugajin, except that he looks like life has all but kicked the guts out of him, and Liu says he’s useless for pretty much everything except as a human shield, which he decides to use him as.
JJ is stuck, and isn’t sure what to do as Liu shoots at him, so he retreats a little– and then.. Liu collapses as they both take aim at one another.
Ugajin has found his way over there, and just hit Liu. He continues shooting him until he’s certain that he’s dead, and rushes over to his father.
They have a father-son bonding moment, but it seems that Ugajin’s dad is pretty much paralysed and has been living on the ship in this state for the last ten years because of Liu. Muscle atrophy has all but destroyed him, and Dragon Head have used him to sign documents, they’ve used his photo to marry him to foreign women, they’ve basically turned him into a tool of their trade. He’s a criminal; he’s become one, because of this.
Ugajin’s like, “I’ll get you to a doctor… and… I’m a lawyer… I’ll defend you,” but his father basically has had enough, and was only really holding out in hope that he’d see his son again: it was the one thing that allowed him to keep on keeping on. And all he wants is for his son to end it all for him.
At which point… just… how much worse and more unfair can this get?
It gets worse.
Ugajin hands him a gun, with a single bullet in it, and there’s a “I am so proud of you son” “Thank you, dad” moment, until Ugajin Sr. turns the gun on Ugajin, babbling something about giving his son’s life to Dragon Head. JJ is about to kill the older man… but before he is able to… Ugajin has.
This entire situation happened because of Ugajin’s desire to rescue his dad… and it turns out like this, with him being forced to kill the guy? Ugajin got what he wanted… but there was no reward, really. The only plus to the whole thing is that he’s found JJ, whom he still seems to be worried is disgusted with him because of things that have happened to him and things he’s done in pursuit of his father.
It’s fucking heartbreaking.
And I think, too, folks, that this is actually the good Ugajin end.
JJ has still planned ahead, and has put the plastic explosives in place, to be detonated in an hour. He gives the remaining Dragon Head dudes a brief sample of what’s going to happen to the rest of the ship with a smaller explosive, and everyone starts going batshit crazy, scrabbling to get off, fighting over lifeboats, that sort of thing.
All of a sudden, screaming for blood, comes Liu, bloodied and pissed off.
An almighty gun battle breaks out, with Liu getting filled with bullets, but still not dying, and then Ugajin grabbing him, and doing what I was wondering noone had thought to do awhile ago– and throwing him overboard…
Unfortunately, Ugajin falls into the water as well.
JJ thinks it would be foolish to jump in after them, and does. While Liu seems to be dead, he’s still entangled with Ugajin, and JJ fights desperately to free him, noticing along the way that Ugajin is wearing so much protective armor– and have even had it surgically implanted into him– which might be causing the whole “immortal” thing.
Basically: we thought JJ and Ugajin and Azusa had some tenacity and will to survive. Turns out Liu had even more, and then when he couldn’t, he was going to bring down Ugajin with him.
JJ finally breaks him free, and gets to an empty lifeboat that’s floating around. Thankfully there’s medical supplies on there, and not far from them, Dragon Keep explodes in the night sky.
JJ is very much “WTF?” but just wants to get moving. They sail along, and Ugajin wakes up and asks what’s happening. JJ asks if he somehow managed to blow up the ship. Turns out… well, Ugajin wasn’t fucking around when he said he wanted a fireworks show. He’d snuck off and grabbed some C4 and popped it in a few places on board while everyone was focussing on JJ.
Ugajin and JJ talk; JJ’s happy to take Ugajin’s mind off all the awful shit he’s been through and what he’s lost, not to mention the pain he’s in from being, you know, shot in the thigh. Ugajin asks about Azusa, and JJ says he doesn’t expect to see him again, but knows he’ll be okay, that they’re essentially going to be living in different worlds from now on.
They have a brief sort of “Where to from now?” and JJ says that he’s basically sworn to protect Ugajin from now on, that he’s chosen him as his master. Ugajin’s all very, “You disappear on me and I will follow you to the ends of the earth.” It’s kind of sweet, in a very much “What the hell have you just signed up for, JJ?” kind of way.
Dawn breaks, and they get to land, and talk about the future. Ugajin says he has some tentative plans, and that he’d like to start up something, with JJ at his side. He proposes a contract of sorts– JJ should be scared shitless, because not only is Ugajin a total badass who has basically proven himself to be the ultimate schemer, he’s all this with a law degree– but JJ agrees, and they kiss.
A year down the track, and Dragon Head has all but collapsed, throwing the city into a new kind of chaos, though King Caesar has mopped up a lot of the issues and kept things reasonably under control. Todo advises JJ that Azusa has gone into an architect’s office to learn the trade, that he’s busy, but occupied and working hard. He’s living with Todo, and seeking out an education and a future… rather than weapons training. He doesn’t ever want to see JJ again, though, which I think makes a whole lot of sense.
“Now that he’s taken a different path, please pray for him from a distance.”
Damn, Todo, you utter class act. He assures JJ that he will still be there for him in the future, and willing to listen when JJ can tell him what’s happened, too.
JJ gets a phone call from Ugajin, and departs the Epilogue Bar, and goes to him. He’s now Ugajin’s driver: Ugajin had to pull some strings to get him a license, but basically, JJ has been restored a normal-enough life. Ugajin is an attorney, his revenge plan extending beyond merely taking out Dragon Head on the streets: he wants them out of the legal system and politics, too, to restore his city to it former glory.
JJ keeps in the back of his mind that the law very well could catch up with both of them, and remembers that Todo did offer him sanctuary, and basically resolves to do whatever he can to protect Ugajin and their relationship. Ugajin is sworn to protect JJ with whatever legal tricks he can; both of them are aware of their pasts and trying to atone for what they’ve done, while still realising that they can’t undo any of what they have.
Both of them are well aware that the peaceful democracy Ugajin is fighting for will probably be what destroys them. But they’re okay with that, and will come to deal with it when they have to.