|Title:||Deadlock Series: Deadlock Simplex Gaiden (デッドロック外伝 SIMPLEX)|
|Original work by:||Aida Saki (Novel)|
|Cast:||Yusa Kouji x Toochika Kouichi (遊佐浩二x遠近孝一)|
|Related drama(s):||Deadlock Series|
|Synopsis:||2 years after Yuuto moved in to live with Dick, Rob held a birthday part at his hous, which led to his fateful meeting with Joshua, Dick’s colleague. During that party, Rob received a mysterious package left on his porch. Upon opening it, he discovered a severed ear. How is this linked to a previous case Rob was involved in, when he was also sent severed ears by a psychotic serial killer? Also, how will his relationship with Joshua change, after Joshua moves in with Rob as a live-in bodyguard?|
Although I’ve listened to the main story a long time ago, I wasn’t all that keen to start on this bangaihen because… I just couldn’t accept the fact that Rob is going to move on and get his own lover. In my heart and mind, I preferred him to stay loyal towards Yuuto (which doesn’t really make sense) but since I got a translation request for this, I was kind of persuaded to give it a try and hey, it wasn’t that bad. Joshua is kind of likeable and the action/story was, in the usual Aida Saki style, very engaging.
There was actually two mini-stories involved, though none as well-developed as the main story was, both were solid stories with interesting plots.
Set 2 years after the main storyline, the first story revolves around a murderer who’s set on copying what a past criminal, Thomas Keller, did. It was Rob’s birthday party when he received a mysterious package which was left at his porch. Although I’m pretty sure the first reaction most people will have would be to think that it’s the work of some stalker or harasser, everyone seemed rather excited about the box especially Tonya. Rob opened the box and found an ear – which made him recall the exact same incident which happened in the past. In the past, he had attracted the attention of a psychotic serial killer who was obsessed with people’s ears. That serial killer, Thomas Keller, is currently behind bars so it’s apparently a copycat who’s imitating Keller’s past actions. It’s a good thing that Rob wasn’t alone at home when he received that package, I would totally freak out but I’m sure Rob would still remain calm and composed since he’s been through worse. But still, I’m glad that he had a whole gang of prison-survivors, ex-gang leader/members, ex-FBI/CIA agents with him – it can’t get more reassuring than that.
Dick, who’s currently working at a bodyguard company, brought a close friend along to Rob’s party. Meet Joshua, the one who’s obviously going to fall in love with Rob. After the ear incident, Joshua started living with Rob as his full-time bodyguard. Your BL radar should be ringing like crazy right now. Although Joshua appeared to be the awkward and serious type who’s the exact opposite of Rob (that charming and sociable guy), the ice between them slowly melted and it became obvious that Joshua cares for and looks up to Rob to quite some extent. Joshua first volunteered to guard Rob during his leave of absence from work (may I add, for free) because his sister was one of Keller’s victims and he wanted to show some gratitude towards Rob for his part in closing the case. As the investigations progressed, Rob visited the prison and had a rather unfruitful chat with the uncooperative Keller, who only laughed like a maniac when asked various questions. Shocking everyone, Rob told Keller that he would give up his ear if Keller would tell him the locations of the 3 unrecovered bodies, and the identity of the copycat. It was rather heroic of him to even dared to come up with such an exchange, but like everyone else, I thought it was rather absurd and unnecessary. Although Rob’s ear can be considered unimportant when compared to someone’s life, it still felt unnecessary for him to volunteer an ear to close the case. However, it proved to work towards their favour when it provoked the copycat into making an erroneous move – to visit Rob in his apartment and try to cut off his ear.
The copycat turned out to be Williams, a prison warden who oversees Keller. I do have some issues about how someone with psychological problems can become a prison warden, and why Keller would be stupid enough to pass the letter identifying the culprit, to culprit himself, but I suppose it’s because the story was too short for it to be developed to perfection. Williams looked up to Keller at first and tried to imitate him, like how people do to their idols. However, he got angry when Keller “weakened” and decided to do the exchange with Rob – just to get his hands on Rob’s ears. Williams then destroyed the letter with his name in it and killed Keller by forcing the prisoner to drink toxic cleaning liquid. Wait, aren’t prisons usually monitored by CCTV? How could that happen? Anyway, Williams was nabbed in Rob’s apartment right before he could cut off Rob’s ear and all ended well. Again, I wondered why he lingered in Rob’s apartment for so long, shouldn’t he move Rob again right after he knocked Rob unconscious?
After the Keller fiasco, during which Rob confessed his feelings to Joshua, there weren’t any change in their status quo because Joshua asked for some time in order to make his decision. Although we can’t exactly blame Joshua for hesitating to start a new relationship with Rob, I can’t help feeling sorry for Rob – to have to deal with his unrequited love while putting up a strong front. What’s worse than unrequited love? Unrequited love in which the other party still lets you have some hope.
Things just can’t be normal and mundane in Deadlock and not long after, Dick and Joshua got news from Paco that Yuuto was taken hostage by an armed man. This story is less of “Joshua and Rob” and more of a Rob-solo story, IMO. As the negotiator from the LAPD was a young and inexperienced man who angered Kevin (the armed man), Rob was tasked with getting Kevin to surrender instead. Rob immediately got down to business and proved just how experienced he is, by softening Kevin up and getting Kevin to open up to him. Not long after, he managed to get Kevin to agree to surrender by agreeing to escort Kevin out of the room he was hiding in. Again, Rob is putting his own life on the line just to get things done but escorting a criminal seems tame compared to offering to cut off his own ear.
Something must have clicked in Joshua’s head after the second crisis and he was finally able to make the decision to enter into a relationship with Rob. Joshua had been unable to trust in others, or get involved too deeply with others, because of his father. His father was a violent person who was kind to other on the outside but extremely violent towards his family behind closed doors. Because of that, Joshua grew up to become a rather emotionless person who didn’t dare to trust others too much, or in other words, he didn’t dare to leave his heart in someone else’s hands. The death of Sherry, the only one whom he had let into his heart, only resulted in him closing himself off to others. After seeing how Rob was able to trust in Kevin, and realising that trusting others isn’t something which just happens but rather, something which requires effort and conviction, Joshua decided to place his trust in Rob. Congrats Joshua, for figuring out the formula to trust others.
At the end, after the only H scene throughout the drama, we found out about Joshua’s real reason for volunteering to guard Rob at the start. He looked up to Rob a lot in the past and even went to attend Rob’s lecture at the university in the past. He approached Rob at the end of the lecture to get an autograph on one of the books Rob authored, which explains why Rob found Joshua vaguely familiar at the start. So, right from the start, Joshua was the one who idolised Rob. I wonder how delighted Rob would be when he finds out about this.
If this isn’t your first Deadlock drama, there’s no need to introduce Rob Conners (Yusa Kouji). He’s the professor who helped Yuuto during his pursuit of Dick/Corvus and he’s also part of the love triangle in the main story. However, he isn’t one to force himself on an unwilling partner, as we can see in Simplex and he didn’t force himself on Yuuto back then, which was rather unusual for a BL story. But because of that, I’ve gotten rather fond of Rob – to the extent that I wasn’t so ready to approve of Joshua at first. Afterall, maybe Yuuto is the only one who’s worthy of Rob but I guess I’ve kind of accepted and approved of Joshua by now. I probably mentioned this before in my lengthy and rather ranty reviews on the main story, but I love Rob for the meaningful quotes he always says. Although it’s probably Aida Saki whom I should love for these quotes, I loved hearing them in Yusa’s gentle voice. He was probably chosen to be THE one to recite all these quotes because he’s the only scholar amongst all the policemen, ex-Delta force guy, ex-gangsters and what have you. Also, Yusa’s gentle voice was probably one of the greatest draws of this drama. I might not be a fan of his voice, and he certainly didn’t have his power come hither voice in here, but I thought Yusa was very fitting as Professor Rob. With his distinctly effeminate voice and tender way of speaking, he just stood out in a way and sounded like someone special. I guess the only other person whom I think might be able to pull this role off is Tachibana Shinnosuke, my new darling of 2015.
Joshua is probably the only major new character in this extra story and he’s voiced by Toochika Kouichi. I was just looking at the drama booklet illustrations and I thought that the difference between Joshua and Yuuto were very well presented. While Yuuto is the stronger and more independent uke, Joshua is more of the reserved kind who hasn’t quite figured it out yet. Throughout the drama, Joshua did appear rather indecisive and cowardly for not being able to answer to Rob’s feelings although he clearly cared for Rob more than a normal close friend does. However, it didn’t irk me as much as I would have expected it to, because I can kind of empathise with how he feels regarding trusting others. He used to think that trusting others is something which comes naturally and that only people who grew up in normal loving families are capable of doing it. After seeing how Rob was willing to put his trust in Macmillan and figuring out that trusting others is a decision rather than a natural occurrence, he finally agreed to trust Rob and to go out with him. I don’t remember hearing Toochika anywhere else before so I associated his voice with Joshua’s character really quickly. The thing about hearing famous seiyuus who appear everywhere else, I tend to not hear them as the character they’re playing but think of it as the seiyuu who’s speaking. Toochika did fairly well as Joshua, but to honest I thought that the character wasn’t that difficult to start with. Joshua is reserved and emotionless, seldom expressive and there was only one H scene throughout the whole drama. With that said, it’s not like Toochika isn’t good or anything, but there were limitations imposed on him by his character and the storyline so he might not have been able to show off as much as he could.
If you hold this up against the main story for comparison, I’d say that it fared pretty well in terms of everything. Although the stories were pretty short and simple, they were well thought-up and executed within the time frame of the drama. With that said, I can’t say that I’d relisten to this any time soon or at all. The plot was good but not the kind you can gain satisfaction from after the first listen. Also, there wasn’t much H action either so just give it a go, enjoy the suspense, the action and the beautiful voices, and perhaps shelf it forever.