First thing that struck me about episodes 2 and 3 was that they didn't draw me in as much as episode 1. I think that the main reason is both episodes are solo stories whereas episode 1 had two main 'damaged' protagonists interacting with each other while the viewer tries to decipher what they are about and what is going to happen. Episode 2 is more straightforward.
Koike Eiko is Shinohara Maki, the 2nd of the four girls. Maki was the class president and you have a flashback of her trying to find a teacher after discovering Emiri's body. However, she could not find anyone and afterwards decided to no longer run for class president and say that she could not remember anything about the incident.
Maki was the responsible student of the bunch but she blames herself for not being able to get a teacher and has repressed her memories of the incident. However, she continues to live with the promise to Emiri's mother and has become a primary school teacher. Maki has become an overly strict teacher and we find out that it has to do with her search for right and wrong. As a responsible student, she always knew the difference between right and wrong but Emiri's incident has caused her to question her actions.
There is a superb action scene at a pool which is the highlight of this episode. I'm a sucker for one take action scenes. Its not the Old Boy corridor fight but its still fun. Maki finally gets affirmation that her actions are right from society but deep down her search for right and wrong and her strictness only serves to bottle up her feelings from the incident.
One thing I don't understand is why the teacher would punch Maki at the end? She defended his actions and despite her reasons, she did save the students and him. Its not like she threw him under a bus? The punch is a comical scene that seemed out of place with its only purpose to tease to audience at the end.
From the emotionless Maki, episode 3 is about Akiko, played by Sakura Ando (Love Exposure). Akiko was gifted a beautiful dress which she wore on the day of the incident. Akiko's mother blamed the dress for getting her involved in the incident. Her reasoning is that the dress was too good for Akiko and that the killer was after Akiko but luckily Emiri was there. Akiko's parents see themselves as lower class people and forbade Akiko from wearing 'luxurious clothes'.
So Akiko grew up with the idea that she is a bear and a bear should wear bear clothing. While Maki seemed detached because she repressed all her rage and frustration, Maki pacifies her feeling of guilt by not living her life. She lies around at home, playing retro games and her Wii and doesn't have a job. The story picks up when her brother returns home with a wife and step daughter.
I really like the tension of episode 3 with questions about Akiko's brother. I think that a lot of her discovery about her brother was all in her mind. That she was seeing things that were not there. That she was so desperate to escape from her imprisonment like Emiri's mother said. That the niece not wanting to go back was more to do with the warehouse being a cold and scary place to live. That the niece not wanting her head patted was more to do her not yet accepting Akiko's brother as her father.
Ok the one with the brother at the game center is a bit harder to explain. Maybe it was something innocent like the brother at the vending machine and somehow her mind created certain actions and a sense of dread for her. Akiko basically has no contact with the outside world and maybe she seized on her brother as a manifestation of the killer but there was no one else.
Shokuzai eps 2 and 3 are still good, just not as brilliant as the first one. Can't wait for the last two because its going to have Ikewaki Chizuru (Summer Snow/Josee, Tiger and the Fish) and Ito Ayumi!