Tokyo Vice Season 2 poster

‘Tokyo Vice’ Season 2 Finale Brings the Downfall of One Major Character

The murder and mayhem of Tokyo Vice reached a boiling point over the last few episodes, as yakuza leader Tozawa set about to wipe out anyone who could pose a threat to his goal of outright power and domination of Japan’s underworld. But has Tozawa flown too close to the sun?

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Spoilers ahead for Tokyo Vice Season 2, Episode 10.

Tokyo Vice’s season 2 finale tied up many of the loose ends that journalist Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) and Detective Katagiri (Ken Watanabe) had been chasing for the last two seasons, as we discovered who has the real power when it comes to Tokyo’s blood-soaked underbelly.

Over the course of two seasons, we have seen Jake go from a naive young journalist with grand ambitions to a hardened investigator who starts to understand the costs that must be paid when delving into the world of crime (to a degree). Almost parallel to Jake we have Samantha (Rachel Keller), an ex-Mormon-turned-host club girl-turned-formidable club owner, who’s also willing to get her hands dirty to get what she wants.

Desperate to make a name for himself, Jake has been drawn to the yakuza for some time. And despite suffering a pretty bad beatdown at the end of season one, he can’t seem to stay away for long. Along with Detective Katagiri, Jake has his sights set on Tozawa (Ayumi Tanada), a younger yakuza leader who wants complete control, and will silence anyone who gets in his way, permanently. Let’s delve into what happened in the final episode, and see which major players have been left standing—and who has fallen.

The Yoshino Tapes

rinko-kikuchi as Emi in tokyo-vice
(HBO Max)

Throughout most of the season, Emi (Rinko Kikuchi) has been searching for the culprit behind the destruction of the Yoshino Tapes, which show Polina being murdered in front of politician Shigematsuon on Tozawa’s Yoshino Boat. She had her suspicions that this was an inside job and had been doggedly going after her boss Baku, but after confronting him she realized he was innocent.

It turns out that this goes much higher, though, as one of the paper’s executives, Ozaki, comes right out and tells her he was responsible. He claims it was for the good of the paper that they didn’t run a story accusing a government official, which would have caused a frosty relationship between the government and the outlet. Emi is left wondering if she can accept a promotion at a paper that is so blatantly corrupt, placing its own self-interest over that of telling the truth. She tells Ozaki, “If making such decisions is a prerequisite for sitting in your chair, then I do not want it,” proving she is the one character with morals and integrity at the heart of all the mess.

Kazuko Tozawa: The Real Power

Kazuko Tozawa, Tokyo Vice
(HBO Max)

We have come to understand that Tozawa used to be a mere petty criminal on the streets before the wealthy and powerful Kazuko (Makiko Watanabe) took a liking to him. It was her connections and wealth that allowed him to rise through the yakuza ranks, and his blatant disrespect towards her by having an affair right under her nose has not sat well with her. We come to find that she is the mysterious sender of the Yoshino tapes that arrived on Jake’s door at the end of season one, and that she had hoped the release of the tapes would humble her husband somewhat.

It is through her machinations that Tozawa is outed as an FBI informant to the other yakuza clans, setting in motion the events that would lead to her husband’s downfall. Something to remember: Don’t piss off the woman who put you on the throne, she can take you right off it again. She also somewhat threatens Jake at the end of the episode over his handling of the tape, saying “I gave you a chance to take care of things so it would not come to this, but you let it slip through your fingers. I will not forget that.”

The end of Tozawa

Tozawa, Tokyo Vice
(HBO Max)

Tozawa has been heinous in his actions to get on top, and finally, it looks like his comeuppance has arrived, even if it’s not quite through the channel’s that Jake was hoping. Through Kazuko spilling the tea on her husband’s involvement with the FBI, Sato can call a meeting of the other Yakuza leaders who have grown tired of dealing with the thug. He shows them the evidence provided by Kazuko, which Tozawa tries to worm his way out of.

Here, his wife steps forward into the meeting, her authority absolute, and lays down a blade in front of her husband. “You have become a liability to us all. So you will settle accounts, or we will settle them for you,” adding that she will tell their children he died an honorable death. Ouch, that’s cold. In his fairness, he proves himself “honorable” by yakuza standards, taking his life off-screen.

What next for Samantha, Sato, Jake, and Katagiri?

Jake and Katagiri in Tokyo Vice Season 2 Ending

To see all these characters working together—a journalist, a detective, a business owner, and a yakuza member—is certainly something, especially given how we have been rooting for them all individually. (Getting to see Katagiri and Sato finally work together was much appreciated.) Coming full circle, taking us back to the first episode of season one, we are back at another formal yakuza ceremony only this time our boy Sato (Sho Kasamatsu) is officially sworn in as the new leader of the Chihara-kai. Samantha uses the real estate knowledge she was planning to give Ishida to secure a hefty price from Kazuka instead, before telling Sato she’s taking a break, saying “I’m gonna recharge my batteries and do some thinking. Then I’ll be back.”

Jake’s relentless attitude towards catching Tozawa almost matches the villain’s dogged nature, as Jake has placed getting the scoop on Tozawa above all else, including his friends with one, Tin Tin, in the ICU and the other, Trendy, not talking to him after Jake ratted out his love interest to push the story, with Trendy telling Jake “From now on, stay away from me.” Even as all the dust settles on the Tozawa incident, Jake is already looking for his next story, proving that he is the type of person who cannot sit still, as shown when Katagiri tries to get him to meditate for just 10 seconds and Jake fails. Due to wanting to live alife free of police and yakuza, Jake’s girlfriend Misaka breaks up with him (understandably) saying “You will do, daring, exciting things, and I will read all about them in the paper.”

We end the show on our favorite couple Katigiri and Jake, both sitting on the former’s porch drinking a beer. Katagiri claims that Tozawa’s death will finally allow him some peace, though Jake counters that Katagiri won’t be able to retire, with Katagiri stating “I love doing nothing.” The final scene would suggest that this is a lie, as Katagiri tries to do the 10-second meditation alone, he starts to smile and then laugh showing us that, like Jake, he too will remain restless in Tokyo.

Season 3?

Writer J.T Rogers has managed to tie up these two seasons very nicely, not leaving us on any major cliff hangers whislt still leaving room for a third season. In an interview with Den of Geek, he said his aim with season two was to “land the plane in a way that would be very satisfying to the audience. But I also have worked out and continue to work out the world going forward. We’d love to make more. We’ll find out, and we’ll see. Time will tell…”

Time will tell, and we hope that HBO can find a way to keep this magnificent show going in a way that lives up to these phenomenal past two seasons whilst furthering the story and our beloved characters.

(featured image: Max)


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Author
Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.