12. Big City, Part II

Christmas has come to F City, but for Kabapu the festive season is not a time for happiness. He has convinced himself that the city is being targeted by the forces of evil, and worries that his ‘brave warriors’ are not yet up to the task of fighting for justice. To that end, he tells Watanabe and the others that he has a change of pace for them- and, with all except Matsuya bored of monotonous paperwork, they eagerly agree to his latest scheme.

At the Across base, Excel is more than a little excited about Christmas, much to the annoyance of Ilpalazzo, who far from the greatest fan of this ‘capitalistic holiday’. Unlike the original manga, however, Ilpalazzo’s lengthy speech about his opinion of Christmas is quickly skipped over. Nonetheless, he does have a present for Excel waiting down in the pit- a live crocodile.

Meanwhile, Watanabe and the others have been sent to work at the Prefectural Police Office, or at least in an adjacent police box which functions as a base of operation for top detective Purin. Initially, the tough-as-nails detective has no interest in taking on a bunch of rookies, but when she takes her hat off, her personality completely changes. Without her hat, Purin is a cute and enthusiastic young girl, and in her new persona she urges her new trainees to get into the swing of things and take on detective-style nicknames and attitudes. Purin is pleased by their efforts, but with her hat back on her tough attitude returns, and she brusquely announces that it is time to get going.

Meanwhile, Excel and Hyatt are at their latest part-time jobs- working at a department stores outdoor Christmas sales stall. Initially, work proceeds relatively smoothly, at least until someone points out that Hyatt’s reindeer suit seems to be soaked in a strange red substance. Excel quickly tries to rouse Hyatt, but when her employer comes over to talk to her she is forced to turn away- and before she realises what is going on, Hyatt’s body is being loaded into an ambulance.

As Excel calmly walks into the hospital to see her friend, the staff are sure she must be in shock, since she just doesn’t seem to have accepted that Hyatt is dead. To their amazement, however, Excel successfully rouses Hyatt from her deathbed, and the pair calmly walks out as if nothing had happened.

Elsewhere, Purin and her new trainees have gone ten minutes without finding a single clue- unacceptable for a detective drama. As it turns out, Watanabe and the others don’t even know what case they are working on, so Purin quickly fills them in- she has been chasing a pair of burglary and murder suspects for forty years. The others are a little perplexed by the incongruity of this statement- apart from the fact that the statute of limitations has expired, Purin looks to be around half that age. Nonetheless, there is little time for thinking; apparently a pair of thieves has just broken into a post office and taken a hostage, and despite the generic nature of the crime, Purin is certain that these are the same thieves that she has been pursuing.

What Purin and the others do not know is that the hostage is none other than Hyatt, who in her usual fashion is completely nonplussed and has little idea of what is going on. As Hyatt is driven away, Excel boldly gives chase, but despite her attempts to call for backup, none arrives. Even the Great Will is absent, as she tearfully watches That Man drop Pedro (trapped inside a pudding) into Tokyo Bay.

Whilst Purin and the others give chase in vaguely the right direction, the two burglars (who are also brothers) drive back to their hideout. The younger brother cannot help wondering why they had to take a hostage in the first place, but the older brother is adamant- you have to do these things properly. Meanwhile, in the back, Hyatt is looking rather ill, and the brothers are all too glad to let her open the window and get some fresh air. And as it turns out, this enables Hyatt to also leave a trail of blood drops for Excel. As Excel follows the drops, the trail turns into a line of dead birds, all felled by the diseased fumes from Hyatt’s blood.

As they wander through the woods in search of the burglars, Purin explains a little more about her lengthy pursuit of this case. Her hat belonged to her late father, and as Iwata correctly surmises, when she puts it on, his spirit possesses her. Before he died, he became obsessed with catching the two burglars from forty years ago, and now Purin lets him possess her so that he can finish this case and finally rest in peace.

Having reached the hideout, the two brothers are horrified to discover that their burglary has been a failure- most of the banknotes they took are just Monopoly money. Incensed by the failure, and by Hyatt’s calm and unruffled attitude, the elder brother loses his cool, and despite his sibling’s attempt to restrain him, he accidentally knocks over her chair. Unfortunately, with her health in its usual frail condition, the shock of the fall manages to kill her.

Unaware of Hyatt’s frequent tendency to die, the two brothers are sure that they will face murder charges for this. Scared, the older brother decides to destroy the evidence, by burning down the hideout. Could even Hyatt revive after incineration?

Seeing the smoke, Excel races to the scene, only to notice that Hyatt’s trail also ends right outside. Worried that her friend is caught in the blaze, Excel rushes in to save her, failing to notice that Hyatt has already wandered out. Emerging from the fire, Excel is reunited with her partner, and the duo decide that is time to go home- although with no transportation available, they will have to hitchhike.

Meanwhile, the two burglars have made a quick getaway in their car, spurred on by thoughts of being charged for burglary, hostage-taking, murder and arson. As they drive down the mountain, however, they notice two hitchhikers by the side of the road- one of whom is their former hostage Hyatt, now very much alive. The shock is too much for the brothers, who drive right off the edge of the road.

Having gotten thoroughly lost, Purin and the others are still wandering in the woods, when the brothers’ car suddenly comes sailing right towards them. As they get out of the way, the vehicle makes an explosive landing, tossing out the two burglars. Seeing her quarry in front of her, Purin (and her father’s spirit) move forward to arrest them- only to realise that these aren’t the perpetrators from forty years ago. It’s going to be a while longer before Purin’s father can rest…

The next day, Kabapu is eager to hear how his ‘young warriors’ got on with their special training. Far from being enthusiastic about their experience, however, Watanabe and the others seem less than impressed with their day as detectives- even paperwork would have been preferable. To put it succinctly, ‘it was the pits’…

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