(Article has been revised to reflect the info in episode 12, “XX (Double Cross)“)
It’s no real secret that even now, with the show’s presumed finale next week, a lot of people still have a hard time remembering who the main spies in each episode of Production I.G’s adaptation of the acclaimed novel series Joker Game are. This has been a bit of a recurring talking point all across the anime world, including in the Ani-TAY Discord chat. This led to a discussion this week in said chat about how many of the D-Agency agents were actually used in the show so far and if any of them were being left out. We initially agreed that it would seem at least one or two of them would be left out, especially since we thought that at least one of the spies was used in two different episodes.
Editorial note: I did say none of your articles were safe now Koda.
Being the curious and unhealthily detail obsessed person that I am, I decided to see if I could actually figure it out. There are exactly 11 characters given prominent focus in the show’s opening, and by a sheer miracle, they even include a shot with a close up look of all 11 characters’ faces placed next to each other. From there it was just a matter of matching faces with episodes, which resulted in the following single image guide:
However, I am not going to stop with this image, because while this quick guide is a nice and easy reference, it doesn’t fully help, because it has all of them in their “default” designs, while many of them are in disguises and use aliases in their respective episodes, so I will now go a bit more in depth.
(Warning, the following material contains spoilers for Joker Game continue on at your own volition)
Real Name: Sakuma | Alias: None | Faction: Imperial Japanese Army
Sakuma is a soldier who strongly adheres to the nationalistic ideals of the IJA that is sent to act as a liaison between D-Agency and the IJA. The primary focus of the first two episodes, he learns everything about what D-Agency is about and is set up to be the fall guy after a raid on the house of an American national living in Japan fails to yield proof that he is a spy. Would have stuck to the promise Miyoshi made to the national that he would commit seppuku should they fail to find incriminating evidence a second time, until he stops thinking like a member of the IJA and starts thinking like a “cowardly” spy. Gains a new found respect for D-Agency after being left hanging by his higher ups in the IJA who didn’t want to be held accountable for their actions.
Real Name: Hatano | Alias: Shimano Ryousuke | Faction: D-Agency
Hatano goes deep undercover in France under the guise of a Japanese foreign exchange student to look into the situation regarding the French resistance to Nazi occupation. During an altercation with Nazi soldiers in a French town center, he winds up with amnesia and must get past a Nazi search party with a small group of prominent French freedom fighters. Good at improvising explosives.
Real Name: Fukumoto | Alias: Shiozuka Hajime | Faction: D-Agency
Fukumoto barely appears in Episode 4, “City of Temptation”, but makes up for his brief onscreen role by setting the real plot of the episode in motion by pointing the episode’s main character, Sergeant Honma Eiji, in the right direction in his investigation. Fukumoto poses as a writer for the Shanghai Nichi-Nichi News.
Real Name: Kaminaga | Alias: Izawa Kazuo | Faction: D-Agency
Kaminaga is undercover in England, running a photography shop he claims is owned by his uncle. He is captured by British intelligence after his nature as a spy is leaked to them by a Japanese diplomat to cover his own ass. Kaminaga is saved from his torture and interrogation by a sleeper agent in British intelligence who is allied with D-Agency.
Real Name: Tazaki | Alias: Seto Reiji | Faction: D-Agency
Tazaki makes his way onto the Asia Express, a train that ran in Manchuria during Japan’s occupation of the region. He is there to meet with Morozoff, a Russian man holding on to important state secrets who is on the run from his fellow Soviets. Things gets complicated when Morozoff is killed and his intel is stolen, leading Tazaki to use some unorthodox methods to find Morozoff’s killer and retrieve the intel. Also really good at card-based magic tricks.
Real Name: Amari | Alias: Osamu Utsumi | Faction: D-Agency
Amari is on a Japanese luxury liner on the waters just off of Hawaii called the Tokimaru to stop a British officer named Jeffery Morgan from making his way to Japan. Morgan is on the run from a German assassin operating under the name of Cerberus and he thinks Amari is that operative. To Amari’s displeasure, Cerberus succeeds in killing Morgan via cyanide poisoning, and Amari now must find the real killer on the boat to clear his name as he is made the main suspect since he was the last person seen talking with Morgan before his death. Also apparently is the Beastmaster as he can summon dolphins and dogs with a simple high pitched whistle.
Real Name: Gamou Jirou | Alias: None | Faction: Wind Agency
Gamou is a member of Wind Agency, a secondary spy agency formed in Japan by people who graduated Japan’s military college, angry at the “cowardly” way Yuuki runs his D-Agency and only selected civilians as members. Unlike D-Agency, Gamou and his compatriots in Wind Agency view killing and dying in the line of duty to be honorable acts. Wind Agency and D-Agency are pitted against each other to prevent Japan’s “Grand Strategy” from falling into enemy hands with the winner being Japan’s sole spy agency.
Real Name: Jitsui | Alias: Morishima Kunio (Formerly Ikeda Kunio) | Faction: D-Agency
Jitsui went deep undercover as a student named Ikeda Kunio who was adopted into the Morishima family and begins serving as the houseboy for Shirahata Ki’ichiro, the former Japanese diplomat believed to have gained access to Japan’s “Grand Strategy”. Breaks his cover in episode 9 after Wind Agency makes their move on Shirahata’s estate looking for the “Grand Strategy”. Spent more than a year undercover.
Real Name: Arisaki Akira | Alias: Lt. Col. Yuuki (Formerly The Magician and Duke) | Faction: D-Agency
(Note: I know I labelled Yuuki as appearing in “most” episodes in the quick guide image, and that is still true, but this is the episode about his backstory, to make things simple I’m shoving all info about Yuuki in this one section)
Arisaki Akira was a child of questionable origin adopted by a Viscount named Arisaki. Though never officially registered into the Arisaki family, the Viscount taught the young Akira a variety of subjects through a wide range of top class foreign teachers. Through them he learned several languages as well as advance mathematics, science, and literature. The Viscount personally taught Akira martial arts. Akira was kicked out of the military prep school for using “underhanded” tactics (i.e. throwing dirt in the eyes of one of them and then kneeing them in the nuts) in a fight against four other students, a few of which who were using pocket knives. After moving to England, Akira eventually gets involved in World War I.
During World War I Akira goes undercover in Germany as “The Magician” and leaks German sub movements in the Mediterranean to Allied forces. Eventually being caught, Akira loses his hand during his escape from torture at the hands of German spies. Eventually making his way back to Japan and founding D-Agency under the name of Lt. Col. Yuuki, he teaches his ideals and shares the knowledge the Viscount gave to him to the spies training under him. Created a convoluted plan to keep people from finding out his true history by using another man in a coma to pose as the “real” Arisaki Akira, and thus act as a disguise by proxy. Master of disguise who is always in a disguise, even his “base look” is actually a disguise. Best spy in all the world. Would out spy James Bond, Austin Powers, Jason Bourne, Eggsy, Nick Fury, and any other spy you could throw at him. Probably taught Batman all the stuff he knows.
Real Name: Miyoshi | Alias: Katsuhiko Maki | Faction: D-Agency
Miyoshi gets the distinct honor of being the first person to do the title drop in the show, explaining the rules of the titular Joker Game to Sakuma all the way back in the first episode while also posing as Sakuma’s interpreter during the raid on the American’s house. It’s a good thing he got those standout moments in the first two episodes, because he doesn’t actually “do” anything this episode, because, well...you know...he’s kinda...dead. After spending the entire season making our boys from D-Agency look like nigh untouchable badasses, the show hits us with something none of us probably accounted for, the possibility they simply die in a freak accident, which is what happens with Miyoshi.
He was on a train headed for Berlin to drop off the microfilm containing the contacts in his spy network when it crashes into a train headed to Krun. The resulting accident forces a large piece of metal to pierce his chest, and boom, dead bishonen spy. All is not lost, though, as Miyoshi’s death does give us a glimpse at spies from both sides racing to get information from the corpse of another spy. Miyoshi was probably the second most prominent member of D-Agency itself. Just look at the quick guide, he’s right next to Yuuki, who has Sakuma, the second most developed character in the whole show, on his other side.
Real Name: Tobisaki Hiroyuki | Alias: Odagiri | Faction: D-Agency
Now for something completely different, our last spy, Odagiri, is the only former military man aside from Yuuki in D-Agency. We start by finding him freezing his ass off in some place with heavy snowfall, probably Russia. Odagiri gets in trouble for disobeying a superior officer because he wanted to help another soldier who was having difficulty marching in the freezing snow. Yuuki busts his ass out of jail to enlist him into D-Agency’s training program.
Odagiri is tasked with keeping constant tabs on a German and Russian double agent named Karl Schneider who is living in Japan with his lover, a Japanese stage actress. Like what seems to be a recurring theme here, Schneider is killed and Odagiri must solve his murder. Yuuki enlists the rest of D-Agency to help narrow the scope of the investigation for Odagiri. As a result of falling for Schneider’s lover due to her reminding him of the woman who raised him when he was a kid, Odagiri feels that he can’t sever his emotional connections the way Yuuki expects him to and resigns from D-Agency, only to find out the woman has moved to Manchuria. Odagiri returns to D-Agency to pick up his dismissal and is told by Yuuki he has been assigned to a military unit in Manchuria. How convenient.
So hopefully that makes things a bit clearer for those who have watched the show or those who plan on watching the show.
Joker Game can be watched on the Crunchyroll streaming service. Joker Game is based on a series of award winning novels by Koji Yanagi.