Somehow the word "finished" doesn't seem right.
Anyway – big spoilers up ahead (kind of)
The final scene shows Hoshizaki (Odagiri Joe) riding the fabled school bus into a tunnel with a bright light at the end, but with no further explanation. People all over the internet started going back through earlier episodes for clues. Myself included. However, it was clear to me that without a firm grasp of Japanese or of Japanese imagery, I was going to struggle. Additionally, I'm aware of the desire for people to read too much meaning into vague or random texts, which made me wonder if the things I'd found were genuinely placed there or just a coincidence.
In one scene, Mitsuko Katasura (Fuse Eri) uses Scotch tape on the floor to trip up Hoshizaki, leaving his shoes behind. Now, people take off their shoes before committing suicide, so is this a clue for something? Meanwhile, this site shows screen grabs from a passport issued in 2008, but has stamps in it from 2007. A nice find, but what does it mean?
Perhaps the smartest finding has been regarding some of the puns and meanings hidden away in the numbers throughout the show. Two commentators on d-addicts have posted their theories, and they make for interesting reading. Perhaps the most important refers to the registration plates of Hoshizaki's car and the bus. Clakaz wrote that the number plate of the bus is 4392, which can be read “Yomi no Kuni” (the world after death) while Hoshizaki's licence plate is 7292: “Nakatsu Kuni”or middle world.
Add to this the sign welcoming people to South Atami that reads “Almost Heaven” and Hoshizaki's description of the problem being that two worlds aren't mixing and it's pretty clear that the whole premise of the show is about the afterlife and the living world overlapping.
At least, I think it's clear... I could be wrong.
The other number puns all seem to refer to characteristics of the people they're attached to, so the number thing seems pretty solid.
But as I said, I'm mostly walking in other people's footprints here and I'm wary that any theories I come up with will be wishful thinking. The significance of the number two is so vague as to be everywhere and I do wonder how many theories based around it will be dead-ends.
The clock in that room in the police station was interesting, though. The hour hand always pointed to the "two" position, although the actual numbers were mixed up on the dial. I couldn't find a clear view of it, though.
A thorough knowledge of myths and lore around death in Japanese culture will help put together the pieces of the puzzle. One person on d-addicts noted that Hoshizaki's comment that he only smokes once a year is a reference to people visiting his grave once a year (to light incense, I suppose) which is something I would never had got. But, if Hoshizaki was already dead, what did it mean when he went through a tunnel to a bright light. Was he returning to life?
This show definitely needs a proper sit-down and viewing again which unfortunately I don't really have the time for. This evening, I just skimmed through, looking for screengrabs, and found this scene in the cable car, with this guy whose face we never see. I don't remember noticing him before. Who is he? Does he mean anything?
Maybe I should just hit "publish post" and move on to something else...