TSKR Episode 11: Drip Painting Style
The one-shot is split into two parts and serialized in Ultra Jump, with the first published on April 19, 2022 in the "May 2022" issue, and the second published on May 19, 2022 in the "June 2022" issue. It is the first Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan chapter to be split into multiple parts.
First Half: Mitsuki's Affair
Rohan is working on Pink Dark Boy in his office as Bakin watches. Kyoka arrives and is impressed to see his drip painting style but points out that the way Rohan is doing it isn't improvised or random since he's precisely aiming the drops of ink. She offers Rohan café au lait and then pretends to spill some on his manuscript, before laughing that she's just kidding. However, she notices that Rohan is crying. Confused, Kyoka mentions that she thought the story he's working on has a happy ending. Rohan starts describing "Episode 11". It's a story that tells of the time Rohan was invited to interview at the home of a "decent person" with a certain background. Although he usually draws manga with the intention of providing hope to his readers, there isn't a single positive thing in this story. He warns the readers to be prepared for this dreadful episode.
A woman having an affair realizes how late it is already and decides to leave the hotel. The person she's with offers to take her home but she refuses. As she runs to her car in the parking garage, she's worried about what she just did. When she opens the car door, it hits the door of the SUV next to her and causes a dent. She also notices her stockings are torn up but she doesn't have time to buy a new pair. Her name is revealed to be Mitsuki Murase, age 37. Mitsuki starts panicking about how her husband will react, and fears he might already suspect something. She regrets going all the way to the next town and thinks her husband might check the GPS records. Taking a deep breath, she takes her wedding ring out of her bag and puts it back on her finger.
As she's driving back home, Mitsuki encounters a traffic jam. Thus, she drives off the main road and heads into the mountains. Suddenly, her phone rings. When she answers, her husband is relieved that she finally picked up. He exclaims everyone was trying to call her for over an hour. Their daughter Emma is crying because the kindergarten's closed and nobody is there to pick her up since Mitsuki has the car. Mitsuki lies that she lost track of time and got caught in traffic due to a roadblock. Her husband thinks that's suspicious because he's never seen any roadblock in their neighborhood before. Although it would take about 20 to 30 minutes for Mitsuki to get to Emma's kindergarten, she lies and says it'll take about 5 minutes.
Suddenly, Mitsuki notices a dark figure with several spikes on its back just outside her car by the passenger window. She swerves her car and stops to take a look outside but there's nothing there. Her husband keeps trying to talk to her but Mitsuki doesn't respond. He says he'll go pick up Emma himself without the car and then they can talk at the kindergarten. He then hears birds cawing and asks where Mitsuki is. Mitsuki lies again and says those weren't birds but just the noise of her slamming on the brakes. She hangs up, saying she'll be there soon. Wondering what was near her car, she notices a "Watch for Animals!" sign. At first she thinks it might have been a boar but realizes it looked nothing like one. She stops worrying when she notices there's no damage to the car and starts driving quickly to reach the kindergarten.
Later, a car behind Mitsuki starts tailgating her. Mitsuki first thinks that it's the same SUV she saw next to her in the parking garage, and wonders if they followed her all the way from the hotel because she dented their door. Wondering what their issue is, Mitsuki notices that their car door doesn't even have a dent nor scratches anymore. Furthermore, she has doubts about the SUV being white now because she thought the one she hit was gray. The mysterious driver speeds up and overtakes Mitsuki. Their window then opens and the driver inside takes out a fire extinguisher, pointing it behind them toward Mitsuki's car. Mitsuki's windshield is fully covered by its spray as she screams.
Second Half: The Eco-Terrorist's Plan
The SUV in front of Mitsuki suddenly brakes and she crashes into them. She wonders if the person has gone insane since they're now blocking the road. The man who was driving then steps out of the car. Although he is initially depicted as a silhouette, the pen pattern on his socks reveals that he is Rohan. Mitsuki starts screaming and then Rohan throws the fire extinguisher at her windshield, causing it to crack. However, she continues driving ahead past Rohan's car, breaking his car's right headlight. Rohan continues pursuing her as Mitsuki laments that she needs to pick her daughter up. She exasperatedly yells at Rohan that she'll be the one to kill him rather than the other way around. Rohan finally catches up to be beside her car and yells at her to open the window. He exclaims that she has to pull over because there's a man that climbed into the backseat of her car and is currently behind her.
As soon as Rohan shouts, the man behind her places his hands around Mitsuki's face and snaps her neck. Both cars crash into the guardrail. Rohan manages to crawl out, bleeding from his head, nose, and mouth. He's on the phone with the police and asks why they aren't there yet. He informs them about the murder and that this guy is too much for him to handle alone; they'll need to block the roads and bring all the riot police that they can get in order to stop him. Looking at Mitsuki's upside down car, Rohan wonders why he got himself involved in this.
The man crawls out of Mitsuki's car and climbs on top of it, eerily noting Rohan's recent adoption of Bakin. He remarks that Rohan will probably be able to make 15 to 20 years' worth of happy memories with the dog, but that they will soon become painful to remember due to the effects of climate change. He cites a 2018 prediction from the IPCC about the Earth's average temperature rising towards a point of no return at an alarming rate. He uses this as evidence that Bakin won't be able to have the happy life his owner wishes for him.
The eco-terrorist continues his speech, going into details about his past. 12 years prior, he joined an environmental organization dedicated to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but their leader was paid off by a big company that planned to invest in the deforestation of tropical rainforests. In spite of that, the man tried continuing his work but was arrested several times by security officials, had people trying to kill him, lost his job, and his family abandoned him. Now sick of everything, the man reveals his goal of blowing himself up at the nearby power plant. He is wearing 40kg of ANFO explosives along with nails and screws, and also carrying hydrogen fuel tanks and liquid oxidizers under his coat and in his backpack. All of these are wired to switches strapped to both of his palms.
Rohan retorts that the man needs therapy and wonders why he invited Rohan to his house since Rohan is just a manga artist and not a journalist. The eco-terrorist claims that TV reporters would distort the truth and spread fake news about what happened, but Rohan could depict the truth in his manga using what he's about to see now. He lured Rohan all the way to this specific spot to keep him safe, and he just happened to kill that woman because she was driving nearby. Hearing the police sirens approaching, the man starts making his move. Rohan cries for him to stop and go do his plan somewhere else since Morioh is his birth town. Rohan looks around and notices the nearby burs on the ground. He's thankful that Mitsuki's car is outdated and powered by gasoline, wondering if it's just a stroke of irony or the whim of the mountain gods. Summoning Heaven's Door, Rohan writes on the burs to shrivel up until they're hollow, then suck up fumes from the exhaust pipe of Mitsuki's car, and finally stick to the eco-terrorist's clothes. After the burs do so, the man falls unconscious due to the carbon monoxide released from all of them.
Back in the present, Rohan asks Kyoka what she's doing. She had just warmed up pasta in the microwave and asks Rohan if he wants some. Rohan angrily points out that he has never permitted food in his workroom but Kyoka's tomato sauce dripped onto his manuscript and made two orange dots. After he yells at Kyoka to leave, she reveals to Bakin that she did it on purpose thinking it would cheer Rohan up since he can't draw while being all gloomy. Although she thinks that the story had a happy ending, Kyoka looks dejected as she leaves.
- The one-shot seems to be somewhat inspired by the 2020 film Unhinged, which tells the story of a woman who is terrorized by a seemingly mentally ill stranger following a road rage incident. Its Japanese title (アオラレ) is directly referenced by Mitsuki while she is being tailgated.
- The one-shot also references an urban legend known as "The Killer in the Backseat", which involves a woman who is driving and being followed by another vehicle who flashes their high beams, tailgates her, and sometimes even rams her vehicle. However, she realizes too late that the driver was actually trying to warn her that there was a man hiding in her back seat.
- Toward the end of the second half, the titular character from Episode 10: Hot Summer Martha can be seen with its four-circle design on a bookshelf.