Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 3: Walking into another trap

I'm really happy with the way this episode turned out. I felt like it could very easily gone down a blind revenge route, but the series seems to be trying to keep characters relevant by having each one throw a wrench into the situation. It makes it feel more like I'm watching a single story with a large cast rather than disjointed parts that eventually come together.

I'm still really suspicious about Qiaomei's death despite this week's attempt to confirm it. The timing just doesn't make sense. Even if the mayor's son was the one who killed her, she would have been sent to him before Xianming's outburst. So, Zhang would need to have planned her death earlier. It's not completely unreasonable because Xianming was probably always rebellious, though.

I'm glad that Banba and Xianming found out that Saitou was innocent pretty quickly, though. I would have been really frustrated with this series if it had thrown Xianming in a blind rage at Saitou.

Saitou continues to be the character I least understand in this series. His explanation for joining the murder company just doesn't make sense. He didn't even mention feeling any exhilaration from the event. Part of me wonders if this explanation is just setting up a later reveal that Saitou's actually a natural murderer, and the company somehow figured that out based on the pitch.

With the way Banba's hair is pulled back at the end of the episode, are we supposed to conclude that he's the Niwaka Samurai? The hairstyle makes him look really similar to the guy in the flashback. It also explains his conversation with the old guy who contracts the Niwaka Samurai. Is that conclusion too easy?

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