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“Garouden: The Way of the Lone Wolf” Plot and Ending Explained: Why Did Fujimaki Run From The Law?

Garouden The Way of the Lone Wolf Plot and Ending Explained
Garouden The Way of the Lone Wolf Plot and Ending Explained

The beloved manga series “Garouden” by Baku Yumemakura got an anime series adaptation on Netflix. This gritty and action-packed anime is named “Garouden: The Way of the Lone Wolf” (2024). Directed by Atsushi Ikariya, the series is voiced by Ryouta Takeuchi as Juzo Fujimura, a troubled man with a mysterious past and terrifying fighting skills. It has other talented voice actors like Tetsu Inada voicing Tanba Bunshichi, Rintarou Nishi behind Matsuo Shouzan, and Shunsuke Takeuchi behind Tsutomu Himekawa. In a fierce underground fighting tournament, Juzo finds himself through “Garouden,” with an explosive mixture of martial arts mastery and brutal violence.

Juzo Fujimaki runs away from his wretched past and finds himself in an underground combat arena. The Takemiya-ryu martial art competition provides him with an opportunity to battle many strong opponents and confront himself. The difficulty of the journey is made even worse by the fact that he must subdue the inner beast, which once caused so much havoc in his life.

How Does It All Begin?

Bear and Man fight in "Garouden- The Way of the Lone Wolf" anime series
Bear and Man fight in “Garouden – The Way of the Lone Wolf” series

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The drama begins in snowy Hokkaido, Japan. Two people from the village are walking in the snow-covered mountains when they hear a gunshot and decide to escape hunters by taking shelter in a cabin. Suddenly, they meet a huge, angry grizzly bear that had been shot but not killed. The bear attacks them, but another man shows up and fights the bear with his bare hands, killing it by breaking its jaws and neck. The man then leaves to avoid being recognized.

When the villagers report the incident, detective Tamon investigates and finds the bear’s body. He recognizes that the guy who killed it matches exactly with martial arts expert Juzo Fujimaki’s description, whom he has been searching for a long time. Fujimaki leaves Hokkaido, rescued by gangsters, and learns that a powerful mob boss called the Sergeant arranged his rescue.

Fujimaki discovers that his new boss, Kurogami, wants to close down a local dojo to buy land. In addition, he also becomes interested in Ichiro Shino, who was once famous as a fighter before becoming its present owner. Remembering his own martial arts background, Fujimaki sides with the dojo and fights off goons harassing Ichiro’s daughter. This reminds him of an incident seven years ago that made him a fugitive. His past soon catches up with him again.

What Happened in Fujimaki’s Past?

Fujimakis Past
Fujimaki’s Past

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Why Juzo Fujimaki did what he did and who he is can be traced to his past crimes. Garouden is a story about male ego, pride, and honor. These themes are central to what happened in Fujimaki’s life seven years before and the plot of the entire book.

Takemiya School was where Fujimaki studied martial arts. His teacher and leader was Soichiro Izumi. For some time, he lived as a houseboy at Izumi’s residence, where he became close to Saeko, Izumi’s only girl child. He gradually began developing romantic feelings for her. Fujimaki eventually came to excel in martial arts, learning various moves and techniques. 

Fujimaki quickly realized someone had broken into the house. When he went inside, he saw a terrible scene: a man had attacked and violated Saeko, who was alone and helpless. Filled with anger and despair because he had romantic feelings for her, Fujimaki didn’t wait for justice. He used his fighting skills to kill the attacker by throwing him onto a rock in a calculated move. This happened right in front of Saeko, who was shocked and traumatized by both the attack and the killing. Seeing her fear and confusion, Fujimaki made a decision that changed their lives.

Saeko’s face was filled with terror, a mixture of fear and confusion that was clear to Fujimaki. Instead of explaining, he chose to run away and become a fugitive, wanted by the police for seven years. He fled because he felt like he dishonored both Izumi (his master) and Saeko. As he never told anyone what really happened, the assault on Saeko was never reported. Wanted for killing the intruder, Fujimaki became a refugee. He remained elusive until seven years later, when a man was killed and charges were pressed against him.

The attack on Saeko never made it to the police because they were afraid to tell anybody anything about it. Fujimaki wished to save her from the humiliation and hard times of dealing with people who could find out about this. There was also guilt on Fujimaki’s part, which is why he went into hiding as well. He believed that, in front of Saeko, he had committed such an awful act, not considering her state of shock after what happened to her. He thought she responded that way because she saw him kill the man, but it was actually due to the trauma she experienced.

Fujimaki moved away from Nara and moved in with an older fighter named Ranbo. He kept practicing and improving his martial arts skills while struggling with the guilt and regret from his past crime, which heavily influenced his journey and choices.

What Did The Sergeant Offer To Fujimaki?

Sergeant Offer To Fujimaki
Sergeant Offer To Fujimaki

Garouden’s story develops further with Juzo Fujimaki, who participates in an underground fighting tournament called Kodoku. The tournament is organized by Sergeant, an old woman running various criminal ventures. The Kodoku competition is very risky because it has its own brutal rules: either the fighters surrender or die, and the winner is allowed to kill his opponent without any punishment. Only the remaining fighters will be named as the strongest people in the world.

At present, Japan is hosting a tournament, and since Fujimaki demonstrated his extraordinary power, she has been watching him closely. After saving him from danger, she puts a tube of live eels into Fujimaki’s stomach to make him her puppet. These fish can also be operated remotely, thus enabling her to manipulate them. She convinces Fujimaki to participate in the games by giving him some drugs that will heal this sickness. This event is shown live on television, through which rich people gamble on their preferred contenders, thereby bringing lots of cash for Sergeant. Additionally, Fujimaki is promised that if he wins, the gang will help clear his criminal record and send him to a foreign country until his record is erased.

Fujimaki eventually emerges victorious in the contest, notwithstanding strong competition. Nevertheless, he rejects Sergeant’s offer to expunge his criminal record and instead opts to return to Nara. In Netflix’s adaptation of Garouden, Fujimaki learns that only love can make him whole and tame his violent nature. Throughout its inception phase, he must deal with violence lying dormant within him, symbolized by the inner lone wolf, which represents him having difficulties maintaining his aggressive tendencies. He does not want to injure anyone, though he is harboring deep-seated anger regarding what happened seven years ago.

During the Kodoku tournament, Fujimaki learns that his master, Izumi, was defeated by a fighter named Bunshichi Tanba. Seeking revenge, Fujimaki returns to Nara to ask Izumi to make him the successor of the Takemiya school. He discovers Tanba is now training under Izumi and asks him to fight and defeat Tanba and another strong student, Tsutomu Himekawa. Fujimaki’s true goal is to reunite with Saeko, his beloved, as he feels lost and violent without her. Ultimately, his desire to fight and uphold his and his master’s honor is driven by love.

What Were Saeko’s Feelings For Fujimaki When He Returned?

Saeko's Feelings For Fujimaki
Saeko’s Feelings For Fujimaki

In both the novel and its anime adaptation, Garouden, female characters hardly play significant roles in the plot. This reflects a culture that values male honor and tradition. For instance, Saeko never voices her opinions openly; rather, she shows her feelings through subtle sighs and smirks that people such as Izumi’s father don’t notice. Fujimaki thought he had let Saeko down by misunderstanding 7-year-old events until she realized he defended her from her attacker and then abandoned her instead of seeking comfort from him. It takes him seven years before he realizes he actually wants to be with her.

During this time, Saeko developed a relationship with Himekawa, who was now his father’s student. However, she still loved Fujimaki, was more than happy whenever his name appeared, and would often wish to see him again. When Fujimaki finally returns and learns about Saeko’s new relationship, she still wants to be with him. At the end of Garouden, when Fujimaki challenges Himekawa to a fight, Saeko feels proud of him, just like when he defended her and killed her assaulter years ago. She can’t openly admit her love for Fujimaki and must be diplomatic when her father asks who she wants to win. However, her true support and love are for Fujimaki.

“Garouden: The Way Of The Lone Wolf” Ending Explained: Is Fujimaki Successful In Defeating Tsutomu Himekawa?

Fujimaki and Tsutomu Himekawa Fight
Fujimaki and Tsutomu Himekawa Fight

Nagata was supposed to fight Himekawa in the Hokushinkan tournament finale. However, Fujimaki, wanting to fight Himekawa because he stole his girlfriend, knocked out Nagata and took his place. Knowing Fujimaki’s skill and Tiger King’s move, Matsuo also knew that Himekawa practiced mixed martial arts. In order not to ruin the match with the rules or the legal problems of Fujimaki, Matsuo permitted him to take part in it, and this made people excited about it notwithstanding the change.

Henceforth, Fujimaki looked likely to win against Himekawa. He mostly started off slowly against his opponents during Sergeant’s tournament, then picked on their pattern until he eventually won. Although it looked like Fujimaki wouldn’t win, he managed to get the upper hand. But just when Fujimaki was about to claim victory with his Tiger King move, Himekawa did the unexpected.

Izumi had trained Himekawa on how to counter Takemiya’s signature move, the Tiger King kick. When Fujimaki tried his move, Himekawa dodged it. On the second try, Himekawa countered it perfectly with a move he called the Counter Tiger King. This knocked Fujimaki out, and Himekawa won the fight. In the end, the police arrested Fujimaki for his past crimes.

Matsuo, duly impressed with Fujimaki’s ability, made a promise to organize a future match between both of them, but Fujimaki did not seem interested. The crowd cheered for him as if Saeko had forgiven him for leaving her at the train station after saving her life. In the end, Detective Tamon can go back to work, and Bunshichi Tanba is off to Nara, where he can fully grasp the flow of Takemiya style.

The story in Garouden was complicated and had many twists. It focused on the rivalry between the Takemiya and Hokushinkan fighting styles. The final battle hinted that Takemiya was becoming outdated while Hokushinkan was rising. However, Himekawa, a Hokushinkan fighter, used the Tiger King move, showing respect for Takemiya. 

We can expect that the second season of “Garouden: The Way of the Lone Wolf” will be even more exciting than the first. Now that several fighters know the Tiger King move, Fujimaki doesn’t have an advantage over them. After serving his time, Fujimaki is expected to challenge Himekawa first to finally settle their rivalry. Tamba is back in Nara to perfect his Takemiya style and prepare to fight Fujimaki. When Fujimaki got back up after being knocked out, it was clear he would lose. He was driven by rage, letting his inner beast take over. Himekawa, on the other hand, stayed disciplined and focused on his training, which helped him defeat the stronger opponent. This mirrors how Fujimaki defeated the big injured bear at the start of the show and then met a similar fate when he charged at Himekawa with blind fury.

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