Netflix’s Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune follows a young man named Akira becoming an expendable foot soldier for the alien civilization that colonized Earth.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
After he’s robbed of the opportunity to study further, Akira Ihotsu gets into some trouble and is bailed out of it by a man named Vasa Pupkin. The enigmatic recruiter briefs him about the expendable foot soldiers of the Trade Federation called Yakitori.
A flashback shows Akira Ihotsu, Tyrone Baxter, Erland Martonen, Amalia Shulz, and Zihan Yang meeting on Earth before launching to Mars.
In the present, Unit K321 moves ahead to complete their harassment mission, while 10 months back, their training becomes back at the Kichen on Mars. There, they go through grueling and constantly disappointing tests as their absence of teamwork leads to failure. They also learn how their training is different from other units.
However, after their efforts, they are made scapegoats and arrested. However, Vasa Pupkin arrives with a strategy to get them out of the dire circumstances.
Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune ending explained in detail:
What is Program Mariana?
Vasa Pupkin recruits five members to form a new, experimental team of Yakitori soldiers. Way into their training, they are told that the regimens they are a part of are drastically different from other units.
Together they form Unit K321 and defy the usual treatment of the Yakitori soldiers which sees them being told to do everything by the book as they’re thrown into wars and conflicts as fodder/expendable foot soldiers.
However, with K321, Vasa aims to do something different and train this group of soldiers, so that they can be disciplined and exploited way more efficiently on the battleground, where they won’t be treated as mere fodder. The unit manages to understand and utilize teamwork, ultimately completing the Program Mariana.
What happens at Barka?
Unit K321 comes out as the Trade Federation Military’s best chance at getting out of the warzone. Despite being Instants, they defy expectations and bring results, managing to kill a lot of enemy soldiers and eventually wreaking havoc at the artillery base.
They take control of one of the artillery camps and destroy another one, managing in the process to ignite the Barkans who come flooding into their camp, with great viciousness and desperation. When Unit K321 is restricted within the control room, with blood-thirsty Barkans populating their surroundings within the base, Akira ideates calling for the Military’s help.
He asks Commanding Officer Rimel to support them by performing an orbital strike and taking out the Barkans. It’s ethically complicated but after confirming with Zihan Yang that all the unit members back this request, Rimel approves of the strike, which is eventually performed and horrors shower down from the heavens, creating a terrifying nightmare over the Barkan landscape.
Does Unit K321 get punished?
Unit K321 is arrested right after successfully making it out of the Barkan planet and tried for committing genocide. The prosecution paints them as the sole perpetrators of the orbital genocidal attack on the innocent Barkans.
Vasa Pupkin is brought in as the first and last witness, and in spite of his efforts at providing nuanced answers to the prosecution’s questions, he’s forced to say that Unit K321’s actions contributed to the Barkan genocide.
However, just when Akira and others start to lose hope, the defense speaks up and the arguments brought forth are both solid and sound, rattling not just the prosecution but the judge as well.
The defense flips the script of the proceedings by declaring that they’re entertaining a trial that shouldn’t take place in the particular court in the first place, since members of Unit K321, i.e., the Yakitoris, are legally defined as equipment, and hence can’t be trialed as the beings who operate said equipment.
He further argues that the responsibility of upholding the rules of engagement should fall upon the ones who ordered the equipment (Yakitori) to eliminate threats against the Trade Federation Army, which at the time was following orders from the foreign affair clan’s special envoy.
Furthermore, he calls the court’s attention upon the Financial and Judiciary clan authorities who are responsible for the Fair Trade Code of Conduct Regulations, that the Trade Federation Military equipment purchases have to follow. However, the foreign affairs clan authorities failed to follow them during the negotiations in Barka.
The defense ends the cross-examination after calling out all the aforementioned authorities and clans and how none of them have been charged with anything. It’s clear that by virtue of the deep web of bureaucracy that the Trade Federation functions within, the loopholes and oversights help the Yakitori get acquitted.
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