Based on a Manga Series, Japanese film, The Fable portrays a legendary assassin named Akira. He wears a black mask, and none of his targets has ever made out alive. Because Akira’s existence remains in stories, he became an urban legend and attained the name “The Fable”,, i.e. a myth. In his childhood, an orphan, Akira, was adopted by the “boss”, and since then, he has trained under him to become a cold-blooded killer. The film, however, follows Akira’s conflict to live a normal life without killing anyone for a year, as ordered by his master.
Directed by Kan Eguchi, the film stars Jun’ichi Okada as Akira. He uses a dead-pan expression that often resembles the manga superhero, One Punch Man. Coincidentally, Akira’s killing technique and interests are similar too. He likes to watch Jackal Tomioka’s commercials and finds them incredibly humorous.
The film begins as Akira ruthlessly swipes off a mob gang during a meeting with their foreign clients. Akira and Yoko reach Boss’s abode, and he asks for his next assignment. The Boss suggests Akira and Yoko to take a year off and live incognito. The two get their new identities, i.e., Akio and Yoko Sato, which makes them siblings. The Boss informs Akira that they will be in Osaka for a year and work for a gang without killing anyone. He demands Akira to leave all his guns behind and warns him that if he kills anyone during this time, the Boss will kill Akira himself. Akira believes that to become a pro hitman; he has to blend into the general population, which is why the Boss has given him such a difficult challenge.
In the meantime, a rival assassin, Fudo, and his accomplice investigate Akira’s killing scene. Fudo thinks that the fable exists in real life and therefore pledges to kill him to become an urban legend himself. While packing up, Akira puts all his guns in the microwave as requested by the master. However, he takes his first gun with him out of nostalgia.
Akira and Yoko reach Osaka, where Maguro Company president and Captain Ebihara welcomes them. Ebihara hands over the gang safe house for their accommodation, and the siblings quickly settle in. In the Yakuza office, Ebihara informs the president that a former gang member, Kojima, is coming out of prison after eight years.
Kojima and Ebihara share a special brotherly relationship, but Kojima killed his girlfriend eight years ago and was arrested. An important member of the Yakuza, Lieutenant Sunagawa, believes that Ebihara ordered Kojima to kill the girl. Sunagawa wants to expose Ebihara to take his place in the organization.
While the gang deals with its issues, a bored Akira decides to take up a job to spend some time. He starts working in a design firm, Octopus, as a delivery guy and gets close to Misaki Shimizu. However, Misaki has a past too. She used to work for adult magazines and films. Kojima approaches her to work for his escort business. When Misaki refuses, Kojima starts blackmailing her. But before Akira can stop Kojima, Sunagawa and his minions kidnap Kojima and Misaki. And now, to save his girl, Akira is compelled to wield a weapon. But if he kills anyone while saving Misaki, his Boss will kill him too.
‘The Fable’ Ending Explained
When Sunagawa abducted Kojima, he threatened to expose Ebihara for his own survival. Sunagawa wanted Kojima to testify on record that Ebihara ordered him to kill the girl. Kojima refused to break Ebihara’s trust and informed Sunagawa and his gang that a fabled assassin was coming to kill them all.
Ebihara, who suffered a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital, pleaded with Akira to bring back Kojima safely. Akira knew that Sunagawa had kidnapped Misaki Shimizu; hence, he made it his personal mission. In his den, Akira designed special toy bullets (blanks) to use in combat against Sunagawa. Meanwhile, Akira’s Boss visited Ebihara in the hospital. He informed Ebihara that he had a sense of guilt because he had created a destructive weapon in the form of The Fable.
He intentionally ordered Akira to live a normal life so that his killing skills would get rusted and he could integrate into society. But Ebihara spoiled his plan by sending Akira on a mission to rescue Kojima. Ebihara said that men like Akira couldn’t be integrated into normal society. Akira’s Boss said he would kill him in that case because he was responsible for creating this killing machine. The flashback sequences established a similar sense of guilt in Akira’s Boss, who felt remorse for taking young Akira’s innocence.
Akira and Yoko infiltrated Sunagawa’s headquarters, a waste disposal factory, and saved Kojima and Misaki. During combat, his gun was exchanged for Fudo’s original gun. Akira shot Fudo with a real gun as a reflex, and for the time being, it was assumed that Akira killed Fudo. However, later, it was revealed that the bullet had passed through his arm and chest. Fudo said that Akira missed the shot intentionally. Akira rescued Kojima and Misaki without killing a single man. However, Fudo and his side-kick were shot by Akira’s Boss. He took Fudo’s phone, which had footage of The Fable. He wanted Akira to remain a myth, or a legend, as they called him.
Akira felt the same and thus ordered Ebihara’s henchman,Kuro, to wear the Fable mask while dropping Misaki off at their house. He didn’t want Misaki to learn his real identity. When Misaki entered Yoko’s house, Akira surprised her with the portrait of her he had sketched. While returning from a dinner date, Misaki had requested Akira to draw her funny portraits because she was really impressed by his sketching skills. Akira’s gesture touched Misaki. It was an important scene because Akira’s Boss was trying to integrate Akira into society. Akira had been lonely all his life, and getting attached to Misake stimulated emotions in a ruthless killer. She would probably help Akira in regaining his humanity.
In the end, Akira handed over Kojima to Ebihara. Ebihara understood that Kojima’s methods had been a total wreck. And more than a friend, Kojima has become a responsibility for him. Hence, Ebihara shot Kojima in the head, thereby ending the loopholes in the business. After killing Kojima, Ebihara made a truce with Sunagawa to end the rivalry between them. Akira settled into his normal life. The closing frame depicted Akira standing on the terrace, roasting fish over an open fire. The camera pulled back as if his Boss was keeping an eye on him.
The Fable is a 2019 Action Thriller film directed by Kan Eguchi.