|Played by||Jun Masuo|
Koichi Sugita (杉田 浩一, Sugita Kōichi) is a character in The Silver Case. He is a young boy whose friend has died.
Appearance and Personality
Koichi is an average Japanese boy. He experiences bullying at school and has negative feelings about many of his classmates. After his friend's death, he refused to accept it and pretended that he was simply missing.
Koichi has lived alone with his mother since the age of 3, and has apparently never met his father. Once he was in the second grade, he and his mother moved to Apartment 402 of Typhoon. In Summer of 1998, he befriended Hikaru Kobayashi when he moved to Typhoon alongside his mother and her boyfriend. Koichi tried to protect Hikaru from the bullying they both received at school, and they often played together in and around their apartment complex. They eventually built a "secret base" in the inner garden underneath a trash can.
A fellow resident of Typhoon named Kenichi Hiruma witnessed the children playing and was driven into a jealous rage, due to his own autonomic nerve issues preventing him from having a place at home or at work. On June 22nd, 1999, Hiruma chased after Koichi and Hikaru, causing Hikaru to die of a heart attack. Out of guilt for not being able to save his friend, Koichi refused to accept Hikaru's death and started to pretend that he was still alive, and just hidden somewhere. Koichi's guilt led him to believe the only way for Hikaru to forgive him was if he allowed himself to be killed. On the night of June 29th, Koichi placed a sticker on Hiruma's door lock to slow him from opening it. He approached Hiruma on the third floor of the complex, and either through an accident or Koichi's own actions, Hiruma fell from the balcony and died.
On June 30th, detectives from the Heinous Crimes Unit arrived to investigate the death. Koichi waved to Akira from the 4th floor, asking him to come up. When they met, he asked him to "Please help Hikaru". On July 2nd, Tokio Morishima tried to approach Koichi as part of his investigation, but he ran away after hearing he was with the media. Later that same day, Tokio met Koichi again, and asked about his relationship with Hikaru, after which he left without saying anything. On July 3rd, Akira was sent back to Typhoon to speak to Koichi as a witness. Koichi invited him inside and told him about his friendship with Hikaru, and his recent "disappearance". He asks Akira to help find him. That same day, Koichi spoke to Erika Yukawa in the complex's park. Koichi tested her but eventually came to trust her. The next day, Erika found Koichi crying by himself. He told her about Hikaru's disappearance, and about Akira helping him.
On July 4th, Koichi left a note for Akira on his apartment door telling him to meet at his secret base. In the base, he tells Akira about the "suspects" he's gathered - his classmates who have bullied him and Hikaru. That evening Erika met him again, but he was depressed. Eventually he agreed to show her his secret base the next day. On July 5th, Koichi calls Akira up to his apartment again as he's questioning the residents of Typhoon. He tells him he remembers Hikaru's fear of "something", and recounts Hiruma watching them from the third floor, and them being chased by him. Before he elaborated further, Koichi asked to be left alone. On July 6th, Akira visited Typhoon a final time, where Koichi revealed the full story of Hikaru's death. Koichi met Erika later that day and gave her a letter apologizing for not showing her the secret base, and confessing to killing Hiruma. Erika then gave the latter to Tokio.
It is unknown what happened to Koichi after this point. According to Kiyoshi Morikawa, there is no conclusive evidence connecting Koichi to Hiruma's death, meaning he most likely avoided punishment after the incident.
- The name Koichi means "prosperous" (浩) (ko) and "one" (一) (ichi).
- Koichi's surname Sugita means "cedar" (杉) (sugi) and "field, rice paddy" (田) (ta).
- Koichi and Hikaru may be partially based on Goichi Suda as a child. "Koichi" is an alternate reading of "Goichi", and the "Kobayashi" from Hikaru's name is the same as Suda's father's last name.