This season's Arrow brought us a roller-coaster of storylines that were all very good. The drama building up to Oliver Queen's eventual showdown with Ra's Al-Ghul was translated very well through the shows storyline-yet there was one that for me stood out. This story filled the backbone behind the change that erased party-boy Ollie Queen from the books and gave birth to the man that would be known as the Arrow.
The story I am referring to is the tragic tale of Akio Yamashiro.
Akio (portrayed wonderfully by Brandon Nomura) was the son of Maseo and Tatsu Yamashiro. The young boy took to Oliver Queen who would eventually become his protector when they became separated from Tatsu and Maseo in Hong Kong. They bonded in such a way that the boy considered Oliver family.
Since his character was introduced, Akio brought about an element so vital in the Oliver/Arrow transformation. The love and loss of a child. In trying to escape from the danger as a family, the struggle in keeping Akio safe from the clutches of danger through the short flashbacks really came off well. The tension and drama filled rollercoaster the Yamashiro's travelled on (Chinese Mafia, Amanda Waller, General Shrieve, the Virus) really made, at least in my opinion-feel awful for them all.
This short flashbacks also really brought a point of understanding in regards to Maseo's involvement in the League of Assassins-as well as Tatsu's alter ego- KATANA. When Akio caught the virus that would eventually end his life concluding the Hong Kong storyline, it made sense in why Maseo was the way he was in the present day. Internally locked in his own prison of guilt and despair. Full of regret and remorse.
Funny thing is that Maseo's change made this tragic character so likable on the show. A man who paid such a price that he placed himself on a path of self destruction by taking a knee before Ra's Al-Ghul. Almost shakespearean in tone. It was at his master's bidding that he helped force Oliver's hand in becoming Al-Sahim.
It was the boys death that was the real catalyst in Oliver's descent into darkness. It was within this sad moment that you really felt for the doomed family as well as understand where the term "You failed this city" originated from.
Finally, when Maseo's and Tatsu's story came to a tragic end in Nanda Parbat as Oliver tried to stop Ra's Al-Ghul plans by destroying his plane; the final fate that befell the couple is the definition of tragedy and one of the best storylines that went under the radar on the CW. Those final moments between a dying husband and a remorseful wife underlined the depth of character that forged Katana. The tragic samurai....
Tatsu's backstory on the CW make her one of the best characters not in the main lineup. The story of the Yamashiros was one of the best storylines on Arrow this season, and one of the most tragic on the CW so far.