Burn the House Down Ending, Explained: Who Set the Fire?

The Netflix thriller drama series ‘Burn Your House Down’ is based on a Japanese manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Moyashi Fujisawa. The plot revolves around Anzu Murata (Mei Nagano), whose house burned down 13 years ago in a massive fire. Her mother, Satsuki (Michiko Kichise), accepted the blame, and that led to the divorce between her and her husband, Osamu Mitarai (Mitsuhiro Oikawa), who subsequently married one of the Satsuki’s friends, Makiko (Kyōka Suzuki).

Anzu grew up believing Makiko caused the fire because she was envious of her mother’s affluent life and wanted to replace her as Osamu’s spouse. 13 years later, Anzu infiltrates the Mitarai home hoping to prove that Makiko was responsible for the fire. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘Burn the House Down.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.

Burn the House Down Recap

The series begins with the depiction of an inferno. A young Anzu returns home to find it ablaze. She finds her parents outside. Her father has soot all over him. He rushes to her to ask her whether she is alright. Her mother, in comparison, looks a lot cleaner, but one can tell she is shell-shocked. Satsuki turns toward her family and prostrates on the street, claiming responsibility and asking for forgiveness. Osamu and Satsuki divorce after this, with the latter moving away with their two daughters. After Osamu marries Makiko, she moves in with her two sons, Kiichi (Asuka Kudo) and Shinji (Taishi Nakagawa).

It almost seems like Satsuki and Makiko substitute themselves in each other’s life. Makiko, formerly a struggling single mother, now has everything at her fingertips, while the elegant and affluent Satsuki suddenly becomes a struggling single mother. With no help from her former husband, she raises her daughters by herself until Anzu starts to help around the house.

Thirteen years go by, but Anzu hasn’t forgotten how delighted Makiko looked when she (Anzu) spotted her in the crowd on that fateful day and has come to believe that the older woman is the arsonist. Satsuki has accepted the blame for the fire, but when the series begins, she has been diagnosed with amnesia and stays at a facility. As Anzu witnesses her mother slowly slipping away, she decides to get her some form of justice. With the help of Yuzu and her best friend, Claire, Anzu infiltrates the Mitarai home as a housekeeper, introducing herself as Yamaguchi Shizuka, which is Claire’s other name.

Anzu quickly proves herself indispensable to Makiko and tries to find a way to get to the older woman’s closet in the hopes of finding clues that can connect Makiko to the fire. She soon realizes that one of Makiko’s sons is a shut-in. She remembers them both from childhood and initially presumes that it’s Shinji, who is actually studying to be a doctor. Anzu eventually figures out that it’s Kiichi. His mother lied to the world about him running a trading company abroad. Anzu decides to get him under control so she can succeed in her plans, but he figures out who she is.

Despite this, Kiichi doesn’t tell his mother the truth about Anzu and starts helping the latter, surprising her. The Mitarai family runs a hospital, with Osamu serving as its director. Anzu discovers that her father spends most days at the hospital and not at home.

Meanwhile, Yuzu, naive and idealistic as she is, resolves that she needs to help her sister. She meets up with Shinji, who instantly recognizes who she is and arranges a meeting between her and Osamu. Elsewhere, Anzu gets proof of something she already knew: The whole time they were friends, Makiko was stealing from her mother. Whoever caused the fire that day had her mother’s cardigan on. Her father originally saw the video footage of someone coming out of their home wearing the cardigan, presumed that it was Satsuki, and decided to destroy it. This was not to protect his then-wife but to save his own image as the head of the hospital.

Yuzu meets up with Osamu and tells him about the cardigan, hoping to have him in their corner, not yet realizing that he is a coward. Despite holding a position of power, he hates confrontations and tries to please everyone around him. He informs Makiko, who comes dangerously close to finding out that Anzu is behind everything. Fortunately, her investigator turns out to be loyal to Satsuki and helps the latter’s children search for the truth.

After marrying Osamu, Makiko strove to build a brand for herself, which was made easier with the advent of social media. When the series opens, she is a successful model with a growing followers count on different social media platforms. When she discovers Anzu is an excellent cook, she exploits it by falsely claiming that she made the dishes. In the finale, someone is arrested for the fire, but it’s not Makiko. As the truth comes, it leaves almost everyone devastated.

Burn the House Down Ending: Who Set the Fire?

Anzu is not just the protagonist of the series, she is also the narrator. So, we effectively see the plot unfold through her perceptive. The main problem with this is that she approaches her pursuit of truth in a fundamentally erroneous way. Remembering the smile Makiko had on her face while their house burned, Anzo concludes that she must be responsible for the fire and tries to find proof that can support that hypothesis. In episode 6, Anzu finally confronts Makiko in the presence of both their families, and in episode 7, she even earns the confession from the other woman that she started the fire.

However, by then, the series has given certain hints to the viewers that indicate that Kiichi might have been the one who caused the fire. He was part of a delinquent gang setting things on fire then. There is also the fact that he became a shut-in, and his mother seems to be highly protective of him. In the end, it turns out that Makiko didn’t cause the fire. She thought Kiichi did, but he didn’t either. It was actually Shinji, who often fled from school and visited Satsuki for snacks. That day, he found the cardigan at home and decided to go and return it.

Once he was at the Mitarai home, he found some food on the stove and decided to heat it, so he could eat that. However, a kitchen towel caught fire, and it quickly began to spread. Young as he was, he fled the house wearing the cardigan, hoping someone would notice the fire and put it out. No one except Kiichi, who spotted his blackened socks, knew the truth. Shinji confesses about it in the season finale and later visits Satsuki to ask for her forgiveness.

We also learn why Anzu saw Makiko smiling that day. She reveals that she had pawned some of the things she stole from Satsuki but was planning to return the rest. She was smiling because she felt relief that the fire had completely wiped out the evidence of her crime. Satsuki does get a form of revenge against the other woman. She dismantles Makiko’s social media celebrityhood by revealing that she was lying about the cooking.

Why Did Kiichi Become a Shut-in?

Kiichi was the most promising of the two brothers in their childhood. Anzu vividly remembers him as a kind teenager who loved astronomy. It is revealed that after Makiko married Osamu, she visited Kiichi’s friends to give them money so they would stay away from her son, as she believed he needed better friends. They didn’t accept it, but they were so angry with Kiichi and his mother that they didn’t intervene when a bully stole Kiichi’s money.

Kiichi got into medical school on his first try. High school had left him feeling isolated, and he wanted to make it up for it in college. However, he was at the medical school only for eight weeks before all his information got doxxed, and rumors started to spread that he got in through donations. This prompted Kiichi to confront his mother, who revealed that Osamu did make a donation to the school. As speculations about it spread on the internet, it impacted Kiichi’s mental health. He couldn’t leave the room, and before he knew it, ten years had gone by.

Do Anzu and Kiichi End Up Together?

Yes, Anzu and Kiichi end up together at the end of ‘Burn the House Down.’ After learning that his mother has been interrogated for the fire, Kiichi surrenders to the police to take some of the burden off her shoulders. In the season finale, he is released as the police learn that Shinji was the one who accidentally set the fire. After he comes outside, his mother tries to take him with her, wanting to be his caretaker even after all this. But Kiichi has finally embraced his adulthood. So, when Anzu comes and confesses her love for him, Kiichi happily agrees to move in with her.

In one of the final scenes of the series, it is revealed that Kiichi has gotten a haircut and now has a job. Anzu works with Claire. She and Kiichi meet up on the road and head home together. Elsewhere, Shinji convinces Osamu to let him work for his hospital so he can atone for his sins. He and Yuzu are still in contact, though their future is left open-ended. Perhaps, they might end up together sometime in the future. Satsuki has left the hospital and now lives with Yuzu, who has a job at a staffing agency. Osamu and Makiko divorce, though the latter keeps his name and continues pursuing a career as a social media content creator.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s Burn the House Down Filmed?