Friday, June 4, 2010

Katanagatari 05: Defense vs. Defense

EPISODE 05: Zokutou Yoroi

A man wearing a mask with the character for "Unconcealed" written on it reports to a woman whom he calls "Princess Hitei." He tells her about Sabi Hakuhei's defeat at the hands of Shichika as well as Togame's continuing progress in her sword quest. Hitei does not seem too bothered by Sabi's defeat but expresses some dismay when she learns that Togame and Shichika seem to be heading towards Satsuma without stopping by Owari first. Togame and Shichika arrive in Kyushu just in time to watch a duel between a random warrior and Azekura Kanara, captain of the Yoroi Pirates and the wielder of the Zokutou Yoroi (lit. "Aegis, the Resentment"), the deviant blade modeled after Western armor. While sharing a hot spring bath together, Togame expresses to Shichika her confidence in their mission, which Shichika largely attributes to the fact that he loves her and therefore would never betray her. Togame however finds little sign of this "love." Moving on to their room in the inn, they then discuss the best method to seize the Zokutou Yoroi from Azekura. Their conversation is interrupted, however, by the arrival of Azekura himself, who immediately reveals that he knows their real identities and their purpose in coming to his island. He then proposes a duel with Shichika. If the latter wins, he and Togame would get the Zokutou Yoroi as well as safe passage to Owari. But if they lose, Azekura wants Togame as his woman. The next day, Shichika shows Togame his armor-piercing technique: Ryuuryoku Kakou (lit. "Red Blossom, Green Willow"), which he intends to use against Azekura. After Togame expresses her satisfaction with the technique, Shichika then asks her whether she's going to accept Azekura's proposal. Unknown to her and even to himself, Shichika has an issue against Azekura's being in love with Togame and chooses to show it by childishly and arbitrarily hitting her. It takes Togame a while to catch on but when she does, another visitor arrives, cutting off their conversation. One of the 12 heads of Maniwa Corps, Maniwa Houou, comes to make a proposition: he wants a temporary truce between Togame's camp and their village. Instead of going after the same sword at once, he and his mates intend to go after the other swords that Togame and Shichika are not yet after. Togame agrees and says that the next sword she's after is the Soutou Kanazuchi (lit. "Hammer, The Pair"). For his part, Maniwa Houou promises to steer clear of it and, as a sign of his goodwill, tells her the locations of three other deviant blades. Later, Shichika meets up with Azekura at the Obon arena where he finds, to his shocked dismay, that his armor-piercing technique doesn't work. After Azekura's tauntings, Shichika almost gives up but Togame shouts at him from the sidelines that she doesn't recall giving him permission to lose and that she would never want a man who can't even show his face to the woman he loves. With this wake-up call, Shichika gains some resolve and manages to beat Azekura through brute force. Later, after securing the Zokoutou Yoroi, Togame and Shichika get on a boat, not knowing that the rejected Azekura has directed it to go to Ezo instead of Owari.


Weird episode. Despite being a pirate, Azekura turns out to be less glamorous than, say, Meisai or even Sabi. I still feel cheated by the fact that they didn't show Sabi's fight with Shichika. That would have been something. Then again, I can't really complain about seeing Nanami in action instead. The consensus is that last month's episode had the potential to divide viewers: either they're going to like it or utterly hate it. I'm more along the former, though I can't help but express some regret at missing the other fight.
Now this month's episode seems lackluster by contrast. The villain is a bore. The blade -- another one for defense -- is ridiculous and doesn't even come close to the awesomeness that is the Sentou Tsurugi. The fan service borders on idiotic. Hot springs bath? Really? Although I am quite satisfied by Shichika's realization in the end that he isn't just a sword but a human being as well. This explains his lack of reaction to most of Togame's enticements, though I wonder if this also means we're going to see a blushing Shichika next.
Maniwa Houou's strategy surprised me. We'll see how this temporary truce turns out, considering that Togame and Shichika have been unexpectedly re-routed to Ezo. Also, Princess Hitei seems intriguing, but after getting burned by Sabi Hakuhei, I'm not going to let myself get caught up by the character hype this time. 
Next month, I want more Nanami. :)