Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Katanagatari 06 - 07: Little Girls Don't Cry

EPISODE 06: Soutou Kanazuchi

Because of Azekura's little trick in the previous episode, Shichika and Togame now find themselves in the cold region of Ezo instead of Owari. But it turns out there is also another deviant blade in the area, the Soutou Kanazuchi (lit. "Twin Sword, Hammer"), said to be owned by the powerful Itezora clan who live in a village up on Mt. Odori. The unforgiving cold gets to the hapless travelers but fortunately, Itezora Konayuki finds them and takes them to her cave. It turns out that Konayuki is the last living member of the Itezora clan as her entire village has been wiped out, supposedly by an avalanche. By her own account, she is the weakest of her clan, however this does not necessarily mean that she is not strong by ordinary standards. In fact, she is so strong that she can carry both Shichika and Togame without effort and can even wield the incredibly heavy Soutou Kanazuchi and despite her lack of training (or maybe because of it) hands Shichika his first ever defeat. Adding to their problem is the appearance of another Maniwa ninja in the form of Kyouken, whose ninpou is the ability to transfer from one female body to another. Using this special technique, Kyouken gains control over Konayuki's body and fights Shichika. However, because unlike Konayuki, Kyouken is trained to fight, Shichika can read her stances easily and therefore find their weaknesses. He defeats her with little effort but without killing Konayuki in the process, something which strikes Togame considering that this is the first time he is acting on his own (his order is to kill Kyouken/Konayuki). Afterwards, Houou arrives with the intention to stop Kyouken but seeing the situation, Houou proceeds to cut off his comrade Kawauso's head in order to preserve his truce with Togame. In addition, he gives her information about the deviant blade in Shireizan and its new owner.

EPISODE 7: Akutou Bita

Shichika and Togame arrive in Gokenji Temple in what is considered the holy land of swordsmen, Seiryouin. Emonzaemon, who meets them as soon as they disembark from their ship, informs them that Yasuri Nanami has taken possession of Akutou Bita (lit. "Evil, the Poor") after killing the holy guards of Shireizan as well as everyone in the Gokenji Temple. Without really understanding Nanami's motives but knowing that she is much stronger than him, Shichika hesitates to face her in a duel to the death. Nanami responds by criticizing him, saying that though he looks much stronger than he did six months ago, he seems to have grown soft, a fact which she credits to his being around Togame. The two siblings soon face off with the expected outcome: Shichika falls. However, this in itself is surprising, considering how weak Nanami's body is, which then leads to Nanami revealing that she has embedded the lightning-charged Akutou Bita into her chest to force her ailing body to heal. She likewise tells Shichika what she's come to tell him along, that his secret technique Shichika Hachiretsu has one huge weakness which none of his previous opponents saw. If they had, he would have been defeated easily. While Shichika wallows in depression at his recent defeat, Togame comes up with a scheme to beat Nanami's ninpou: migeika (lit. "Hidden Technique: Sight Training") as well as get rid of the flaw in Shichika Hachiretsu. Then, once she has her schemes down pat, she goes to knock some sense into Shichika, reassuring him that even if Nanami is stronger than him he is and will always be her sword. In his next face-off with Nanami, a more confident Shichika appears. This time, Togame has contrived to set the duel not in the dojo but in front of the Buddha of Swords himself. Then, just as Shichika prepares to launch the first stance of Shichika Hachiretsu, all the 300 candles inside the temple go out at the same time, rendering Nanami's migeika useless and allowing Shichika an opening. He takes her down and retrieves the Akutou Bita from her body. However, Nanami is still alive and she reveals then that she's been using the migeika all along to weaken herself by borrowing others' techniques. Because her body is so weak, it can't withstand her real power, which makes migeika useful in prolonging her life, but now she realizes that she's been deluding herself. She wants Shichika to kill her and she achieves this with the final realization that, after all, she is still Kyoutouryuu.


Oh my god! Just when I thought this anime was going downhill, they come up with these. While episode 6 was mostly lol strong moe is strong - episode 7 is a must-watch. Nanami is DA AWESOME! And her death was so bitter-sweet and just handled so very awesomely that I have no complaints. Yes, yes, yes! I wasn't expecting it to happen this early in the series but yeah! Now for some interesting details... 
That Houou is bad news. A man who is so quick to kill off his comrades just to preserve a temporary truce is dangerous. He's also obviously smart -- smart enough at least to admit that he can't beat Nanami toe to toe and at the same time recognize that Togame might come up with a scheme to accomplish what he just admitted not to be able to do. 
Princess Hitei remains an interesting character. Her motives aren't clear at this point though the show has revealed that she just recently came into power. She and Togame also seem to know each other pretty well. I wonder if they are related and that they are somehow in competition with each other. I also think it's suspicious that Emonzaemon wears a mask. Surely, it's not only because he looks cooler that way.   
So it turns out that the Yasuri clan killing each other is not an unusual occurrence. We learn in this episode that Mutsue was accused of killing his own wife, revealed to be a daughter of a powerful clan. Add to that Shichika's own admission to killing his own father, and then his sister. What a disturbed family. 
That said, contrary to what Nanami has said, being around Togame has changed Shichika for the better. He might have grown more humane and for a sword, that could be viewed as a sign of weakness but it could also be a strength, given the right circumstances. At any rate, he's certainly become more interactive as a character, which makes his exchanges with Togame that much warmer and real, thereby moving their relationship in that direction. Yes, I'm shipping this two. :)  Though I have to admit Shichika admitting to killing his father and to knowing that Togame is the daughter of Hada Takahito was surprising. So he already trusts her that much, huh? Or is he just being simple-minded as usual? 
Then, even more surprising, Togame genuinely doesn't know what she intends to do with Shichika once their journey ends. If this were the old Togame, it would have been a simple matter of dispensing with the son of the person responsible for her father's death and her family's downfall. But now, that is no longer true. She's come to care for him and even admits to him being the closest thing she has to a family. Awwww....
Next episode:  a sword that looks like geisha slippers XD