Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blade of the Immortal 06: In Which Manji Gets It On The Face

IN THIS EPISODE: Some people are deliberately taking out Itto-ryu swordsmen and they aren't Manji or Rin. Meanwhile, Manji meets a stranger with a most surprising secret.
Episode 06: The Cries of the Bug

FLASHBACK: A man, with dozens of swords embedded all over his body, stands in the middle of the battlefield. He says that he is "not a bug." (huh?)


In present time, Magatsu, who is at O-Ren's quarters in the okiya, gets an unexpected visitor.

Manji, with Rin in tow, spots a sake bar and gets ideas. But before he can even ask Rin for some money, she starts yakking how they still have to buy a map, food, etc. etc. So sake is definitely out of the question.

Meanwhile, a swordsman is walking about town when he witnesses a very public fight between a married couple. The husband is accusing his wife of prostitution. The woman defends herself by saying that because he does nothing in the way of money, she is forced to do it. The swordsman comes between the fight, beats up the husband and rescues the lady. In gratitude, the lady invites him to her house and serves her wine and food. At first, the swordsman hesitates to partake of the wine, afraid that it is poisoned. To show him her sincerity, the lady drinks some of the wine herself.
so cool

Some distances away, a bald man wearing sunglasses engages a group of swordsmen in a fight. However, he easily dispatches the entire group, save for one, who seems to be the leader of the group.

question hour

Back in the house, the swordsman is beginning to feel numb and woozy. That's when the lady reveals that she did put poison in the wine. While he lies on the floor, vomiting his lunch, the lady takes out a piece of papers and reads from it. She identifies the swordsman as a second military commander of the Itto-ryu, Kene. She then takes out a crossbow and prepares to take him out.

In the outskirts of town, the sunglasses man identifies his own victim as Itto-ryu. He asks him how many of the Itto-ryu members could be considered as "masters." The man answers that there are at least thirty.
random *ded* guy
rain of blood
Shinriji has a crush

The lady lets lose one bolt from her crossbow, hitting Kene right on his forehead. The other Itto-ryu man in the outskirts of town likewise dies from decapitation at about the same time. The lady then takes off her wig and lo and behold, she has blond hair. It's Hyakurin!

Later, she meets up with Shinriji, who played as her husband in that earlier spectacle. They talk for a while, Shinriji's infatuation quite obvious, when Hyakurin suddenly doubles over and starts to vomit. She reveals that before drinking the wine, she drank a lot of olive oil to coat her stomach and protect her from the poison. This makes Shinriji all the more in awe of Hyakurin's "devotion" to her work. Hyakurin then asks him whether he learned something from today's mission. Shinriji immediately answers that he learned how enjoyable it was to play as her husband. This isn't quite the answer Hyakurin is looking for.


In another part of town, Habaki is drawing a line across a name. The paper contains several more names, two of which are already crushed out. Habaki then muses: "To boil beans...bean husks?"
random grope lol!

Meanwhile, Manji and Rin are walking somewhere in the outskirts of town now. Rin suggests that they stop for a rest at a nearby inn. Still smarting from her earlier refusal to buy him sake, Manji fishes out Rin's purse (guess where she keeps it!) and then says to her the same thing she said to him earlier. But Rin just makes that face and Manji agrees.

first meeting

Once at the inn, Rin makes several orders and then asks for the bathroom. Manji teases her about it, much to her consternation. While Rin is away, Manji encounters a strange monk, wearing a basket over his face (lol, I'm sure it's not a basket but it sure looks like one). The monk is the same person who visited Magatsu.
that's not how we greet people here

The monk starts talking about Anotsu Kagehisa and how he knows that Manji and his companion are looking for him. Manji draws his sword against him, asking how he knows that Manji is not traveling alone.
Shizuma Eiku

Instead of answering, the man removes his basket hat and reveals his face. He introduces himself as Shizuma Eiku and he says that he wants to depose Anotsu Kagehisa with Manji's help. But Manji is not interested.

split-second action and then side-splitting hilarity

Shizuma then unexpectedly draws a dagger and attacks. Manji, however, is quick and he immediately draws his own sword. He plants the blade on Shizuma's back while Shizuma succeeds in stabbing his stomach. The two of them fall tumbling down on the floor. The waitress at the inn screams in panic and accidentally drops the food tray right on Manji's face. Rin then arrives asking if he's alright.

After taking a look at the guy's face, Rin recognizes him as one of the Itto-ryu swordsmen who murdered her parents. Manji tells her that they've got one less person to kill now.
but he's alive
he won't die
a fair warning

While Rin assists Manji, the bewildered waitress sees the supposed to be dead Shizuma start to move. Shizuma then tells Manji that maybe this time, he can understand him more. He, too, has the kessenchou but that he did not know the name of the nun who gave it to him. Rin wonders if Yaobikuni works for the Itto-ryu but Shizuma immediately corrects her misconception: he was given the kessenchou way before the Itto-ryu came into existence. He says that he has lived for 200 years, has had five wives and several friends but that now he is tired. For him, not dying is more cruel than anything else, but adds mysteriously that it's not like there is no way for him to stop it. When he says this, he unconsciously strokes a bamboo tube hanging from his waist. He leaves then, but not without saying in an ominous tone that nothing in this world will forever, not even he and Manji. He adds that Manji will find out by tonight.
that looks painful

Shizuma's words prove true. After he leaves, Rin and Manji notice for the first time that the wound in his stomach has not healed and the kessenchou have not appeared. That evening, Rin is horrified to see Manji's old wounds (even those that are completely healed) start opening up and bleeding once more. Manji deduces that Shizuma poisoned his dagger with a special kind of poison that can kill even the kessenchou. While he lies in agony, he tells her that if he dies, he wants Rin to take on another bodyguard and not go after the Itto-ryu by herself. Rin holds on to him and pleads for him to not die.

A poison that can kill even the kessenchou? Is this the end for our favorite immortal? Yaobikuni seriously has some answers to give.

Not a very action-packed scene, I admit, but necessary for character development and plot advancement. So Manji is not...unique. There is someone out there who also has the kessenchou. What's more, it seems having the kessenchou is one's body does not make one altogether there is a kind of poison that might be able to kill them. And Shizuma has it.

About Hyakurin and her gang, they're starting to show their true faces. Ah, Habaki-dono. Who the hell are you? So mysterious.

Next episode please. It's going to be very exciting.