Friday, January 30, 2009

Blade of the Immortal 10: In Which Manji Meets Another Artist Dude

Manji and Rin are at a festival and unexpectedly meet a member of the Ittou-ryu....
EPISODE 10: Changing Face
More Screencaps from Blade of the Immortal 10

The episode begins with a man hiding or just placing his sword inside a shrine. Then he goes to a house, calling out for Sakei and Renzo. However, once he enters the house, he finds nothing there but broken masks. Cut to a scene of a woman and a child walking away, then back to the man, who smiles ironically and says that he knew that it would happen.Present day -- Manji and Rin find themselves in the middle of a festival. Rin is proudly showing off to Manji a new hairclip but instead of a compliment, all he says is how much it cost her and proceeds to lecture her about it. Rin, however, reminds him that it's her money. She walks away then, but not before sticking her tongue out at him childishly. Dense Manji doesn't understand. Left to herself, Rin wanders around from stall to stall. She spots a mochi shop and is about to buy one for herself and another for Manji when a boy rudely cuts in line, much to Rin's annoyance. Meanwhile, Manji is enjoying sake when the stall owner nearby comments about his looking bored despite his having a cute lady companion. But Manji only says that, for him, it is the same as the reflection of the moon in the water.Much later, Manji wanders near a mask maker's stand. Its owner is entertaining two kids -- a boy and a girl -- who both happen to want the same tengu mask. Since the mask is one of a kind, the mask maker gives it to the younger of the two (the girl) and opts to give another mask to the boy for free and after giving it some modifications. After the boy leaves, the mask maker finally turns to Manji and reveals that he is Ittou-ryuu. He and Manji are about to get into a fight when a kid arrives (Rin's acquiatance), calling the mask maker his father. At the boy's arrival, the mask maker quickly changes face, saying that Manji criticized his work so he got angry. Then after apologizing to Manji, he leaves with son, but not before revealing his name: Kawakami Araya. Rin, who arrives just as Araya is leaving, instantly recognizes him.That evening, Manji asks Rin about Araya. She starts to tell him but changes her mind. The next morning, Rin goes back to the festival stalls only to find that everything has been taken down. Then she hears loud voices coming from nearby and discovers that Araya's son has gotten into trouble with samurai (his slipper broke when he kicked the bamboo poles he was carrying) and refuses to apologize despite threats of having his ears cut off. Rin comes to his aid, but instead of defending him, she apologizes in his behalf and in the course of it, reveals her origins. Recognizing the Asano name, the samurai mocks her about her family's misfortune and generally does everything to break her dignity. But Rin holds her ground, much to the boy's exasperation.When the samurai and his retainer leave, the boy wonders why Rin did not defend her honor. Her answer is that the parents' honor is never higher than that of their child. The boy then invites her to tea at his home, something which makes Rin give pause. Meanwhile, back in the hut where she and Manji are staying, the latter has just discovered that Rin has left to look for Araya, without her sword with her.At Araya's home, Rin hears and sees first hand the relationship between father and son. Araya does not seem to remember her as he reveals to her that he once carried a sword and did many things to the point that his wife left him, taking their son with her. Later, he heard that she died of an illness so Renzo came to live with him. With Renzo to take care of, Araya decides to live a straight life as a mask maker. This revelation moves Rin to likewise reveal her story....

Rin's development is growing by leaps and by bounds but it is all still very convincing. Although still fundamentally childish, she is really starting to shape up. Her actions in this episode show the contrast between her childish personality and her newfound maturity, following that proverbial encounter with Makie.

I think I know why "changing face" is this episode's title. It refers both to Araya's quick change of personalities -- from murderous Ittou-ryuu member to an easygoing father -- and to Rin's development as a character.

Anyhoo, not much to say about this episode. This is like a half an episode actually. The conclusion will be on the next one.