Short Synopsis: During their travels North, Akizuki and Kakunojou run into a new main character: Hijikata.
Good: Great atmosphere, as usual. Kakunojou can become very interesting in the future.
Bad: Even though Intermezzos contribute greatly to a series, they’ve never been very exiting.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6.5/10
Interesting. We’ve actually been dealing with a 3-episode intermezzo. It basically features the journey from Edo to some other coastal city in Japan, where Enomoto’s ship is waiting. The first episode was meant to bring Akizuki and Kakunojou together, and as a farewell to the rest of the troupe. The second focused on Kakunojou getting her sword and this one, the third, introduces another, and probably the final, character important to the story: Hijikata.
Regarding the troupe, it’s interesting. They really were left behind, and they did not follow Akizuki. I finally realize the importance of the fourteenth episode. Akizuki is chasing after the lord’s head, so he’d obviously be following Enomoto. The troupe, however, managed to carry out its revenge, which means that they’ve got no more purpose to fight. The fourteenth episode indeed showed them going separate ways, and taking a step back from the main storyline. Kakunojou, however, had to make an important decision: Akizuki or Troupe? In the end, it seems she wanted to be with him, and she followed him. I wonder if we’ll see the troupe again, and more importantly: when?
Regarding Kakunojou’s sword, she can become very interesting. This episode showed that it holds some interesting powers. I’m suspecting that the following episodes will focus on her, trying to master this sword. It’ll be interesting when she finally has it under control.
Regarding Hijikata, it seems that he’s an ally of Akizuki. The two of them and Okita were related in the past somehow. We also see him as an army commander at one point, which does suggest that he’s currently in favour of the new government. It’ll be interesting to see what role he has.
The rest of the episode gets filled with a side-story, about a young soldier. I didn’t manage to really follow it, though it seems that he wants to visit his hometown, which happens to be on the way of Akizuki and Kakunojou’s destination. It seems his mother lives there, though apart from that I didn’t pick up much. I did see, however, that the guy learned quite a bit from Hijikata, a person he looks up to. Hijikata starts out with continuously keeping his sword ready, turning the boy a bit paranoid. When he also gets to the town he wants to go to, Akizuki once again shows that he can’t leave children alone (he’s been talking more and more recently, has he? ;))