This series just continues to amaze me. At first the plot of this series seemed a bit mundane, about the every day lives of a band of criminals, but the situations here just sparkle with creativity here: everything just fits, and it takes full advantage of the fact that the characters here are criminals. They don’t present them as some kind of chivalrous thieves (even though they started out that way), and stress that the creators are fully aware of their actions. This especially shines through Masa, who still isn’t sure about whether or not to turn them down, especially since they treated him so genuinely nice.
I also loved how this episode comes to bite back at Ume, when the creditor of the guy of the previous episode started wondering where the hell he could get all that money from. I really love how the antagonists here aren’t stupid: they can think for themselves, and if it wasn’t for Masa he would have caused a great deal of trouble. By the way, I loved that shot in which Masa pointed his katana to his neck. That was so incredibly well animated.
Then Yaichi. He was a bit absent during the past two episodes, but the end of the episode came with a very interesting revelation: he and the old man knew each other. I suspected that something was fishy when it turned out that Yaichi never even once visited him, but to think that they were so much of an acquaintance. This does explain why he became involved with five leaves, though. Another very sneaky way.
I really like how this episode also forced Ume to think about his commitments to Five Leaves, especially since this indirectly caused so much trouble in this episode. At the same time you can also guess that Yaichi also put a lot of time into thinking whether or not to visit Masa. In this way, nearly every character here is forced to make certain choices.
Rating: *** (Awesome)