Posted on 28 May 2010 with categories: Sarai-ya Goyou



Oh my god… Tomomi Mochizuki might actually be surpassing himself with this series. Within seven episodes, he managed to put as much meaning into its characters as what Porfy no Nagai Tabi took 26. He’s got such a great sense of realism and character-development, and it also really helps that aside from directing he also did the series composition so that he could really put forth his vision of the manga. And on top of that it’s just awesome to see what a great manga he got to adopt. After having seen two of her stories now I really have to say that she’s a genius at characterization.

This episode again: from the outside the scenario was just about a few mundane tasks: Masa running away from a fight, him starting to train under that other older samurai, etc. From just those sentences it looks like a cheap shounen series, but just about every scene in this show was focused on putting as much meaning as possible in these events. A simple plot of Ume gets a ton of extra side-effects: it was his way of getting Yaichi to pay a visit to Masa. Yaichi knew very much that Ume was lying about Masa’s condition, but went anyway. He knew that he would be recognized, but at the same time he knew that it wouldn’t be that big of a problem since the old man wouldn’t tell much. And yet hints about his past were bound to be dropped here. It’s like he’s getting Masa to learn a bit more about him… but only a bit, nothing too much.

The characters here are nowhere near stupid. They’re very observant about each other. Masa himself knew very well that Yaichi had to have some sort of criminal past, and not just as some rogue bandit. You can really see him trying to get through to Yaichi, whether this is out of admiration, fear or something else still remains a bit of a question. Yaichi on the other hand can really notice Masa’s mood change as he gets to know more about him, and thus more afraid.

At the same time this episode was also very much about Masa’s self-loathing, or perhaps that’s a bit too big of a word. Either way, he’s being held back of an interesting career because of his personality, and knows it. The fight in this episode at which he ran away also really showed that he’s a guy who really keeps clinging to the past. As this is in his case a rather bad past (he had to cope being a samurai with that personality of his), he has a ton of anxieties, especially when alone and there being no reason for him to actually be tough.

This episode also gave a very interesting dimension to the older samurai and the graves he visited. The anecdotes he told about the people he lost were interesting yet down to earth, not to mention that that cliff-hanger was an interesting one. It’s obvious that there can be more dogs called Scruffy, but it is one gnawing cliff-hanger nevertheless.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

One Response

  1. Chapbook says:

    HI PSGels,

    I found this ep hard to watch only because I felt so for Masa. It was gut-twisting to watch his humiliation. I have seen psychological explanations for his problem on other boards; they seem plausible. The sticking point is him being watched by others in non-life threatening situations. Being alone doesn’t seem to be the central problem, rather being observed as he trains or duels. I truly hope he can overcome this even partially.

    I got a chill watching him and Yaichi prepare to duel. I wonder if that is foreshadowing for a future event in which Masa feels he must fight Yaichi. How I wish this had 26 eps, though I love the slow pace of characterization.

    Cheers,

    Chapbook

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 07:59 AM)
    And holy hell,it would appear I have a thing for Tsukiyama and Touka =)
    The direction was very good when things hit the fan in the last few episodes too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 07:53 AM)
    Additionally, the rushed pacing in the end it never came to bother me, I think from reading the whole manga that it needed a good pruning/trimming and what was left was the worthwhile material. I never really cared much for the characterization in the manga, it wasn’t all that miss-able.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 07:51 AM)
    Marathoned the tokyo ghoul anime there on a whim. I enjoyed seeing the fights animated even though visually there was room for improvement in places, the censoring while poor in places was nowhere near as bad as I had expected and didn’t ruin things for me as I thought it might.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:36 AM)
    At this point they have become a caricature of their own subcultures lol
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:25 AM)
    I mean we like the edgy, dark, gory sex stuff with a grotesque twist but the J-pop inspired art with star-shaped eyeliners, Ganguro, the green hair and accessorizing with 16 belts and dog collars … probably not as much.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:23 AM)
    @K-off: yeah that and a misunderstanding of the nature of the world’s infatuation with Japanese culture.
  • k-off
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:15 AM)
    @Bam They started falling apart when they began streamlining the game for casual players. Same story with so many good developers.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:07 AM)
    I mean I get it, SquareEnix has lost quite a lot of face. I like action RPGs tho so I think given the graphics and the gameplay framework this could’ve been something special, but it seems that bad character designs, writing, and the J-popification of the series is continuing on with this one.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Bam: Lost interest in the FF franchise arounf FF10, had a love/hate relationship with 11.
  • k-off
    (Friday, Sep 19. 2014 06:04 AM)
    @Bam Eh, I’m already going to blow all of my money on Civilization BNW, Witcher, and Alien, so that’s the last thing on my list. I really refuse to buy into the hype for the FF franchise anymore.

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