I still like what this series is trying to do here: action series often consist out of long strings of long action scenes, which may get boring if they go on for too long. This series however intends to make its action count by keeping it short and sweet.
Of course, whether that’s going to work is will depend entirely on that final episode!!
I mean, talk about putting your stakes here. This isn’t the case in which a series is badly paced so far: the past few episodes have built up enough for that and there is no worry for a rushed ending at this point. This is nothing like series as Sora no Oto, which tried to cram way too much into its final episode. Instead, the final episode has about five major battles scheduled. With an average of four minutes each, making everything as epic as possible, the creators will be forced to make every battle here short, but sweet. And god dammit I can’t wait until next week to see whether they can actually pull it off!
As for this episode, especially standalone I have no complaints about it whatsoever. It did its job perfectly of building up, while containing enough action to remain exciting from beginning to end. This really was that perfect balance between short action scenes, plot and dialogue that I would have preferred to see in the rest of the series. Everything flowed really well into each other, and even though this isn’t that final episode yet, you can really see the build-up pay off here, even though this episode also spent just about all of its time building up as well.
Also, the ninjas busting Katakura out of jail while taking advantage of the fact that Toyotomi’s army is gone. I like that. I was thinking that the creators were perhaps setting up some kind of battle between him and Date, involving some cheap “you betrayed me”-drama, but instead it was all meant to build up for a battle between him and Takenaka.
I’m also curious what the creators have in store for Ichi. Really, I nearly forgot about her, but it’s interesting that the creators really found that her time as a character was over, and she’s more like a weapon in this sequel, and she indeed did seem pretty much like a life-less ghost than the annoyance she was in the first season. Speaking of weapons: they even got a freaking death ray?! I mean, in terms of physics it makes no bloody sense whatsoever, but I love the idea, and it’s just something this series might pull.
Rating: ** (Excellent)