Posted by SuperMario on 25 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

If you had any doubt before that Juuni Taisen is written by Nisio Isin, this episode should clear that out front. It’s talking and talking through and through this week, but this episode also restores my faith that the reversed Zodiac order only serves as a narrative one, and not for the death order. It’s Monkey and Rat who have the most screen time this week and I certainly enjoy the various themes these two explore, be it their own approach on war, the act of saving lives, and the Zodiac War itself. Monkey, as the Rat (and everyone points out), is a pacific, but what sells her ideal is that she isn’t simply an optimistic, idealistic naive person. She has experienced through all the crimes, the hardships, the brutality of war and still, she tries to make peace with her best efforts. Monkey might save more lives than any warrior in the game, but it also means that she has failed more lives than she ever wanted to. The flashback about her trying to ceasefire in a long-winded border conflict between two nations clearly points out that although her intervention comes from a good intent, the effort could end up backfire and might lead to more severe conflicts.

Although Rat didn’t mind following on her peace agreement, he has lots of criticisms regarding her method. First, he points out that with her current skills (which, by the way, is awesome. She can transmute any substance between physical states, being teach by the Three Wise Monkeys no less), it’s much quicker (and more effective) to achieve her goal by killing/ destroying bad weeds rather than negotiating and hoping she can change their minds. It’s just her way of using her weapons though, and I greatly appreciate her for that. Second, Rat laments that saving all the people also means that they have to save rubbish people who don’t deserve to be saved, and by protecting them, they would assume that protecting/saving is someone else’s job. Although he has his point here, I have a feeling his argument mostly comes from his own frustration rather than pointing directly at Monkey’s method. We have his way of thinking here, but without the context it’s hard to know what Rat’s personality is at this moment. Finally, he argues that the Zodiac warriors, more than any other people, are a dangerous bunch who can only find meaning in fighting each other. Are they worth saving at all? Whatever the case, Monkey more than holds her own in this episode. She might be a pacific, yes, but her method never feels unrealistic and I don’t think she’ll be sent off any time soon.

The action does pick up at the end when Bunny team ambushes Rat and Monkey using zombie birds (the ones that Boar killed last week) and now it’s 2-and-2 battle. Now, pure speculation. Toward the end, one line from Rat actually throws me off guard: He remarks at Monkey’s decision to restrain the Mad Rabbit peacefully as “you’re always like this – as “all the time”. Now I have two theories behind his statement. 1) Rat is specifically assigned to join this Zodiac battle to tag along and control/support Monkey. This theory fits with the fact that the warriors in this edition of Zodiac War are more aggressive than usual and they might seek a bigger goal beside gaining one’s wish. Whatever that goal is still in the dark right now, but it does seem that Rat knows pretty well about Monkey’s ability and method. Or 2) Rat has time-rewinding ability. It might sound crazy but consider that he always knows what going on next, and the fact that almost every other warrior has that déjà vu sense when they meet him, which might indicate that they in fact face him all over and over again. That also explains his bored attitude since the guy might have repeated the cycle endless time (let’s say it’s 15,521st time), and if that’s the case, what makes this loop any different than the others? Anyways, I suspect the talky nature (and the lack of body count) might turn some viewers off, but for me we still have a pretty solid episode at hand. Next week will be the old wise Sheep’s turn and I expect we get a good one-off story out of this old man before he’s killed by whoever it is (Frankly, I see him has no chance to win this tournament). Doesn’t matter, I’ve fully embraced Juuni Taisen by now.

As of now,

Deaths: Snake, Boar, Dog, Horse (maybe), Chicken

Favorites to win: Bull, Rat, Monkey, Rabbit, no-one

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