Posted by SuperMario on 14 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Juuni Taisen

To the surprise of no one, Rat wins the race by breaking in the right place at the right time with the right weapon. This is by no mean a coincidence, because later on we learn about Rat’s real power: “Hundred Paths of Nezumi-chan”, in which he can see 100 various outcomes and thus picking out the route where he can survive (the only route out of 100 scenarios). To save a certain plot progress, he “locks in”, just like in a game. Admittedly, his ability does make a good twist, but I can’t help but feel it’s way too overpowering. Your chance isn’t 1% anymore when you know exactly the route to the top of the mountain, right? With his win, in retrospective, I certainly appreciate Juuni Taisen more on their decision to kill off Monkey earlier. It was the move that turns the table to the entire race and flips the route expected from this kind of battle story. In other routes, Monkey might be our true protagonist and she might survive till the end, but this story is all about the Rat, so Monkey unfortunately draws a short straw here. Even Bull in the first half admits the same thing, that the moment Monkey turns into Rabbit’s zombie henchwoman, Rabbit becomes the force to be reckoned with.

Juuni Taisen also delivers one of its most twisted and awesome moment – almost at the same time, which I can argue that this single moment sums up pretty well the brilliance of Juuni Taisen: Monkey jumps out from the inside Rabbit’s freaking body and successfully catches Bull off-guarded. What the fuck? But then again, why don’t they kill Bull immediately? Doesn’t the Zombie who kill off the opponents can still bring them back to life? That explains the zombie birds, right? That explains why Rabbit was so furious when he couldn’t turn Horse into his zombie friend, right? Then, supposed that only Rabbit can do the trick, why doesn’t he shoot his blade like what he did last week? Again, this story isn’t given much thought into it, which is extremely frustrating. Juuni Taisen might have some interesting ideas, but not enough love or skill to carry out such intriguing premise.

Even Rat’s ability doesn’t execute well enough. We have a first-handed experience on how his power works: a game-inspired loop of whenever Rat fails to achieve the mission, he starts back and tries again. Except in this case he loses all the time. Imagine if the winner is either Bull or Monkey they would have left the place unscratched. So what Rat does instead is to explain his ability in an over-explanatory fashion. I’m vaguely interested in the deleted routes, however; like how he and Tiger form a grudging alliance in one path, or he and Rabbit unexpectedly hit it off in another. In any cases, it STILL doesn’t explain the decision to kill warriors in a reverse Zodiac mode, which eventually made the race boring, predictable and pointless. Alas, there is one wish that will be granted, and I bet it will have to do with the peace treaty Monkey has been prepared all along. Rat is the most unexciting character in this Zodiac Wars, so it’s hard for me to even care what he will wish for. Let’s just give him a good night’s sleep, I say. He earns it at least.

3 Responses

  1. Avatar Dark Kain says:

    To dispel some of your doubts:

    The concept behind Juuni Taisen wasn’t born as an anime or a Light novel, but as a simple BACKSTORY to a manga one-shot.
    Rat was originally created as the main character of the 7th oneshot manga (that was actually produced first, but that’s beyond the point) for Nisio’s Oogiri manga collection. https://myanimelist.net/manga/88354/Oogiri?q=oogiri
    The next episode of Juuni Taisen is going to be an adaptation of said oneshot manga.

    The concept of that oneshot was about “expressing the perfect wish” and the Juuni Taisen was intentionally described as a very simple affair to focus the story on Rat’s attempt to pick the perfect wish.
    In the manga collection afterwords Nisio’s reveals that he picked up a battle royale scenario as an explanation to Rat being able to express a wish, because “it’s the current fad” -a stab at the Fate series-

    Well, apparently Nisio is correct and battle royales are really the current fad, since among all those oneshot mangas, Rat’s backstory got the interest of the readers and Nisio one year later eventually wrote the Juuni Taisen novel as a prequel.

    Bottom line: Nisio had to base the Juuni Taisen LN plot on an intentionally simplistic scenario he wrote as a backstory to an oneshot manga.
    A simplistic scenario that was already known to the readers, even.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      That explains a lot about the current format of Juuni Taisen. Thank you. Then I will reserve my judgment about the series as a whole until the last episode comes out. Form what you said the last episode about the perfect wish should hold up everything that comes before it.

      • Avatar Dark Kain says:

        That’s fairly optimistic.
        I did like the manga oneshot: it oozes cynism and genre-savyness towards common “wish” traps and tropes and goes into delicious and creative fourth-wall breaking territory shortly before the end.

        However, since it was designed as a standalone, I don’t think the rest of the story had any real purpose.
        Episode 12 won’t make you like the previous 11, there is no real thematic connection that ties them togheter.

        The best approach would probably to try and forget everything else and judge the final episode by itself, since it is an entirely different beast.

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