Check-in Station: Katanagatari ep9 (have your fun now…)
Probably the funniest and lightest episode of the series so far. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it fluff. There’s some substantial material here. Interestingly Meisai gets brought up twice in conversation between Shichika and Zanki. It may be Shichika comparing the two somewhat similar characters or perhaps him showing a little regret over slaying her. More importantly for now, Zanki brings up the thought of Kyotouryuu being a curse. Something I’m hesitant to dismiss.
As for the goings on with the few remaining deviant blade and the “Maniwani”, it looks like their position gets no better. I have to say this is one of the saddest portrayals of shinobi I’ve seen in awhile. One by one they die like dogs, or more like beautifully decorated fodder. Though I imagine Houou to be in an entirely different league. They’ve found a blade that seems freakish, even by the other blades’ standards. I don’t quite understand what Houou means when he says this may be the perfect environment for the blade, maybe its corrosive nature is so strong that it affects even those who are not swordsmen.
Not long after that we see Emonzaemon, who is appearing more and more to be Shichika’s final opponent. Logically you’d think it would be Houou, but this show has shown quite often and willingly that it has no intention of following any sort of formula, something that makes me quite happy. His fight with the beautiful Oshidori Maniwa was definitely entertaining. And I loved the art style used for this scene. Very simple yet beautiful, much like the show. And with that fight, we’re down to two “Maniwani”. Thank goodness Maniwani Penguin’s still alive. He’s so moe that if they do kill him I might go into a slight raeg.
Speaking of rages (I’m trying to get a little better with my segues, can’t you tell), the central theme of this episode appeared to be jealousy. Appeared? Nevermind, that would insinuate that there was a possibility it wasn’t. This episode was all about jealousy. It was somewhat funny seeing Togame get the same jealous bug that Shichika had picked up in episode five. It was all a bit cliche, but I enjoy the way the show explores their relationship. Honestly, if Togame had paid just a little more attention to Zanki and Shichika’s conversations and interactions she would’ve realized that they’re more like comrades. Compare them to a pair of young executives or just young professionals in similar circumstances; learning to carry on a dead tradition. They both appear to be straddling the end of an era where they may have to figure out their relevance in a few years. Zanki, whose character design I found rather similar and mesmerizing to the now deceased Meisai, but not nearly as beautiful was an interesting contrast. A wooden sword, seems like a perfect fit for her personality and dojo. It’s nice that this show focuses on not killing based on the situation, not just some contrivance.
Overall, this episode was an interesting mix of the light and funny, and the ominous and dour. I guess we’re headed to Togame’s hometown, at least that’s what the narrator said. Good. We need some clarification on this woman. She’s more of a mystery almost anything else in this show besides the blades. Please explain to me Katanagatari why she gets that cross in her left eye whenever she has an idea?