Episode 7: She Had Grasped The Secret Before She Knew It!

Another successful episode, because the comedy is an extension of the characters. Koinosuke, perhaps making up for the interminably long exposition scene in the previous episode, decides to actually be funny here. In order to train Jiyu to overcome the weakness of having her left eye covered, he forces her to wear an iron mask covering her left eye. The iron mask is in the shape of a urinal.

This blows Shiro’s mind. Shiro, pretentious little egoist that he is, believes himself to be a master strategist. So when he sees Jiyu with a urinal on her face, he’s perplexed. What sort of strategy is this? He becomes obsessed with the urinal mask – he spends time in the bathroom, leaning down on the urinals to discover the secret. It’s funny.

The episode ends with another long fight sequence, again with the beautiful fluid fighting animation that highlights even the more mediocre episodes early in the series. Jiyu loses her eyepatch at the end of the episode, so it falls into the evil hands of Ryujoji, etc. etc. It is hard to develop any real concern for the central plot in this story, since, to a man, the bad guys are pretty ridiculous. So, when a dozen goofy-looking ninjas give Shiro a thousand cuts to knock him out, it is a little hard to know what our reaction is supposed to be. Concern for Shiro? Why? Nothing bad really happens to him, nor to Jiyu.

Central to the problem of concern is that, for the most part, the show pitches itself at the level of a cartoon. It has the cool stuff we expect from anime (ninjas, nifty sword fights), but it is entirely unsuccessful at going into Tolstoy mode. Everyone is safe, because it would be too drastic a shift in tone to place any of the characters in real danger. So it makes the show feel more ephemeral when it tries to be serious. It hasn’t become real maudlin (that comes in the next episode), but it is a distraction, just as the long expository sequences are. I wonder: if the show were produced today, would it have been made as much shorter 12-minute episodes? I think that would have been to the great benefit of the series – much like Tenchi in Tokyo (though to nowhere near as disastrous a result), too much time in the series has led to too much damned meandering. While still entertaining, the show isn’t anything more than that.
Rating :B

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com