Katanagatari, “Sentō Tsurugi”
Posted by Doug on March 24, 2010
Still no more Nanami. It’s a pity.
Oh, well, on to what was actually in this episode:
Former bandit Tsuruga Meisai now watches over the Sanzu shrine, where she is using the poison of Shikizaki’s Sentō Tsurugi (the “Thousand Blade”, which is comprised literally of one thousand swords) as a sort of medicine, to give some measure of solace to the thousand shrine maidens of Sanzu, each of whom has suffered great physical, emotional, and/or mental trauma. Of course, Togame’s mission would deprive them of this solace, a fact that does not bother Shichika at all; indeed, his casual, “nothing to do with me” attitude is starting to make me think he’s not really a hero, or at the very least, not much of one. That, and Shichika’s comment that it had been him who killed his father, an off-hand comment that is not further explained.
In fact, Togame’s the one who seems hesitant about taking the Sentō Tsurugi from Meisai; this little bit of characterization makes me more sympathetic towards her, and at the same time, less sympathetic towards Shichika. I just got to wonder: if Shichika and Togame ever come to odds, who would I be rooting for? I’m not so sure anymore, and that’s a good thing. Stories where the outcome is painfully obvious aren’t usually as interesting as ones where the outcome is surprising.
Another of the Maniwa Corps, Kuizame is gleefully malicious, possesses the very impressive Ninpō Uzugatana (which is not one of Shikizaki’s Deviant Blades, by the way), and like his fellow Maniwa Corps comrade Shirasawi, is a complete and utter jobber, dying a quick death at the hands of Tsuruga Meisai. Hopefully this will not become a trend. If the extent of the Maniwa Corps’ characterizations is “crazy ninja dudes who die”, they’re not going to be very interesting as major villains (suddenly I am reminded of the introduction, and later devillainization, of the Ferengi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Thinking of Long off-topic rant deleted).
Maniwa Kuizame is voiced by Tsuboi Tomohiro, whose only other role that I recognize is as Izumo Kamizuki in Naruto (you know, one hand of “those two ninja” who are Tsunade’s lackeys? Izumo’s the one with his hair covering one eye. Kotetsu Hagane, or Bandage-Nose, is the other one).
A former bandit, Tsuruga Meisai killed the head priest of the Sanzu shrine before taking his name and his responsibilities. She wagers her Sentō Tsurugi against the Zantō Namakura and Zettō Kanna that Togame and Shichika had recovered previously, with the goal of obtaining two more swords to help two more abused women cope with their situation. Her fighting style is based around the disposable nature of the “Thousand Blade”: she uses the swords as throwing weapons, or to make one deadly attack before running away to reclaim another one of the blades that she had concealed around the battlefield.
Tsuruga Meisai’s voice actress is Yuya Atsuko, who was Angelica Burns in Coyote Ragtime Show and Quinn in Ergo Proxy.