One of the classic Tsugumomo poses
|So it’s what we’ve been leading up to, the showdown, the Duel! Now most of the times battlers like this don’t beat around the bush on the the story, it’s all very immediate. But most of the time the story just….|
…it just comes off as pretty obvious, right?
Battler or duel episodes (and this one is a two parter to welcome to the setup) are often very on the nose/to the point. I mean, we just got the lead up in the last one, and that one had all the information and subtext you need, so this is just the natural progress of things. Not much going on in the main half but what you see is what it is. But this one has just a bit more under the belt to make up for the straightforward text of all the battling; with the subtext showing us that Kazuya is ready and willing, but he wants to be the one to set the pace and be in control of his actions. His reactions in dreamtime and in the real world very much spell that out. It looks like Kazuya has flexibility, Sunao? Well….
Needed or not, they’ve been setting their battle plans
When you get right down to it, the duel isn’t even really all that necessary in the grand scheme of things. It’s been there in the background, but Sunao is just barely ready to be a cleaner in her own right, much less take over for another, or even both. She’s to impetuous, to brash, to eager to serve up her cause as the end all be all of motives. Her stance is very autocratic, and she refuses to see that a person comes to their own path, and they come to it in their own way. Her treatment of Kotetsu hasn’t improved at all, and that’s been already mentioned enough; and was lampshaded by Honoka this episode, so you know it has to be going somewhere. The sword tsukigami is feeling the pain above and even beyond Sunao’s treatment of him. From a higher point of view, Sunao’s path looks and feels incomplete. Her success so far has only, I fear, taught her the wrong lessons. Is it for her brother, it’s it for Kanaka, is it for herself?
A giant is touching their butts…dreams are weird…
By contrast, even if his path is the slow one, and one that he is “just kinda on”, it’s the path that Kazuya is choosing for himself. Sure he has pressure, Kiriha is unrelenting in so many ways, but he’s still calling the shots. For him it’s important to make a goal and stick to it, and let little dissuade him. In contrast to Sunao, who treats her Kotetsu as an object, Kazuya takes treating Kiriha as a person to it’s most logical conclusion – protecting her as much as she does him. He also has a ton more mystery to deal with. In his own dream his mother points out that there are gaps in his memory. She knows they are there, and that the gaps serve a very specific purpose. That’s been present since the get go, even if it’s only been in the background. The mysterious force has been pressed on to him, that also contrasts Sunao, who has pushed her way into this responsibility. Say no more, is the explanation he gets from his dream mom on the memory block, and having a duel to wake up to, he has little time to think on such things. But one thing is clear. He kinda likes being at the center of attention, no matter how much he protests, and who can blame him?
Crash boom bang!
So all in all it was a good battler. It had a nice pace to it, and served the story well. I’m not a battle analyzer, so I won’t break it down move by move, other than to say that I will always think that ranged sword combat is a huge cheat, and that I still love the rule of cool that it so obviously works by. When I think about it, it’s also obvious in that it’s a perfect thematic weapons technique for Sunao in this battle. The breakdown with Kazuya needing and wanting to protect Kiriha, just as much as he wants to protect, maintain, and enjoy the status quo in his life with everyone comes out before and during the battle. But he’s able to rally and use it to his advantage, and bring us a nice cliffhanger in the bargain.
He’s almost ready for battle
Now that I think about it, I give her too much grief and I’ll address that in closing thoughts
So yeah, I do put Sunao down pretty hard this time around. She’s brash, so it’s an easy target to want to hit. But, she does have nerve, bravery, capacity, strength of body and mind, and willpower. That’s not easy stuff to come by, so she gets a tremendous amount of respect just for that. She’s very much in the wrong state of mind however. She has more to give life than this, and I think her brother saw that in her, and he worked hard to make sure that the hard work she always had inside her would go to something that was just as worthwhile, but in his mind, probably better. She’s a hard character to take, but I’ve always felt that she is a necessary one. See you next time…
End of cour!