There were zero battles in this episode, unless you count Takeda’s punching of Sanada or Nobunaga’s quick humiliation of Azai, but I still enjoyed this episode quite a bit, because of the buildup. Not every episode can break new barriers of GAR, but that’s ok, as long as the story’s moving to a conflict or resolution. And compared to the last episode, I thought the writers did a better job of ratcheting up the pressure and drawing the lines of battle we’ll expect to see in the coming episodes.
What’s the old saying? You can tell the quality of the man by the woman at his side? In that case, Azai is destined to be a big chump, because his wife – Nobunaga’s sister, is a powerless, self-pitying crybaby… who conveniently goes out to battles to… I don’t know… what’s her purpose? Besides to eventually become a hostage? But before that, Azai receives a visit from my second favorite ninja, Sasuke, who brings an offer for an alliance. Azai refuses, since Nobunaga’s his brother-in-law, but is perturbed when Sasuke reveals that Nobunaga is planning to attack a mutual ally.
Meanwhile, Kasuga’s doing the same for Kenshin, bringing olive branches and offerings of semi-nudity. I’m sure she’s a great ninja, but seeing her become flustered when Sanada lets her in on what Sasuke’s been saying about their “relationship,” and seeing her expression of shock when Takeda & Sanada are engaged in their punching game, was pretty endearing. She’s such a cute voluptuous ninja. I know that’s an oxymoron, but it’s true.
Sanada and Sasuke later share a heart-to-heart. While Sasuke enlightens Sanada on the wiles of women, Sanada reveals that he’s become GAR for Masamune. In the subsequent scene we learn that Masamune feels the same. Awww. GAR flags have been triggered.
Meanwhile, out in the battlefield, Azai intercepts Mitsuhide, who was leading the attack on their ally, the Asakura clan (not to be confused with the ASAHAKURA or ACHAKURA clans, n~yoron), and demands an explanation. Mitsuhide takes both Azai and his useless wife back to Nobunaga, so that Norio Wakamoto can finally get some lines to speak. I don’t know what sort of relationship Azai thought he had with Nobunaga, but apparently he was gravely mistaken about how close they were. Actually, he was mistaken about how close Nobunaga was with his sister, because he doesn’t hesitate to put a shotgun to her head, forcing Azai to lead the attack on their former allies. Hell, what do you expect from a guy who sits on a throne of skulls and blood, with evil villain music playing in the background? It’s actually a pretty comical scene. Nobuaga’s evil reaches levels of high hilarity. I can’t wait to see him fight.
Other than that, we see Kenshin and Takeda join arms, and glimpses of a teenaged-Tokugawa and his feudal era, Gundam negative-zero model, who’ll likely be the first major battle on the way to the showdown with Nobunaga. On a completely separate note, I like that there’s these huge armies out on the battlefields, really, with the only purpose of being mowed down by the major characters. GAR has an exponential correlation with the number of enemies you take out. Seems like Production I.G. is well aware of this adage.
Next week should be good. It’s time to get back to the action.