If I wanted to be harsh on the show, I could criticize it for basically taking 2 major battles (the Masamune-Sanada battle in the first 2 episodes and the imminent showdown with the Demon King) and stretching it out with some filler over 12 episodes. But because I like the show, I’m not going to go down that path. Instead, I give it credit for an intense episode 9, in which both Takeda and Shingen met their demise in effects-free and short but intense battles. And for doing a masterful job getting Sanada back on the GAR horse – both figuratively and literally – and amping us up for what promises to be an epically entertaining showdown with the Demon King and his crew.
You know it promises to be an intense episode when it leads off with an ominous choir and Nobunaga brutally slicing his opponent in half, then shooting him in the head. But I can’t help but think that wielding a shotgun brings down his GAR-ness though. It’s not really a fair fight when everyone else is brandishing swords. Then again, why are he and his minions the only ones with access to guns?
While Nobunaga’s carving a path through Kyushuu, his minions are offing the major leaders one by one. Mitsuhide quickly disposes of the useless pip-squeak Tokugawa, who managed to finagle ZERO useful fighting scenes (but plenty of tears) in his various appearances. Meanwhile, Nouhime and her well-concealed mini-gun sneak through Kenshin’s defenses, and she and the mute monkeyboy archer take down Kenshin as he sacrifices himself to save Kasuga from the line of fire. This was the first time we got to see Kenshin get some action, and it’s a shame it ended so quickly. He could’ve been cool. Instead, he just ended up being sort of incomplete.
On a separate note, I didn’t know where to fit in this comment, so I’ll just say it here, but it’s a little weird that Shingen and Sasuke keep referring to two characters we’ve never seen – Motochika and Chosokabe – as if they’re pretty big players in the game. I wonder if they’ll ever make an appearance.
Meanwhile, after killing Tokugawa, Mitsuhide sabotages a dam, forcing Takeda to defend himself and protect the dam at the same time. But once Mitsuhide gets the dam to break (and this should’ve been a foregone conclusion since these guys can shoot beams of light), he uses the split second break in Takeda’s focus to stab him in the shoulder and send him hurdling down with the onrushing water. One episode, three deaths* (*you could’ve pretty much guessed that Takeda and Shingen wouldn’t die). Short battles, but still pretty damn intense.
Your prototypical, rally the troops and get them fired up episode. Except you can swap those two words "rally" and "fired." Because Masamune ends up firing his troops, and instead rallying himself and Sanada for the big showdown.
The episode starts off with Mitsuhide taking both Masamune and Kojuuro’s best shots and riding off into the sunset, swaying like a drunk fiend. Give Mitsuhide some credit, as he’s establishing himself as one of the more unhinged, creepier villains in recent memory. Plus, everytime he talks to Nobunaga, I half expect him to get his head knocked off for being such a crazy bastard. Meanwhile, Sasuke smacks some sense into Kasuga, who’s pitying her inability to do anything besides pump out ninjagasms. I imagine she’ll get a chance to go head to head with Nouhime in the final battle, but I’d be more confident if it was Sasuke fighting that battle.
When Masamune’s talking about partying, I get the sense that he’s not talking about a pity party. And if it wasn’t clear, he makes it so to Sanada, who’s depressed and paralyzed over Takeda’s injury. I mean it was just a stab in the shoulder. I think Takeda’s tougher than Shingen, and if Shingen survived 3 gunshots and an arrow to the leg, I’m pretty confident Takeda will be on his feet in no time. He does look a little freaky without his large headdress on. Much less intimidating.
But by the end of the episode, Sanada is inspired, and Masamune has his list of party of guests and lighting effects to boot. I’ve been waiting 10 episodes for the ball-to-the-walls action Sengoku Basara brought us earlier in the season. So let’s get this party started baby!