Remarkably little happened during this episode. Both action-wise and story-wise, but for some reason it amped me up for the next episode moreso than the last few episodes have. Maybe it’s because I get the sense that Matsunaga and his shinigami triumvirate could be the first worthy enemies for Kojuuro and Sanada to go all out on (I never really thought Hondam or Azai would bring out the best in Sanada and Masamune). Or maybe it’s because I’m just getting antsy for some balls to the wall action.
The episode starts off with Kenshin rallying his healthy troops back to protect his homeland and Kasuga fawning over Kenshin’s praise. She leaves his side to investigate some suspicious activity and finds the always hilarious Sasuke, fielding his standard set of fantastic one-liners and sarcastic comebacks. Sasuke comes with a message for Kasuga to not leave Kenshin’s side no matter, even if it means disobeying orders, in order to prepare for a possible Nobunaga counterattack. While all the other big players have good right hand men, Kenshin’s the only one without backup and left exposed.
Meanwhile, a new character, Matsunaga comes into play, as he takes advantage of Masamune and Shingen’s weakened state and takes a few of Masamune’s troops hostage, using a hilarious feudal Japan-era Bob-omb, demanding Masamune’s swords and Takeda’s special armor for ransom.
Masamune awakes in time to over hear the conversation and plans to head off to face Matsunaga in order to get his men back. Kojuuru, showing that he’s no yes man, faces off against Masamune, not allowing him to go ahead with his reckless rescue plan in his weakened state. They engaged in a short, uremarkable battle, but despite the lack of over-the-top action, I thought it was one of the more intense fights in recent memory. I think this is the first time we’ve seen Kojuuro really fight. And while taking out an injured Masamune doesn’t show much for his fighting skills, going through with the fight and not taking it easy on his master, was an impressive display of character. After defeating Masamune, Kojuuro takes off for Matsunaga on his own, taking Masamune’s swords with him (likely for fighting, not for ransom).
This leads to a hilarious scene in which Sanada struggles to explain everything that had happened and why he allowed Kojuuro to go off on his own, to Takeda, who’s seen everything. Let’s just say while Sanada’s reasons weren’t bad, Shingen wasn’t thrilled with Sanada’s lack of initiative and general pussyfooting. Evidence?
An f-ing epic uppercut that even Manny Pacquiao would be proud of. It seems Takeda’s wise words to Sanada have been falling on deaf ears, and he implores Sanada to take the lead and go help Kojuuro bring back his comrades. Act as a true hero would.
Like I mentioned earlier, we get a glimpse of Matsunaga’s shinigami warriors, and I think we’re in for a damn good battle in the next episode. Masks always raise the likelihood of epic battles.