In the shadows of a gangster’s refuge, the Meister Black*Star and his weapon Tsubaki are observing the gang boss Al Capone feast on souls. Instead of quickly going in for the kill though, Black*Star makes a flashy entrance and announces who he is, thereby ruining the element of surprise and causing all the gangsters to shoot at him. He and Tsubaki are thus forced to retreat without having gotten a single soul and have to face Shinigami-sama the next day. Black*Star remains confident that he’ll make Tsubaki into a death scythe, and he gets excited when Shinigami-sama informs him that Al Capone is now going after a witch named Angela. He thinks defeating both sides will give the souls that they need, and he doesn’t stick around to hear the rest of what Shinigami-sama has to say. Tsubaki, however, warns him that it’s impossible for them to fight a witch when they can’t even handle a normal mission. Black*Star nevertheless vows to make her into a death scythe, and the two head to Angela’s castle after an incident where Black*Star tries to peep on Tsubaki in the bath.
At the castle however, they find that the place is full of the red souls of Al Capone and his men. When the swordsman who defeated Al Capone suddenly strikes, Black*Star is barely able to get out of the way. The swordsman introduces himself as Angela’s bodyguard Mifune, and once the fight really starts, it quickly becomes clear that he’s much stronger than Black*Star and Tsubaki. Even when Black*Star has Tsubaki transform into a giant shuriken, Mifune has no trouble avoiding it, though he does get a little disoriented when Tsubaki then changes into a smoke bomb. Black*Star isn’t able to take advantage of the chance though because he yells loudly when he tries to attack, and Mifune counters with a potentially lethal swing across Black*Star’s abdomen. Fortunately for Black*Star, Mifune uses the back of his sword instead of the front, and he lectures Black*Star afterwards about relying too much on his weapon. Hearing Mifune call him a small fry really pisses Black*Star off, and, completely serious now, he has Tsubaki transform into a ninjatou.
However, the Black*Star that emerges from the smoke of Tsubaki’s transformation is not the real Black*Star – it’s just Tsubaki disguised as him. Mifune doesn’t realize this until too late, and Black*Star makes full use of this opportunity to knock him out with a blow to the back. Before Black*Star can finish Mifune off though, the child witch Angela flies in and protects him. Seeing how young Angela is, how determined Mifune is to protect her, and how he personally doesn’t want to kill a child, Black*Star decides to turn around and leave. He and Tsubaki do bring back to Shinigami-sama all the Mafia souls that they had been originally sent out to get though, and in the aftermath, Black*Star returns to trying to peep into the girl’s bath.
Note: Patrik introduced this series last week, so I’m going to pick up with the second episode.
Some overall thoughts of the series first: Iwasaki Taku‘s music here is very similar to his work in Gurren Lagann, and I love it already. It’s especially at making the action scenes extra exciting. The animation quality meanwhile is very impressive, and BONES has done an incredible job making the world feel vibrant and alive while retaining that stylish feel (just look at the moon and the sun). But all that aside, I really just enjoy watching this – it’s ones of those shows that’s just a lot of fun (and I don’t say that very often). It feels much more fresh and exciting than some of the other shounen-oriented shows airing these days, and I don’t think I’d ever have to say bad things about the animation quality like I do for Bleach.
As for this episode, Black*Star turns out to be the most annoying/obnoxious of the main three (Maka’s voice actress notwithstanding), and Kobayashi Yumiko did a pretty good job with the voice, but I kept thinking though that this was a role that Paku Romi would have been perfect for. The fight scene between Black*Star and Mifune was of course impressive, however what I actually like more is how the story is raising questions about what’s good and what’s evil by having the witch be a little kid. I wonder if that’s going to be a prevalent theme once we get past these introduction episodes (I haven’t read past the first three chapters of the manga, so I really don’t know).
The end of this episode and next week introduces my favorite of the main three, Death the Kid. It’s a shame he’s voiced by Miyano Mamoru though. I swear everything I’m watching involves either him or Fukuyama Jun or both (as is the case in Vampire Knight).