Having obtained the first sword, Shichika and Togame make their way towards the second one, getting Shichika a change of clothes along the way. Their goal is a sword called Zantou Namakura located in a castle in the desert of Inaba, and it’s currently in the possession of a powerful swordsman named Uneri Ginkaku. During the journey, Togame also gets Shichika to choose a trademark phrase to use during battles to make him more interesting for the report she’s writing. When they finally arrive, they find the corpse of Maniwa Shirasagi outside and correctly guess that Uneri defeated him. They eventually locate Uneri inside a relatively small room, and as Togame is attempting to negotiate with him, he asks her to step closer. This turns out to be a trap because Uneri draws his lightning-fast sword, but fortunately Shichika realizes this in time and knocks Togame back.
Shichika then decides to retreat, and when Uneri lets them, Shichika concludes that Uneri prefers to stay in the room because it’s most convenient for him there to attack his enemies. Based on this, Shichika asks Togame to stay behind him under the pretense that people who have something to protect are strong. When they return to the room, Shichika uses a technique where he charges forward, fakes Uneri out, and then lands a kick on Uneri’s shoulder. Shichika knows immediately that this isn’t enough though, and Uneri responds by cutting his own arm and bleeding over the Zantou Namakura. This allows Uneri to draw the sword faster, but Shichika refuses to back down and attacks again. This time, he avoids Uneri’s strike by moving back, and he uses Togame’s face as a jumping board so that he can reach the ceiling. This lets him attack from above where Uneri is most vulnerable, and Shichika finishes Uneri off in one move, thereby winning them the sword. In the aftermath, Togame isn’t happy that Shichika used her like that, but when he reflects on Uneri’s death and final words, she tells him not to think about his own final words.
A slight change of scenery for this ED, but it’s still fairly static. The Shoujo Byou song that went with it wasn’t bad, but not really memorable either.
In general, I thought this second episode was better than the second one. I enjoyed the action and strategizing more, and part of that came from the fact that Uneri Ginkaku was a more interesting antagonist than Koumori last episode – come to think of it, it’s a shame we didn’t get to see more here of the reverse-talking Maniwa Shirasagi. Anyway, Uneri felt more complete as a character, and it led to a nice ending in terms the episode’s themes and closure. Some of the banter between Shichika and Togame was pretty amusing as well, and Togame had some cute moments too in her reactions towards him. Of course, there was a lot of dialogue again, including that ten-minute desert segment, and I’m still not a fan of the long-episode, once-a-month format, so my excitement level towards this series remains relatively low (as demonstrated by the fact that it took me over half a week to finish this post). Maybe the third episode, which airs on March 8th, will change that.