「阿九斗の帝都大戦争」 (Sai Akuto no Teito Taisen)
“Sai Akuto’s War on the Imperial Capital”
Given the rapid progression thus far, I’m not really sure if I can take the entire war against the gods with demons, superheros, and ninjas seriously. However, if I take this episode at face value and assume the story made complete sense up to this point, it was actually pretty cool. Quite frankly, it felt like I was watching a completely different show than I started over two months ago, but I’m not exactly complaining when there were scantily clad female ninjas everywhere (kunoichi = win). My only real gripe is that there is clearly a lot of material from from the light novels, but the anime hasn’t done a very good job piecing together an adaptation of it. For this week in particular, there was a ton of good action and a real sense of an apocalyptic war going on, and I didn’t even mind how new bad guys from CIMO8, Two V and Rubber, showed up without any warning. However, that still didn’t change my impression of how they’re trying to cram way too much content into every episode.
For instance, they suddenly introduced the Hattori family treasure, the Sword of Sohaya, which can’t be drawn from its sheath unless under certain conditions. Following its introduction, it’s now all of a sudden the object of interest to Eiko, who’s trying to get all the Iga ninjas killed so that she can claim it for herself. In connection with that, we also learn that one of Kouga ninjas sent to kill Keena last time is her father, yet she kills him in his wounded state to become the heir of the clan. So in the matter of less than half an episode, we now have a new subplot for Eiko’s character. It’s nothing anyone could have foreseen based on prior episodes, nor was it introduced in a way that made me personally feel like it was necessary in the overall story. The sword undoubtedly has importance to the god Suhara that Akuto is taking up his war against right now, and Junko will likely be the one to draw it at some point and do something significant with it, but the fact that it was never mentioned or hinted at before makes it seem like poor writing to just tack it on here.
In contrast, some of the story elements that were much better developed are Fujiko’s obsession with becoming Akuto’s queen, Lily’s mysterious way of keeping a close eye on Akuto yet allowing him to do whatever he wants, Peterhausen’s desire to take flight and wreck havoc with his master, and Yuuko’s demon-infected blood. To a lesser degree, even the school chairman’s connection with Bouichirou from their battle against the demon lord over a hundred years ago wasn’t too bad, seeing as they foreshadowed it a bit last time. The screenplay for all of these probably could have been better for earlier episodes,but seeing them progress further was consistent with what we’ve seen at least. In other words, they didn’t come off as plot devices that were inserted arbitrarily while a whole lot of other things were already going on. Plus, they generally had an episode and a half to depict the change of focus in the story, unlike the Sword of Sohaya.
With that said, I did find it kind of dumb how Akuto’s attempt to kill the gods is more or less him going on rampage now. I mean, who exactly is he trying to direct all his frustration at right now? There clearly isn’t a physical embodiment of the gods in front of him that he can destroy. All we have right now is him going on a frenzy with a bunch of pent-up anger but no one to take it out on except the imperial army and anyone else who tries to stop him. If anything, Akuto’s rampage only served to show Hiroshi how he’s a lost cause that he’ll have to try and kill, which is understandable considering how he’s a demon lord retaliating against anyone and everyone. The semi-saving grace is that Keena has shown signs that she’s either connecting with the gods or being used as a surrogate for them. I guess a nice twist would be that Keena ends up embodying the very god Suhara that Akuto is trying to kill right now.
Whatever the case, I just hope the story doesn’t try to introduce anything completely new in the coming episode and just focus on what’s already been presented because there’s already way too many open-ended subplots at the moment. Also, I’d like to see more of Korone who was nowhere to be seen this week. We did get a Jeffrey Wilder lookalike as the captain of the imperial warship though.