「忠の奴隷」 (Chuu no Dorei)
“Slave to the Kiss”
With Yagyuu Gisen (Mizuhara Kaoru) joining the cast and offering her body to Muneakira in any way he desires, we finally have that promiscuous character to really drive Yukimura and Sen up the wall with jealousy. The way she presents herself without any modesty and goes straight for Muneakira’s crotch provided a lot of fan-service, but worked really well in combination with the comedic moments to balance it out. While the jealous rage did make this feel a bit too much like a typical harem at times, it was almost always followed up by some quirky humor that this series does best, such as Jubei drooling uncontrollably and everyone karate chopping and stomping on Kanetsugu to shut her the hell up. In the latter case, I just have to say I’m really enjoying the fact that a female character is the recipient of abuse for a change, especially when it’s as hilarious as it is with relentless off-screen stomps for good measure. Ever since Kanetsugu’s started freeloading at the Yagyuu dojo, the slapstick laughs have really started overshadowing any resemblance of a plot, so it’s almost like Gisen’s arrival was needed to get things back on track. I never thought I’d say that a series needs more female characters stripping to get the ball rolling, but the results speak for themselves.
Incidentally, this means I’m rather suspect of how Gisen arrived in a ball of light similar to how Jubei did in the first episode. It could just be a Yagyuu thing, but I somehow get the feeling this is what a successful infiltration operation is supposed to look like. The shot of her in the opening sequence seems to suggest there’s more to her than she’s letting off, plus there’s her yet to be explained ability of getting into Jubei’s mind. Whatever the case, I guess I’ll find out if her new-found fondness of Jubei is all just an act soon enough, given that Yoshihiko is slated to return from France. In the meantime, I’m all for the focus on the mysteries behind Muneakira’s ability to awaken master samurai, Jubei’s uneasiness over anyone kissing him if they don’t actually like him, and Gisen’s way of getting Sen riled up to the point that she challenged her to a duel. I haven’t talked too much about the production in this series, but I really like the fairly consistent and high animation quality from Arms studio, which shows in both comedy are action scenes alike. Story-wise, it hasn’t really taken off despite how we’re two-thirds through the series now, so I’m inclined to believe that this was intended to be purely a high school romantic comedy from the start.
Quite honestly, I don’t mind one bit if that’s the case, because I’m enjoying every minute of this series. Not to mention, the possibility to venture down a more meaningful route is constantly hovering overhead, and is something we’ll probably get a taste of from Yoshihiko and Charle’s arrival next time. All that reiterates to me though is that series definitely needs a sequel in the near future to focus more on the relatively more serious side of the series. Given how Arms animated Queen’s Blade’s story in two one-cour parts, I’m hoping that they have something similar planned for Hyakka Ryouran.