「 逐力」 (OROCHI)

What a fascinating riddle of a series Arata Kangatari is turning out to be.

I’m probably biased, but I really think this series is continuing to get better as it progresses. That’s something of a small miracle considering the schedule, but that it’s not only coherent but manages to convey the essence of the plot and characters as well as it does is a fine achievement. There are certainly times where it feels as if its a sort of Cliffs Notes version, but that’s probably inevitable. And we saw a bit of that this week with the full-scale introduction of Kadowaki into the plot.

Kadowaki is a very interesting manga character. As it was with Arata’s bullying trauma and his mother’s neuroses we lose some of the richness of the character by not fully exploring his backstory in the anime, but the gist of it was well presented this week. There’s just something about Kadowaki that instantly projects… something. Rage, frustration, danger – he imposes his uneasy presence on every panel, even when he’s not speaking or acting directly. It’s one of Yuu-sensei’s most effective character designs I think, in that it so fully captures everything in the character’s soul. And Kimura Ryouhei is a fine choice for the part – he’s developed into a seiyuu who projects stature very well, a big presence.

There was a lot presented in this week’s episode, both on the plot and character fronts, though not all of it revealed its importance just yet. We get a sense for just how messed up Kadowaki’s home life is – abandoned by his mother, abusive and distant father. This is a young man absolutely consumed with rage – at Hinohara, who who irrationally blames for the start of his downward spiral, against his family, against fate for failing to recognize just how deserving he is of being revered and respected. This rage is the critical element of his character, as we’re to learn later in the episode.

There are other characters who, like Kadowaki, we’ve seen before, but not really been introduced to – until this week. The Six Sho are mysterious, masked members of the Twelve Shinshou – not even Kannagi has seen their faces – and they’re the ones who decide to use Kadowaki’s hatred as their path to gaining control of Amawakuni (which they realize cannot happen until they’ve defeated Arata). One of their members, Harunawa (Akira Ishida, still one of the busiest guys in anime) enters the Kando Forest and switches places with Kadowaki, where the other five await him. There they give him a brief primer on what’s happening, but all Kadowaki really wants to know is that his task is to destroy Hinohara – nothing else really matters. That involves taming the evil Hayagami Orochi, a task which many before Kadowaki have attempted, only to be consumed.

As for our heroes, they’re in a sort of uneasy truce with Kannagi as they enter the lands of Yorunami (Hoshi Souchiro) who wields the Hayagami of water. As they progress through the woods they’re observed by Hiruko (Namikawa Daisuke). Meanwhile back in Japan, there’s time for one last encounter between Arata and Kadowaki before the latter makes the big leap. We got some good, substantial scenes in Tokyo this time – Arata struggling with the notion of having a Mom, Nishijima struggling with his guilt over stabbing Hinohara in the back, and Hinohara’s mother struggling with pretty much everything. While Amawakuni gets the flashy set pieces there’s a lot of psychological drama in Japan, and we see some of it play out here – most powerfully in the moment when Hinohara-san slaps the boy she thinks is her son for thoughtlessly worrying her yet again. Both Arata and Hinohara have inherited complex and difficult situations – and each ill-prepared to deal with their circumstances. In a way that’s the core of Arata Kangatari’s story, and against all odds it’s playing out very nicely in the anime. I only wish we had about 40 more episodes to watch it develop.




  1. Kadowaki switched places with Harunawa…what’s Harunawa’s power? Can he take control of Kadowaki’s father? Is he going to kill Arata, now that he’s in our world? What’s Orochi’s power?

    Two adult-on-child slaps this week – very violent.

    1. Orochi is pretty much Tsukuyo’s opposite, while Tsukuyo’s power is light, Orochi is darkness. They will probably show more next episode. With the time and pacing of this series, I don’t know if they’ll really get into Harunawa and the Six Sho, but if you want to know:

      Show Spoiler ▼

  2. I am a little lost here. Is it that Kadowaki is consumed with rage and absolutely dedicated to destroying Hinohara at all costs and totally convinced that Hinohara is the source of all the bad things that happened to him because… Hinohara just barely beat him in a race once back in middle school?

    If that’s the case then why just Hinohara? I am sure someone must have gotten higher on a test or crossed the street before him or entered a building first or bumped into him at some point. According to his dad he has been doing poorly since middle school, so what about all those people who did better than him? Shouldn’t all these people be on his death list. What about those bullies he befriended who trash talked him? Shouldn’t he be preparing a school shooting or trying to destroy the world about now? Why is he so obsessed with the friendless loser in class? It’s not like Hinohara went on to become the School Idol with fame and fortune as a direct result of the race. I don’t get it.

    1. It’s what Kadowaki’s father said, Kadowaki is just mad because he could never beat Arata at track racing.Everything else Kadowaki says about Arata is just bullshit that he made up to make himself feel better.Kadowaki mad 4 lyfe.

    2. When I say some of the context is lost because of the pacing, this is what I mean. It’s the same as the degree to which Hino is traumatized by bullying and his mother is wrecked by worrying about him – it’s much clearer in the manga because there’s much more detail.

      It’s not really a spoiler to say that there’s no “other shoe” to drop, like Hinohara ran over Kadowaki’s dog or anything – because if it happens it’ll be anime original and surprise me just as much as you. I see it this way: Kadowaki is an extremely frustrated adolescent who feels powerless and impotent because of the way his parents have treated him, and because his background gave him a sense of entitlement. The one thing he had was track, where he was “the” guy – and Hino took that away from him, without seeming to try that hard to do it. Kadowaki has built Hino up into a sort of bogeyman that’s responsible for all the ills in his life – a convenient scapegoat.

  3. There’s only 4 episodes left I think.So original ending or cliffhanger, that is the question.Either way, Kadowaki gonna get his face smashed in and I’m going to enjoy every second of it, including replaying it multiple times.

    I replayed Arata kicking the shit out of him at least 50 times, it was so satisfying.

  4. This series is like a bad traffic accident, with only 4 episodes left you can’t help but keep watching no matter how gruesome it is. The first episode pulled me in but it has gone from promising to bad to really bad.

  5. wow… Kadowaki is just bad. Been a while since I’ve seen such a flat, boring and one-dimensional character. I just can’t take him seriously… even though I know I should and I am trying.
    His only lines are grunting “Hinohara….” with that evil look of his and his hatred is verging on a psychotic rage, I mean, it’s not normal.

    Seriously, I don’t know if this is adaptation decay or he’s really like that in the manga, but that’s the only element that’s dragging down this pretty good show for me.

  6. Kadowaki’s an ass, to say the least. I dislike characters/people in general who can’t be bothered to better their own lives and take their problems out others. “Oh no, Hinohara is better at the one thing I had any talent for! My father’s a political big-wig and people should naturally respect me as alpha male. Why is Hinohara getting respect for being better at track than me? It’s his fault my life sucks, he has to die!” 😛 His attitude is played up quite a bit for the sake of the story but the portrayal of Kadowaki isn’t totally unrealistic. Some one needs to give this guy another flying kick, preferably to the groin.

    I guess the Arata anime is one big advertisement for the manga at this point. There are 14 volumes out in the States, I guess I’ll be picking some them up at Otakon in August.

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