「崩御」 (Hougyo)
“Death of the Emperor”

Study history. If the emperor had done that, a lot of problems could have been avoided.

Munechika’s Sacrifice

What, exactly, was the point of Haku & co scoring any kind of victory last week, when they were going to end up routed this episode due to the emperor’s death? I know real war doesn’t owe anything to narrative, but this isn’t real war, it’s a story. It is narrative! How much more stirring would it have been if Haku & co’s infiltration had tried hard against Kurou, and ultimately failed (though they still knocked out the barrier so they could get out), and when they’re already on their backfoot, they learn of the emperor’s death. Then the desperation would have fed directly into the desperation of this episode, and the tension would have been higher.

That may seem like a small qualm, since we would have ended up at the same place, but the higher desperation of everything turning against Yamato would have given reason Munechika’s sacrifice (though I don’t think she’s dead), instead of making it seem like something that just had to happen so that we would understand that Shit Is Serious Now, Y’all. And why the hell did her mask work again? Once again, a weird mistake foisted upon Tusukuru in order to make the plot work. That’s an asspull, writers, and you’re being lazy. Stoppit.

Study History To Avoid Repeating It

Even if the original quote is often repeated incorrectly, the shortened quote is still valid: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. A lot of stupid mistakes could have been avoided if the emperor paid a more attention to history, sociology, government, and ethics instead of obsessing over reviving humanity and dismissing the “decoys” as sub-human. When you centralize the majority of the military power in your empire around your generals as opposed to the state itself, you’re just asking for someone to rip the whole thing apart. Tusukuru was doing it militarily, but now someone’s targeting the obvious fissure between Oshutoru (the most loyal general, the people’s champion) and those who are seen as less savory (pretty much everyone else, to one degree or another). And even if that hadn’t happened, they’re liable to carve out a fiefdom for themselves if conquering the whole empire is a no-go—ask Alexander the Great how long his empire lasted after the funeral games (see: civil wars) following his death began.

Benefit of the Doubt, Lost

As I sit here now, I can’t say that I enjoyed the episode all that much, but I can’t shake the feeling that, at another time, I would have. And I’m not talking about my mood—if this had come earlier in the series, I might have liked it more. Events are actually moving now, after all, even if they’re not doing so smoothly. And the reason for this has to be trust.

The Itsuwari no Kamen anime has largely squandered the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, nor anywhere near the worst I’ve blogged—it’s nowhere near Comet Lucifer—but enough balls have been dropped that, when something new is introduced, I’ve begun to approach it with cynicism instead of optimism. Which, to me, is the death of good storytelling, because once you no longer have the audience’s trust, you’re going to have to work twice as hard to make anything work. So we have this whodunit of “Who poisoned the princess/framed Oshutoru,” and I initially didn’t even try to figure it out, because my underlying assumption is that the reveal won’t be that good. That means I wasn’t expend any effort, didn’t get engaged, and so the twists did nothing for me. It’s a defense mechanism against mediocre storytelling, and when you’ve taught your audience to throw up those walls, they’re not going to be open to good storytelling either.

Looking Ahead – Oshutoru’s Execution

All of that is to say, I don’t know what I think of Oshutoru’s impending execution. It feels like there should have been more of a tussle among the generals; I can’t imagine Mikazuchi voting for Oshutoru’s death, even though the herald said the decision was unanimous. It just suddenly happened, and enough fumbles have been made that I’ve been rendered a passive viewer instead of an active, interested participant in the story. So, er, that happened. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Yamato is routed, the princess is dying, Oshutoru is framed (probably), & everything’s broken. Way to break it, emperor #utaware s2e21

Random thoughts:

  • The princess is sure that her mother was a person like Honoka. Well, in a manner of speaking…
  • Dekoponpo is such a tiresome character. I feel like this series would be noticeably improved if he had gotten stabbed partway through the first cour.
  • Another thing the emperor would have known if he had studied a little more pre-disaster human history: torture doesn’t work. It tends to harden the individual’s resolve instead of breaking it. I can let that bit of stupidity slide, though, since precious few people today understand how ineffective torture is.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Through their own flaws, Look to the one before, The problem with character development episodes, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Conclusion.




  1. Gameplayers say a lot of the anime’s bad points are anime original changes. It removed game parts that emphasised the seriousness of the Tsukuru war, and Haku’s strategic competence and skills (like him leading the team to rescue the kidnapped Anju, and sneaking the team into an enemy supply camp to destroy it via hot air balloon, which he reinvented.)

    Also, the emperor mentions in game that the animal people are genetically engineered to be accepting and friendlier towards humans, a subtle method of controlling them.

      1. My Heart rejoiced when Haku nearly the end, took command to get everything back in order. He gave the commands where his friends was waiting for. He brings Order into this chaos

  2. And then the house of cards suddenly comes crashing down. With that, perhaps this episode was meant to serve as an metaphor for the series as a whole — Itsuwari no Kamen took the form of a house of cards itself, and although some cards were nice to look at individually it ultimately lacked the foundation and support to keep the building up.

    That being said, they might as well have gone with a smirk on Haku’s face in the final frame. His losing it mentally or snapping over losing Munechika, his brother, Anju, Oshutoru, and the stability or sense of “home” that Yamato, now on the brink of civil war, ever provided would have been a perfect culmination of it all. It’d have matched Kuon giving him this fearful look as she almost instantly realized the impact all of this would have on him as well.

  3. I don’t know if Munechika is still alive. Though not in the forshadowing they raised the deathflag pretty strong afterwards and the series didn’t have much drama since Vurai slaughtering innocent people so maybe this will hit Haru’s party later.

    1. Possible. Honestly, I normally have a pretty good ear for a story’s tone, especially as it relates to the possibility of character deaths (named and otherwise). Here, though, the tone is so mishandled that I’m no longer sure. I just don’t have much of a read on the storyteller anymore. There’s no deft hand on the tiller; it’s being pulled in different directions, so I don’t know what this story is anymore.

      And no, it’s not just because this is based on a game. I can sense the underlying story in well-written games as well. This anime just doesn’t seem to have a consistent voice anymore. It’s scattershot.

  4. The unanimous sentence has me thinking (hoping, praying) that the generals stopped being petty morons and have some sort of plan for “Oshutoro” to die while Ukon goes free and figures out whodunit. Yeah, wishful thinking…

    1. I don’t know…I can’t see that muscle-bound freak doing something that underhanded. It feels kind of out-of-character, no matter how much he hates Oshutoru. He seems more like the type to put himself through training from hell to get strong enough to best his opponent instead.

  5. Dekoponpo is such a tiresome character. I feel like this series would be noticeably improved if he had gotten stabbed partway through the first cour.

    Yeah, seriously. He reminds me of that corrupt ruler (that Benawi used to work for) that Hakuoro fought early on in the first series. But at least he was quickly taken care of, whereas Dekonpopo. Just. Won’t. Die. He’s not funny, he has no depth whatsoever and he gets way too much screentime. Just get rid of him already, sjeez.

    And for the rest, my impression of this episode can be summed up with a singular ‘meh’. It utterly fails to install any kind of emotion within me (except frustration, maybe) and I’ve long since stopped caring for these characters and the story they’re involved in. Too little, too late, and all that.

    At this point I’m actually cheering for everything to go to hell in a handbasket for our main chars, at least it would be a marginally more interesting watch than what we’re getting now. Blood for the blood god!

    1. Shallow characters can have their uses. The Dekoponpo-esque ruler from the first series wasn’t meant to be deep—corrupt ruler, he needs to go, don’t think twice, kill him! Sure, it’s not as interesting as if the guy had been multi-faceted, but sometimes that’s not the point. One-dimensional characters have uses. Hell, the original Independence Day movie was filled with them, and it was great. But you’ve got to know how to use them, and Dekoponpo is operating in a position a more interesting character ought to have when he should be nothing but the butt of a joke, or dead.

      And yeah, none of the characters have been especially well fleshed out, but like I said, that’s not always necessary. Preferred, but not necessary. If the plot had been good, maybe they could have gotten away with that … though in all likelihood, they would have been strengthened in a better plot. Ah well.

  6. While this episode was a bit better than previous one’s the framing is done so badly. You know what would be interesting? If the death sentence turned out to be a lie in order to lure out the real criminal. But I don’t believe in the story pulling this off.
    Will Haku finally do something noteworthy? The boring outcome would be Oshutoro dying cliffhanger style in episode 24/25.
    The person behind the poisoning? Maybe be the emperor himself in order to force his brother’s hand to do whatever. No idea how much love he has for Anju who is “just” the clone of his real daughter.

    1. That plan is entirely possible, but the problem for me is that same lack of trust—in them doing the interesting thing, and in them pulling off the interesting thing is they try. And that apathy is a killer. I’d feel bad, if the writers hadn’t earned it by this point.

  7. They’re in the middle of a war, sure it’s a stalemate at best but they’re not outright losing yet, and just because the emperor’s dead they sacrifice everything they’ve gained and risk losing one of their best generals so… they can all make it back in time for the wake?

    1. It kinda makes sense when you think of how they’ve talked about the emperor this season, how they’ve been conditioned to worship him, almost like Christians going to war over religion and then hearing God has died. To them it’s ridiculous and impossible, but somehow true, and they have no idea what to do.

      1. Or if one looks at Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, it’s been said that Emperor Palpatine used the Force in order to keep up the morale and fighting spirits of his forces at Endor, but as soon as he was killed, all of that influence vanished and it immediately resulted in the Empire’s forces there ending up completely lost, scared, and/or confused (with the way you see all the Stormtroopers, officers and such running around the Death Star II like headless chickens trying to escape, not even stopping to help Darth Vader who was being dragged out by Luke) which scattered and splintered them (a number of Star Destroyers immediately fleeing Endor and more after the Executor went down).

        Funny thing is that, like Yamato, the Galactic Empire also (still) had superiority in numbers and overall battle strength compared to the Rebel Fleet (with or without the Executor), but that loss of morale and fighting spirit, and the splintering of their otherwise large and powerful fighting force, made a lot of holes for the Rebels to exploit, including destroying the shield generator on Endor’s surface and allowing the fighters to destroy the Death Star II.

    2. You’re misunderstanding the culture they’re operating in. You’re thinking of Yamato like it’s a modern nation-state. It’s not. It has crucial differences.

      We don’t need to bring fictional empires into this when historical ones work so much better. I mentioned Alexander the Great, and his empire had this problem—the line of succession wasn’t well established (Alexander’s children were too young or not born yet, I can’t remember which) and his generals were too strong, so they ripped the empire apart battling over it.

      Or take the Mongol Empire. Every time the Great Khan died—first Genghis, then his son Ogedei Khan—the Mongol invasions would stop and head back to the steppes to elect a new Great Khan (or not, as was eventually the case). That’s why Europe largely escaped the Mongol’s wrath; if Ogedei Khan had survived for a few more years, a lot more of Europe would have suffered, at least until its forests proved sufficiently inhospitable for the Mongol horse archer fighting tactics.

      Anywho, the point is that both of those empires, and many others like them, were centered around a PERSON, not a nation. That’s what made the Roman Republic so great for so long—they were centered around the nation, not the leaders. Until the Roman Republic died in favor of the Roman Empire, that is, and it eventually suffered the fate of all empires.

      The state of Yamato isn’t strong in and of itself. It doesn’t have the resiliency of modern nation state, where it doesn’t much matter who’s in charge, because the nation will carry on. If the president or prime minister of America or Japan or France of wherever is killed, it will be a tragedy, but it won’t be a crisis; they’ll be replaced within a day by someone probably 95% as effective as them. For Yamato, that’s not the case. The emperor dying is an unheard of crisis, and no one knows what the hell is going to happen.

      For them, their world might literally—and I mean literally literally, at least in their eyes—be coming to an end. Of course they would rush back. Screw Tusukuru; they need to make sure they have a home to return to.

      Now, if you want to point at this as another reason why the emperor should have picked up a damn history book once in his life, then you would be absolutely right.

      1. To be fair, the Emperor doesn’t really care about Yamato that much – to him, it’s really just a vessel for him to use in order to get access to more research labs in order to attempt to uncurse humanity.

  8. Dear the writes of Itsuwari no Kamen,
    If you want a mourning scene to be emotional, there a few important things that you didn’t do, that you should have done.

    1. Make us give a crap about your characters in advance.
    2. Don’t keep making your awful slapstick humor during the supposedly dramatic scene.
    3. Give us time to feel said emotion before you go straight into something completely different.

    I swear that this series is bad writing 101. So the episode starts out, and immediately I’m having to try and figure out what the crap is going on. When did all this happen to set this up? Then Munechika apparently sacrifices herself, and they make this big deal about how she’s going to use her mask, only for NOTHING TO COME OF IT. We don’t get time to care about this though, as, oh yeah, the emperor died, so we have to get back to that. We don’t get a lot of time to focus on the scene either though, as now Oshutoru is being framed for attempting to kill the princess? What? And everyone basically just accepts that he’s guilty with little to no investigation. We don’t get to focus long on this either though, as now they want to give a cliffhanger, that he’s been sentenced to beheading.

    What happened to Tsukuru? What’s going on? Did the emperor really die? What’s going on with this frame job? Why does no one in this series seem to show any real emotion? What’s all this barely covered stuff between Oshutoru and Vurai? and most importantly WHY AM I STILL WATCHING THIS DRECK?

    So many of the events in this episode felt like they needed more of, if not, an entire episode of their own, to adequately give them the gravitas that they deserve. It’s moments like this, that make you hate the earlier episodes all the more. Had they not spent all that time, with the characters doing nothing, then they could have dedicated their time, to events like these that really mattered. It reaks of wasted potential. I’m agreeing more and more with those that say that they’ve realized this show is a lost cause, and that they’ve given up, and are just rushing to get it over with.

    Also, was I the only one that felt like the animation quality went down in this episode? Look at image #2 for my reasoning behind saying this.

    1. To be fair, cap #2 was a pretty quick cut. It wasn’t on the screen for long. I didn’t notice much of a animation dip, though I don’t pay too much attention to that kinda thing.

      And while I don’t think all of these things necessarily needed more time (though some of them did), it’s more the wasted time in the earlier episodes, as you said. If they set this up right, they could have hit us with them—BAM BAM BAM!—and it would have worked a treat. Or could have.

      1. Yeah, my primary point was that you should spend your time on what matters. These are seemingly important events that seem to be on fast-forward, b/c they’re out of time. This series was very unevenly paced.

  9. Well this sudden change in mood and pacing like whiplash.

    What was the point of the previous episode? I mean, the whole point was to have Haku and the others go through the (stupidly executed) plan of hitting Tusukuru’s food stores in the area to enable Yamato’s forces to turn the tide of the war at least a little bit, but it’s obvious that it did nothing to help since, right at the start of this episode, a huge chunk of Yamato’s forces are STILL retreating and Munechika is now captured or killed, making that whole mission (and therefore that entire episode) utterly pointless.

    And now we suddenly have this whole conspiracy going on back in Yamato which, alongside their military forces being completely divided (partly because of most of the Generals being unable to work together well, opting to act in their own way during wars, and now a clear show that their soldiers are more loyal to their individual General than anyone) and decimated by Tusukuru’s forces, Yamato’s political power structure is now also in a complete shamble. There’s just no way they could realistically beat Tusukuru now without some really stupid deus ex machina, and that’s assuming Tusukuru is even going to be a priority anymore or if that whole war is going to be (mostly) dropped and made pointless in order to focus on this conspiracy for the last few episodes.

      1. Well… I just remembered there are two suspicious person first a certain scary inn owner still in yamato while her home being attacked and secondly the brown long haired general(I forgot his name) was the last person we see meeting with the emperor in previous episode and also the one that found poison in oshutoru room…

        Just hoping the emperor not resurrected into some giant monster and soloing tsukuru..
        even heavy object show object vs object not a swordsman vs godzilla

    1. I feel like, if Karura killed the emperor, they’d have to glue the body back together before anyone could see it. Maybe Touka would play assassin, but that doesn’t seem her style either.

      Woshisu is a good guess, though. I’d put him and Raikou at the top of the list, but Raikou seems too obviously menacing. Ditto to Vurai and Dekoponpo, with the latter being an idiot too.

      1. Some gameplayers surmise Show Spoiler ▼

        Stilts edit: Mark those potential spoilers, even if they are guesswork.

      2. Woshishu also the one that negotiated with tsukuru isn’t it? And also as far as i know the only general cmiiw that meeting emperor in that garden(there’s only haku,honoka,woshishu and the twin that was shown coming to that place)

        the question is if this is a plot by the emperor to forced haku become his successor why he have to remove oshutoru?with this move there are a risk haku died while he saving oshutoru..it’s better if haku forced to marry the princess I think..

        The only thing that I can imagine after next episode preview was haku and co running away to tsukuru..begging sanctuary hahaha

    2. my bet, this is all an setup of the Emperor. he was or is an DNA Creator. He could come easy with an DNA Body clone of himself, to fake all others even his Daughter

      i bet he is hiding in this Lab that he showed Haku

      If i was Haku and found things not in Order, i would go looking there.. But i bet Honoka (The Wife) will block his attempts or the evil Generals

      The Key scene, is to look there for clues. If i would be Haku

  10. The whole talk among the generals about Oshutoro was just idiotic. Unless all of them except for Dekoponpo were in on it. No one pointed out that Oshutoro would become the most powerful person in the empire as soon as the princess became Empress. So he was the only one who had nothing to gain from poisoning her. Even if he wanted to overthrow her he should have waited until he could use her to get rid of the other generals first.

    1. Ayup. Plus, why would he present her with the poison himself, and stay there in person, if he wanted to kill her? Granted, that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. He could be bonkers. But that doesn’t seem likely, what with all we know about Oshutoru.

  11. Sorry but I just can’t help but root for Tusukuru to destroy Yamatos invasion. 21 episodes in, I’ve yet to feel any connection with any character of the second season. Atleast with Tusukuru, you feel the emotion with eachother and build on it.

  12. Hum I felt very connected to the characters but I managed the trick of switching to slice of life mode that it seams few did.

    Many times deaths of leaders caused the invasion forces to with draw. The point being civil war is a real possibility and the leaders needing to consolidate control in the capital.

    Last episode Stilts and I missed what happens to calvary when you try to hold ground against infantry with it. When you try to hold ground many calvary men lose their mounts and the force becomes half infantry and calvary and thus cannot be quickly withdrawn. Also the calvary can accidentally get stuck next to infantry which is how I recalled this remembering a Napoleonic war game I played where calvary got pinned next to a infantry force when the charge failed and then I recalled more. Calvary normally avoids this by charging and either going though or immediately retreating. Thus most calvary commanders try to avoid trying to hold ground unless there is no better option or if they lack infantry and need to hold ground.

    Again though actual combat practice was not shown in the battle shown in the anime.

    Heard the director is known for slice of life stories if so that was a mistake. But trying to make a story that probably needed 14 to 16 episodes into 24 has cause problems. The first series suffered at the end by being too short but at least it hooked you first.

  13. Oh in the next 20 years I can dream they do a reboot and do the whole 3 series as one big story fleshing out the first part, comprising and better writing the action part of the second with the hopeful done right 3rd part.

    Of course I’m still waiting for Horizon on the middle of nowhere to get another season and it was a true hit in disc sales and other measurements. Hope it not also typical for Hollywood as well negotiation battles that hits can have over who gets what on a new season not killing it.

    At least I hope they doing the Legions of Galactic Hero’s redo right. If so Stilts would love it although 160 some episodes might kill him.

    1. 160 episodes would definitely kill me. Or everyone who’s been yelling at me to finish other series (American TV & movies, mainly, where my backlog is even worse than with anime) might kill me.

      I think Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is mainly not being made because they’d need 2-cour to do the next part of the story, because the light novels probably still sell well enough, and because Sunrise is making way more money doing Love Live anime than they did doing Kyoukaisen. Which sucks, though then again blogging Kyoukaisen is like a full-time job, so conflicted feelings!

      1. B-but Stilts…I found randomc through your kyoukaisen reviews and honestly it vastly added to my enjoyment and understanding of the series (no joke I probably would have been lost without it, but all that background reading and research really helped immensely) s-so you gotta review the mythical third season. *sniff*

      2. Definitely agree with Stilts, Kyoukaisen is unlikely to get more seasons mostly due to Sunrise having more profitable series that are easier to adapt. And yes, third arc would definitely need more than 12 episodes; fitting the first two into into 12 each was already a small miracle and arc 3 has one more phone book to it than the first two.
        And more episodes would bring in cost issues and problems with going against the general seasonal form (which I think is often toxic to anime, but I digress). Too bad really, third arc is pretty darn awesome. And I would love to see more discussion about the series.
        One can dream.

        I would comment on the episode itself but I feel like it would just be me ranting and venting so I won’t. Besides, I can do that in final impressions post.

      3. Oh, I’d blog the next season of Kyoukaisen, no questions asked. I just have that treacherous voice in the back of my head reminding me of how I don’t have the time to spend 8+ hours on a single episode, so if it doesn’t happen…

        And then I strangle that little voice, ’cause I want more Toori and crew, dammit! But the little bastard voice keeps coming back. I oughta strangle his White Mage next time *grumble*

      4. Oh knowing the possible reason is actually good for my Kyoukaisen hopes as it was a big seller uper that make profit. It just the studio with the rights has another hit going so when it lags or ends they have Kyoukaisen to take the slot.

      5. The Kyoukaisen LN finished… I think at like 20 some odd dictionary-thick books? It went to “volume 9” or so, but each volume had 2-3 parts… each part could kill a man.

        The author has moved on to a new series, somethingorother Hexennacht, about witches (techno-magi, probably) or something. Same universe, though it’s in the future. He’s very consistent!

        So with that, I’d say the odds of another Horizon anime are fading to zero, sadly. No reason to sell more Horizon books when there are Hexennacht books to sell. :\

        I also STR that Horizon was a really difficult production technically– it gobbled up a lot of studio time, and there was talk that it took twice as long as other shows, with gobs of pre-production necessary. So yeah, even though I’d love to see a 3rd season, I’m not holding my breath.

        As for itsuwari no kamen… I am covered in disappointment. This writing… ugh. It started off with a lot of promise, and I had my fanboy moments when they called back to the original, but it’s been a hash for the last 8 or 9 episodes, it seems. (Probably longer than that.)

        It feels like a story that could have been told in one cour instead of two, with most of the characters removed. All I really need for this story to work is Haku and Kuon. (Sort of like Horo and whatshisface.) The rest is all kind of filler.

        Dekoponpo ruined a lot of it for me. He sucks at everything, even at being a villain, and that nyamo nyamo is the most annoying crap ever. Someone run him through with a sword already. Ugh. It was enjoyable watching the bad guy in the first series get whacked while nyamo-nyamoing like the pig he was, but this guy… ugh. WHY WON’T HE DIE??

      6. @s_w Actually, Kyoukaisen hasn’t ended yet, it’s going on at 21 published books (8 volumes/arcs) and counting (and that doesn’t include the side story stuff). First part of ninth volume/arc should be coming out in April.

        Hexennacht thing is like a side project Kawakami is writing at the same time. According to afterwords in volume 1, he wrote the plot to help a newly-wed mangaka in tight financial situation (Tsurugi Yasuyuki, never heard of him before).

        I’m not surprised the series was difficult to produce though, must have been a huge resource sink all things considered.

      7. @Erimaki Dang! I thought that with 8 “volumes” and 21 books he would have wrapped up Horizon by now. So Hexennacht is a side project, huh? I found out about the new series because Amazon JP keeps bombarding my email to buy it, so I figured, “Oh, he *had* to have wrapped up Horizon by now, right?”

        Lol. Shows what I know. I should pick up Horizon again. (But the volumes are pretty big, that’s some heavy reading. Literally. That’s no LN, that’s a freaking doorstop.)

        The anime production was incredibly difficult, though. I would *love* to see another series of Horizon, I just don’t think that Sunrise has the resources or the inclination to pull it off. (Of course, I would LOVE to be proven wrong here, but I don’t think companies do things to spite random nerds on the Internet.)

        … nyamo. (That makes it almost on-topic, right?)

  14. You’re right on the repetition of history here Stilts, but it’s not from the centralization of military power in the generals. The issue displayed this episode is what happens without a line of succession. Alexander the Great ironically is the best example of this (followed closely by the Mongols) as he never identified his successor before death. The Emperor is similar here for (as far as we know) never had a system of succession in place–he always envisioned staying alive. The princess was simply a living memory, never designed to inherit the throne, so no point in having anyone placed in line after her.

    I found it funny too the one important question was never asked by any character: what does Oshutoru gain from extirpating the princess? It’s hard to peacefully seize power when you have 8 equal competitors, each more selfish, petty and/or radical than Oshutoro, and no succession rules. Not to mention Oshutoro never sought power for personal reasons. Asking the question would have quickly absolved him of guilt. The person who did it likely understands Yamato’s succession “limit” and either has a method to come up the middle and seize control or simply wants to watch the whole thing fall apart; personally I’m betting on the former because it’s more interesting.

    Although there’s a lot of ways to explore and elaborate on the plot twist here, I am doubting we will ever it see it sufficiently elaborated upon or get more than bare bones answers. Things are moving a little too fast and the past few episodes have dropped the ball in providing a good story. Anything is possible, but the hopes are not high.

    1. I like how you bring up Alexander and the Mongols right after I did the same thing a few replies ago. Hadn’t even read this comment yet. Great minds think alike.

      You’re right that the succession isn’t specifically delineated, but it makes sufficient intuitive sense. He has no (known) family other than his daughter, and since familial succession is how almost all empires have worked historically (including among some of the ouros within Yamato; Dekoponpo inherited his position from his father, Atui & Rurutie are princesses, etc), it’s easy to make the leap. Which, of course, means that for anyone who’d like to sit on that throne who isn’t named Anju, the princess needs to die.

      Another issue: Why the hell would Oshutoru assassinate Anju in such a hamfisted way when he could instead woo her? She’s already demonstrated some sort of feelings for him. He almost certainly would have been her right-hand man as well, even more than Oshutoru was to the emperor, and he coulda ended up marrying her. No need to risk killing when he seems the one most likely to marry into an empire.

    2. @Pancakes: Agree. It’s really a line of succession issue though, to be fair, the emperor failed to account for “my heir will be poisoned”. IDK, maybe he should have had more kids. Anyway, it’s pretty much straight up monarchy succession which has its issues even if there are multiple heirs (some may try to usurp the eldest, etc). See history for that.

      Hypothetically, if Oshutoru’s goal is to seize the throne, then he does have motive/something to gain. Now whether he’s got a good chance of succeeding or not is another matter. Seen failed coup d’etat before in RL history – some which were doomed from the start. Point = I don’t think it’s as simple as “Oshutoru probably won’t succeed = nothing to gain = innocent”.

      Of course we all know Oshutoru’s the white knight, super loyal type who lives only to serve, etc. Also, as Stilts noted, it IS very out of character for him – especially so for his “friends” who you would think would have a very hard time buying into his guilt. Guess drinking and naked bonding only go so far these days. Like a lot of the show, how it all plays out is “half-assed”, though this time, ironically, it’s rushed as well. The whole thing was incredibly stupid for a not stupid guy. He freaking serves her the tea himself on top of conveniently leaving the poison in his room to be found, and it gets resolved by “it’s so stupid he’s trying to trick us because it’s so stupid = guilty”. Huh?

  15. Emperor and his Primarchs…, erm Pillar Generals
    Warhammer 40k called it wants its storyline back!
    Though Alexander and his Diadochs were there first, surely…
    One can only imagine what fate would befell Bonaparte’s Empire had it outlived the Emperor himself, though civil service and state was much more established by then…
    And then there is great “what if” of the Operation Walkure, how would the 3rd Reich decomposein the wake of the hypothethical successful assassiantion of He Whose Name shall Not Be Invoked to avoid internet laws break…

    1. France and Germany at least had the core nation-state that was well established by those points. (In fact, part of the reason Napoleon was so successful was that he was using the French population like a modern nation-state—the whole country was at war, which meant everyone participated, which meant he had a lot more troops to throw into the meat grinder.)

      But I doubt Napoleon’s Empire or the Third Reich would have survived the deaths of their charismatic leaders. Ghengis Khan is one of the few such warlords to create a method of succession that actually worked, which is one of the reasons why the Mongols were so unusually successful and powerful—even if it only worked three times before the whole thing fell apart, and it’s debatable how well the last two worked.

      1. arguably, the most succesful empires in history – Rome, China, British Empire and arguably US one today – were succesful more because mastering the art of governing than art of war…

      2. The US isn’t an empire. It only dabbled in it a bit, and that was mostly before it became the top dog on the world stage. And let’s not talk about the US’s mastery of the art of governance when an African strongman/Mussolini v2.0 is running for president =_= Also, the US congress doesn’t really work anymore.

        But yeah, we got the transfer of power down pat. Thank you George Washington, for not screwing the whole pooch.

      3. I’d say the kind of empire US runs is as primus inter pares amongst the democracies of the developed world, with other states being allies, rather than subjects or vassals. The network of military bases all over the planet is de facto empire, even if not ruled directly. Benefits of such empire more than direct control is influence and access to markets and (to lesser extent) resources.
        I am with Niall Fergusson on that American Empire is something US didnt relaly envision, but happened to them as a result of both world wars catapulting them int superpower status
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSKmPTooSyA here is a nice lecture on that subject.

      4. I’m not sure that classifies as empire, but there’s certainly something happening that feels empire-ish. Also, I learned from “primus inter pares,” and I like learning new words/phrases, so danke.

        It reminds me of how the Roman Republic was said to have conquered the world in self-defense. America ended up spreading its influence out of fear (of communism, mostly), and because nobody else could do it, and because it seemed like it needed to be done. All that remains to be seen is if American hegemony ends in similar circumstances. I’d put my money on no, but, well, we’ll see. Or we’ll die before we get to see, lol

        I’ll check out that video later, when I’m not doing my taxes *grumble grumble*

      5. The US empire thing is a attempt by critics to makes something they dislike worse than it is. Sort of saying the US is a colonial power vastly underestimates what a real colonial power does. To be a empire you have to take and occupy countries against their will not just keep a base there. The US was a minor colonial power for awhile but quit after WWII. Heck we did not even get the Iraq oil rights. Now some US actions have been bad, some very bad actually occupying places instead of propping up a strong man might have actually been better. but by standards of a colonial power very wimpy.
        I deeply regret maybe the fact the US did something I can not think any of the other leaders of the time doing and that is not insisting that the US be the only nuclear power after WWII and theater to nuclear bomb anyone who did not let our inspectors in. I’m sure Churchill or Charles de Gaulle would have insisted on being the only nuclear power and of course Stalin.

        Now defining a empire on power not conquest does make the US a empire and being a group of states also qualifies as Empire (the Holy Roman Empire was mostly a alliance of states, Japan is a Empire, ) but that is not the type of Empire the critics are complaining about they are complaining about a colonial Empire.

  16. This all is the Shadow Plan of the Emperor, to push Haku to take over the ruling, to test where he stands. To Yamato or his Friends? To protect his friends, he has to take over Yamato also. The princess is his friend. Also the Poison.. a part of the poison reacted with something she eated or was already in her stomach, so the Tea was just an reaction. Not the real poison attempt

    i do thing, the Emperor is still alive, watching from the shadows how his Generals react and Haku. Forcing Haku into his plans…

  17. So we get a timeskip of at least a few days right at the beginning of the episode for some extra confusion and a chaotic retreat. It’s really hard to tell how much time passes during these events.
    Some other observations
    – The other two Invasion Generals retreated fast enough to arrive at the emperors funeral service before Munechikas troops even set sail
    – We don’t get to see the emperors face
    – Poison doesn’t kill Anju immediately – so plot is to remove Ukon and then rule as substitute for a weakened Anju? I guess it would be easier to rule in someones name instead of taking the throne directly
    – Ukon is allowed to keep his mask… this either means all other generals are in on this conspiracy and know he won’t use the mask or they just believe it’s a good idea to leave such a strong object to a traitor. Nothing could go wrong! xD
    – Ukon gives his mask to the Idiot. Idiot doesn’t tell the other generals about this? (or just not shown)…. mh, the Idiot is going to die when he is trying to use the mask and it goes out of control, isn’t he?
    – “obvious not evil” soldiers wearing completely black armour announce the beheading (did they carry yamatos flag or someone elses? can’t remember)

    1. I remember thinking how dumb it was that they left him the mask, and it’s probably easier to retreat when Munechika’s forces are holding the enemy at bay, ’cause they’re still fighting. Raikou & co kinda screwed her there.

      The black-armored soldiers might not be evil or anything. That could just be armor that’s worn when announcing dire news, such as a trusted general’s execution. It’s certainly menacing, though.

    2. With everything that’s going on it felt like an instance of “Colour-Coded for Your Convenience”^^ But yes, the reason for it could be harmless, like both of you pointed out.

    1. Brainstom Thunder hit..

      Why he must “die”.. i think i found the solution

      Well, he looks similar to Haku right?

      Haku is the real young Brother of the Emperor, right?

      So he want to get rid of the “false Haku” face alike person, right?

      1. he is forcing Haku to do something, but the reputation of the general is done for… Thats why i can not come with a good solution to this all mess right now.. perhaps with time

        If you ignore this above, then Haku will take his place. the best candidate to earn Yamato’s trust. to be the next “Prince” or Emperor with marry his Daughter, or being his Guardian/Mentor..

        I think i found the “why” he must get rid off. But the blaming of killing the daughter, do not fit

        my Guts telling me, i am nearly at the destination, but i am still blind for the last piece to fall in the right place, to see the whole Picture

  18. Things become more interesting and I’m intrigued where this coup d’état will boils down. I think it is the build-up for the next season, where Haku follows the path of Hakuro and leads a rebellion. Let’s see which general seeks which side.

    1. Oshutoru, Munechika, Mikazuchi, and the three regional governors (Atui & Rurutie’s fathers + the dude with Evenkuruga ears). No way in hell Dekoponpo or Vurai are going to side with Haku (or, in Vurai’s case, Oshutoru). I wouldn’t bet on Raikou either, and Woshisu is more than a little shady.

      Though if the third season features Haku doing the same thing Hakuoro did, it begs the question of why they didn’t have him do it 15 episodes ago instead of next season. A full season of buildup to the same basic plot as season one is a massive waste of time.

  19. HalfDemonInuyasha above mentioned pacing and mood whiplash. I’m going to add plot whiplash to that list because that’s how all this feels to me. It’s like the show has been scripted by a bunch of ADD writers who can neither decide upon nor sufficiently follow through on a given plot line. We spent a few episodes on this “war” and then “eh, enough of that, lets go on to something else”. The “resolution” to the “war” feels half-assed and incomplete. It’s not satisfying. Get part way in and ditch it for something else. What was the point? To have a noble “sacrifice” in Munechika (who I’m not buying was killed)? So we can have a “surprise” when she shows up later? Get Haku & Co. out of town? Send him & crew to an onsen or something. Plenty of baths being taken in this show as it is.

    Even with the Anju in perfect health, given that (a) she’s kind of an emotional mess right now and (b) she’s very young, not a strong leader, etc., I think there was sufficient potential for internal political turmoil (e.g. continue the war or not), but to be fair, a coup d’etat does raise the stakes. Fine, I’ll roll with it. Still, uh yeah, pacing whiplash as we jump from one thing to another quickly this episode. Pacing aside, wasn’t the best stuff either as others have noted. Oshutoru was oddly stoic about the whole traitor/assassin thing. “I know I’m innocent which I’ll prove by…” giving up my hax mask to ass-hat and silently enduring torture? Nothing like “hey, I didn’t brew the damn tea!” or some sort of protest? He just rolls over so that Haku can be all heroic and save the day (and you do know Haku will save the day). I get that they can’t go into too much detail since we need to solve the mystery later, but still… A someone else noted, “ham-fisted” is a good way to describe what went on IMO.

    The show has what, 4 episodes left? It would truly ironic, but not unexpected, for this show to rush the remaining four episodes after faffing about, half-assing it, for so long. Next episode is “rescue” so there’s one down. That leaves two to “solve the mystery” and one to wrap things up.

    Going with a theme I’ve had before, the one word description foremost in my mind now is “unsatisfying”. This just isn’t a satisfying watch. Things are finally starting to move in terms of the “real” plot, but it’s too little too late after 21 episodes.


    @Stilts: “It feels like there should have been more of a tussle among the generals; I can’t imagine Mikazuchi voting for Oshutoru’s death, even though the herald said the decision was unanimous.”

    I agree, especially since we wasted time saw the two as drinking (and naked >_>) buddies more than once. It’s just fast-forwarding the plot. You’d think that Mikazuchi, not Vurai, would have visited Oshutoru, but nope. No time for that. Plus the less we get from Oshutoru now leaves more to use later when the murder mystery is solved… at the expense of what goes on now. This isn’t a good way to insert a murder mystery into the story. Strikes me as lazy writing.

  20. This was VERY poorly written. Give me one good reason for Oshu to give up his mask to prove loyalty to the one who he KNOWS is a moron. MAYBE DON’T GIVE UP THE SOURCE OF YOUR POWER?

  21. It’s times like this that makes me feel like not watching the original series is beneficial to me because personally I’ve been enjoying the adaptation with little to no complaints.

    As such I actually really enjoyed this episode and was annoyed when we hit the end credits though that was done away with once the post credits scene kicked in. I like that we got to see the aftermath and how people reacted to the Emporer’s death. I was actually surprised they went through with it! I was expecting them to reaveal that the Emporer to have faked his death but that’s clearly not what happened here. I love that the status quo has changed and seeing the fallout.

    I am confused as to how things are going to be dealt with in the coming episodes though. I’ve been unfortunately spoiled that Show Spoiler ▼

    but with four episodes left I’m still wondering how we’ll get to that point.


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