「時間を巻き戻すことはできません古城」 (Jikan o maki modosu koto wa dekimasen kojoo)
“The Castle Ruins Cannot Turn Back Time”
The times they are a-changin’
This week, Kuromukuro delivered its strongest installment yet by honing in on its most interesting character. Kennosuke is a man ripped four hundred and fifty years from the past into a time when people can fit into little tiny boxes. A strange world indeed.
The story focused on the samurai’s frustrations and annoyances with a future completely foreign to him. People no longer pride themselves on the honor and modesty he upholds himself by, and he’s left the odd man out in every situation. The fact that they insist on restraining him like a dog doesn’t help. It is Yukina‘s uncle—a kind and empathic monk—who actually sits with him face-to-face and addresses him as a person and not a threat. He tells him that both sides are fearful and—quite frankly—just scared of the whole situation. In the end, they’re all human beings—just placed in different contexts. Kennosuke must understand that he has to adapt and play by their rules—this isn’t the early Sengoku period anymore.
While we’ve seen man-out-of-time storylines ten times over, this one is particularly unique in its incorporation of his samurai lifestyle, and in turn, the nature of “purpose.” Kennosuke acknowledges the need to assimilate to contemporary values; however, this undeniably entails a loss of self—at least to a certain extent. By reforming himself to the present, he’s implored to abandon the beliefs and ideals of the past, which he has defined himself so rigorously by all his life. If he is without them, what purpose does he now serve in this new world? Without the things he was to protect, and the time in which his qualities and personalities were admired, he is without anything to define himself by. He’s left an empty shell of his former self—no good for anything in this time.
However, Yukina’s uncle once again lends some profound and relevant insight. He conveys the notion that one’s purpose isn’t exclusively constructed by his or her surroundings. Kennosuke assumes that just because he’s taken out of his time, he no longer has things to grant him aim and drive. However, almost immediately after accepting the need to assimilate, he meets the oh-so-adorable Koharu—Yukina’s little sister. The two almost instantly form a strong liking to one another in a way that feels genuine. She’s the only person in this world who isn’t scared of him. In fact, she’s enamored with the samurai. In the ensuing skirmish, Kennosuke is intensely driven to safe the little girl—perhaps the only thing he’s come to truly care for in this world. In that fight, he is undeniably filled with purpose, despite being nowhere near any of the things that defined him in the past. Yukina’s uncle is illustrating that one always possess the potential for purpose. We configure it to external objects and ideas, but if these are taken away, we are can easily adapt it to new stimuli. Kennosuke feels aimless now, but he just needs to find new things to care for—new things to give purpose to his life. Whether that be as a guardian, a soldier, a friend, or something else, is left for the rest of the season.
An overall impressive episode that spent some much-needed time on developing its leading man. Yes, I’m still a little confused as to who the main protagonist is, but I appreciate the focus nonetheless. This was a really strong way to address Kennosuke’s no-doubt shocking and distressing entry into the future. It explored the nature of one’s identity in relation to his/her environment, and provided some interesting insight that fleshed out Kennosuke’s character. I’m hoping Yukina gets the same treatment in the coming weeks.