「羊の皮をかぶった狼」 (Hitsuji no Kawa o Kabutta Ookami)
“A Wolf in Sheep`s Clothing”
It’s another week where everybody’s alive and well! Not just that, but they confirmed that Uuma is still kicking too, so we’re back to eight contestants. That hasn’t stopped the ringleader Duedeculpe from gathering VIPs in his HQ to await their choices for the betting pool once the competition comes down to six. Their speculation meticulously explores the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, narrowing down their speculative guesses to Ushii, Shuryuu, and Usagi as the favorites to win, and Hitsujii as a potential wild card pick. However, Duedeculpe’s mediation over the international betting committee implies that he has ulterior motives in conducting the Zodiac Wars as a means of deciding the fate of world powers.
It’s that aspect of the Zodiac War’s betting pool that makes me think Shuryuu has a better chance at getting far in the game, or at least has a gambit that would ensure that her plan for a peaceful end to the Zodiac Wars will make its way to the VIP room. The only problem is that her and Nezumi have some stiff competition at the moment from Usagi, who doesn’t seem to have much of a thought process over his actions aside from blank stares and giggles. He’s also holed up Nezumi using Takeyasu’s body to trap him in a room where he must try to maneuver his way about without getting hit by the flamethrower. It seems like a rough enough spot where someone isn’t going to walk away from those fights, but stranger things are happening at the moment.The strangest so far is the reveal that Uuma was strong enough to make Ushii feel lazy about putting the effort in to kill him, opting to just tossing him through the subway wall, and leaving it at that. Ushii retains his one-track mind killing Niwatori and sensing Hitsujii somewhere in the area, but was impressed enough with Uuma not to bother trying to cut out the poison key inside of him.
Ultimately, this was Hitsujii’s episode, giving us some background about his past as a weapons specialist, a soldier on the battlefield, a former contestant in an earlier Zodiac War, and eventually a grandfather. It was a good way of fleshing out his motives and the understanding he has for both weapons and his family life. Crazy to see that they held a Zodiac War inside of a space station, but I’d imagine when he was younger, the Zodiac Wars organizers couldn’t resist the allure of the Space Race. I liked how they made him more than just a clever old man by showing us that the effect of his wish with the Zodiac War was to see his grandchild and spend quality time with them. It was adorable to see how invested he was in trying to keep up with his grandson’s video gaming, and have him assist in launching fireworks he set up.
They gave Shuryuu depth with the normalcy of her home life, but it really lends itself to Hitsujii’s character by having him treasure the time he’s had with his family so much that he was willing to take part in the Zodiac War in his grandchild’s place. His likelihood of make it out of the Zodiac War is relatively slim, especially since his plan takes into account that the lower tier fighters weren’t taken out already, AND if he makes the same mistake Dotsuku made by not booking it after he found a way to duck out of being poisoned. But at the moment, it’s all determinant on what his interaction with Tora will be like. He’s repulsed to see her spending her time getting drunk on a park bench, and doesn’t see her as qualified at all to be here, but underestimation has proven to be a grave mistake before.