「千里の馬も蹴躓く」 (Senri no Uma mo Ketsumazuku)
“Even a Champion Racehorse May Stumble”

If you were hoping for the pattern of deaths to skip, prepare for disappointment because today marks the date we’re pouring three out for Monkey, Ram, and Horse in that exact order. Everything is going as planned as per the ED credits as the past six people that died were killed off precisely to that order. While there is a sense of unpredictability to the twists and turns to the characters’ motives in Juuni Taisen, any element of suspense on who’s going to win is thrown out the window with six of the contestants getting taken down as the anime predicted early on.

The intention might be for the viewer to know beforehand, but if there were no prior hints in the novel, it is a failing on the anime’s behalf to give away every secret. And the next batch of episodes are a two-parter based on the twins, so these two episodes will probably focus on the Snake zombie and the Dragon being defeated. Hopefully, there’ll be something to spice up how the rest of the tournament will proceed now that it seems inevitable for the outcome to go as anyone can predict based off of the OP/ED giveaway.

Shuryuu biting it marks a very sad occasion for the show. As a fellow Monkey, I now know the pain of losing my Zodiac in the tournament, but that’s just a personal reason. On a narrative level, Shuryuu provided a great contrast to the crapsack world that Juuni Taisen presented. While almost all of the cast was desensitized by all of the murder they’ve seen and caused, Shuryuu made it her life’s mission to be selfless and use her powers to stop the war and destruction. She also provided a counter to the selfish nature of most of the characters given that she was able to give Nezumi food for thought about his nihilistic beliefs. Now that she’s gone, Nezumi’s pessimism comes off like gospel as he tells Uuma that not participating is the same as being dead, and mocks the notion that she’d have a plan if she was going to get killed. She did say she had more than just a Plan A, so she must’ve factored in dying towards one of the plans she had under her sleeve. For now, we’ll have to see if we see any of Shuryuu’s efforts pay off posthumously, or if her becoming a zombie will factor in with any negotiations for peace.

Her demise is also one of the two parts of this episode that set a precedence for how much the formula repeats for character deaths. She went out almost exactly the same way Ino did by initially planning on overcoming him easily only for him to get the upper-hand using Snake’s body. Similarly, Hitsujii went out like Dotsuku by being blind-sighted by his killer’s perceived weakness only to be caught off-guard and killed swiftly. The show doesn’t need to be imaginative, but it loses its shock value when the same two lighting bolts strike twice in the same places they landed.

Admittedly, it was hilarious to see the build-up towards the reveal of Tora’s killing way. Having her come off like a messy drunk for a majority of her screen time was a good way to set up that drowning herself in booze is what helps her kill efficiently, especially with the realization Hitsujii has that instead of acting like an insult to assassins by drinking away her senses, she was powering up this whole time. If there’s one takeaway from the episode, it’s the joy I’m getting from the idea of Tora having the highest possibility of being among the Final Three all the while being drunk out of her gourd.

Uuma becoming a hikikomori is the one part of this episode that feels like a new idea from the anime. Rather than inspiring Uuma to gain the resolve to fight back, surviving his fight Ushii ultimately ended up feeding into the anxiety he has about the likelihood of dying in the tournament, and caused him to hide out. With so many of the competitors joining the tournament for their own reasons, Uuma turned out to be the least qualified combatant to be there, putting too much of his chips on whether he can join a pacifist group that will spare his life. In fact, much of his last moments were spent on reminiscing on how he had engineered his body to be the strongest in the world as a shield for his lacking fighting capabilities, and how the extent of his competitors’ talents are hitting him like a freight train with crippling despair over his failings. Nezumi briefly joined him in his break, but lured Snake to Uuma’s hideout location in the process, getting him killed by suffocating from the fumes of the burning building. What it means for the tournament now that only five fighters remain, and Zombie Snake has honed in on Nezumi is speculation at this point, but it’s getting easier to predict the outcome of the next episode as the Rat overcoming the Snake.



  1. So have the writers of this stuff no idea how fire protection for bank vaults works? Even a moderately good home safe should be resistant to really high temperatures for at least an hour, but a bank vault? You could raze the entire building to the ground and it would be pretty much untouched. And the whole thing (plus all the chase scenes) from a single flamethrower??? A typical portable flamethrower has a total burn time of less than 30 seconds.

    OK, OK, so I’m sore because I’m a horse too…

    1. well, Uuma did die because of oxygen deprivation so I guess the vault did its job of resisting the heat to an extent. and that the fire was actually going on for a long time already

    2. Snake’s flamethrower operates off of action movie logic so it’ll only run out of gas if it’s part of the plot. Uuma’s death was unconventional in that he died from smoke inhalation rather than the more cinematic burning alive method. The only factor I’d say could play into him dying in the vault was that there were enough open vents in the room for enough smoke to get in to suffocate him.

      The flamethrower is what I have the most trouble with now that you mention it because zombie Snake probably doesn’t have the ability to tell whether he has enough fuel on his body to keep reloading, nor is he ever shown reloading. As someone who lost their zodiac this week as well, I can understand feeling bitter about my character going out like that. You dodged a thousand birds, Shuryuu, and couldn’t telegraph two swords jutting in the same direction or see Snake’s head on the tree until right then? And for Uuma, he could’ve been really cool, but they made him scared the whole remainder of the time as if holding his own against Ushii wasn’t something to be proud of.

      1. Don’t forget that this world incorporates magic or science so advanced that it might as well be magic.

        It wouldn’t be such a far stretch to just assume that Snake can power his flamethrower indefinitely by feeding it *ahem* THE MOST FANTASTIC SNAKE OIL AVAILABLE! GET YOURS NOW! *cough* Had to do it, sorry.

    1. Hopefully it wasn’t too much. They put alot of flags on her, but I was hoping that she’d go all the way, especially since it’d be interesting to see if her pacifism would’ve put the VIP members in a bind of who to bet on since Shuryuu being a favorite would’ve meant they’d be betting for their own possible collapse. It could’ve been cool if she was at the very least in the Final Three T_T

  2. Likely Sheep’s death is a play on the cliche of young people underestimating old, experienced warriors – in this case grandpa underestimated what he thought was a drunken young’un.

  3. This show is becoming a bit like a reverse of Columbo: rather than knowing who killed the victim and the episode showing how Columbo figures it out, here we know who’s going to die next, and the game becomes who is going to kill them and how are they going to do it?

    A. Gui
    1. That’s a good way of looking at it. Where the show’s bag of secrets on who survives is out in the open, but the mystery is more about how the combatants are defeated and how it affects the outcome. The mystery is in the journey instead of the destination, and it’s an interesting spin on things if they can keep the momentum going for the remaining reveals.

      1. That’s what makes the show fun too. It’s a bag of violence wrapped in a reverse-mystery.

        Personally, I’m invested in Rat’s deal. The fact that everyone seems to know him sounds like it’s part of his abilities.

  4. Seems like the theme of the shows deaths is don’t underestimate your opponent. Well, apart from Uuma, who basically did the opposite. That poor awkward dork deserved better. As did Sharyu, for that matter.

    Though, while I’m on about Sharyu-I was thinking that even though her death was caused by underestimation, I still feel like it was a little different. The other under-estimators were a little cocky in how they underestimated and kinda just made an instant assumption from the word go, Sharyu only assumed Usagi didn’t have martial prowess from watching him and battling with him up close and personal for a while and she WAS trying to make a strategy that was a response to what she’d seen. I guess she just miscalculated. Though, even knowing Usagi is a necromantist I absolutely did not foresee that he was going to use SNAKE’s FREAKING HEAD to help him like that. That really surprised me and also has me wondering how exactly zombies communicate. And honestly, even though it is Hitsuji who kills (or rather killed) deceptively, I can’t help but feel deception is a big part of Usagi’s style too. If you can really call it a style…but yeah. RIP Sharyu. She’d have definitely shaken things up if she’d at least made it to the top 3.

    About predictability-I have to agree, it’s a little disappointing we’re going in the order shown in the ED. But, given the events so far have not got a real sense of timeline beyond the fact that everything will be over in 12 hours, whose to say they literally happened in that order? I saw a theory somewhere that basically everything is happening concurrently, which makes sense, after all, a lot of these battles are separate and the city is vast. So even if we’re being SHOWN the events happening in this order, they might not be ACTUALLY occurring in that order, and some deaths may have even occurred simultaneously. And of course, we have got Snake who died before everything began. So the possibility is there. I guess we won’t know for sure until the end though.

    1. Don’t forget Rabbit is killing “psychotically”, i.e., crazy and unpredictably. Monkey’s mistake was not clueing into his tagline and taking it into consideration.

      I was glad when Ram actually paid attention to Tiger’s tagline. Not that it helped; it was already too late.

    2. Yeah, Uuma deserved more than to spend his last moments hiding away when he’s already done enough fighting and strength training to be able to hold his own against most of the cast.

      True, it would’ve been hard to factor Usagi getting creative enough to use Snake’s head as a means of scoping out the battlefield, let alone figure out how to get his head placed on the branch so he’d be able to telegraph Shuryuu’s movement, and reverse his odds.

      That is a great point. Sometimes when they shift from character to character, time is displaced to effectively see from their point of view, but their actions usually happen at the same time as an action you saw earlier in the episode. I’m trying to interlink Ushii’s actions with the timeline, and how his actions happen during other scenes like him finding Niwatori while Nezumi and Shuryuu discusses her possible fate, or his efforts to chase after Hitsujii interlinking with the Usagi/Shuryuu fight.

  5. I hope something comes along to surprise us. Say, one of Monkey’s plans pops into action even with her gone. Something to alter what appears to be set in …. the credit scroll.

    I’m not opposed to knowing the order in which they die; but I am getting bored with the obvious “I’m going to totally underestimate this person in front of me” ploy. Almost everyone has gone down this way so I hope something alters the pattern. I wanna see a loop thrown.

    1. I have a strong feeling that Monkey’s main plan involved dying, and trying to negotiate peace with everyone including Bunny was an idealistic Plan B. Or that the wheels of her plan were set in motion simply from having someone as powerful as Rat align himself with her early on so that he’d slowly adopt her ideals, and use his power to find a way to end the Zodiac Wars.

      I agree with the latter part. The pattern is a minor complaint for me, but I think Horse is the only one so far that didn’t get killed by underestimating their opponent. It feels weird that in a situation where everyone understands that all the combatants have to be strong enough to be in the tournament, there are still people underestimating incredibly dangerous opponents.

  6. Don’t underestimate Rabbit. That guy is incredible smart. He comes up with surprising tactics and his judgement of others is on point. Finding Rats and Monkeys hideout also shows good intuition.

    I’m sorry for Uma he had such strong abilities, but these couldn’t come into play due to his psychological issues.

    With only 4 non-Rabbit participants left and team Rabbit reaching head count 4, the others are forced to form an anti-Rabbit alliance. But do they understand this?


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