「二兎追う者は一兎も得ず」 (Nito Ou Mono wa Itto mo Ezu)
“The Man Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches Neither”

Man, did the budget get hit with the ugly stick. The last episode had some “quality” artwork, but most of the present-day scenes were animated in CG. The incorporation of 3D artwork into the show was seamless in past episodes, and they make sense in laborious action scenes, but it’s jarring to see scenes where Ushii is standing still, talking to Tora, and the lip flaps and head movements are as jerky as a video game cut scene with in-game models. And what on Earth is this!? I get that Dragon’s power can let him levitate, but it looks so ridiculous with the ice pack that he looks like Lifeform-Hojo N from Final Fantasy VII, and it doesn’t help that the 3D makes it look like he pumped the breaks to plop himself down to fight on Ushi/Tora’s level. As soon as Usagi used zombie Shuryuu’s strength to catapult him into the sky, that should’ve been a warning sign of how convoluted it would get to have Usagi insert himself into the fray, but the execution would’ve been easier to process if it didn’t look as sloppy.

The lack of pomp and circumstance to the character deaths is a double-edged sword in this episode especially. It was amusing to see just how BS it was for Dragon to get bisected right as he was about to enter the fray, and immediately after he caught his brother’s head in confusion. Some of the best dark comedy in Juuni Taisen is how absurd the situations are that got competitors killed like Hitsujii realizing what Tora’s drinking was for after hearing her killing method or Dotsuku finding out what a mistake it was to power up Niwatori. Beginning an episode with a character so pumped up about joining in the fight being taken out only a couple minutes into it by someone who showed up out of nowhere to mention how similar the situation is to the Moon Rabbit folklore is on-par with these moments

The downside to this is that Usagi is completely demolished by Ushii and Tora as soon as he starts fighting. It’s been established that Usagi isn’t that good of a fighter, and his success has been a combination of clever tactics using his necromantist powers and pure luck. Still, you’d think he would have more tricks up his sleeve since he’s been built up as a cunning psychopath. As others have said, he’s also the only character who hasn’t had any backstory or reasoning behind his existence. While he wouldn’t be as intimidating if we knew the ins and outs behind his character, it would’ve been nice to have a small nugget of what kind of life someone like him would’ve lead in a world where you aren’t slaughtering everyone around you.

Much of the present day scenes could’ve been better, but Episode 09 excelled the highest with Tora’s backstory. Her transition from a beloved role model at the local dojo to a soldier who had grown apathetic and blood-thirsty through her alcoholism was devastating, and highlights how her transition aligns with the lives and ideologies of her fellow combatants. If combatants such as Snake, Dragon, Niwatori, and Inou were meant to express what people are willing to do once they’ve become desensitized to cruelty and violence, Tora was intended on showing how far someone can fall after finding a way to numb themselves to the murder they commit. Her dependence on alcohol abuse to keep herself satisfied and cope with the battlefield becomes self-destructive as she’s disowned from her dojo, suffers memory loss, and picks up on animalistic impulses while she kills in a drunken rage.

Tora’s POV as a soldier could easily lend itself to the entire story in itself as we see numerous angles of the lingering affects of war, whether it’s Inou’s involvement with militias, Shuryuu’s anti-war negotiation efforts, Hitsujii’s arms-dealing, or even the entire premise of the Zodiac War in itself as a decider of world power. It doesn’t linger on politics as much, but Juuni Taisen is still a very political story that explores the socioeconomic impact that war has on the people and nations that are ravaged by conflict. Many of the combatants are involved directly behind-the-scenes through the war, but Tora’s perspective as a soldier in the front lines of war place her in a vulnerable position as someone who’s jaded view of society comes from how meaningless the death she’s seen truly is, and how much she’s relied on alcohol as an escape from the trauma she’s had to face in the line of gun-fire. Most of the contestants have a grandiose role in the wars committed throughout the years, but Tora’s fall from grace and ostracization are all too real for those who haven’t been able to shake off the aftereffects of the battlefield after coming home from war, and can only cope through unhealthy addictions as a result of the neglect they face once they’re back to their lives as civilians. That alone makes Tora’s story compelling in relation to the combatants who were involved with the sidelines of conflict.



  1. It was really sad seeing the budget breakpoint in this episode, they went full on Berserk remake for a while there, then they spent two god damn episodes on the twins backstory just to instantly kill them off (both this time). It was not every wise animating 40 minutes worth of useless flashbacks just to run out of budget on the main battle itself.

    1. This morning, I was thinking about how I would’ve just preferred it if they reused animation from other moments Ushii and Tora had conversations an episode ago if that’s the corner they had to cut.

      The last episode started to show signs of the budget running out when you look at the fire and helicopters during Dragon’s flashback. It just hits you in the face once you get to the fight scene. I’m hoping that they’re only having this issue now, and not later now that there are only a few combatants left.

  2. Usagi definitely isn’t done, IIRC he bit his lip when he was jumping into the fight with Ushii and Tora. Either he can swap bodies with zombies or he’s got something else up his sleeve but I’d be shocked if that was the end of him.

      1. Rabbit never got a backstory in the source novel, his profile page just says his personal info’s unknown. I think the author didn’t want to break the mystery surrounding Rabbit and keep him an enigma.

  3. Yeah, no way is Usagi dead just yet. Probably swapped with zombie Misaki (*sniff sniff*) or something.

    And the sad thing with Tora is that it was the head of the dojo who told her that some things can only be experienced on a real battlefield, which is what prompted Tora to go out in the first place, so to see the head so easily disown her from the dojo when it was the head’s own words that started her down her path just feels so unfair. He doesn’t even try to talk to her or anything.

    1. From what I can gather the leader of the Twelve Houses are real assholes that delude themselfs into thinking they´re preserving world order and the way pf warriors, so I expected as much for the leader of the dojo but it still hurts to see how Tiger went from sweet highchool girl to drunk of her ass child soldier with some serious brain damage.

  4. Rabbit has died at the right time if the zodiac order is going to be followed to the end. Assuming that’s the case, if he’s going to come back then it’ll need to be next episode, with him being finished off for good before the duel between Tiger and Ox is over. We also have to consider that in the next three eps there has to be time for Ox and Rat’s backstory, and maybe Rabbit’s too if he’s really not done yet, plus Ox’s fights with Tiger and Rat. Given how quickly characters kill their opponents in this show I think it could actually fit.

    Re. budget issues: there were other examples in this ep too, with some of Tiger’s killfrenzy rampaging replaced by a still background shot and the sound of screams and splattering. (I actually really liked the floating Dragon torso though!)

  5. Tiger and Monkey are the only truly sympathetic characters of this story; Monkey fought hard to make the world a better place even when she knew the odds were against her and succeded, her only flaw was not understanding that some people are beyond salvation or in Rabbit´s case don´t deserve any; Tiger was a poor girl manipulated by adults, exploit for he martial power and thrown into hell to find meaning in all the stupid senseless violence humans do, when she breaks they just abandon her, it´s only natural that a child soldier ends up like, what were that asshole of a master expecting?.

    1. The tournament has a decent balance between people forced into where they’re at because of circumstances and people who genuinely love the killing. Monkey and Tiger are definitely the most sympathetic of the cast. I might add Rooster to the list because she was molded into an assassin at an early age against her control, and her change-of-heart around Monkey comes off as genuine now that we know that pacifism wasn’t a part of her powers.

      1. Boar is relly sympathetic as well, she did destroy her sister´s mind and made her kill herself but it was because of that monster of a father did to them. Just like Rooster, parental abuse destroys a person and if you put assassination into the mix of course you get a psycho as a result.

  6. Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch would be most effective at snuffing out naughty necromancer Rabbit, provided Tiger/Ox can remember the correct Holy countings of the Book of Armaments.

    “One, two, five! No, four! Or was it nine?”
    KABOOM!!! (^ X __ x ^)

    1. I like the background segments in their own right. Snake+Dragon and Tiger had two of the better ones. In a way it’s non-linear storytelling. Juuni Taisen isn’t only about the tournament itself but about how each participant ended up there.

  7. I didn’t read the manga, only viewing the anime… And I was thinking, the rabbit’s eyes are the same color as the zombies’ ones. It is because of his powers, or cause he is dead as well?
    Pherhaps the rat is gonna win, if they decide to follow the chinese zodiac mith…. Where the rat deceive the ox, and arrive first in the sky.

  8. Usagi bit off his own tongue right before that final clash. I can only assume he did it to kill himself so that he could then somehow posthumously control *himself* as a zombie and be able to put up a fight vs tiger and ox, since in a straight up fight he’s clearly no match. So I don’t think he’s out of the fight yet at all.

  9. 2 episodes spent/wasted on Snake and Dragon and then Dragon gets chopped in half at the beginning of the episode with no setup whatsoever, and having accomplished absolutely nothing.

    Yeah, this series is the King of disappointment. It does nothing, and accomplishes nothing. It doesn’t even really give creative fights either.

    I’m going to watch it all the way through, because I’m so invested at this point and I’m curious how it all ends, but I fully expect this to be a series no one remembers within a few years.


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