「ザムライ娘。」 (Zamurai Musume.)
For those who’ve been watching Taiso Samurai, I think we can all agree it’s been a real treat that’s gone under the radar. But while it’s been wonderfully whimsical across three episodes – where a menagerie of eccentrics and quirky coalesce under a common theme of gymnastics, this episode was a down to earth depiction of how Rei lives out life as the daughter of a publicly ashamed famous person.
Rei and Parent’s Day
At school, she gets picked on. But as a very mature child, she doesn’t want her father’s focus to be taken away from training. So she doesn’t give away any hostile reaction, or tell anyone else about it. Because she loves seeing her father chase his dreams, and doesn’t want to become a hindrance to his gymnastic aspirations. In retrospect, the boys were young, foolish and impressionable. For all their mockery, they loved seeing ninjas or samurais in school if Leo’s visit was anything to go by. But kids are kids, and they can be exceedingly cruel without meaning it.
Having seen these negative interactions and with Jotaro focused on training for the upcoming tournament, Leo takes Parent’s Day into his own hands – only to end up publicly embarrassing Rachel. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. All he wanted to do was make sure Rachel wouldn’t be lonely or teased for not having her parent attend. Despite Leo’s wholesome attempt to cheer Rachel up, I felt second hand embarrassment from his excessive actions.
And when Rachel finally exploded with anger? That was the justifiable outpouring of all her pent up feelings. That was one hell of a exasperated monologue – beautifully followed by a sombre visit to her mother’s grave. The emotional contrast was very cathartic. Fortunately, Rei understood Leo meant well and ultimately forgives him. Which demonstrates how wise beyond her years this little girl truly is. Hopefully life will get better for all our characters – Jotaro, Leonardo and Rei. They might be quirky but I definitely care about them.
To conclude, I had a conversation with one of the other RandomC writers, who wondered why I would pick up such a shoddy series. What did I have to say? Taiso Samurai has a lot of quirky individuals who are deeper characters than their outwards appearance might suggest. While the overall story is whimsical, it still feels sincere. For me, the work has incredible soul and passion in it, which is rare to see outside of Kyoto Animation works. This is absolutely my kind of show.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week.