「機密事項一〇一 アオキシュラノハナ」 (Kimitsu Jikō Ichi Maru Ichi Aoki Shura no Hana)
“Confidential File 101, The Blue Flower of Carnage”
I just stepped into a world I was ill prepared for.
Sophisticated and mature are the words that came to mind as the premiere of Jouran: Princess of Snow and Blood came to a close. Not all aspects of the premise have been revealed but I’m confident that many of us are sitting around wondering what will happen in upcoming episodes.
This season, we’ve been spoiled with a few action packed series with female lead characters and I’m not afraid to say we’re blessed to have been introduced to Yukimura Sawa (Mimori Suzuko), who, if you ask me, reminds me a lot of protagonist Saya from Blood +.
Sawa with the alias Yuki (“Snow”) has what seems to be a normal life. She manages the Morning Dew bookstore by day, being amicable yet cold with those who bring her business while living with young and vibrant Nakamura Asahi (Itou Ayasa), with whom her relationship is uncertain at this point. When night falls, however, Sawa finds her way through the back alleys and shadows of the underground world, taking on missions that require her to reveal the darkness that ‘dwells’ within. In the dark of night, when it’s safe for her to call upon the demon that taints her body, her pale skin glows blue evoking a slumbering power.
This character is already shrouded in so much mystery I can already say it’s impossible for me not to want to know more about her. I could continue on about Sawa because I trust that this character will not disappoint but there are other factors that need to be covered before we dive into the episode’s nooks and crannies.
Firstly, welcome to Yoshinobu Tokugawa’s reign of Japan in the 64th year of the Meiji era. In this alternate history Japan, Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s reign was never abolished and the shogunate prospers all thanks the monopoly of a particular resource called “Ryumyaku.” This element is most likely at the source of why this Tokyo’s city line involves a mix of Edo period styled architecture and technologically advanced looking monuments.
However, where there is prosperity also exists unrest which is clear as night and day when two delinquents are caught vandalizing the Tokyo Castle wall, a wall with the purpose of keeping out those who might seek out the Ryumyaku.
And this is where Sawa and her band of shadow hunters step in. This mysterious organization is made up of herself, Hanakaze Elena (Raychell), and Tsukihiro Makoto (Aoi Shouta) is lead by Kuzuhara Jin (Kobayashi Chikahiro), whose interactions with Sawa implies he’s known her for a long time. The four individuals have been brought together by the current Shogun as additional ‘security’ preventing any attempts at disrupting his reign.
But outside of the advanced weaponry, the political nuances, and this underground organization hunting down “Janome” who is a Changeling smuggler of sorts, we’re left with the question of: “Who is Yukimura Sawa?” She has the ability to control the demon/energy within her whereas many others, like the foe she comes face to face with, succumb to it, victims of animalistic rage.
So many intriguing facets to this story that low and behold, I now get to talk about in the second episode review coming to you later this week.
P.S. Apologies, as I only realized the episode released earlier than anticipated, so here’s the review of the first episode before I get into the second for you as soon as humanly possible this week.