「機密事項〇九九クチナワ」 (Kimitsu Jikō Zero Kyū Kyū Kuchinawa)
“Confidential Case File 099, Kuchinawa”

Miss Simplice’s Review

You know what? I’m glad we’re done with Janome. I truly hope he’s a thing of the past. Sawa was this close to sounding like a broken record for the rest of the series. This episode finally gave her character more depth and complexity (outside of the usual background), breaking her cold exterior. The previous episode slightly opened the door to an emotionally driven Sawa but having the floodgates open wide in this episode was, for me, completely unexpected. Turn your eyes away from the screen if you haven’t watched yet cause what comes next is just a series of spoilers.

When Sawa discovered her older brother Takeru, the wailing, the heart, I could feel that in my bones. That’s quite the impressive acting from Mimori Suzuko. I got chills. This entire episode was unexpected. Having seen the flashback between the siblings just minutes before their tragic reunion was the nail in the coffin for this emotionally charged sequence of events. I didn’t expect Sawa’s confrontation with Janome to come full force in the first quarter of the season. So, what exactly will Jouran: Princess of Snow and Blood be about?

Something happened in this episode that is hard to wrap my mind around. The carefully crafted characters we were introduced to are reduced to being just mere humans with their regular weaknesses and flaws. Sawa is protective of Asahi as Jin is of Sawa, both guided by their emotions, explaining why he broke his cool when he confronted her in a duel of wits.

What this series has just done is put viewers into a confused state. If you aren’t confused, I’m curious to hear your predictions in the comments. But now that Sawa’s one true purpose has been fulfilled, my mind is in a bind. Makoto did escape with the remainder of the blue blood vials Janome collected from Sawa and her brother, so perhaps this is the thread we can use to fill this questionable void. It’s still unclear to me why he (she) turned on Janome in the first place to help Sawa. Was he (she) trying to lead her there so she could free herself of the burden she carried? Had this always been Makoto’s plan in order to expedite their objective to find Janome?

With Sawa’s one purpose complete, she’ll be left at a crossroad where neither option has a final destination…unless she gives her life over to Asahi.

Princess Usagi’s Review

In Sawa’s flashback, she meets with her brother, who taught her about the importance of animal companions. The choice of animals fits with the symbolism behind Karasumori and Yukimura. Her brother, being of the Karasumori clan, has the black crow as his companion, while Sawa, who becomes Yukimura, has the white crow. The joy and purity of Sawa’s childhood are evident in her flashback through the fresh, Spring-like white, yellow, and green hues of the flowers and grass. This is in clear contrast to the darker colors and prominent red hues that are featured in Sawa’s present-day settings-a present-day filled with murky motivations and dark, bloody deeds.

What happens next with Sawa’s encounter with Janome is bewildering. I was under the impression that Janome was the major antagonist. Why is the battle with the supposed final boss taking place in Episode 4? With minimal damage to herself, Sawa easily defeated this supposed big baddie (who was channeling his inner Phantom of the Opera with his creepy kidnapper organist act). The short battle makes him look like a weakling rather than the intimidating foe he was initially made out to be, but it is also a demonstration of just how powerful Sawa is.

Less than halfway through the series, we are left without a worthy opponent for Sawa. There are a few possibilities: Janome somehow survived (maybe like his fellow snake fan, Voldemort, he left a few horcruxes around to preserve himself), this Janome was a fake, or Janome is not actually the head villain and there is someone higher up that was actually responsible for the Karasumori clan’s fate. Interestingly, Janome’s name connects to his affinity with snakes. The Kanji characters that form “Janome” are the words for “snake” and “eye”.

Another puzzling piece is the yellow substance in the vials that flew out of the organ. What was that? There was no prior explanation of it was, it just conveniently showed up next to her brother.

My final question at the end of the episode was Asahi. Hanakaze and Kuzuhara remarked how any normal human would not be able to make it out of that inferno alive. How is Asahi still alive? Does she possess supernatural powers or did Janome perform off-screen blood experiments on her? Right now, the unanswered questions and the unexpectedly quick conclusion to Sawa’s revenge leads me to wonder if the story has anything further to offer or if this leads to a brilliant plot twist. Hopefully, next week will work out some of the knots that appeared in the story this week!


  1. The world in this show is very weird and complicated for a simple revenge story. We have yet to see any connection between Sawa, the group she’s in, and the larger world: the emperor, the militant authoritarianism, the total control of … that powerful substance (energy?).

    It appears now that Sawa’s background and revenge story are simply the entry devices used to bring Sawa into larger story events playing with those unusual world features which have currently been unnecessary in the events just shown.

    I’m not fond of characters who’s entire existence is based on revenge so I’m hopeful Sawa’s current focus on that will be removed or lessened so we can watch someone grow beyond that limited life purpose.

    1. Now that her mission is accomplished, I’m sure her character will grow beyond revenge. It seems like Asahi will give her a reason to continue living, now that her former reason for living (revenge) is gone. Perhaps it will turn into a story focusing on the healing and love that grows between Asahi and Sawa as they come to care for each other as a family. However, there is the possibility that Nue will not allow Sawa to be finished with killing, as I imagine they would be reluctant to give up a member with her level of powers. Like you said, Sawa’s revenge might just be an entry point, introducing the conflict between duty in the organization and her own personal feelings. It seems likely this conflict, rather than just the revenge, will be the focus from here on out.

      Princess Usagi
  2. I got the feeling that the story is moving a little too fast. While Janome wasn’t intended to be the main villain , maybe more buildup could have resulted in a more satisfying conclusion for Sawa’s revenge. That said, i guess we’ll see more about Janome’s motivations posthumously, especially now that the story will need to open up and embrace fully the alternative history setting.

    1. I agree, it did feel like the story moved too fast. But, if the real focus of the story will be the emotional growth of Sawa or the deeper plot behind the dragon’s vein material, then I guess it would make sense to not dwell too long on the Janome stuff. If Janome served as the introduction to Sawa as a character, it kind of makes sense that they would temporarily sideline the alternate history and the other characters in order to get that out of the way. It still would have been nice if they had more of a lead-up to Janome’s defeat. If he was going to be killed that soon, maybe they could have not made him seem such a menacing villain. Or they could have indicated that Nue was already far advanced in their progress with locating and killing Nue so it didn’t feel like they just suddenly killed him off.

      Princess Usagi
  3. I feel that we need to questions things here. Was Janine true culprit behind Karasumori clan massacre? Or was Sawa being manipulated? Because if anything is clear, is that Shogunate Has whole heaps of skeletons in proverbial closet. Also, it will be interestunf to see how Sawa will adapt to losing her main driving force, revenge.. GT

    1. It could make sense given how quickly he was removed from the story, if Janome was not actually the true culprit. Maybe he was just the researcher who carried out orders from higher ups to create things they needed for their devious plans. Another possibility is that the show’s focus is on Sawa’s growth, in which case, Janome and revenge would not necessarily be the main focus. Sawa is definitely being manipulated. Nue wants to keep the shogunate in power and the country in order, so they will use everything at their disposal, especially someone as powerful as Sawa. Now that they can no longer use revenge to manipulate Sawa, they will probably switch to using Asahi, promising her safety or threatening her life.

      Princess Usagi
  4. This show is cringingly awful. This episode was the final nail in the coffin. Sawa is such a gloomy trope and Tsukishiro is a character that tries to be more nuanced but comes off as nonsensical.

    The Commoner
    1. True, characters purely focused on revenge are not always the most engaging of characters! Hopefully now that her revenge seems to be over, Sawa can grow beyond revenge. We are already starting to see another, more caring side, with the introduction of Asahi into her life.

      Princess Usagi

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