「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!