「機密事項六二〇カムナガラ」 (Kimitsu Jikō Roku Ni Maru Kamu Nagara)
“Confidential File 620: Divine Right”
Miss Simplice’s Review
Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood is losing a bit of its grip. It was interesting in the beginning, especially with that beautiful opening sequence where we first saw Sawa face a changeling. Japan’s politics and its alternate history Tokyo were also at the forefront of why I wanted so badly to like this show. And lastly, Sawa’s supernatural abilities were another reason.
It’s only normal that once the Janome arc ended we hit a transitional episode but there’s something about the pacing of the show that isn’t setting up viewer expectations just right. But that out of the way, I do want to focus on the events in this episode.
The entire thing basically acted as a plot tool. One, it served to remove a secondary character who wasn’t the most interesting of personalities. I wasn’t very attached to Hanakaze and wasn’t very sympathetic to her cause. Even with her desire to have a different future, raising a child, and providing happiness for her partner, my emotions didn’t sway at her loss. This is why I believe that the true reason for this episode was to set up this second point. It set record straight about being a Nue member. Even with Sawa’s goal achieved, her role within the organization isn’t and never has been on an opt-in, opt-out basis.
However, she’s officially shaken by the loss of her brother, incapacitating her abilties or drive to support Nue’s missions. The memories she’s accumulated after years of slaying people without a second thought are catching up to her. The young traumatic girl she was when she lost her family, who was repressed deep within her psyche, is clawing her way out of the dark hole. And whenever that young torture soul emerges, the Sawa we know freezes, panics, and regresses. You could say she’s on a path towards healing but it can only get worse before it gets better which is what we’re witnessing. Am I wrong to assume she tried to cut her own throat after saving Hanakaze?
There is no Princess of Snow and Blood without Sawa, so I assume (like I hope many of you do) that Makoto’s poison isn’t lethal which has me questioning who they’re really loyal to. I am curious to see how this series progresses but there’s a chance I’ll leave the rest of the coverage with Princess Usagi in coming weeks. I haven’t decided yet but will let you know.
Princess Usagi Review
This episode is filled with whys. Sawa questions why she survives and why her crow, Nana, has chosen her. Hanakaze questions why she of all people has to get pregnant. We the viewers question why they have to kill off most of the MCs.
The central theme of this episode was that motherhood is passing on the care one has received (not necessarily from one’s own mother, but from siblings or other guardian figures) onto the next generation. The love Sawa received from her brother and the protection from Kuzuhara (although it was more for Nue’s benefit than her own) is now passed on to Asahi as she acts as a mother or older sister to her. Sawa asks why her crow chose to be her companion-the answer to that may be that the crow chose her to watch over Sawa as she lives through the beautiful cycle of life-of learning how to be protected and loved to then pass that on to another. We aren’t told anything about Hanakaze’s backstory, but we do see her embracing motherhood in keeping the child and rearranging her life to make room for the new addition.
The way the two women approach motherhood is very different from one another. After the completion of revenge Sawa is floundering, lost in the trauma of her brother’s death. At the same time, she wants to look out for Asahi and finds new meaning in life through her. When her request to leave Nue is denied, she doesn’t actively fight it and allows herself to be dragged along by Hanakaze for one last showdown. In contrast, upon finding out she is pregnant, Hanakaze determines to settle into a new life right away and leave Nue, which on the surface, appears to be granted. In the farewell fight, Hanakaze actively slashes through their opponents, while Sawa remains crippled by haunting memories, unable to make a move until Hanakaze’s life is in danger.
Upon seeing Hanakaze’s strength in facing these life changes head-on, Sawa seems inspired to become more active in embracing the changes in her own life. However, this newfound resolve appears to die, like Hanakaze and her lover in the aftermath of the tragic “accident”. Sawa is trapped in Nue’s cage. The freedom with which her crow flies through the air represents the freedom Sawa longs for and which she mistakenly thought revenge could grant. Tsukishiro, for whatever reason, also wishes to free her from this cage. For Tsukishiro, not revenge, but death is the key- explaining why he/she gave Asahi the poison that would free Sawa forever.
At episode 5, they have now already killed off most of the MCs. And I thought Janome’s death in the last episode was confusing-that was nothing compared to my bewilderment after seeing Sawa ingest poison. Where are the writers taking this story? Is Sawa really dead or will she somehow survive the poisoning? If she dies will Asahi take over as the new MC and seek to take down Nue? Although, given the death rate of the past few episodes, they may also just kill Asahi off in the next episode as well. The only one who seems to survive is Kuzuhara.
Seems pretty obvious that the focus will shift to her taking down the Shogunate, after or while destroying Nue. Her family revenge quest being dealt with, she’s free to find a new focus and that the Shogunate obviously is extremely sketchy in its governance and morality has been clearly shown in the show on multiple accounts. All those people rebelling against it are not shown to be morally wrong… just physically unequipped to do so.
While I was hoping that the show would let Hanakaze go, I wasn’t surprised at all that she and her lover turned out to be dead by the next day. That’s simply how those kind of “ruthless secret agent agencies” seem to deal with their operatives in fiction, no matter how self-destructive it ultimately is.
And I wouldn’t count on Tsukishiro being dead. No visible corpse means that he’ll probably turn up again.
I agree about the downfall of the shogunate. After encountering foreign influences and coming in contact with the rest of the world which is probably not stuck in time like alternate Japan, it would make sense that there’s only so long that Japan would remain stuck in the Tokugawa era. The political change that occurred in the Meiji era is bound to happen at some point, especially given the pressure cooker that politics and society in alternate Japan seem to have become. It wouldn’t make sense for them to have the show set in an alternate history, only to ignore the history for the rest of the show, so I’m sure they will (hopefully) return to that soon. They only showed the flash of light when the guy shot at Tsukishiro, so I also assumed that somehow Tsukishiro turned the situation around and shot the would-be assassin instead.
You are not very sympathetic are you? She was going to have a baby.
I can understand both sides. On the one hand, I could see wanting her to survive for the child and the new lease on life she was about to sign off on. On the other hand, it could be difficult to feel anything about Hanakaze’s death when the writers didn’t really do anything to make you care about her (i.e. no character backstory and in the episodes leading up to this, no interesting traits or defining moments).
I am always suspicious of early deaths in fiction, especially in spy stories. While Sawa is definitely not dead for obvious story reasons (also the venom used was provided by Tsukishiro, so i think that it just cause a state of apparent death), i suspect that even the other two are still alive. After all having the team “killed” is the best way to go undercover if the new main enemy is the Shogunate itself.
That is an interesting theory about the poison causing only a state of apparent death! Faking their death would be good way for them to ensure their safety. Even if Nue allowed them to go free initially, I’m sure Hanakaze would be afraid of Nue returning to force her to work for them again once the child is born. Having a child would be a dangerous thing for an ex-Nue member, because the child’s safety would be something either Nue or Nue’s enemies could use to force Hanakaze to cooperate with them. Making everyone believe they are dead would naturally side-step those fears.
Here’s a bit of an naive take, but is Hanakaze really dead?
I know all the signs are there, but we actually saw no faces or anything that really said “this is her 100%: . Just 2 bodies, with the right hair color, with a scene set up to make it look they died in a suicide fire. I know, that’s the point to remove suspicions of a murder but what if no one was actually killed at all? Besides the people used for the bodies.
I know it’s very unlikely from what we’ve seen from that organisation or this show so far. But together with the scene before actually showing that they left, it screams too much that this is a staged death so no one will think they are still alive to rule it out as a possibility.
That or it was just handled poorly. Which tbh, looking at the show in general is something I won’t rule out either. The plot really is all over the place right now.
That is a good point about the faked deaths. I was half wondering that myself too, especially since their faces were conveniently covered up. (Also, I thought it was an explosion they died in, yet their hair is intact and not singed). It would make sense for all of these weird plot dead-ends to turn into plot twists and fake-outs, given that these “deaths” are all happening less than half-way through the series. But, the pacing seems to be going too slowly for that to happen. We shall have to wait and see!
It was obvious that Sawa would undergo a crisis of motivation after fulfilling her quest for revenge which was her main driving force. Asahi was destined to be her “life anchor” and the Boss easily discerned that as apoint of leverage to use Sawa further as agent.
Hanakaze on the other hand seemed always OK with her role as seductress-assassin, but that made her in a way less dependable for Nue. I presume it was her sudden desire to get away from that lifestyle that motivated the higher-ups to eliminate her.
What is pretty sure, is that Sawa will somehow survive her “suicide by Asahi:”. She is main character, eponymous Princess of Snow and Blood.
As well as Tsukishiro who will definitely play some part in any further events. S/he seemed to be determined to leave Japan after making deal with presumably some foreign intelligence, but now had some violent disagreementm and possibly can becoem new leader for resistance in absence of Janome?
One thing that seemed so ironic is Hana leaving words to Sawa: Trust no one. She would be wise to take this adcice herself…
That is a good point that Hanakaze always seemed more comfortable as a Nue assassin than Sawa did. Sawa had a reason for being in Nue-revenge, while they never really gave a reason for why Hanakaze was in Nue (although they didn’t explain much about Hanakaze to begin with). It is indeed ironic that Hana told Sawa to “trust no-one”-indicating that perhaps Hanakaze already knew what Nue would try to do to her when she handed in her resignation. Either Hanakaze was fine with what would happen or she already planned an escape route that we will find out about in the next episode.