「 佐賀事変 其ノ弐」 (Saga Jihen Sono Ni)
“The Saga Incident, Part 2”
Zombie Land Saga Revenge’s ninth episode gives us the second half of Yugiri’s past as we see the end result of Kiichi’s spirited activism. But even with the wholesome intentions on Kiichi’s behalf, his naivety led him not to think of the outcome of potentially sparking a rebellion as Yugiri and Itou are forced to take sides.
Much of the episode revolves around how Kiichi’s well-intentioned push to get Saga back on the map ended up sparking a violent rebellion, but it’s also what made Kiichi kind of annoying. He had a Diet Rated G version of revitalization on his mind, but it’s his enthusiasm for the idea that only made rebels against the current administration want to fight even harder for a more violent solution.
You could make the argument that it was a shame that Kiichi’s peaceful petition was co-opted by jaded older people looking to spill blood. But at the same time, it wasn’t realistic to ask for a complete reclamation of a territory that didn’t involve violence, especially not in the Meiji era when instability was caused and/or resolved through might. Itou being a part of the secret police sent to stamp out oppressors was unfortunate, but with all of the warnings that he gave Kiichi to not stir the bee’s nest, Kiichi needed to be prepared for the idea that Itou wasn’t going to be on his side. But because he still thought he could change the world with flyers, he didn’t think far enough to think of a plan for when others resolved to take the fight directly to the state police.
It was really by the good graces of Yugiri’s presence that the rebellion would have any kind of footing. Her connections to Nagasaki likely made it possible for Kiichi to take his message directly to them, where he might have a better possibility at appealing to nobility through his public speaking skills. But because he began his appeal right where you’d have old, bitter Saga residents who’d rather go out in a blaze of glory for his message, it left Yugiri to have to traumatize herself by killing Itou and ended up getting her executed for murdering a member of the secret police.
On a kinder note, it was nice to see where Yugiri is coming from with the empathy and feelings she had for Kiichi and his hopes for a peaceful, prosperous Saga. She was compassionate to him and admired many of his loftier ideas because, deep down, his heart was coming from an understandable place of wanting to reclaim the innocence of the Saga he grew up with.
And yet, she also aimed to help Kiichi mature into someone who can be strong and adapt to adversity. With how much Yugiri likely had to handle as a courtesan, she also knew what it was an uphill battle to be able to learn and master enough in life to be a master entertainer and a skilled swordswoman. It’s easy to see why she slapped Kiichi, instructing him not to let his dream slip through his fingers now that it’s gotten too serious for him. There have been so many life lessons Yugiri learned by maneuvering around the difficulties of the Meiji era that seeing Kiichi’s ambitions waver as violence ensued must have been the call-to-action she needed to set him straight and lecture him to recollect himself in neutral territory.
The episode ended on a light-hearted note with the present-day concert that Yugiri led where she sang of a feeling that reminded her of the innocence once shared by Kiichi and Itou, but it also presented us with info that calls attention to the show’s future. Kiichi’s father was ultimately preserved in time as he and Yugiri reflect on how much has happened with Saga since then, but this is a detail that would be interesting to shed light on when they get around to letting us know how he became unable to die. Similarly, it should be interesting to see the next episode given that they seem to be gearing for Kotaro and Okoba to adopt the same roles as Kiichi and Itou, offering the two a means of breaking the generational cycle of revitalizing Saga now that we are in times of peace and prosperity.