「三人の花嫁」 (Sannin no Hanayome)
“The Three Brides”

Touko meets 3 young women, Kaho, Hotaru, and Benio, who are brides in transit to their new homes. Unfortunately for these girls, this is no happy matrimony, sent off in the hopes that the “curses” on their villages will be dispelled if they are essentially banished. They don’t really go into detail as to why these specific women were chosen-whether it was through a lottery system or as punishment for something they did to offend the villagers. Although they are not treated as much by the truckers and villages, I appreciate that each girl is given their own personality through their attitudes and speech. Hotaru, the kind, gentle one, Benio the tough, strong one, and Kaho, the stubborn and proud one. Human “sacrifices” are a strikingly backward concept, yet for rural villages that live under such harsh, dangerous conditions and rely on the land, as history has shown, tend to rely on superstition as a way to frame an “understandable” narrative for seemingly unexplainable events (at least for pre-modern minds).

Judging from how fire mutated into something dangerous, it wouldn’t be surprising if the pottery village’s unusable clay and bamboo village’s poor bamboo crop has a more natural explanation. Nature seems to be giving out due to overuse-these villages supply the factories (I think) which have an unceasing demand for raw resources.

I found the directorship a bit odd. The weird stills just weren’t doing it for me- the interruption in the flow of animation was jarring. I don’t know if it was to save money or serves a deeper purpose, like a snapshot of a crucial character moment or just trying to be artistic. I will say though, the stills were quite pretty. That aside, the one action scene at the end with the fire-beast fight was beautiful with fluid motion, not to mention the detail that goes into even the dog’s expressions, giving them personality.

Shouzou (Kobayashi Chiaki) from the get-go shows his colors-he for one, is not opposed to taking the easy way out. Upon hearing Touko’s plight, he suggests that Touko sell the fire hunter’s objects to have done with and make a little sum on the side. Between his comment and how Kanata raises its shackles around Shouzou and not around Touko’s cabinmates, I kind of get the feeling he can’t be trusted. Hopefully Touko figures that out before something serious happens. Shouzou basically sets up the stereotype of the dishonest city slickers and trust-worthy rural folks.

Split between Touko and Koushi’s sides, the story leads us to Koushi’s part where we learn that Koushi’s father is none other than Haijuu, the mysterious fire-hunter whose death Touko feels responsible for. It’s not hard to see where things will be headed once Touko reaches the capital.

With his mother dead, his father gone, and his sister sick, Koushi is summoned by Yuoushichi (Miyake Kenta). At first, Koushi thinks it’s a job offer. Koushi’s inquiry into leaving school to work in the factory brings to mind the age of industrialization when children living in poverty couldn’t go to school or left school at a young age in order to enter the exploitative system of factory labor to feed their families. Thankfully, the Yuoshichi offers to adopt him and his sister into the family. However, I couldn’t help but think “What’s the catch?”. Sure, Yuoshichi knew their father, but he might have something else up his sleeve-especially after Shouzou’s comment about untrustworthy city people.

Koushi’s father was a man of foresight. Seeing the writing on the wall on the government’s imminent downfall, he hid a stash of skyfire harvested from aerial fallbeasts instead of giving it to the divine clans (aka the ones with power) and hotfooted himself out of the city. This fire from the fallbeasts sounds like pretty powerful stuff-it would easily make for a good weapon, most likely why the divine clans demand total control of it. Not only was he a man of foresight, Haijuu was one of the rare hunters who could hunt fallbeasts. Yuoushichi’s thinking is “like father, like son”, enlisting Koushi to conduct dangerous fire-research to make weapons for use in the looming fallout from the crumbling government. At least he is upfront about that catch and it seems like he is of the same mind as Koushi’s father. As kindly as he seems, there is an element of coercion in it-Koushi is poor with a sick sister and no parents, living in a city that Yuoshichi doesn’t fail to point out as unsafe. It’s a deal he can’t very well refuse, especially for his sister’s sake.

After all the talking and set-up, we get to some action in the end with the forest-beast fight. Once again, Touko disobeys instructions and enters the forest, leaving the truck to find Kaho, who was captured by a forest beast while attempting to flee from the truck. That was rather stupid of Touko-she should’ve learned her lesson already from the last time she went in the forest. Once again, Touko is unable to fend for herself and needs to rely on a fire-hunter. This most recent brush with danger might just be the catalyst for becoming stronger and more self-sufficient given the hints they’ve been dropping about her relationship with the dog/Haijuu’s possessions on top of that fire-hunter who’s now in the picture. Touko getting kicked off the truck, to me, is a false cliff-hanger. It’s obvious she gets to the capital-the question is how.



    1. That could be another potential reason. Though if it were due to Covid delays, I’d imagine whole episodes being delayed like other shows this season. I suspect it’s probably a budget thing.

      Princess Usagi

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