「弟子と師」 (Deshi to Shi)
“Student and Master”
That was another good episode of Jigokuraku. Still, I can’t shake the vibe that this show has more than a whiff of death porn about it. Build up a character, kill them off. It can have an impact if done well (and this week was) but it dulls over repeated use. You know, like a sword. For me, once a series has established that plot armor doesn’t exist (with a few obvious exceptions in this case), I’d rather it not revel in demonstrating it ad nauseam. But that’s just me.
We didn’t see Tenza and Nurugai at all last week, but this time around they got the entire episode. Tenza and Nurugai were a winning pair, which is a good thing as this ep would have sunk like a stone otherwise. I find it a bit jarring that Nurugai is so totally at odds with everyone else on the island – she seems to be a bundle of pure innocence. But she and Tenza had developed quite a nice rapport. It was just a shame that our Tensen friend had to show up and spoil the party.
I’m hopeful that the Tensen display some weaknesses soon, as at the moment they make kind of a boring antagonist. Tenza is smarter than he acts, which is what allowed him to at least buy a few moments to flee with Nurugai. His master, a blind Asaemon named Shion, shows up to help, but even as a pair they can do little more than slow the Tensen down (and not for long at that). A whole lot of backstory follows, very credibly done. But at this point it’s pretty clear that one or both of them are done for – that’s just how Jigokuraku rolls – so it’s hard to get too wrapped up in it.
One of the shortest engagements ever, that, but at least Tenza went out with an act that would make Shion proud. It’s up to Shion to protect Nurugai now, which despite his earlier words I have no doubt he’ll do to the best of his ability. But there are obviously limits to that, especially where the Tensen are concerned, so I wonder if the pair of them end up allied with the Gabimaru group at some point soon. It should be clear to all that this whole pardon business is a complete red herring, and the only chance any of them have is to combine their strength.
Isn’t it usually the other way around with the master getting killed protecting their student and the student gets revenge later?
I wonder if they could just keep chopping the Tensen up before they fully regenerate or maybe stick them in a rock or something. Fire might work too..
You know the whole elixir of life reminds me of the philosopher stone except the victims don’t die. Maybe it can be used up?
Tenza being the one dying was definitely a subversion of the trope.