No, Kane-san, not Horikawa’s beautiful faaaaccceee!
Hello, it’s fellow Saniwa Jennifer here with the review for Episode 12 of Touken Ranbu. The end is nearly upon us and the Second Unit’s Bakumatsu swords are off to Hokkaido to stop the tables from being turned at the Battle of Hakodate. If the Time Retrograde Army succeeds, the Boshin War will end in favor of the ex-Shogunate forces, thus preventing the Meiji restoration and the opening-up of Japan.
At Goryoukaku, Kane-san may even get the closure that he truly needs.
Things just get better when I’m stained with blood
Japanese Episode Title: 箱館戦争
Horikawa Kunihiro has declared that he will go to Hokkaido in order to prevent the fate that awaits his former master Hijikata Toshizo. His partner Izuminokami Kanesada is against this, but cannot bring himself to cut Horikawa down. The Saniwa descends in front of Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki and Izuminokami, and says he will take them to the Battle of Hakodate. However, the Retrograde Army has prepared 1000 troops in order to reach their goal…
Sometimes Silence is the Best BGM
The scene with HIjikata placing the blade Izuminokami Kanesada on the table and the scene with Touken Danshi Izuminokami Kanesada looking upon himself were played in almost complete silence. Here, the lack of BGM was a perfect fit, and my head was filled with thoughts. I was trying to work out how HIjikata and Kane-san felt during those scenes. Especially Kane-san. I cannot imagine just what emotions he was feeling while looking himself upon the table. Even the small sigh he let out looking on the map told a thousand words. A very powerful scene.
Horikawa wants to protect his former master Hijikata Toshizo. Izuminokami wants to protect the orders of his current master. Right? Not quite. It’s clear that both the uchigatana and wakizashi have similar feelings for their former master, but only one will bring those feelings to the surface. This is also a good example of honne vs tatamae (‘true feelings’ vs ‘façade’), with Kane-san even mentioning that he just didn’t feel he should bring his feelings to the surface. We can gather that Horikawa is not rebelling for himself, but also for his beloved partner. Both Horikawa and Kane-san are truly kind at heart, and want to do what they can to prevent pain and suffering, be it the suffering of the people who get caught up in the Retrograde Army’s attacks, the suffering of their former master, or the suffering of their very own partner…
Here Come The First Unit
As soon as the Saniwa said that he had backup, I immediately knew it would be the First Unit here to kick butt! Although they were missing poster boy Mikazuki, the 4 members who were summoned to Hakodate don’t play around. Again, we can see the vast difference in skill between the first and second units. The smooth and powerful movements of each member are so satisfying to watch. Good call, Saniwa.
The Boshin War
The Battle of Hakodate was the final battle in the Japanese civil war known as The Boshin War. With this war, the new Meiji forces defeated the pro-shogunate armies and brought about the Meiji Restoration. You may have noticed a star-shaped fortress in which Hijikata was staying. This is the Goryoukaku, and can still be visited in modern-day Hakodate. The star shape supposedly allows more canon and gun emplacement, thus strengthening its defenses.
You may have noticed some troops with red and white flags.These are members of the Meiji forces, that is to say the forces who would win this battle. The red and white flags depicted troops from the Satsuma Domain and the white Kabuki wig we saw indicated somebody from the Choshu Domain.
Yagen Leg Watch
Today, I would just like to mourn the demise of Yagen Leg Watch. Although we got a short glimpse of his knee, Yagen’s beautiful legs may not be gracing our screens quite yet. Thank you readers, for joining me on my journey admiring the animated legs of a gijinka based on a centuries-old short sword.
Until Our Final Mission
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Saniwa in this episode, and he likes to get sh*t done. Although he will never change his goal of preventing changes in history, he will do it with his subordinates’ interests in his heart. I do have questions such as ‘couldn’t the Saniwa summon Horikawa too’ and ‘how did Horikawa get to Hakodate’, but to be honest they aren’t really all that important. I’m just hoping that Katsugeki Touken Ranbu really goes out for the finale.