Hello there, this is MANGA.TOKYO’s resident Saniwa Jennifer, and I’m here to take a look back at the second episode of the anime Katsugeki Touken Ranbu! Japanese Episode Title: 部隊長
This episode follows on from the end of Episode 1, where the 5 Touken Danshi, the Saniwa, and Konnosuke are heading towards the castle in order to stop the Time Retrograde Army. Even the Saniwa is not sure exactly what could be gained by assassinating the lord of the castle, until we find out that what the army may actually be aiming for is a war that crosses borders…
Highlights and Trivia
The Touken Danshi Introduce Themselves: Although Tonbokiri mentions that they have met each other in the Citadel (you can watch Touken Ranbu Hanamaru for more of that action!) for many of them it was the first time they have fought together. We learn that Horikawa and Kane-san were both owned by Shinsengumi vice captain Toshizo Hijikata and that Tonbokiri is usually sent on missions taking place in the Warring States era. We also learn that Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki belonged to Ryoma Sakamoto and believes it’s the age of guns, and we also learn that Yagen is not here to make friends (tsun tsun) Mutsunokami the Shonen Manga Protagonist: Mutsunokami has all the makings of the protagonist of a shonen manga. First and foremost, he seems to have a bottomless stomach. He even tells us that he’s fond of shamonabe, which is a dish that uses a whole shamo chicken, bones and all (if you watch the next episode preview you’ll learn that he also eats the bones of fish, which seems to alarm Kane-san). This dish was a favorite of his famous owner, Ryoma Sakamoto. He personally is also very bubbly and outgoing, and although there are sparks flying between him and Kane-san, he’s quick to try and make friends with the others. If you are familiar with the Japanese language, you’ll notice that he speaks a little differently to the other characters. That is because his owner was from Tosa Province (Modern-day Kochi prefecture) in the south of Japan. Hence he speaks in the Tosa dialect. Another highlight of Mutsu’s in this episode was the literal fire in his eyes when he talks to Tonbokiri about traveling the world. I was lucky enough to first see this episode on a huge cinema screen, and the fire in his eyes truly is burning. Yagen’s Fighting: I enjoyed seeing what Yagen can really do. His movements are quick, efficient, and can cause a lot of damage. Proof that size doesn’t necessarily matter.
Not Afraid of a Little Blood: In stark contrast to Hanamaru, Katsugeki is not afraid to show blood when needed. Dare I say, the shapes of the blood splatters on the ground when Mutsunokami encountered the dead bodies were eerily beautiful, combined with an almost unnatural bright red color standing against in the darkness. This kind of beautiful gore is what I’m here for. However, I wonder where Mutsu’s bullets come from. Does he have a never-ending supply of ammo stashed in his sleeves?
The Ending Sequence
In Episode 2, we finally get to see the ending sequence! The theme is ‘Hyakka Ryoran’ by Kalafina. The group is well known for their anime collaborations, especially with ufotable, so their lyrics have a deep meaning behind them in terms of this anime. The shots that appear on the screen also have a lot of meaning behind them, and in the future I hope to write a more in-depth analysis. In the meantime, I’ve written up a simple explanation as to what each still is!
The camera pans across floating lanterns, stopping at Izuminokami Kanesada
This shot shows the Shinsengumi with their flag, which says ‘sincerity’ (誠, makoto)
This shot shows Mutsunokami with his owner Ryoma Sakamoto and his wife, O-Ryo, as they gaze at the black ships.
This shows Shinsengumi warlord Honda Tadakatsu with his spear Tonbokiri
This long sword is most likely Tsurumaru Kuninaga, whom we probably won’t meet for a few more episodes
This warlord is Oda Nobunaga with Yagen Toshiro
The final sword, coming out of the cherry blossom petals, is Horikawa Kunihiro
We then see the human forms of Izuminokami and Horikawa, with the final shot being from inside the Citadel. This is the same scenery from the home screen of Touken Ranbu -online-
Yagen Leg Watch
This is what I have been waiting for! In the scene where the characters are introducing each other, my eyes could not budge from Yagen’s legs! His original character design from the game has short shorts, but the Katsugeki design has practically made them hot pants! Don’t miss his legs! I’m also glad to learn that I wasn’t the only person to notice his legs. During the cast greeting during the preview screening that I attended, the main cast members would say things such as ‘did you see Yagen’s legs?’ ‘Wow they are so erotic’ over and over. I hope you too can enjoy the wonders of my favorite Tantou’s limbs.
Till Next Time
It goes without saying that I enjoyed this episode, as there was a good balance between getting to know the characters and beautiful action sequences. Although it couldn’t quite match the amazing summoning scene from the end of Episode 1, I’m sure there is a lot of beautiful animation that we can look forward to. Also, don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Summer 2017 and let me know in the comments or on the forum (my handle is nifa!) if you have anything to add!
Touken Ranbu Mini Glossary
Touken Danshi: The manifestation of Japanese swords that take the appearance of beautiful young men.
Saniwa: A sage who can manifest weapons into human-like forms. In the game, the player plays the part of a Saniwa. In Katsugeki, the Saniwa seems to be a young boy.
Shinsengumi: A police-like group that were active during the Bakumatsu period. Many Touken Danshi belonged to Shinsengumi members. The light blue coat you see Kanesada with in Episode 1 is the Shinsengumi uniform (you may also recognize the uniform from Yamatonokami Yasusada, who was the main character in Touken Ranbu Hanamaru)
Hijikata Toshizo: Vice-commander of above-mentioned Shinsengumi. Owner of Izuminokami Kanesada and Horikawa Kunihiro
Ryoma Sakamoto: A samurai from Tosa Province who played a large role as a negotiator during the Bakumatsu period. He was well-known for adopting western customs such as wearing boots and, very importantly, using a gun. Owner of Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki.
Nobunaga Oda: One of the most famous for figures of the Warring States Era, Oda had a big part in unifying the country of Japan. He is said to have died in the Honnoji Incident- where the perished with the burning of the temple of Honnoji, and Yagen Toshiro is said to have been with him.
Tadakatsu Honda: A highly-regarded samurai active at the end of the Sengoku Period and early Edo period. He had ties to the Tokugawa family. He famously war a helmet adorned with deer antlers.
The Warring States Period: Called the Sengoku Jidai in Japanese, this is a period of time from the 15th-16th Centuries where the different provinces were at war with each other. It eventually ended with the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the period we now call the Edo Period. Many of the Touken Danshi were at some point said to have been used by famous figures of this period, such as Tonbokiri and Yagen Toshiro.