Hello, it’s MANGA.TOKYO’s resident Saniwa here for some talk on Episode 5 of Katsugeki Touken Ranbu! This episode was packed full of badassery, from Tonbokiri’s heroic fighting to the usage of a ship as a freaking shield! I’m going to walk you through some of my favorite moments and hopefully give you a bit of trivia on the way!
I’m not done yet!
Japanese title: 戦火
The Time Retrograde Army are trying to stop the meeting between Saigo Takamori and Katsu Kaishu. Yagen, Izuminokami, and the newly-arrived Tsurumaru have managed to stop the army from using cannons to bring a halt to the meeting. However, Tonbokiri and Horikawa are left to stop the Retrograde Army’s ootachi from making it across the bridge. We also learn the possibility that the Retrograde Army may in fact be desperate enough to burn the entire city of Edo to the ground…
Old Man Mikazuki Munechika
The end of the episode introduces us to Mikazuki Munechika, and the Saniwa mentions that he is the oldest of the Touken Danshi. The real blade was in fact forged over 1000 years ago in the mid Heian Period. The ‘Mikazuki’ of his name means ‘crescent moon’ and refers to the patterns of the tempering of his blade, known as uchinoke. This is why the crescent moon motif is so apparent in the Touken Danshi’s design. You can see pictures of a prototype of a Mikazuki Munechika replica in this article about the recent Touken Ranbu gallery. I’m really excited to see more of him and the First Unit!
The Swords Are Not Invincible
One of my favorite moments this episode was Tonbokiri’s heroic attack on the ootachi. In order to defeat the enemy, he literally had to put his life on the line, receiving a serious wound by doing so. It’s important to note here that in Touken Ranbu Online, swords CAN be destroyed. You can put hours and hours of training into a sword, only for it to be destroyed and you can NEVER get that sword back. Although this is avoidable by not taking heavily damaged swords into combat or by using a talisman to protect them, it proves that our swords are not invincible. Although it’s unlikely that the injured Tonbokiri or Kanesada will die in the anime, it’s something I’m always fearful of when playing the game.
The Poster Boy Is Here~!
Ironically, my first highlight for this episode is actually the very end of the it. The most recognizable Touken Danshi is finally here! As I mentioned in the trivia above, he is the oldest (and arguably the most beautiful) of the swords. Although he’s actually one of my favorites, I’ve never been able to successfully forge him in-game… Anyway, just in case you missed it- take a good look at his eyes!! I won’t tell you exactly what’s so special about them, as I hope you can discover it for yourself
What are the Retrograde Army Up To?
This episode starts to put more emphasis on questions such as ‘what are the Time Retrograde Army trying to achieve?’ This is something I have my own theories on, and I really do hope we finally learn a bit more about the enemies who are so desperately trying to change history.
Stopping Those Cannons
Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki was a sword belonging to Sakamoto Ryoma, a historical figure who played a VERY important role (along with Katsu Kaishu) in the development of the Japanese navy. It makes sense that Mutsu is excited to handle the ship, and he does an amazing job. Kanesada’s idea to slam into the ship was crazy but it worked. Thanks to these two Edo survived another day! Somehow.
Yagen Leg Watch
In this week’s episode of Yagen leg watch, we have a beautiful pattern of blood running down our tantou’s thigh. But don’t forget, our boy is skilled in medicine, and is able to treat himself. It looks like the wound will heal! Celebration! Then for the rest of the episode, Yagen is wearing a bandage almost reminiscent of a garter belt. I’m sure ufotable did this on purpose. I’m not complaining.
Until Our Next Mission
There was a lot of badassery in this episode, and of course we got to see Mutusu doing his usual shonen manga protagonist thing. However, Tonbokiri was the true MVP this episode, and I hope he gets a whole bunch of daifuku when he recovers.
What I loved about this episode is the bittersweetness. Despite the Second Unit fighting bravely and successfully completing their mission, we have two severely injured Touken Danshi. Just as the credits are about to roll, Konnosuke takes the Unit back to the Citadel with an eerie howl. The credits then roll across the screen with a very sombre atmosphere, without our usual ending sequence.
The next mission, which will be taken on by the First Unit, will be taking place in 1565, during the Sengoku Period. This is a very different era to what we have seen in the first 5 episodes. Although, looking at the map of Japan that was shown on screen, the First Unit will be sent to the Kansai area, possibly Kyoto or nearby. I’m not sure how much of this mission will actually be shown in the anime, but if any of you are not sure if you want to keep up with Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, all I have to say is: at least stick around until the next episode. It seems we will be seeing something very different. And I honestly cannot wait.
Also, don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Summer 2017 and join us on the MANGA.TOKYO forum.