After the previous episodes focused solely on Gabimaru and Sagiri, we finally got to know the rest of the criminals and executioners…or to be precise the ones who survived the earlier battle when they first arrived. I’ll say that I like all of them, especially the criminals. But still, that didn’t mean that I have nothing to say about Gabimaru and Sagiri. After their previous agreement, Gabimaru and Sagiri have shown themselves officially becoming partners, as demonstrated by how both tried to help each other, and even mor evident when Gabimaru disregard his shinobi teaching and saved Sagiri’s life.
Okay, now, onto the other pairs:
The first ones are Tamiya Gantetsusai and Fuchi. Gantetsutai used to be a swordsman known as the Blade Dragon who has unparalleled strength in Eight provinces. He used to be employed as an officer for a lord in exchange for lodging and food, but the lord hurt his pride by telling him he couldn’t cut a real dragon. In retaliation, Gantetsutai cut down the dragon decoration on the gate of the lord. There was no casualty from his deed, it was just him cutting down the gate, but the cowardly lord was insulted and sent men after him, which led him to be sentenced to death. A very stupid reason if you asked me. Maybe what Gantetsutai did was wrong, but it wasn’t something that deserved him an execution. Higher-ups during those ancient times really took things to the extreme. Sheesh. (_ _lll)
Gantetsutai has a violent temper and he sure has the same survivalist mentality as the other criminals, intending to eliminate the rest so he can take his time looking for the elixir by himself and his reason wanting a pardon was so that he can hone his sword skill once again and cut the whole mansion of the guy who captured him. However, I could sense there’s more than to meet the eyes from this old man.
Gantetsutai’s executioner, Fuchi, was similarly the type that shouldn’t be judged so easily. Seeing the flashback of him dissecting corpses with a smile made the impression that he was a mad scientist. But just like the criminal he’s watching over, I knew that Fuchi was more than that. And just like Sagiri, he took pride in his clan and wouldn’t let anybody insult them. In appearance, he looked cute, but the way he threatened Gantetsutai, no doubt he’s a skilled swordsman in his own right. And because he has experience in experimenting on corpses, he’ll know how human body works, meaning he is knowledgeable in attacking parts that’ll be fatal.
The second are Yuzuriha, Genji, and Senta. Yuzuriha was a kunoichi and one of a few female criminals who joined the expedition. While most of the criminals believed they should take out one another, Yuzuriha was smart enough to propose an alliance with Gabimaru and Sagiri. Actually, she did kill a criminal before meeting Gambimaru and Sagiri, but this was done with a reason. True to her job as a kunoichi, she actually succeeded in seducing Genji, the Asaemon assigned to the criminal she killed, with an excuse that having two Asaemon accompanying her would be less dangerous for Senta, the Asaemon assigned to Yuzuriha. I stifled when Sagiri made a straight face at Genji for always being weak to women.
I love how crafty Yuzuriha is. Because of the bizzare nature and monsters on the island, it was right for Yuzuriha to have more people on her side because both the criminals and the Asaemon executioners certainly won’t just stay quiet and let themselves be killed. Because they know next to nothing about their surroundings, it’s better to work together. However, Yuzuriha was a true kunoichi at heart. She herself made it clear that there’s no trust between them, especially for her and Gabimaru who are ninjas, something that Gabimaru also stated. This alliance is just really them using each other. She herself has demonstrated this by tricking and experimenting on the criminal assigned to Genji. Yuzuriha lacked strength and power that Gabimaru has, while Gabimaru lacked information that she knows. Yuzuriha placed her life at the top and has no hesitation to sacrifice others to achieve her goal. However, while Gabimaru said that the backstory Yuzuriha told was a lie and she herself admitted it was, I felt that there was a truth in her words.
Watching an uneasy alliance formed between them was one of the best aspects of the episode. It’s very gutsy of her for trying to seduce Gabimaru, which failed because not only Gabimaru didn’t trust her being a kunoichi she is, he is also too dedicated to his wife to let himself be charmed by other woman. XD
Senta, Yuzuriha’s executioner, while he hasn’t made much of an impression, he sure gave an important information regarding what they found so far about the island. He looked more like a bookworm than a swordsman. But the fact that he just let Yuzuriha experimented on another human being and even took notes from it showed that he has no qualms when it comes to duty as Asaemon.
The last but not the least are the brothers Aza Chobei and Toma. Yeah, I was honestly shocked to know these two are brothers because they don’t look alike at all. Among the criminal and executioner pairs, these two are my second favorite after Gabimaru and Sagiri pair, and Aza Chobei is also my third favorite character. Toma infiltrated the Yamada clan and became Asaemon for the sole purpose to free his brother who was a criminal and got captured. He cleverly roamed his way in and managed to assign himself to be his brother’s executioner so they could get the pardon they needed to be free.
At first glance, it looked like the pair of brother who is physically strong and the other being a brainiac who made plans. In reality, Aza Chobei has both the strength and brain, being the one in the lead while Toma was just following his older brother’s leadership. Despite being born as the sons of samurai, their parents’ death and life of poverty led them to become bandits. This wasn’t the path they like to choose and the hard one to walk, specifically for Toma who once questioned it. Unfortunately, the era they’re born wasn’t so kind to them that they had no choice but to only pick the choice available for them to survive.
What made me love this pair is their strong relationship as brothers. Despite his appearance, Aza Chobei wasn’t completely heartless. He truly loves Toma and vice versa. Both lost their parents since they were young and only have each other. In the environment with the law survival of the fittest where they grew up, it won’t be strange if either one decided to abandon the other. However, their bond as brothers was too strong to separate them and they continue to help each other. When Toma was unsure of the path they have to walk, Aza Chobei was the one who guide him so he won’t give up on living. Similarly, Toma was Aza Chobei’s only reason for living. Like any older brother, he made it his duty to protect his one and only younger brother. I’m really weak against a brotherly bond like the ones they have. (TT_TT)
I felt that the introduction of characters from one to another in one episode made the pacing quite faster than supposed to be, but it didn’t bother me much and still didn’t lessen the enjoyment of the episode.