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Katanagatari – 04

April 18, 2010

This month was billed as the fight against Sabi Hakuhei for the Hakutou Hari blade……but episode four takes a completely different approach to the previous three episodes.

We start with Shikika and Togame discussing a letter of challenge received from Sabi Hakuhei, and Shichika expressing the desire to beat Sabi and take the title of Japan’s strongest swordsman.  This conversation goes on while Togame gets changed…although it lacks any sexual tension, since Shichika seems to lack a sex drive, despite his apparent jealously when Togame praises the Hakutou Hari blade.  The two leave the next morning to head towards the island Sabi has designated for the duel.

Elsewhere a trio of Maniwani are discussing the sword hunt and have decided the best course of action is to kidnap Shichika’s sister and use her to blackmail him and Togame into handing over the three Deviant Blades they’ve collected thus far.  Shunning conventional means of transportation, the Insect Corp instead reach the island where Nanami resides on the shoulders of one of their number 😛  Upon reaching shore the leader of the trio – a fella dressed as a Mantis, decides he will challenge Nanami alone.  The other two, a bee and a butterfly, decide to play games to pass the time while  having a character developing chat about their lives.

Mantis guy approaches Nanami cautiously in fear of the fearsome Kyotouryou style.  He has every reason to be cautious as the next time we see him, Nanami has him chained to a tree and ripped out all his blade-like nails! 😯  Nanami turns out to be a scary, scary girl – completely lacking in mercy, fully willing to torture and doesn’t bat an eyelid when she shoves three nail-blades right through Mantis-guys head through his mouth!

We learn through a flashback that Nanami and Shichika’s father denied Nanami the succession to Kyotouryou because he was frightened of Nanami’s potential.  Despite her weak body Nanami is seriously skilled – learning everything from observation as her father did not want to teach her directly instead focusing on Shichika.

Back at the shore the butterfly and bee ninja are alerted to the death of their leader when a crystal shatters.  The butterfly guy decides to challenge Nanami next, reflecting that if he gets through this he’s going to get married and bidding the bee-guy to only observe.

Nanami once again demonstrates her fighting prowess when up against the butterfly-guy’s ability to negate gravity.  She says that she can easily see through his stances and states that she has never used a stance in her life – understandable when you consider she’s never been formally taught a martial art.  Nanami shocks the Maniwani by using their own ninja-arts against them.  First using butterfly-guy’s gravity defiance and then stabbing him through the heart with mantis-guy’s nail blade ability.  Nanami claims to be envious of people who have to put in effort to learn a skill as she herself has never had that experience – learning and mastering a skill from merely seeing it once or twice.

Upon watching his comrads downfall the only remaining maniwani is torn about what to do.  When Nanami stumbles and seems fatigued he decides to take advantage of that by nailing her with a poison laced caltrop.  He approaches cautiously when it seems the poison is taking effect to cut off Nanami’s arms……however she surprises him by firing his own caltrop back at him laced with additional poison from mantis-guy’s suicide pill.

Nanami explains that ordinary poison’s will not work on her as her life is one constant battle against pain.  It’s a miracle she’s still breathing with her sickness ridden body, but her strong will continues to defy death and pain.  Nanami quickly dispatches bee-guy with his own sword as requested, and also agrees to bury him with his comrades.

Finally we head back to see how Shichika and Togame are getting along in their fight against Sabi Hakuhei…..only to find it’s over already and the two are celebrating with copious amounts of dango and sweet bean soup!

Shichika and Togame chat about what an epic fight it was, but we don’t get to see any of that and instead are treated to scrolling shots of the scenery 😆  Shichika reflects that Sabi was no where near as powerful as his sister.

We have one final scene with Nanami laying incense for the defeated Maniwani and then she reflects on the weaknesses of Shichika’s ultimate technique and ponders whether she should join the sword hunt to whip Shichika into shape.

Thoughts:  Completely unexpected episode – last episode’s preview had me salivating at the prospect of an epic fight between Shichika and Sabi complete with slicing sharks in half!!  Especially since Sabi has been mentioned in every episode to date as this ultimate swordsman – I was quite looking forward to his episode!  Instead we got an episode entirely focused on the quiet (but fecking scary) Nanami.  I did think we had seen the last of Shichika’s sister when he her on the left the island so it was nice to see her back.  Who would have thought that the sickly, weak looking Nanami would be such a genius of martial arts and a very frightening opponent!?  Would not want to get on her bad side.  If she does join the sword hunt it will be interesting to see her interactions with Togame and how she gets Shichika into shape…..seems Nanami expected a sword a week rather than one a month! 😛

Next month Togame and Shichika are after Zokutou Yoroi which is in the possession of a pirate captain.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. HOratio permalink
    April 19, 2010 11:55 pm

    Sorry man but I really lost interest in this anime now, especially because I felt like they made a mockery of actually being a fan of it thus far, yes his sisters scary but it was dragged on so long I lost interest. Also the writing or dialog is excellent but just goes on and on and I end up wanting it over and done with. This doesnt mean I need michael bay action plot is important but more important are teh characters but I havnt gotten attached to them

    plus the humor aspect of it or the scenes which try to be funny I dont find funny and just make me cringe or get fed up.

    The concept of talking about epic fight is funny but the problem is they tricked us into watching this episode by showing us the preview and this made it more infuriating, they shouldnt of showed the preview and just kept the conversation aspect.

    Unless I can be incredible convinced by someone I aint following this anime anymore.

  2. April 20, 2010 1:09 pm

    Weirdly I thought this was trolling done right – KyoAni did all that trolling with ads for Disappearance and then delivered Endless Eight as S2 – at least White Fox delivered something pretty damn good in replacement. I’m fairly sure the epic fight between Shichika and Sabi will end up as a DVD extra.

    Its always hard to get attached to NisiOisin characters – they’re pretty hard to relate to. I like what they’re trying to do with Katanagatari, but feel that the direction isnt as good as it could be – the unusual artstyle can only provide so much interest, and during long drawn out bouts of dialogue the static or scrolling shots are pretty damn boring…….sometimes its like they aren’t making good use of their time, the pacing could be better overall.

    Still I’m enjoying Katanagatari – so glad this episode decided to shake things up a bit, it was getting a bit bogged down in the sword of the month formula.

  3. HOratio permalink
    April 20, 2010 3:45 pm

    thats my problem it doesnt seem like they been using the time well, but the other issue for me was I would of laughed if they had the conversation but they showed the preview which is my mine problem and probably why lot of other people are annoyed.

    Mean end of the day fans are what makes stuff successful so you should treat them with some respect. That doesnt mean change your material for fans its just dont go out of your way such as with the preview to make some fans feel stupid.

    Yer if its on the dvd great but I just aint been convinced enough to buy this and I dont like the art style and sometimes they seem so unexpressive that it just gets bland.

    Not implying it needs the typical anime devices for expression just more. I loved Bakemonogatari but this just isnt hitting the mark for me, so doubt I get the DVD.

  4. April 20, 2010 10:50 pm

    I get what you’re saying – some people do not appreciate being trolled. However I came out of the experience going ‘Oho! Well played White Fox, well played!” 😆 Much as I’m annoyed by the lack of shark slicing action, I was still impressed by the episode and the different approach it took – it takes balls to do that with a high risk series.

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  1. 2010 in review – blog update « Caraniel's Ramblings

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