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Katanagatari – 07

July 14, 2010

Yeah I’m skipping ep6 – was in too much pain to write anything at the time, and now I don’t really feel like writing about it; twas a fairly dull episode and I hate loli’s as a knee jerk reaction….so yeah, straight onto ep7 we go!

This month’s sword is Akutou Bita, but the main draw of the episode is the Yasuri sibling reunion; but since both Shichika and Nanami see themselves as swords, the inevitable outcome is conflict.

So this was the second Nanami-centric episode and it really sheds a lot of light on the Yasuri family’s past.  I’m really quite sad to see Nanami leave the show as she was an interesting character and I’ve really enjoyed episodes featuring her.  I’m finding it difficult to fully grasp just what the deal with Nanami’s skills and body was.  Nanami claims to be unable to die, yet all her actions ended up being an elaborate suicide attempt.  Nanami lived a life where she was constantly wracked with pain and that her body was fundamentally unfit to cope with her tremendous potential as a martial artist. It’s fairly understandable that she would grow tired of living in such a unfulfilling way; watching her younger brother undertake the training and title that should have been her birthright must have caused her a lot of anguish too.

To temper that Nanami claims Akutou Bita, a deviant blade that fosters healing when embedded in its owners chest.  This allows Nanami to fully utilise all the styles she’s stolen on her travels, but she then claims that she’s done that to make herself weaker and easier for Shichika to kill, which confused me a bit.  The only explanation I’ve been able to think of is that Nanami’s mix of stolen styles are inferior to Shichika’s pure kyotouryuu style; because although Nanami’s base style is also kyoutouryuu, its pretty incompatible with any other sword styles due to the fact it turns the user themselves into a sword – a sword can not weild a sword and so Shichika ultimate comes out on top.

The history of the Yasuri family seems plagued with murder.  Nanami claims that one of the reasons their father was exiled to that island, was for the crime of killing their mother.  I had always wondered what happened to their mother, but assumed that she died in childbirth or something like that.  The revelation that she may have been murdered by her husband was unexpected.  It also seems that Shichika ended up killing their father when daddy attempted to kill Nanami.  I kind of expected that though; Daddy Yasuri really feared Nanami’s genius which is why he refused to teach her to begin with, so his attempt on her life isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

One has to wonder if its the very fact that Kyotouryuu turns its user into a sword that causes the bloodletting that haunts the Yasuri family history.  Kyotouryuu is a prized, but feared sword style; both Shichika and Nanami show a frightening detachment from their emotions and its only prolonged contact with the lively Togame that causes Shichika to warm as a human (dulling his skills as a sword according to Nanami).  Now that Shichika is the only Yasuri family member living we may never know the full details about them.

The fact that Shichika killed his father to save Nanami shows the depth of feeling he has for his sister.  Daddy Yasuri doted on his son, lavishing him with attention and neglecting his physically weak, but mentally gifted daughter.  For Shichika to have chosen his sister over his father just makes the conclusion of this episode all the more tearjerking.  Nanami may seek death but Shichika does not want to kill his beloved sister; its only when Nanami threatens the life of Shichika’s new cherished person, Togame, that Shichika fights Nanami seriously and grants her desire.

Which brings us to Togame and Shichika and their development this episode.  Togame really shows some cunning this month – her whole plan with the candles extinguishing on cue to circumvent Nanami’s powerful eyes was an excellent strategy to level the playing field for Nanami Vs Shichika Round2.  Togame’s slapping some sense and motivation into Shichika when he lapses into a depression after being soundly upstaged by Nanami, was also great.

Togame and Shichika have really grown close during their time together, that’s especially poignant when Togame basically says that she and Shichika are now each other’s family at the end of the episode. It’s very telling that Shichika only started fighting Nanami for real when Togame’s life was threatened.  Togame’s importance in Shichika’s life has completely eclipsed Nanami’s place, which makes it possible for Shichika to strike the final blow.

Togame’s symbolic haircut marks a new chapter in her and Shichika’s relationship.  Up to this point Togame’s long hair has been used as a way to tie the two together physically.  Shichika is often shown tangled up in her hair, smelling it and stroking it in order to completely imprint Togame’s presence in his mind.  As the two have progressed to the point where Togame is the most important person in Shichika’s life, the loss of her hair as a physical bond between the two is a blow, but will ultimately make their relationship stronger.

There was some other stuff that I wasn’t overly interested in like that blonde Owari-hime and her butler chatting about stuff I wasn’t paying much attention to (assuming we’ll get more about them next month) – ditto the conversation between the two Maniwani (all I got out of that is that there are only 4 Maniwani left…….and that the penguin ninja is fecking cute!).

In terms of production values it was a bit up and down this month – some of the character’s weren’t drawn that well (what was up with Nanami’s pencil feet!?), there seemed to be even more static shots than usual and Nanami’s fighting was reduced to lots and lots of speed lines and a floating head – which was disconcerting.  I did like the use of RPG game imagery though – added an extra bit of interest to relatively dull scenes.

Next month’s sword appears to be a marionette – being pretty loose with the ‘sword’ definition again!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2010 11:54 pm

    Looks like a great episode, I need to get around to watching this again. Stopped around episode 4 guess I got tired of the slow updates xD

    • July 15, 2010 8:24 pm

      I quite like only having a single long episode every month – gives me time to recover from all the dialogue! Its a good series – not going to set the world alight though.

  2. September 7, 2010 12:33 pm

    the animation in nanami’s scenes really stood out for me this time, first it was all creepy in black and white then when she’s walking through the temple killing monks at super speed. It was almost comical if she wasnt killing so cold bloodedly with the ghosts of her parents floating about. :lolwut:

    That girl really was a monster.:s Also whats the obsession with magic eyes in anime now :s

    • September 7, 2010 8:11 pm

      The decision to go monochrome for the srsbns fight was really excellent, but in general the animation in this episode was really odd. Aiko likened it to a flash animation and I’d have to agree. It wasn’t badly animated, just a touch strange.

      Nanami turned out to be a fascinating character – I really wish we had a few more episodes centered on her.

      Magic eyes are awesome! I suppose since the eyes are generally the main feature of an anime characters design, its easier to make the eyes a bit different to animate the magical element. I like weird eyes – but then again I’m a CLAMP fan so……..

      • September 8, 2010 1:58 pm

        yeah flash or some sort of old side scrolling game which goes with the upscrolling shooter thing they had also 🙂 The strangness made it more interesting. 🙂

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