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Katanagatari – 11

November 16, 2010

What an episode!  Katanagatari deviates from its usual formula in order to give us all the information we need for the finale – some surprising twists too……but its the cliffhanger that really had me shouting at the screen – how on earth are we meant to wait another month for the conclusion of this series!?

This month’s sword is Dokutou Mekki, but getting it off Houhou Maniwa really isn’t the main point of this month’s episode.

I should have known something tragic was going to happen when Togame started making plans for after the sword hunt – making plans with your significant other is a sure way to get a death flag!  Still it was really heartwarming to see Togame being so honest about her feelings for Shichika – it even seems to take Shichika aback a bit to start with.  Togame reveals that she has never had a confidant or right-hand-man before due to her trust issues and belief that other people would just slow her down.   It’s quite remarkable that Togame has gotten so far in her career without anyone to support her, and it also highlights the depth of her feelings for Shichika – he’s the first person to have glimpsed the real Togame since the death of her father.  Togame and Shichika’s relationship is extremely insular – Togame will only open up to Shichika, and for Shichika, Togame is his whole world now that Nanami is dead – the blind dependence they have on one another was really asking for trouble.

It will be fascinating to see Shichika’s reaction to Togame’s apparent death (no one is ever truly dead until they’re decomposing!).  You can almost hear his sanity snapping in that heart wrenching yell at the end of the episode.  Togame is everything to Shichika, to lose her would mean him losing all the humanity he’s developed over the run of the show.  Perhaps that’s what the narrator meant when she said that Shichika was now a completed Deviant Blade – Kyoutouryou turns the user into a sword, that sword has been honed through generations in the Yasuri family and now in Shichika we have a user that is both a blade and a fully rounded person.  Togame was Shichika’s sheath, he only moved on her instruction and since she wasn’t skilled in the sword arts his blade was dulled.  But now that Togame’s limiter is removed, we essentially have a sentient sword, the Perfect Deviant Blade – Shichika will be moving on his own will and out for blood.

Moving on to some of the deluge of information we got this week.  Seems that Togame was fully aware that Hitei-hime was going to be the final boss holding the twelfth sword Entou Jyuu, but she was still taken by surprise when Emonzaemon reveals that Hitei has uncovered Togame’s true identity – Yousha-hime, the daughter of Hida Takahito, the lord of Oushuu.

Hitei herself is still a bit of a mystery.  It’s clear that she has some sort of power and probably is somehow related to Shikizaki Kikki as she claims, but Hitei seems conflicted about having to get rid of Togame when she realises Togame’s true identity.  Togame’s father was trying to fix history, so is Hitei trying to do the same thing as a descendant of Shikizaki?  Getting ahead of myself now – need to go over what we learned of Shikizaki Kikki this month first!

Much of what we learn of Shikizaki Kikki comes directly from himself……or at least a Houou Maniwa possessed by the spirit of Shikizaki Kikki.  I think its safe to say that this wasn’t Houou we were dealing with in this episode.  Since Houou’s ninpou allows him to take other people’s abilities/body parts and assimilate them into himself (along with a fraction of their personality) it seems that once Houou grasped Dokutou Mekki’s blade he allowed the blade’s ‘poison’ to take over.  Its my understanding that the ‘poison’ that’s been referred to throughout the series is actually Shikizaki’s will forged into the blade when he crafted it.  Dokutou Mekki is described as the blade with the strongest poison, which could mean that it has the greatest amount of Shikizaki’s will in it – resulting in Houou being completely possessed by Shikizaki upon direct exposure; its likely that only Houou, due to his ability, would be possessed to such an extent.

Anyway Shikizaki basically tells us that the world of Katanagatari is an AU of our own, with the deviation point being the sengoku period!  The divergence was caused by Shikizaki willfully changing history using his ‘soothsaying’ abilities – basically the man declares himself a prophet.  Shikizaki’s blades were forged using future skills that he divined through his soothsaying, which is why these swords appear so advanced and incomprehensible.  This makes Togame’s father’s goal of ‘restoring history’s path’ much more understandable – to be honest I had no idea what that was all about last month!  However prolonged exposure to the ‘poison’ or will of a Shikizaki blade allowed Togame’s father a basic understanding of what Shikizaki did to the course of history and he then tried to correct things, but he was killed before he could make much headway on that goal.

Another thing that confused me about this showdown with Shikizaki-Houou, is that in addition to him handing Togame all this information on a gilded platter, Shikizaki-Houou loses entirely too easily to Shichika, and actually looks weirdly pleased by that fact.  Shikizaki says that he’s using an advanced future sword style, so really he should have been more of a challenge – especially since the fella can see the future!  However the fight is over very quickly, Shichika has the advantage for most of the fight and Shikizaki-Houou has a huge grin plastered all over his face throughout.  I can somewhat pass off Shikizaki being less skilled than Shichika, because the man is a swordsmith and not a swordmaster – plus he’s in a borrowed body; but then again he was skilled enough to level the Maniwa village.  Perhaps Shikizaki was just testing Shichika’s skill – after all Kyoutouryou is Shikizaki’s final masterpiece, this fight could have been the equivalent of testing the sharpness of a new blade – Shichika proves himself and Shikizaki happily goes back to where ever he came from……..of course I could just be reading way too much into things XD

This month also see’s the end of the Maniwa ninja – next month will be first without them.  Emonzaemon showed absolutely no mercy when coldbloodedly dispatching the adorable little Pengin Maniwa (was there really a need to blow his head off!? he was as good as dead anyway!) and Houou basically does himself in when Shikizaki takes over his body during his fight with Emonzaemon. We also find out just what Houou’s relationship with Emonzaemon is – seems the two were friends in the past, but Houou ended up stealing Emonzaemon’s abilities at some point – no wonder he seems to have a grudge.  There’s also no hope of any underling Maniwani suddenly popping up to avenge their heads, as Shikizaki-Houou slaughtered the entire Maniwa village.  The only ninja we have left is Emonzaemon himself, and his days are numbered as Shichika is going to tear him limb from limb for shooting Togame!

I’m dying to watch next month’s finale.  I’m hoping that Togame is alive, it would be truly tragic to lose her at this late stage.  Shichika is clearly going to off the deep end, so wouldn’t want to be in Emonzaemon’s shoes – however without Togame’s intellect I can’t see him faring well against Hitei (the woman must have some sort of plan/ability in mind to counter Shichika after all).   Katanagatari has been a great journey so far – I hope it ends with a bang!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. kennykayinchan permalink
    November 17, 2010 1:00 am

    I wanted to cry when Emonzaemon shoved the gun into Pengin’s mouth, that was terrible… T.T

    And yeah, i thought they would cliffhang on the battle between Shikizaki-Houou and Shichika, but Shichika killed him way too easily. With that grin on Shikizaki’s face, i thought he was going to take over Shichika somehow too, but guess not.

    I still don’t really understand how Emonzaemon and Houou had the same abilities, and what was that about Emonzaemon having died already once? Did Emon die, Houou steal his body part and asimilate his abilities, and then Emon got revived as a ZOMBIE by Hitei-hime? :\

    Hopefully we’ll find out more about Emon and Hitei next ep. But damn, a month is a long time to wait….

    • November 17, 2010 8:19 pm

      My understanding of the Houou/Emonzaemon thing was that Houou must have attacked Emonzaemon at some point in the past, stole his abilities and assumed he was dead. Emonzaemon survived, got stronger, adopted this new name and started working for Hitei. His statement of ‘you are me’ is reference to the fact Houou stole Emonzaemon’s abilities and thus part of his personality in accordance with how Houou’s ninpou works.

  2. kennykayinchan permalink
    November 17, 2010 1:12 am

    omg, i just saw this trailer for eps 10,11, and 12, and ep 12 is AMAZING
    It makes this month even longer…. DX

  3. November 17, 2010 2:13 am

    Here is the youtube link to the previews…

    Nooooo…!!! Pengin! (but seriously, he was asking for it by explaining in detail how his ninpou worked..)
    I think Togame is dead. As you said it takes the limiters off and can be seen as the final catalyst for Shichika to go from being one of the Perfect Deviant Blade into the Completed Deviant Blade.

    BUT, in episode 10 Togame’s father stated that ‘If history goes according to how I imagine, you will not die. You will be the sole survivor in this cruel history to come’. So depending on whose ‘history’ wins out, there is that small minuscule possibility that Togame doesn’t die, but Shichika does.

    So however we look at it, the finale is shaping up to be an epic (based on the previews) but bleak showdown. When the narrator says ‘the end of any journey is the end of everything’, it left me thinking that no one survives…


    • November 17, 2010 8:22 pm

      Preview…..OMG want ep12 now!!

      I kind of hope Togame is alive, the effect is the same if Shichika believes she’s dead. Who knows what the finale will throw at us though – I really wouldn’t put it past Katanagatari to kill off everyone! 😆

  4. November 17, 2010 7:31 am

    Emonzaemon should die 😦

    I really really hate the fact that Pengin probably died the most cruel way. Plus the technique used to kill him was such a bogus! If his bouncy ball weapon didn’t even hit him even once after he threw it inside the room, then how come Emonzaemon deduced that ricocheting the bullets would hit Pengin eh?! That’s just so wrong! If Pengin’s ninpou was indeed all about altering fate, then even ricocheted bullets are also included in that scope!

    okay, okay, this is just me going bitter to Pengin’s death XD.

    • November 17, 2010 8:30 pm

      Emonzaemon is definitely for the chop – really can’t see him surviving Shichika’s wrath.

      Pengin had the most terrible death of all the maniwani – poor little thing. He was asking for it though with the blow by blow he gave Emonzaemon on his abilities.

      I figure that Pengin’s ninpou only applied to projectiles aimed at him – Emonzaemon doesn’t shoot at him but rather at bullets stuck in the walls, allowing the resulting ricochet to hit Pengin. Pengin’s bouncey ball didn’t affect him because he threw it – it was never aimed at himself. Basically he was killed by a technical flaw in his ninpou.

  5. December 4, 2010 5:59 pm

    These people really shouldnt be surprised when they tell the enemy about their ability then get killed when the enemy uses that information to their advantage 😐

    poor little pengin, shoving the gun (yes a gun is not a sword!) into his mouth was somewhat sadistic :/

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