Koyama Riki as a stuffed usagi and Miki Shinichiro as a dragonfly in the same week? Verily, our seiyuu cup runneth over. Miki-sama hadn’t been as active in the last few years, but happily he’s had a surge in roles lately – whether this was his choice or the industry woke up and realized he’s a true legend I don’t know, but it’s fantastic to have him back. What a cast Mushibugyou has put together, though it sadly seems as if we’re not going to be seeing anymore of Miki as Rokuro Mochizuki, another ill-fated member of Sanada’s Ten Braves. It was fun while it lasted.
As expected, things are going from bad to worse in Kichuu Province. After Sanada makes a particularly grisly example of the remains of the humans he’s already killed (“I never break a promise”) the citizenry is positively geeked about finding and killing our three wandering heroes. Kichuu, remember, is also the home province of Hibachi, and her little sister Irori (Uesaka Sumire) manages to send a message to her sister in Edo via flying squirrel TA-Q-bin before being captured by Mochizuki and his pillbug brother Unno (Yoshikawa Takashi). I love the idea of a giant spiked sowbug… In any event, though Irori is later to fall for Jinbei, he’s already got three age-appropriate options – and Tenma is crushing on Kuroageha, who only has eyes for Jinbei, so maybe Tenma and Irori can pair up. Incidentally, a girl named Hibachi with an imouto named Irori? Clever, clever…
There’s also an interesting dynamic playing out between Jinbei and Oooka, with their divergent views on a samurai’s duty. Jinbei is all impulse and Oooka is pure reason, and while we’re supposed to sympathize with Jinbei’s “do right for its own sake” idealism, the incident with the potato obaa-chan certainly points up its flaws. It ends up getting the three of them captured (though it works out in the end) but it seems that Oooka has finally given up on taming Jinbei altogether. Oooka is something of an idealized figure here, of course, though one imagines the historic view of him is pretty idealized too. I’m sure he was indeed a great administrator, but I very much doubt he was the swordsman he’s portrayed as here. Nevertheless, between he and Jinbei they manage to off the Rokuro brothers, save the village and deprive us of more Miki Shinichiro in the weeks ahead.
With the rest of the Insect Magistrate (with the possible exception of Kotori for now) headed to Kichuu, it looks as if the table is set for the final big arc to kick into high gear. The big remaining mystery is the well, which Munenao is desperately trying to keep a secret from Sanada. It’s obviously the key to Kuroageaha’s power, but the how and why of that is still a mystery. We have enough episodes left that the anime seemingly should be able to do the story justice, even with the manga ongoing, perhaps even giving the Sanada Arc an original definitive closure.