You know the drill with Mushibugyou by now. Great straight-ahead shounen, solid action, a little innocent sex and some comedy, and one of the more well-constructed plots of the Summer. And as usual, the meatiest moments are generated from the relationship between Jinbei and Kuroageaha, which is still one of the more charming in recent anime.
I couldn’t help but notice that Sanada plans to name his new ship “Black Butterfly” and think of Kuroageha, whose true involvement with the insect royalty of Osaka is still a bit of a mystery. What’s no mystery are Sanada’s intentions – he plans to kill everyone on Kishuu for their failure to find and hand over Jinbei, Oooka and Kuroageha. Whether the arrival on the scene of the rest of the Insect Magistrate’s troops will be enough to prevent that remains to be seen, but it’s already too late for the craftsmen and soldiers, who’re the first to face their fate.
Meanwhile, Kuroageaha declares her feelings for Jinbei in by far the most direct fashion yet, even as she insists on continuing to hide her identity from him. Asking him for a moonlight stroll and holding his hand to marvel at how warm it is would be clues enough for a normal guy (thus, not for Jinbei) though it’s clear she holds little hope for any long-term happiness. Hibachi has certainly noticed what’s going on – as has Tenma, for that matter – but their feelings certainly aren’t too consequential in the lager scheme of things. If there’s going to be overt romance in this season of Mushibugyou, it seems pretty obvious who the participants will be.
Kingdom 2 – 09
As I said last week, this ending has been telegraphed for quite a while, so there really wasn’t much here to surprise. Knowing it was coming dulls the impact a bit, but it was still very nicely done. A classic Kingdom GAR death for all concerned, with only the aftermath and Zheng’s psyche to deal with next week.
Zi Xia was a very nice addition to the drama, and I was sorry to see her go even if I was prepared for it. I can’t see how Zheng wouldn’t blame himself for her death at least a little, but it seems as if he dedicated himself to making something out of the life she gave him. Of such things are kingdoms won and lost, I suppose, and I think Zi hit on the salient point in noting that Zheng would be an exceptional King, because few kings will ever have gone through what he did. It’s the same reason Chagum is likely to make an exceptional Mikado one day.
I certainly think this is the longest Kingdom has ever left Xin’s story, but it looks as if it comes back into focus next week. The many faces and many fronts in this battle to unify China have been well-established now, and I think we’re getting to the stage where they’re finally going to start to be drawn together.