Weekly Digest 9/17/13 – Kingdom 2, Mushibugyou

Kingdom 2 - 15 -15 Kingdom 2 - 15 -17 Mushibugyou - 24 -2 Mushibugyou - 24 -22

Come on, Mushibugyou – you almost got the eyecatch after the ED this week.  I know you can do it!

Kingdom 2 – 15

Kingdom 2 - 15 -1 Kingdom 2 - 15 -2 Kingdom 2 - 15 -3
Kingdom 2 - 15 -4 Kingdom 2 - 15 -5 Kingdom 2 - 15 -6
Kingdom 2 - 15 -7 Kingdom 2 - 15 -8 Kingdom 2 - 15 -9
Kingdom 2 - 15 -10 Kingdom 2 - 15 -11 Kingdom 2 - 15 -12
Kingdom 2 - 15 -13 Kingdom 2 - 15 -14 Kingdom 2 - 15 -16
Kingdom 2 - 15 -18 Kingdom 2 - 15 -19 Kingdom 2 - 15 -20

One of the interesting things that’s emerged over two seasons of Kingdom is the sense that great military commanders form a kind of unofficial brotherhood.  And in a very real sense, they owe more allegiance to this fraternity than to the Kings they serve.  Lian Po is the most obvious recent example, having thrown over a King he despised and defected to another of the warring states, but in this world these great Generals understand each other in a way that transcends nationalistic loyalty.

The latest of these figures to emerge is Lun Hu, Lian Po’s deadliest weapon, who on any given day “may command 300 men, or a thousand, or ten thousand”.  He enters the Qin camp like a viper in a tent, striking quickly and with deadly accuracy.  Eight Thousand-man Generals are dead before he finishes up one night’s work.  It’s tempting to moralistically look down on this as a cowardly and disgraceful tactic, but in reality Lian Po is acting in the defense of a county that’s just been invaded.  Generals are soldiers, too, and Lian Po is using every resource at his disposal to level the playing field, which is what outmanned Generals have been doing since the dawn of organized warfare.

And what a resource Lun Hu is.  A few days after the moonlit massacre in the Qin camp he takes out Meng Ao’s right-hand man as the Qin march towards their next conquest, right at the center of a heavily guarded platoon.  Ever-smiling, the boyish Lun Hu is in fact in his 30’s, and he has an encounter with Xin and the Feixin Force on his way to attack (presumably) the White Elder himself.  This has all the hallmarks of one of those “fated momentsKingdom and all series of its type adore – Lun Hu recognizes something special in Xin, “the air of a military commander” despite his youth and obvious ragged inexperience.  “Beloved by Heaven” he says of Xin – the quality of luck, he says, which even the smartest and best military commanders must have if they’re to survive long enough to become difference makers.  He’s not on Lun Hu’s list, but as of now he’s on the list in his mind – and Lun Hu swears that the next time they meet, he won’t let Xin survive the encounter.

Mushibugyou – 24

Mushibugyou - 24 -1 Mushibugyou - 24 -3 Mushibugyou - 24 -4
Mushibugyou - 24 -5 Mushibugyou - 24 -6 Mushibugyou - 24 -7
Mushibugyou - 24 -8 Mushibugyou - 24 -9 Mushibugyou - 24 -10
Mushibugyou - 24 -11 Mushibugyou - 24 -12 Mushibugyou - 24 -13
Mushibugyou - 24 -14 Mushibugyou - 24 -15 Mushibugyou - 24 -16
Mushibugyou - 24 -17 Mushibugyou - 24 -18 Mushibugyou - 24 -19
Mushibugyou - 24 -20 Mushibugyou - 24 -21 Mushibugyou - 24 -23
Mushibugyou - 24 -24 Mushibugyou - 24 -25 Mushibugyou - 24 -26

Mushibugyou delivers the goods each and every week, but occasionally it hits you with an episode that just fires on all cylinders and surprises you with its subtlety and depth of feeling.  This was certainly such an episode, and as so many of them have it featured Kuroageha prominently.

I’ll say again what a terrific job Han Megumi is doing with this role, and what a great year she’s having in establishing herself as one of the best young seiyuu of her generation.  She’s the emotional anchor of Mushibugyou, the perfect complement to Kenn’s earnest and guileless Tsukishima, and together they’ve crafted one of the unlikeliest great romances of recent anime history.  I like Hibachi and Haru but sorry, they never had a chance once the Insect Magistrate showed up on the scene.

We don’t get all that much historical clarification of Kuroageha’s identity in this episode, but probably enough – her name is Princess Naa and we certainly witnessed the siege of Osaka Castle, so it seems inevitable that her father was indeed Hideyori Toyotomi.  But it appears unlikely that Hideyori is the Insect King – rather, my money is on the “cute” giant grub Princess Naa took under protection, and which resurrected her after she was brutally executed by the Tokugawa forces – and in the process, turned her into the strange creature she currently is.  This all comes via the memories she sees as she descends into the Eternal Well – memories that are also seen by Jinbei, as Sanada Yukimura has tossed him in as well after toying with him for a while.

Kuroageha’s painful memories are the spine that runs through Mushibugyou, so this is obviously a critical moment.  Much to her surprise but I expect no one else’s, Jinbei takes them in stride and professes that he’ll still follow her anywhere – the last icicle of her heart melted, I suppose, though he’d already done that pretty thoroughly.  What a great pair they are – both thoroughly sympathetic yet completely different people.  The rub here is that in regaining her power, Naa-hime apparently gives up her memories – and the more she regains, the more she loses.  This is the ace-in-the-hole for Sanada, and why he’s wanted this result all along.

There were other things happening in this episode – a very brief check-in on the supporting trio’s battle with Juuzou and Kamanousuke (who appears to be an actual female in this mythology) and a surprisingly brief skirmish between Mugai and Saizou.  I could see that disappointing some, but while Mushibugyou delivers the shounen battle arcs with alacrity, it’s the deeper emotional stuff with Kuroageha that sets it apart so I have no complaints.  Mugai has been a minor player of late, that’s for sure – but no less badass for it, as he apparently absorbs Saizou’s insect power into his blade (we saw that ability with the “fortress” rhinoceros beetle) rather than kill him.  I’m not sure just yet whether it’s to be he or Jinbei who finally kills Sanada – I could see that going either way, especially if there’s to be a confrontation with the King himself in the final two episodes.



  1. R

    If you didn't tell us that Lun Hu is voiced by Sakurai-san, I wouldn't have noticed it — I paid more attention this week.

    One of the things I like about Kingdom is all the military tactics. It seems like that Lian Po is pretty good at ambushing and weakening the enemy before launching the big and face-to-face attack. I wouldn't blame him when he has Lun Hu as his secret weapon — just looking at how Lun Hu waltzes around the enemy's campsite and the battlefield can so totally tell his prowess. I really like what he said to Xin, and it's very true that you need luck — which I think can also be seen as creating and capitalizing on the right opportunity — to win and survive. I'm sure that he will meet Xin again, but what's floating in head when watching the episode was whether we would see the eyes of Lun Hu…lol.

    I had no idea that Meng Ao is really Meng Tian's grandfather. I am not too fond of Meng Ao but do want to know what cards he's holding to fend off Lian Po. Meng Tian again shows off his exceptional quality — he really can think one step ahead and is better at detecting danger than experienced generals like Luo Yuan. I really like how the young Meng Tian is portrayed in this show.

    We will see Wang Qi next week, and I hope that we can hear his voice, too…can't wait!

  2. M

    Bit disappointed that Oooka-san was given the wipe so quickly. But I've come to expect nothing more from this Cartoon Network show.

    Mugai's minor but amazing scene was the most rewarding part of this episode if you ask me. I'd like to see him finish Sanada, but who knows when a character like Jinbei is immune to poison?

  3. G

    I was a little disapointed in how ridiculous it would be for 1 guy (on horseback no less) to just casually strole around with a shopping list and cutting down all 8 1000 man generals. One or two I could see but not 8. At least this opens things up for Xin and his 2 rivals to maybe move up in rank to 1000 man generals?

  4. e

    Something was off this week with Kingdom for me. The sequence with Lun Hu dragging a floating Shin was just.. akward. Poetic (and epic ) license notwithstanding – hooray for impossible physics and grasshopping style of jumping etc etc – it really looked like Lun was gripping an inflatable Xin doll instead of a real person's struggling/opposin/fighting body. My suspension of disbelief oh where have thou gone.
    And among all of that where have thou gone Lei? I find it strange we dont see her at all given how it's a stealthy assassin thw onw who ends up crossing her unit's path. But if this means she has eluded Lun Hu's bonus murder candidates radar it might turn pretty handy later on…
    On the positive side… Wang Qi featured in a flashback ('scuse while I go kyaaah), Meng Tian's brain power ( stop being awesome you smexy boy :,) ) and Lian Po totally owning his present Emperor/employer. First intimidate, then borderline mock&menace, then make him into a fanboy. Oh fearsome Lian Po.

  5. Yes, it is odd that Lei is missing for the entire episode. It's like one of those live TV series where the actor had another commitment or a bad case of the flu that week.

  6. R

    @Max : Isn't Jinbei immune because he is an insect-man / monster himself? As we saw on Insect Hunters arc.

    @Enzo : Considering that there are only two episodes left, with Sanada Yukimura and two of his insects still alive, also the fact that this is still an on-going manga, I doubt that we will see Osaka castle and the insect king. The anime will probably ends at Sanada's defeat and a temporary peace period.

Leave a Comment