katanagatari episode four

The only thing more consistent in Katanagatari Episodes 1 to 3 other than Togame, Shichika, and the Shiki swords is the mention of Sabi Hakuhei and his prowess. And so quite naturally, I was really looking forward to Shichika facing off with Japan’s greatest swordsman.

…Well now I know what it feels like to be Bamboozled.

If I hadn’t so highly anticipated a phenomenal battle of Shichika versus Sabi then I would have been able to enjoy this episode with no lingering hints of disappointment, but after falling into the trap the writers set out, I have not come out of this last episode unscathed. And what a clever little trap it was. With so much hype-building about Sabi, no one expected the focus to shift to Shichika’s poor, frail, lonely sister Nanami who was left alone on the island to fend for herself. Frail… Ha. Psgels used the word “evil” to describe her, but I much prefer to call her a monster. It’s not just the way she dealt with the three Maniwani who had the misfortune of being the ones attempting to kidnap her, but even in the way she’d disciplined Shichika when they were growing up. It’s no wonder her father didn’t want to pass down Kyotouryuu to her (though he did indirectly): She’s clearly a huge enough threat without proper training.

We didn’t get a chance to feel bad for the Shikizaki sword holder this episode, but we did get the opportunity to meet three heads of the Maniwa Corps who aren’t killed instantly (but are killed eventually). And yeah; I felt bad for them. Maniwa Kamakiri the Headhunter, Maniwa Chouchou the Weightless, and Maniwa Mitsubachi… the Honeybee… make up the Maniwa Corps Insect Squad. Each squared off against Nanami and each died at her hands. Kamakiri was first and served to show that Nanami wasn’t helpless or defenceless in the least. Chouchou fought Nanami next, and the writers worked up even more sympathy from watchers as he said he planned on getting married when they finished their task. He shows a softer side to himself and by association, the Maniwa Clan; too bad we all knew he was going to die. Chouchou’s scuffle with Nanami illustrated her unparalleled ability to learn fast – and I mean fast. She remembers most skills by seeing them just once. By the second time, she’s already mastered the skill, no matter what it is. She casually mentions how jealous she feels of others who take time and effort to learn things since she herself is never able to experience that. Death seems to be another thing she’s not able to experience. We learn in her final battle against Mitsubachi that despite her weak body, death evades her. Funny to say something like “death evades” because normally, it’s people who try to evade death, not the other way around. And so despite being subjected to poison, Nanami’s body easily recovers from it and she kills the last Maniwa sent to kidnap her.

Though a monster, she’s not without humanity as she does the fallen Maniwani the honour of burying them together along with Koumori – the first Maniwa killed by Shichika in the battle of the Shikizaki swords.

And then we get back to Togame and Shichika who, after finishing their battle with the great Sabi Hakuhei, sit around eating dango and red bean soup. The writers rub the absence of that battle in our faces as Togame and Shichika talk about what an epic fight it was, and how it wasn’t so much a win as just barely losing. Now that they’ve obtained Hakutou Hari, they’re moving on to their next target: Zokutou Yoroi.

Ahh. It irks me. It really does. I wanted to see Sabi Hakuhei fight. I just wanted to see a fight. I think I’ve come to realize that – despite Shichika’s role and Togame’s goal – Katanagatari isn’t about fighting, and chances are, we won’t ever get to see a proper fight scene. All we’ll get are the little glimpses of action here and there, but it’s never really enough to call a proper fight scene (if we want good fights, I believe we need to be watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood right now).

But I still like this show. I still think it’s clever and despite the fact that there is a lot of talking, I don’t find it dull even for a minute. I love the art and I love the characters; in spite of the month long wait between episodes, things are getting comfortable in the story line. You sort of know what to expect but at the same time, you’re surprised when you actually see it – or in this case, don’t see it. Though with eight episodes left (and only half the heads of Maniwa Corps still alive), we’ll see if things remain fresh.

(And yes I did completely ignore the part where Togame stands naked before Shichika, and her revelation that Shichika barely differentiates between male and female, causing her to wonder how and why he fell for her. The part where he tickles her collarbone was weird. I actually wanted him to break her collarbone rather than to see him tickle it.)

Next Episode: May 21st, 2010: Zokutou Yoroi.


9 Responses to “katanagatari episode four”

  1. 21 April 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Yeah, evil sounds about right. She ripped the fingernails off the first guy and then killed him with them by shoving them out the backside of his head. That’s the kind of brutal stuff used to build anti-heroes.

    • 2 blindability
      21 April 2010 at 11:01 pm

      She’s truly unsuspecting and incredibly frightening. I have never felt bad for Maniwani until this episode, haha.

  2. 22 April 2010 at 12:51 am

    I absolutely loved when she said she was faking a reaction to the poison. So much trolling this episode both by the writers and Nanami. The screen you used of the graves with the cigarettes was my favourite part of the episode, because it showed that (like Shichika) she sees nothing wrong with killing people, it is normal for her. She isn’t evil in the same way Shichika isn’t evil, because they both find it a part of life. Now you could say it’s naiveté or that Shichika is only like that because Nanami has obviously had a horrible effect on his childhood but she still buries them and heeds Mitsubachi’s requests. I don’t think an evil person would have done this.
    OK, I admit the smile didn’t help though…

    • 4 blindability
      22 April 2010 at 10:03 am

      Her smile was scary.
      But I love how soft spoken she is.
      Add that and the smile and it completely unnerves me.

  3. 5 Marvin
    22 April 2010 at 6:57 am

    Just… wow… I just watched the episode and never expected that…

    Nanami is really frightening, but feeling sorry for the Maniwani guys? Come on!

    Interesting plot twist, though. This is getting interesting!

    Maybe I just love frightening little killer girlies…


    Ah well, next up: Kick Ass, with the next evil little killer girlie 😀

    • 6 blindability
      22 April 2010 at 10:01 am

      I know: good twist, eh? Still would’ve liked to see Sabi fight though…

      And yeah I felt bad for the Maniwani! I mean… if Nanami hadn’t been able to defend herself, then I wouldn’t but… that wasn’t the case, haha.

  4. 7 Fuuma
    22 April 2010 at 3:12 pm

    In an odd way it makes some sense that they would not show what is probably the best fight so early on. I suspect they’ll either find a clever way to show it at the end of the show, or it ends up on the dvd release in some form.

    Good episode, but I was really looking forward to some shark splicing…

    • 8 blindability
      22 April 2010 at 3:20 pm

      I hope you’re right because while this was a good episode, I can’t help but really miss that Sabi fight. The previews from episode three really work you up for what looked like an epic battle! (Shark splicing included!)

  5. 9 I-dunno
    29 April 2010 at 12:31 pm

    The first hint that we got that Nanami was awesome was in episode 1 when Shichika left the island and her side comments on how he is out to get the remaining 11 swords even thought he is so weak.

    That caught my attention Shichika weak?! that means she is more powerful perhaps? then episode 4 came around… and it speaks for itself.

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