Halfway through this episode, I got the feeling that this was going to be the last semblance of a lull episode in the show before it ran down climax alley. And it did a good job, at both being a lull episode and fooling me into thinking not much else was going to happen in the b-plots. Boy, was eye ever wrong there.
Yorunami’s introduction was an effectively nuanced one. On one hand, he was wringing out his subordinate like a wet dishrag for lack of effort. On the other, he didn’t simply kill him, which is more than I could say for some characters in this show, instead opting to give him a second chance after a lecture. It’s the sort of introduction that speaks of brutally efficient ambition, the kind that will occasionally show kindness to motivate people. This impression was strongly backed when we got to see the good old Kaiji capitalism that runs his empire.
Of which creative torture is usually a part
In the scene where Arata and the others were working in the quarry, I got the distinct impression that the 12-episode limit was really helping the story advance. I can pretty much envision a Studio Pierrot lackey making that the plot of two episodes, rather than half of one. The time they took on it was about right for the ingredients they put in; inside info on Yorunami, the local kid who needed a hero, a bit of development between Kotoha and Arata (who surprisingly did not buy her a hairpin), and a quick juggling comedy scene from Kanate and Kannagi.
The two’s relationship continues to be rocky
Akachi continues to wear the series’ villain crown with unimpeachable dominance. Brutal efficiency is one thing, but staring down an unknown quantity holding a legendary sword and then spearing out his eye as a motivational tactic? That’s flat-out brutality right there. Kadowaki may have seemed fearsome last week, but he really felt like like a boy untold leagues out of his depth in that scene.
I’m betting the aforementioned stab will cost Kadowaki a lot in the way of mental stability, so his next clash with Arata should be prime-time viewing. Bonus points if he butts in in the middle of a face-off between Arata and Yorunami.