Juni Taisen (Zodiac War): Season 1/ Episode 2 “Tricks Both Mongrel and Fowl” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Juni Taisen: Zodiac War continues to keep us on our toes as the ones who seem like the favorites continue to get eliminated by their own sheer stupidity.

Getting Into Position: Ox (Ushii), Horse (Uuma), Dragon (Ani), Ram (Hitsujii)

While many others pair up for safety, there are a handful that, after Sharyu destroyed the floor they stood on, scatter about. Of these, most maintain a watchful presence. However, the Ox and Horse find themselves coming face to face. Of which it seems the Horse isn’t ready for what is believed to be the favorite of the match, the Ox.

The Monkey & The Rat: Sharyu, Nezumi

Out of all the people Sharyu tried to craft a peace treaty with, the only one she was able to snatch from the destruction was Nezumi. Someone who, like a handful of those part of this death battle, you aren’t necessarily sure why they are participating. For Sharyu it becomes clear because, despite being a world-renowned warrior, she is more so one for peace than violence. Often times putting herself within war zones to broker peace. As for Nezumi? Well, your guess is as good as mine right now. For while possibly formidable, and smart enough to peep Sharyu set off the explosives, he seems unbothered with the idea of really fighting.

Heck, he even goes to sleep around Sharyu. So either her reputation precedes her or he just really doesn’t care. Which is strange considering they only have 12 hours. That is, in comparison to the last game which had no time limit. So for him to be willing, comfortable, and able to sleep during a time like that, it really makes you wonder if he is any real threat to the others.

The Dog & The Chicken: Dotsuku, Niwatori

But here is the thing with Juni Taisen, don’t over or underestimate people. Those like Nezumi may seem harmless, but realize these are some of the top fighters in the world. They don’t get invited by pick of the hat. Assuming they are like Inounoshishi, they come from families which do this.

Perhaps the prime example is what happens between Botsuku (the dog) and Niwatori (the chicken). Botsuku is someone who produces venom and just him biting someone is fatal. On top of that, his body can produce an antidote to the toxin Duodecuple gave everyone so he is in the best position. Yet, like Inounoshishi, he got cocky. Niwatori is this girl in a skimpy outfit, seemingly nowhere near his level, and he figures with her being able to use the sight of birds, she’d be useful for now. Especially as they hunt Usagi.

However, in the pursuit of using her as a decoy, he decides to give her a non-lethal poison to strengthen her up and guess what? She uses that strength to crush Dotsuku’s skull. Making it 3 down, with two killed because they underestimated their opponent.

Highlights

Never Underestimate Your Opponent

Juni Taisen (Zodiac War) Season 1 Episode 2 “Tricks Both Mongrel and Fowl”

As Dotsuku analyzed Niwatori, like him, I was left wondering how she got into this tournament? Ushii is touted as one of the greatest warriors in the world, Sharyu a peacemaker who will go into any dangerous situation, but what about the rest of these people? Yeah, some are burly, old, and look suspicious but what does that mean? In episode one, we spent a whole episode with Inounoshishi and she was made to look like a bad ass. Yet she ended up the first one killed.

Leading to the question of, can someone win this by luck? Sharyu seems to desire ending the game without bloodshed and considering Ushii seemed willing to do so, she may get her wish. However, getting anything you desire is going to be far too tempting. Especially with the ability to just trick allies into a false sense of security and then just massacre them all.

Now, granted, these are well-trained warriors but we’ve already seen two of the best slip up. Plus, with the jewels being virtually indestructible, there isn’t a reason to show any sort of apprehension. You can drown, blow up, stab, shoot up, or whichever way you want to kill someone to get the jewel. Though, knowing Sharyu, she’ll probably figure out a way to extract it without you dying in the process. That is, if people don’t see her pursuit of peace as an opportunity to pick off people when their guard is down.

Criticism

So, About The Women’s Costumes…

I’m all for some ecchi, don’t get me wrong, but aren’t these supposed to be world class warriors? Why is it the women, and Usagi who looks like a twink, are in such skimpy outfits? Skin tight I could understand for maneuverability, but the women who remain are basically in their underwear. Even Dotsuku is perplexed about why someone who wear such a vulnerable outfit while facing off with a bunch of professional serial killers. And you know when someone in the damn show is asking these questions, something is off.

On The Fence

Dotsuku’s Death Wasn’t Impactful

Fully recognizing there is probably apprehension about creating a pattern we can follow, I must admit not getting to really know Dotsuku before he died made it less impactful. Yes, it was shocking when Niwatori just crushed his skull in, but once the shock was gone it wasn’t hard to hunch off the death and keep it moving. Which might become a problem as the show goes on. We are getting facts about characters but aren’t given feelings. Either in terms of us getting reasons to feel for them or getting to see them as more than highly trained murderers.

Which I foresee to be a problem for if we aren’t given a reason to invest in this character or that one, what is this besides another violent anime? One which may look stylish, have fanservice outfits, and such brutality, but ultimately didn’t say anything. For considering how long it takes to make an animated show, and how expensive it is, you’d think the goal here wouldn’t just be to watch a whole bunch of people die, often due to their own stupidity.

If anything, I’d hope like Danganronpa, we’re eventually going to get some background and build up so when anyone dies, like when Inounoshishi did, there is a real shock. Not just because they died but because you thought they could win or you was at least hoping they’d survive.

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