While the sheep is introduced properly, unfortunately, the action promised in the last episode turns out to be lackluster.
Previous Recap: Episode 4 “The Enemy, A Noble Primate”
A Proxy War: Duedeculpe
It still isn’t fully made clear the purpose of the Juni Taisen, but it seems that one of its purposes is redrawing the world map based on who wins. Also, with world leaders, though no specifics on which, being participants, hence how Duedeculpe can offer any wish granted. But as for which country gets to participate and which don’t, that is hard to say. Much less, with it seeming families own certain animals of the zodiac, there also comes the question of how much power and say so they get.
We saw with the boar that the head of the family can choose who goes, and see it again with the Sheep. However, can these families choose which country to reside in or represent? We have yet to see a family without implied power but, at the same time, it hasn’t been made clear a handful of things. Such as why Sharyu, out of all those who were trained indiscriminately by the wise monkeys, was chosen. Much less, with so little said about the dog, who chose him or recommended him?
Mediocre Battles: Usagi, Sharyu, Takeyasu, Nezumi, Ushii, Uuma
Something you learn while watching the episode is that none of these fighters are used to doing more than a few hits and moving on. Which perhaps explains why each and every fight is so boring. For what has to be the third episode, Ushii and Uuma are still going at it. All because of Uuma having some armor stronger than Ushii’s sword. A sword which usually dices through enemies quickly.
But, alas, Uuma gets to retreat. Making me almost miss the days when characters were killed left and right. Though, maybe the show, since Sharyu broke the trend, is a prime example of being careful what you ask for. For her and Nezumi also have the dullest battles. Usagi, despite him being such a charismatic psycho in the first episode, is all look and no sell. As Sharyu blocks attacks or takes out his zombie pigeons, you are left thinking that we should be thankful those Juseki jewels exist for that means eventually drastic measures have to be taken.
Then there is Nezumi. Someone so mysterious that even Duedeculpe isn’t really sure of his talents. Nor do the VIPs, virtually in the room, find themselves capable to provide insight. But considering the cat and mouse game him and the corpse of Takeyasu have going, it seems we’ll have to wait another episode to learn of his talents ourselves.
The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing: Aira (Tiger), Tsujiie (Sheep/Ram)
This episode properly introduces Tsujiie to us and similar to Niwatori, what led him to being part of the Juni Taisen was marrying into a family which participated. In fact, Tsujiie already won a Juni Taisen – the 9th to be exact, which was in space! Leading to him wishing to be with his grandson for, let’s face it, the life of people like him, who are soldiers, arms dealers, and more, rarely see old age.
Which is what led him to join the Juni Taisen – so his grandson wouldn’t have to. But that leads to the question of how in the world did he expect to win? He isn’t the fastest, strongest, and while he is no dummy, his youth is slipping. So, like many others, he thought about pairing up until it was time to betray. If not, before Sharyu did her thing, wipe them out with this “Old Timer” bomb.
Alas, all his plans have gone awry and while he faked swallowing the jewel, it isn’t clear if there is a penalty for cheating the system. All he knows is that he isn’t high on the totem pole but, luckily for him, he encounters Aira and avoids Ushii. Someone who I’m sure most forgot about. Though, with her being messy drunk, who knows if she is of a real threat. Tsujiie has her placed at the bottom currently.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- 3 hours have passed by Tsujiie’s estimation and it takes about 12 for the jewel to kill them – give or take.
- With this being the 12th Juni Taisen and Tsujiie participating in the 9th, and this tournament happening every 12 years, it has been 36 years since he participated in the last tournament. Of which, based off just visuals, I’d assume most of his peers were either not born or children.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Why is there no fighter that uses technology that much? Why is it all blades, guns, and hand to hand combat?
Keeping Long-Term Interest
As noted, likely in the first episode, the issue with any and all violent anime is that once you build a tolerance, it is rare for them to offer you something besides violence. Most don’t push for an engaging story, compelling characters, and things of that nature. They invest everything into shock value.
Which is a problem for Juni Taisen since, at least for me, Usagi is the only interesting character left. The great character development we got for Niwatori and Toshiko hasn’t been followed up with the characters who actually got kept alive. Then when it comes to fights, though it got old quick, the shock of this person so well developed dying has dissipated. So with the ones who fight and seemingly get to retreat not having these epic or “HOW DID THEY SURVIVE THAT?!” type of battles, so comes the question of: Why am I still watching this?
Of which my answer is: It isn’t bad enough to drop… yet.