While this episode was an improvement on last week, and even thought to remind viewers that there are in fact reinforcements coming (I’d almost forgotten that they only had to hold out for a certain time assuming the reinforcements arrived), there’s still a definite feeling that things are just getting drawn out now.
Jinzaburo spends a lot of this episode reminding us that despite his political savvy being somewhat lacking, he is a fairly good leader. After pointing out that the castle is essentially a death trap and seemingly resolving to leave, he takes on a challenge by some of the guards and in the process understands why they can’t or won’t leave. Even after beating them, he simply requests their names and then we get on with everyone sitting down to a campfire.
Where this falls a little short, is the fact that one of the exiles is betraying them. From the audience perspective, given we’re shown the moment he makes the choice, his dealing with the Mongols, and then returning, there is little room for doubt. And while Jinzaburo isn’t in on this knowledge, it seems like he should probably pay more attention to these exiles he is leading as they come and go particularly when they are in as fragile position as they are. Of course, placing all the blame on him would be foolish when you have to wonder why when they arrived the gate was guarded and yet this exile apparently left, had a meeting with the Mongol forces, and returned without anyone on the walls wondering just what he was up to.
There was an attempt at injecting that time pressure that we felt so keenly in the first few episodes, but here is falls short. It has been too long since they reminded us the relief might be coming and too long since it has felt like there was any kind of end game for it to now be an affective plot device. If this had been featured more often as a constant gnawing pressure about whether they would survive long enough to be saved, then it would have significantly more impact.
While this show hasn’t ended yet, and I’m actually expecting something reasonably decent from the final confrontation, I really don’t think I’ll end up recommending this anime. As interesting as it ended up being, there’s just too many places where it has failed to hold itself up in the middle and the weight of them are starting to really drag on the overall experience.
- Episodes 1 + 2: Okay, You Got My Attention
- Episode 3: Ugly Filter Aside, This Is Pretty Compelling
- Episode 4: War is Ugly
- Episode 5: A Reason To Fight
- Episode 6: Division
- Episode 7: Safety?
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