The Danger of Rapid Adaptation
Continuing the clash between a doshi against the Aza brothers, this time the situation is reversed instantly as Chobei the barbarian older brother shows an unexpected response to his brief loss. One vital point of his character is how he always adapts to his surroundings and enemy, and that becomes a boomerang to the doshi who thought Chobei is just an ordinary human.
The concept of Tao is still kind of abstract considering every character learns it differently, but seeing Chobei finally understands the concept of this living energy is truly a stepping stone for our protagonists who must survive and succeed in their mission. This episode proves once again that Chobei is truly one hell of a character that we should focus on, especially since there is a bit of a teaser of how his wounds will affect him in the future.
Tao & An Abandoned Hermit
The later part brings us to the alliance of Gabimaru, Tamiya, and Fuchi who are now aligned to protect the girl Mei from being taken away by another doshi in front of them. This part is probably the most crucial moment in this episode since it not only tells the concept of Tao and displays how powerful it can be, but also reveals the further concept of control.
But although the concept is elaborated deeper in this episode, the whole understanding of this power system is still lacking in its sense due to some skipped explanation for the beginning steps of the control. Everything is jumped directly to “bochu jutsu” the final step which is the controlling method by making out, while the other four steps are unexplained and left as questions in the air.
Speaking of bochu jutsu, this method is related to Mei’s origin story which surprisingly is very tragic and disgusting. Mei is apparently a wasted Tensen who used to be an object for training the cronies of the Tensen by engaging in sexual activities. This sickening action is a brilliant choice of writing to not only explain Mei’s trauma and incapabilities of communicating but more importantly, fuel up the anger of the characters and its viewers.
The Visionary Hollow
In the end, another big moment appears as Gabimaru finally understands a bit about the concept of Tao. Once again as previously mentioned, the concept of Tao is still pretty unclear due to different ways of learning it, and in Gabimaru’s case, we clearly need more explanation regarding Tao’s connection and his shinobi skill and training from the Stone Village.
But let’s face it, who does not like the fact that Gabimaru can overpower and defeat the monsters with his enhanced vision of Tao? The scene feels truly incredible, especially when he joins forces with Tamiya to finish the two doshis that endanger Mei.
This episode serves as a wonderful send-off prior to the last two episodes. Some big mysteries presented have been cleared and the answers somehow are able to give teasers of what kind of story will occur. While the action sequence may not top episode 9, the amount and depth of the new given information in this episode is overly precious than ever, especially when it results in the power escalation of our characters.