This episode takes us back to the duo of Tenza and Nurugai who faces a strong figure on the Island. Although they are saved and helped by Shion, the overpowered regeneration and wind projectile of the enemy makes the situation not any better, especially for Shion who gets badly wounded on his throat, and Tenza who ends up killed in the battle.
The Burdens of a Teacher
This episode brings some new stories that were never mentioned in the manga, and they are truly meaningful, not solely for the moment, but also for the characters involved. We once again see the blind Asaemon named Shion who previously only appeared briefly and this time is revealed as the teacher figure who picked up Tenza from the street and turns him into a noble samurai.
In the manga, we never learned that much about the backstory or motive behind Shion’s kindness in picking up and teaching Tenza who used to be a dingy homeless rude teenager. But once again, just like in the case of Vinland Saga Season 2, MAPPA dares to bring a new piece of subplot to the story. It enriches the quality and layers of the character, which is Shion in this case.
The moment he must abandon his beloved student is now as painful as the moment he executed his previous student. We can witness that, and we can feel the pain Shion must keep inside of his chest, and that becomes a great moment and trigger for his character in the future.
A Potential Samurai
A little bit of addition is also given to the backstory of Tenza. The anime lets us know that he had struggled when he was brought into the Yamada clan and trained as a samurai for the first time.
While we may know about his kindness towards Nurugai and his relationship with Shion in the manga, the impact of his sacrifice and death are doubled up in the anime adaptation because we get to see more history and potential of him that is such a shameful to be ended this quick.
The Mysterious Overpowered Figure
There are still many unanswered questions regarding the truth and existence of Shinsenkyo, and if they are not confusing enough, we are slapped once more with the appearance of another gender-shifting powerful person on the island. He/she seems to be connected to Tensen the figure that appeared in the previous episode and easily defeated the Aza brothers.
However, this person’s ability appears to differ from the previous figure since he has wind or impact projectile that can easily penetrate man’s body. With one more weird undying strong freak coming to the story, obviously many of us want to know more about the inhabitants and the rulers of this island.
While the animation quality suffers the same issue as the previous episodes in some frames, the overall story and experience in this episode are second to no episodes prior to this one. The way MAPPA handles the backstory, motives, and relationship of the three characters focused on in this episode is extremely brilliant, which in the end gives more impact and feelings for the viewers.
Episode 8 is arguably the most tragic and grieving part of this season thus far, and everything that happened in this episode leads up to more moments and plots for the future of this series, especially for Nurugai who now must survive the island together with her savior’s teacher.