It’s cooldown time, by the looks of-… Oh. Well, that was over quick.
Honestly, there’s remarkably little for me to say about episode 8 and 9 because the vast majority of it was backstory. Most of what was done in these episodes was in the interest of setting things up for the future. Episode 8, in particular, was largely centered around elaborating on what happened during that great disaster, years ago. It also explains to us what, exactly, makes Kanami and Hiyori so special, at least in relation to the plot.
I liked getting to know more about Kanami’s role, in particular. There’s always been this bizarre absence of relevance surrounding her character. She simply went along with things as they happened. There was always the implication that she was actually somehow more important than she seemed. But I’m glad we’re finally having those questions at least partially answered. I’m also glad to know I called what was going on with her dreams. Well… to an extent.
The catch is that some of the exposition was very… dumpy. I could practically feel my eyes glazing over during certain scenes where characters were explaining things. And this gets into one of my primary issues with exposition. Sometimes it’s a necessary evil. But here you have a handful of very eccentric characters who are privy to this information. I understand the thematic and tonal reasons for their getting serious when they talk about these heavier things, but at the same time, this is all ancillary information that we could probably understand your story without.
So if you feel you absolutely must exposit, why not just let the quirky characters do their thing and be weird? Then you can have them fall back on that to simplify all the information we just received, play it for humor, and make those scenes more engaging. Without the jarring effect of previously silly characters just suddenly becoming serious over something so uninteresting.
Episode 9 expanded on things we’d been told in the previous episode. It largely served as a bit of a cooldown, in its first half, showing the girls all bonding with one another. An obligatory (but mercifully brief) onsen scene, followed by a brief festival that wasn’t really capitalized on much, saw some of the girls spending more time around one another, leading to a few more character establishing moments. Mai and Sayaka, in particular, had some pretty significant development around this. As things go, the two of them seem to be the least necessary characters in the group. And, in fact, the group is basically playing counter to the Elite Four, thus the two of them throw off the numbers (not that it really matters). But they actually address this and make it a part of their respective arcs, which is a nice little addition to the two of them.
The main issue I have with this whole sequence is that the festival isn’t really used as a cooldown sequence because exposition is going on over a significant chunk of it. And we don’t really get to see a whole lot of festival bonding in the traditional sense. It’s not really a significant gripe. I just would’ve preferred having this bit of time to just let the show slow down and breathe a bit after all that happened in the last few episodes. Despite the show not having a particularly breakneck pace, a lot is happening. So the break would’ve been nice.
During this exposition, we learn more about this “Noro” stuff, which is honestly kind of uninteresting. There is a certain reveal about it that has the potential to go somewhere cool, relating to its involvement in that great disaster. But it was otherwise nothing I felt too compelled to pay close attention to. In other words, my eyes started glazing over again. It’ll probably be addressed later in a more involved, less exposition-y fashion. So I’ll wait for that moment. This is followed by an “attack” on the village in which they’re hiding, led by our favorite murder princess.
The more we see of this character, the more interested I become in her. She seems to genuinely have a unique motivation that makes her stand out from the other three. She’s entertaining to watch because of her personality and the performance that brings it to life. And then there’s the implication at the end of her involvement in the episode that she’s got her own problems. I genuinely want to know where they end up going with her.
Overall, Episode 8 was basically just Easy Viewing. There wasn’t a lot of action or anything. The flashbacks were somewhat interesting and it was nice getting to learn more about Kanami in particular. Episode 9 essentially started out the same way, but the second half brought in Yume, who pretty much singlehandedly elevated it to the Junk Food category. She’s just too much fun to not love whenever she’s on screen. But the Toji aren’t the only superpowered cute girls, fighting monsters and each other, these days. For a lighter example, check out my reviews of Maerchen Maedchen.
Or, if you’d rather stick to this increasingly delightful adventure, Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Fridays at 10:00am EST. That’s all for me, here, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome.