Whaaat? You’re saying Maki did it? No way!
Right off the bat, episode 15 does something I’ve actually been really enjoying about this cour. It’s focusing a lot less on Kanami and Hiyori, and is much more evenly dividing its attention between the other girls. Much like last time, we actually see two characters interacting a great deal that’d previously barely said two words to one another. Kaoru is in charge of a mission to find an Aradama in the area. But since she has a thing for slacking, the Director sends Sayaka to help her and her team. So now we have the laziest member of the group, directly teaming up with the most diligent. The scenario writes itself.
Sayaka’s unemotional nature obviously means they aren’t exactly going to be directly clashing. But their different perspectives do wind up playing off of one another. This helps to also inform Kaoru’s character a lot, as we didn’t really learn much about her in the previous season. But based on this episode we get to understand a little more about her outlook regarding the Aradama. This also acts as a growing moment for Sayaka, who previously just followed orders. Her sense of autonomy only developed throughout the events of the first cour, and it’s not fully realized. So she’s not going to be completely adjusted, only a few months later. This is a good chance for her to learn a little perspective. This show is really at its strongest when it’s exploring the dynamics between the characters.
It’s also in this episode that we confirm one of the hooded figures is Maki. Furthermore, she appears to be working against the other hooded figure, who later turns out to somehow be Princess Tagitsu. Maki doesn’t say as much in the episode (for some reason), despite being confronted by Kaoru and Sayaka. But it’s fine because that gets cleared up in the next episode. So they at least know she’s not in league with the Princess and her cronies.
Episode 16 is basically all plot over character. There’s not really anything to say about it. We confirm that this is, in fact, Princess Tagitsu, aka The Great Aradama in human form. But we also learn this isn’t her complete self. After she was separated from Origami, she split into three different forms. We meet one of the other Princesses, who is being directly watched by the government. She seems to personally request Kanami and Hiyori. As to the reason why, we don’t really know. What we do know is that Maki knows about her and I guess they finally catch her at the end of the episode. All we see is Hiyori confront her and then a skip to nighttime.
After Kanami learns about the Princesses, she seems to start doubting and questioning herself. After all, this sort of has the air of making their efforts from last cour pointless. But this is quickly dispelled in a dream by her mother. It was a neat little moment. It’s not often we get to actually see that level of reflection out of Kanami. She usually puts up a front of being much more self-assured. The vulnerability is good to see.
If there’s anything I can really pick at, it’s that the episode actually set up with a birthday party for Sayaka, thrown by all the others. But it doesn’t really go anywhere. That could’ve been a nice character moment, but it wound up interrupted by the plot. Another thing is that they had a little scene focusing a bit on Kanami’s new, biggest fan. This just makes me think she’s going to wind up playing some incredibly significant role. But all I have on that are theories, at the moment, so we’ll see.
The biggest thing, however, was the episode’s closing reveal – Origami is alive. I’m actually genuinely surprised by this. At the end of the first cour, we never actually saw Origami’s body or anything. We just saw a big explosion and a beam of light shoot into the sky. With that in mind, it’d be easy to assume she was dead.
Speaking of dead, it’s fairly clear now that Yume isn’t coming back. And unfortunately it seems like her only purpose in death was the one thing that irritates me the most – she basically existed to motivate other characters to take various actions. Yomi seemed driven by it in some fashion. How it affected her was somewhat unclear. Meanwhile, Maki was also driven by it, but in a much more obvious way. Meanwhile, the show is now really missing out on particularly entertaining characters. Nothing’s wrong with the ones it has, but none of them are even close to being as engaging to watch, sadly. Not on their own, anyway. There aren’t any other standout characters is my point. The closest it gets is Ellen, who’s still just charming and at her best when she’s with the others.
Overall, this was a nice pair of episodes. Episode 15, especially, was a Super Effective one for the series, giving us some nice character establishment and development for Kaoru and Sayaka, respectively. Kaoru’s interaction with the Director is also fun to watch. Episode 16 is closer to Junk Food. It did its job and pushed the plot. It gave us a bit of action and a few nice little character moments. But it’s obvious the episode was just setup, so I can’t really say it was anything stellar. For something else that’s good on delivering those nice inter-character moments (if you can get through all the eye-rolling), check out my coverage on 3D Kanojo: Real Girl. It’s actually really good at moments like that… when it’s not having the characters wade through a sea of awful decisions.
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.