…You guys started to realize you only had a few episodes left, didn’t you?
Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Genre: Action, Supernatural
These two episodes are really awkwardly placed, honestly. Not that they’re overall ineffective. Quite the opposite in some instances. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s this feeling of “crap, we only have four episodes left. We’ve gotta wrap this up.” This largely comes from Hiyori’s role in things. Having absorbed Princess Ichikishima, she’s now supposedly strong enough to fight and defeat Princess Tagitsu. Right? Well, yeah. Sort of. Until the series slaps you on the wrist for believing in such fantasies and delivers an abrupt-
But it comes pretty much out of nowhere. Hiyori defeats and absorbs her as per a plan she devises with Yukari. But after she has a heartwarming little moment with Kanami… well… after a little sparring match, Princess just… breaks out. It’s possibly just because Hiyori wasn’t strong enough to keep her contained for 20 years like Yukari did. But the whole line Princess spews seems to imply she planned this all along. Despite the fact that she very clearly did. “Aha! But it was all a part of the evil plan!” What, the one you just pulled out of your backside? And that’s not the only instance of wonky pacing.
The episodes do a fairly decent job of delivering on the emotional core of the story… to an extent. It builds on the romantic two-girl friendship between Kanami and Hiyori by finally having Kanami basically just break. Though, keeping with that pacing issue, this doesn’t really last long at all. She’s still processing everything that’s happened and the idea that Hiyori is dead (she gets better). But the interaction between herself and the other girls in the group is just… over too fast. These people are grieving. That isn’t to say they’re completely over it. They obviously aren’t. But Kanami gets a few seconds to cry and it’s over in the same scene with nothing really impeding it. As a result, it just makes the entire thing feel like it’s over much too quickly. They could’ve cut to another scene to show at least a few minutes of passage of time, for example. It just makes the whole thing awkward.
The transition between the two episodes is also fairly rushed. Princess Tagitsu wants to obliterate mankind. Literally every major enemy she has was within ten feet of her when she absorbed Hiyori and acquired her perfect form. So why in the world did she choose not to try to kill them all right there? She definitely could’ve. Easily. But no. The episode ends right after she seemingly kills Hiyori and Kanami reacts to it. Then the next one picks up after a brief time skip over what I can imagine is a few days. During which it’s treated almost like like is just going on as usual, just busier. It’s so awkward and weird and sloppy.
The resolution to Episode 22 was also a bit funky in that regard. The girls all go on a mission to retrieve Hiyori’s sword from Princess Tagitsu. To honor her or something. They split off to deal with all the forces Princess sends after them, once again leaving Kanami to take on the big boss. And her magic sword tells her Hiyori is still alive in there… somehow. It’s not explained how any of this is working. It honestly seems more like Princess should’ve just absorbed Ichikishima out of Hiyori, rather than absorbing Hiyori in her entirety. It’s just a really bizarre choice. It has a sweet resolution. It’s just kinda weird.
Also. This time I’m preeetty sure Yomi is straight up dead. And that whole bit was just as rushed. We finally got some level of insight into her character as she shows up in time to save the Renpu president from a bunch of Aradama who’d broken into her place. Then she just keels over. I’m honestly not the sort to wish that kind of fate on people. But that woman is still the most annoying part of the show and Yomi dying for her sake just felt like a forced way to inject some motivation into her. Furthermore, this has shades of Yume all over it. We knew almost nothing about her (other than her basically being the prototype of Sayaka) up until now. And then we get this all at once. It’s eerily similar is all I’m saying.
Overall, these two episodes were a mixed bag, essentially existing to set up the final conflict and that’s it. They did a mostly effective job at delivering on their emotional core. Though they didn’t really reach the resolutions of those emotional arcs in the most satisfactory way. The action is still fun, though I do think it’s odd how we’re now starting to see a lot less of the unique fighting styles and techniques across the various characters. It’s still there for sure. But not as apparent as when the show began. The pacing is generally all over the place, here, which works to the detriment of the episodes. It makes them just feel incredibly rushed, with the express purpose of getting to the climax as quickly as possible. A pair of episodes there are ultimately Harmless, and little else. If you want something bizarre in completely different ways, there’s always Butlers x Battlers.
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.
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