Oh, so the special episode wasn’t the start of a filler arc after all. Onwards with the war!
The samurai group provide backup to Kankurou’s unit, and manage to intercept the resurrected shinobi going after them. Mifune, the samurai leader engages Hanzo the Salamander, an enemy that he’s fought before, and somehow survived. Mifune notices that the previous conviction Hanzo displayed when fighting him has now disappeared, and easily beats him this time, commenting that his blade has now dulled, with his conviction diminished.
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We haven’t seen much of the samurai group – only that they were present during the Five Kage Summit, and that they joined the war as reinforcements. That’s not much of a gauge we have on their power level, other than that time when a group of them fought Sasuke, which wasn’t very helpful anyway. Because of that, I was surprised at Mifune’s ability to fight evenly with a person like Hanzo the Salamander. Hanzo had fought the Sannin in the past, and even bested the Akatsuki at one point – so I find it strange that someone like Mifune can go up against a powerhouse like him and win no less, even though he was slightly weaker than before. And what happened to his salamander in the end?
And that’s why I was slightly disappointed with this week. The power levels were skewed out of whack a bit, and there wasn’t much actual fighting, since more time was devoted to backstory and flashbacks. I know that in a war like this, lots of battles are going on at the same time and so things are sped up a bit, but there’s something nostalgic about the pacing of the old times, where enemies are the true big bad and cliffhangers and plot twists were all over the place. Of course, we’ll get that later with some of the more formidable enemies of the war, but I just can’t agree with how they’re downplaying some battles with people who were former powerful shinobi. Take the Sasori battle, where Kankurou beat him in one episode – whereas it took Sakura quite some time.
Or maybe that’s just cause Sakura’s useless xD
Hanzo and his past was interesting, at least. He seems to come from one of those villages where they have weird thinking and old-fashioned traditions that seem to revel in torturing the younger generation. This time the village implants venom sacs into bodies so that Hanzo can breathe poison, which leads me to question why he even agreed to it in the first place. Also, I finally understand the reason for his Darth Vader mask, though if I was an enemy, the last thing I’d do would be to rupture that poison sac. While it paralyzes him, it’s probably the last thing I’d be able to do if I cut it open.
This week’s shounen theme was conviction, which is also present in other shows as willpower, mental strength and resolve. The whole analogy of people being swords was…slightly confusing, though I do applaud how the tables have now turned and Mifune is repeating the same inspiring words to Hanzo as Hanzo himself once did. It’s nice to know that Hanzo wasn’t completely a “bad” person, and was seeking for world peace, despite wanting to achieve it in his slightly twisted way.