Juni Taisen: Zodiac War Episode 8

Modern Robin Hoods?

Compared to what we’ve seen in the past, dedicating 1.5 episodes to the twins backstory is pretty significant. It doesn’t feel wasted though. No qualms about this choice. Characterization is what drives this show forward and the complex background of Snake and Dragon adds a really cool angle to the fight. Well, maybe complex isn’t the right descriptor. Looking too deeply into it is probably a mistake. They just do what they want, when they want. It just so happens to usually involve killing innocent people and then reinstigating a continuous cycle of greed and violence…

This new Robin Hood archetype is quite a bit eviler than I remember from the original Robin Hood story. It really makes you think though. They were doing most of this out of boredom and a love for money, but when they killed people it was because they were hired to do so and the negative repercussions of their ‘charitable’ giving back were brought about entirely by greedy people. Plus, the people they killed were often doing inhumane things anyway. At this point, this show is literally just taking concepts commonly thought to be good, like justice, pacifism, and altruism and just, well, showing what people would actually do in the situation. Let’s just say, there are some pockets of society where the moral high ground does not, in fact, have the high ground. Giving credit where credit is due, this really ups my investment in the show when I think about it like that. Let’s see, let’s see. Dog went out of his way to trust Chicken. Got his face literally imploded by her hand. Chicken tried to manipulate Ox. Well, we know how that went. Monkey tried to resolve things peacefully. Got played, hard.

Yeah, it just seems like this show is convincing me that being a bad person is by far a better choice…

A heart of gold with a lack of morals

The entire, maybe, 3/4’s of the episode I was convinced that the sibling love vs sibling rivalry point I made in the last post was dead. Super dead. It looked more and more like they were just in it for money and gave no shits about each other. But then, I don’t know, the last 5 minutes or so reconvinced me that there is some layer of goodness to the brothers. Maybe it’s just seeing their human side though. Like when Snake gave his lizard-thing a memorial and we find out he runs a popular blog about reptiles. That’s kind of sweet, isn’t it? As long as you don’t think about the time he gave a kid a stack of money to half-heartedly apologize for burning his brother alive, that is. And Dragon at least expressed some lamentation about his brother being dead when he said something along the lines of, ‘and then you had to go and get yourself killed’. Granted, it was in a very tsundere way, but you have to take what you can get with these things.

If there’s any positive takeaway from this episode, it’s nice to see Atari branching out. When video games just aren’t working, moving into pharmaceuticals is usually the next step I hear. From Pong to treating poor kids with experimental medicine. A natural transition.

Dragon makes his move! Reunited and it feels so good!

And by the end of this episode, we finally get back into the action! Somehow Dragon is seeing everything happen below him, but we’ll just ignore that.

Tiger is still alive!! Yay! She and Ox have put aside their conflict to fight the, now armless, corpse of Snake. Poor Snake. He didn’t deserve this at all. He just wanted to update the world on the beauty and life of reptiles in periodic installments.

Can’t imagine how he is going to fight back though. It’s like watching the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail try to fight after getting all of his limbs cut off.

“‘Tis but a flesh-wound!”

Ox made a subtle hint of the fact that Horse hasn’t been revived and what that spells out about Rabbit’s power. Meaning, someone has to die by Rabbit’s hands (or maybe specifically his machete?) in order to be revived. That’s useful to know, that Rabbit has AT LEAST ONE WEAKNESS. Maybe that will unravel into a plan in the future, but it looks like Tiger and Ox will be pretty busy fighting off what is probably the last hurrah of the legendary twin duo.

All the contenders are finally coming together. Currently still rooting for Rat!


A weeb, an otaku, or something else entirely? No, no. It's probably one of the first two. Avid watcher and, now, writer of all things anime, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. Though our waifus and husbandos may differ in the future, I'm hopeful we can remain friends or, at the very least, not become bitter enemies. It's a pleasure.

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2 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    Apparently most of the character backstories shown have been anime-original expansions – in the source novel, character origins are condensed into a single profile page at the start of each chapter; they’re very basic explanations and have no bearing on the main plot.
    Ex. Boar’s profile in the novel merely states she tricked her sister out of being a participant; the anime embellished that mere statement into a lengthy history.

    Fun fact is that Rabbit was never given a profile page in the novel, leaving his origins a mystery there. It’ll be interesting to see if the anime tries to give him a backstory.

    Also here’s an official review of the source novel from Anime News Network, The reviewer disliked it, calling it a shell of a story with too much redundant narration.

    • APlus says:

      That was an interesting review, to the say the least. So many of these backstories have essentially taken 1-2 lines and turned them into 10 minutes of flashbacks and characterization. That’s incredibly cool, at least from my perspective, as someone who mainly watches anime rather than reading manga/LNs.

      It looks pretty clear that there’s some sort of disdain with the book. Learning about the characters in the anime has become the primary source of entertainment for me, so it makes total sense that taking that away could leave a hollow shell of a novel.

      This also gets my really excited about Rabbit though… Leaving it a mystery or expanding on it both seem like they could be interesting, depending on how they’re done. This might just be a case of Nisio dropping the ball, which pains me to say as a loyal fan. From purely anime though, it’s another great work!

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