Are You Even Trying? – Mugen no Juunin Episode 4 Review

This is a review of Blade of the Immortal or Mugen no Juunin episode four.

Check out last week’s episode three review here.

There may be a problem here. I am in fact, sympathizing more with the ‘villain’ of this story instead of our plucky young protagonist. Okay, I know – I know. Rin is a girl of sixteen, who is still traumatized by the loss of her father and learning the fate of her mother. That is a horrifying situation. But I can’t root for her from within the depths of my heart if she’s not even trying to change her situation.

Mastery of something new takes time. She is impatient, that is a trait defined by her youth. It’s okay to be frustrated by your past, it’s okay to be angry. Sometimes, if you have nothing at all, rage and spite are a great way to just get by. I’m not saying you have to be angry and hold that pain within you for life, but if it’s the only emotion you can latch on to at that point in time – channel it into a productive activity.

In Rin’s case, this should be swordsmanship mastery.                        

Because her mind is conflicted, she is weak. This is not an attack on her personal experiences, but rather Rin’s current character. She needs to find an ideology and stick with it. To strengthen her resolve, so when things go awry the first reflex isn’t to break down in tears on the battlefield.

That attempted ambush on Anotsu Kagehisa was atrocious. I actually had second hand embarrassment watching it. And to be honest – I thought about dropping the show because at this point in time Rin seems completely hopeless. How could I believe in someone like this?

But just like Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan, Rin could get it together and surprise us all.

Or rather, those of us who haven’t read the source material for the already iconic manga this story is adapted from. Or, seen the numerous remakes already produced years prior.

Switching gears, when contrasted with Kagehisa and his backstory this episode – I have no choice but to gravitate towards his character. We finally learn just what the origin story is behind the mysterious Itto-ryu. Turns out, Kagehisa simply resented his grandfather and leader of the Itto-ryu, Anotsu Saburo.

The old man seemed unnecessarily cruel, but I do not know if this was his way of training young and kindhearted Kagehisa. Judging by his last on-screen conversation with Abayama Sosuke before his death, he had grown paranoid. In his old age, Anotsu saw enemies in each shadow of a passing leaf. It may have been a kindness to let him die by his old friend’s sword, rather than his young grandson.

We are not dealing with warring swordsman with want of only bloodshed, but those of warring ideologies. At least in Kagehisa’s situation.

Rin’s father was killed because of an old blood feud that birthed a transformed ideology and school of sword. This may be cruel to say, but if Kagehisa’s grandfather was so upset by this ancient wrong he should have killed Rin’s grandfather all those years ago. Instead of choosing to be a coward who coveted his ‘tarnished’ status and enjoyed beating on his closest living kin.

But that’s just my opinion. Anotsu admitted to murdering his son, so I have to wonder where Kagehisa got this vengeance idea from. Because clearly his grandfather wasn’t all that worried about avenging his name. Unless he couldn’t fathom how to.

Either way, I like Anotsu Kagehisa. Learning about his past and ideologies make me wonder if he was serious about the woman from last episode. Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll never know because she decided to throw her life away and go back to being a prostitute.

Anywho, as you can see, this series really gets to me. Don’t take my commentary for displeasure, I am enjoying the hell out of this show. I love works that focus on interpersonal relationships and are driven by character action, rather than simply progressing the plot from A to B. I just don’t agree with the way these said characters act, despite the realistic depictions.

Maybe I get a bit too passionate about it. But that’s fandom, right? ☺

Manji and Rin sit down together and eat corn. As seen in Mugen no Juunin Immortal episode 4.
Manji and Rin sit down together and eat corn. As seen in Mugen no Juunin Immortal episode 4

Am I being too hard on Rin? Do you think she will even attempt to really improve her swordsmanship? What do you think Anotsu Kagehisa will do now that his fellow founding members of the new Itto-ryu are dead?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Mugen no Juunin episode reviews!

次の巻: Persona non Grata

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Blade of the Immortal is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. If you’d like to watch the series now, or even later on and binge-watch the series use this link for a free 30-day trial!

Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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