Check out last week’s episode twenty-three review here.
In the end, who will remember Anotsu Kagehisa? If even his witness, one summoned to be his living memory walking, forgets?
Despite holding onto his weapon, despite returning to Edo…now called Tokyo.
If Manji forgot, who will remember him?
Who will remember Makie? Giichi? Isaku? Doa?
Who will remember Hyakurin? Rin? Even Renzo?
Where do these stories go after their deaths? What do they leave behind, except memories in those living alongside them?
Does their essence live on in their children? Their children’s, children?
What about Rin’s great-(x) granddaughter?
Did Rin love Manji? If she ended up carving the betrothal token from Doa, but decided not to give it to him in her lifetime? Is it because Rin thought it wouldn’t be right for her to need him anymore?
Which by the way, I am so happy that Hyakurin talked Rin out of her apology tour. No one came to her door to apologize for their fathers, husbands, sons, uncles, etc. actions. So, why did Rin feel the need to apologize for ridding herself of pain in this world? Why should Rin apologize for her revenge, when everyone else saw her family’s death as their survival?
Perception is a really funny thing.
I’ve been reviewing this series for five months now. That is almost half a year I’ve been in this world, with these characters. Half of the time angered by their actions, the majority of it saddened by the actions of others. Reflecting on how brutal this period in time really was, and how so many suffered.
I won’t say it was worth it. Because in the end, it seems like even Manji found it too hard to bear. That he wandered around the country for almost one hundred years before returning. To a new place, with new laws and even a new name.
Was he digging a grave up of someone he knew? Was he confirming a death? And why was his arm hidden? Did he still have the giants arm?
(Maybe the grave was his sister?)
One hundred years later, I doubt people would believe he was immortal. People would gawk at the inhuman nature of it all, being able to attach and re-attach limbs at will.
But a century ago, it was common knowledge. Even if just locally, even if just in those circles. Those types of things existed. Those things, every once in a while, happened.
The masses are enjoying leisurely strolls. They are eating sweets. Watching the flowers bloom. There are pretty paved streets, and men and woman can gather to watch the evening sun set together.
They can feel the wind graze their skin, and not have to worry about who was lurking in its breeze.
It’s safe now. There are no need for swords, no need for fighting on the streets. The people are well-fed, there doesn’t seem to be any apparent food shortages, or famine. At least in the city.
It must be lonely, knowing that everyone you once shared a bond with is dead. The places you went no longer exist, the people you knew no longer living. All that’s left is what they left behind.
For Rin, that was a Dojo, and her great (x) granddaughter to deliver a message she couldn’t in her lifetime.
Maybe it’s the music I’m listening to right now while writing this, but it makes me kind of sad. I was so happy things were sort of working out when we last saw the characters. The one’s living, at least. But so much time has passed, and lifespans are so short.
Do remnants of these characters even exist anymore?
Is someone reading Burando’s notes right now? Did he make any medical advances?
Did Hyakurin have the baby, after all? Did she and Giichi raise it well?
Did Magatsu take a wife, and the family became humble farmers? Did the working girl and Magatsu’s family stay close?
What about Kagehisa’s surviving followers? Did they live and keep the ideology, or abandon it?
Did Doa and Isaku leave anything behind? Or did they stay on that island, all unto themselves until their deaths?
Isn’t that what they wanted, anyway? Somewhere safe they could live together in peace?
Would that even be feasible in the time period their descendants might be in now?
What was written about Habaki in the prefectural histories? Did people even believe the experiments that once happened?
And what about Manji?
What will he do now, when the past has come knocking again once more?
Will he finally remember Rin’s name?
This has been a very strange series, and I have mixed feelings regarding it – but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It was tough to watch sometimes, and other times I would be so angry at the characters I didn’t want to continue on. But… it feels weird to say goodbye to all of them. Especially when Manji is starting a new journey, with a new little girl who could use his protection.
Is that why the last shot we were left with, in the closing credits was a wooden water wheel? Because time keeps moving forward, in an endless loop?
The rivers don’t stop because we want them too. The memories don’t, either. I guess in the end, we just have to go with the flow…
Mugen no Juunin episode list.
☆ In Asian Spaces