Sunday, 24 October 2010

Katanagatari - Episode 10

As our monthly journey through Katanagatari's world reaches double figures, we also reach the point where we know the location of all of the Deviant Blades that its various parties are searching for, with the latest aim of Togame's efforts a blade known as Seitou Hakari, a sword owned by a holy man who goes by the name of Higaki Rinne.

Despite calling him a holy man, as we meet Rinne we find him to have the body of a girl, although the reason for this is explained soon enough, for he acts simply as a "mirror" to those who meet him, forcing them to see aspects of their past that they've been trying to avoid or forget about previously.  Thus, the Rinne we meet has the physical features of Shichika's various regrets and feelings of guilt, while his personality takes on the regrets of Togame.

Indeed, it's Togame who arguably has to do the fighting for much of this episode, as it proves to be more of a battle of the mind to gain Seitou Hakari rather than any kind of physical fight.  For Togame, this means revisiting painful and locked away memories about the death of her father which she struggles massively to come to terms with while digging deep into the ground for the sword which has been discarded and buried by Higaki Rinne.  That isn't to say that Shichika is free of responsibilities for this episode, as he too finds himself with a surprising amount of guilt and regret to face up to, not least concerning his sister.  Rinne also teaches him a lesson about his own fighting nature, and how his skills can leave him at a disadvantage against weaker opponents in some situations - arguably a lesson which is tied into some of the guilt he was feeling from previous encounters.

What this leaves us with is another episode of Katanagatari that proved to be very different from those before - it still managed to squeeze in a couple of bouts of impressive action (which this show seems to have mastered after a clunky start), but it was far more interested at taking us inside Togame's head to give us some insight into what drives her while still retaining a fair amount of her sense of mystery.  In comparison to this, Shichika's own trials and tribulations were perhaps less interesting, but still important to his progress as a character as a whole, before this episode landed us with a couple of twists in its plot that put the final pieces of the puzzle in place to prepare for what could be a dazzling last couple of instalments.

This accomplished bit of story-telling, plot and character progression certainly exhibits just how far Katanagatari has come since its early episodes, even in the way that it's shifted the balance of power within the show from Shichika (who was initially a force of strength despite Togame's frequent strategic errors) to Togame over recent instalments - let's just hope it can finish things off in a worthy fashion as both this series and 2010 move irrevocably towards their endings.

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