With dawn comes the last battle for Tsushima.
Kuchii Jinzaburou, Hitari the archer, Amushi (that spy kid), Douen (the exile doc), and a handful of the Tsushima warriors keep lookout on the cliffsides above the inlet near Kukuroi. With the rise of the sun brings the rise of the Mongol troops, and the advent of the biggest battle yet.
When the Mongols arrive at the gates of the Toibarai stronghold, Kanatanoki, they are treated to a barrage of arrows, and the general essentially decides that dead bodies are fine: pile the fallen to help build a mountain to get over the walls to the fragile warriors within.
Teruhashi gets the first on-screen personal kill with an up-close and personal dagger to the shoulder, and a spray of blood to the face. Along comes Kuchii to sweep her away from this action and off into the forest, leaving Hangan and his warriors to protect the gate with the Toibarai.
Tatsu, leader of the Toibarai fighting women, collapses debris from the watchtower to seal the gate. Despite her pleas to stay with Hangan Nagamine-Dono – but they’re interrupted by a sharp wooden spike to Tatsu’s back. In the roaring rampage of revenge that follows, Hangan is shown to not be invincible either. He, like Sou Sukenuki, is pierced by multiple spears, and the insistence that his corpse is where the line is drawn: let no Mongol past it, he tells his men.
Word spreads to Teruhashi and Jinzaburou – the south gate has fallen, there’s no point in keeping the east one safe: it’s time to go. One by one we check in on other members of the party. Amushi stays behind to cover Teruhashi’s escape with the villagers, and while he holds his own long enough to check in on Douen (whose backstory never gets properly fleshed out), neither of them make it past this episode alive.
Onitakeumaru stumbles into second lieutenant Ryu Fukukuo of the Mongol army, just in time to get that rematch kicked up before the beginning of the 12th episode.
Things look grim on the close of the episode, but when you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up!
The death count on familiar characters is very George R. R. Martin in this episode. Kunchii gets a Disney death: he falls off a cliff just before the scene cuts away. He could very well be still alive. It wouldn’t be the first time in any show.
Unfortunately, those who had died during the montage at the beginning of the episode were not so lucky. With the exception of battle princess Teruhashi, we see member after member of Sou’s clan perish, and a few other brave souls, even the inclusion of Shiraishi (who DIDN’T DESERVE THE HONOR of being included, but it would have been fresh on Kuchii’s mind, so I guess it gets a pass). Hitari steps up to take on the hand cannons, only to find his hubris in becoming a human pincushion a few minutes later.
Teruhashi sees her last Sou clan member fall on the battlefield, and the phrase “everybody’s dying” was ridiculously well-placed.
Although Onitakemaru is very much alive by the end of this episode, it feels like he won’t last very long. But the death of Hangan was unexpected and VERY unwelcome. Heroic sacrifice? Yes. A frustrating way to see a main character die? YES. While being extremely climactic it also ultimately left me feeling nothing but pain for Tatsu, as they fall like Romeo and Juliet on the battlefield. May they be at peace with one another in the afterlife, in ways they could not in life.
Angolmois - Episode 11
- Hitting Hitari square in the circle on his head was ridiculous but oddly satisfying. Chekhov’s Bandana.
- Onitakemaru accusing Kuchii of having the face of a Budda – Priceless.
- GIVE DOUEN HIS BACKSTORY
- GIVE TATSU AN ACTUAL BACKSTORY