This week, Katana Maidens switches the primary focus from Kanami and Hiyori and switches to Mai and Sayaka. At least for the action portion of the episode. Following their escape from the elite guard, the group takes time to heal. They also meet Richard Friedman, core member of Mofusa as well as the engineer responsible for designing the S equipment. While speaking over a set of this armor, the group is told that the technology they have is because 20 years ago, the Origami family took full control of the Noro in the country and brought it to a single location. While previously it had been stored in separate shrines throughout Japan. While this did allow for the development in more advanced technology, many people within the organization were left with an uneasy feeling.
Meanwhile, Sayaka is being restrained about to undergo another treatment involving Noro injections by the president of her school Takatsu. She escapes due in part to the removal of the bandage that was put on her cheek earlier by Mai. This allowed her to snap out of her subservience. She reaches out to Mai to help her and the two meet up. However, Sayaka has been hunted by the fourth elite guard Yume Tsubakuro. After Sayaka refuses to go with her, Yume offers to play hide and seek, stating that if Sayaka can escape her she’ll forget she saw her and let her escape. Given that she is always looking to fight, she uses this predominantly as an excuse to fight both Sayaka and Mai. The latter of whom is injured in the fight, but saved by Sayaka. In turn they are saved from President Takatsu by Yume subduing the Toji that she brought with her. The group is finally fully reunited and the leader of Mofusa reveals herself as Akune Origami.
While the focus switch, even if it mostly is just cosmetic given that the focus is split evenly between the two groups, was welcome; it could have been handled better. Having the episode either be focused on Sayaka rebelling or the background and reason that Mofusa formed would have expanded the series better. In addition, Sayaka’s change was far too sudden I felt. That story line could have been played out much longer, with her going through the treatment and losing herself rather than just thinking that would happen. After all, one of the elite guards has gone through the same treatment and is lucid if she doesn’t jam 10 vials of Noro into herself. It would have also been more thematic to have the group rescue her. Giving her a deeper reason to come out of her shell as she learns to trust others.
All that aside, I did like the episode and that it did fill in some of the blanks of the series. The fight sequences seem smoother now, and the CG animations are transitioning better and look less noticeable. I’m hoping that in the future episodes of this, we’ll see a little bit more come out of the side characters. As Sayaka seems to be joining the group because she knows the main characters than having any deep reason for joining. I’m especially hoping that the rebellion within the sword administration didn’t start as some familial spat, given the leader of the rebels is directly related to Commander Origami. If it goes down that route, no amount of good story telling I feel could save the series.