What They Say:
She’s always getting in trouble / But she may give you a square deal / She’s always sharing everything / Except for every steal / Even a lowly samurai / Is quick to see the appeal / How do you solve a problem like Fujiko Mine?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We open this episode with a proposition. Goemon is looking to make a name for himself as an assassin, and someone has just a job that will catapult his reputation. Goemon’s target is the king of the small country of Astria. Have to digress here; yes, they spell it Astria in English on the signs and maps but give the audience some credit. Most people have a clue that Vienna is in Austria and is in the rough location you place it on the world map. And its hardly a small enough country that there would be no fuss if its king was assassinated.
With that out of my system, back to the story… The king and his grandchildren are riding on a train back to "Astria"; along for the ride is their Governess Maria or as we know her Fujiko. As the children play throughout the train, they soon bump into Goemon and proceed to draw out the softie lurking beneath the samurai’s cool exterior. Things soon turn grim when Goemon’s employer double crosses him and plans to send the king and him flying off the rails.
Given this betrayal, Goemon feels no need to fulfill his contract and turns from villain to hero. His sword skills save the train and its passengers. However, the compartment full of artwork, Fujiko’s target, is sacrificed in the process. Or was that her target? A late night getaway from the Astrian castle has her bumping into Goemon one last time. Around her waist is her true target, a rare belt bearing a priceless piece of art. Goemon awkwardly tries to proposition Fujiko, and she is touched by his bashfulness and departs him with a kiss. Goemon is smitten.
Fujiko may be the titular character, but the writing for this episode keeps her in the background. This serves the story well and allows Goemon to become an actual character we will care about over the remainder of the series. Typically, he is the stoic “I cut things and do little else” character; here, he is given a healthy dose of humanity. He is out of place not only in Japan but in the time period in general. He seems to be searching for his calling in life, having trained so long to be a master swordsman. The writing hits all the right beats and sets up Goemon to possibly become my favorite character of the series.
The series keeps hitting all the right strides with character development. Goemon’s deadly skills are on display, but we also find out that he has a soft, adorable side. His interactions with the kids on the train and with Fujiko at the end are priceless. Rather than a flat, stoic warrior persona, he is given a sense of humanity that will be interesting to see develop over the course of the series. Kudos to the writers for pushing the titular character into the background to allow the supporting cast to grow.
Streamed By: FUNimation
24” iMac booted into Windows XP Home, using FF11.