This episode is all over the map with its story and references.
What They Say:
The secret of the shogunate, the Coastal Atlas of Japan has been stolen and it is up to the Helper to get it back.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Roman manages to provide a bit more action this time, as a detailed map of Japan has been stolen. The Helpers track it and discover that it is being delivered to foreigners camped in an abandoned fortress. Roman busts out his armor to steal it back – armor, we learn, that was his father’s and operates on the Ultraman principle. You only can use it for so long before it loses power. Roman ultimately fails in his task when Okuni, dressed up as a cross between Catwoman and Fujiko, gives him a poisoned cat scratch.
While the action is mildly entertaining, I am still having difficulty connecting on any level with the characters and overall story. I feel a certain level of formulaic apathy in the writing. Do we have some pop culture references? Check. Humor revolving around Manjiro’s poor gambling skills? Check. Some sort of action sequence? Check. Are the evil foreigners and Japanese assassins shown to be scheming? Check. Hmm… We better throw in some small tidbit of character development. Spin the wheel and see what we get. Tada! Roman’s armor was made for his father, and Okuni wants to see Japan burn.
The end result of this formula is not something horrible, but it certainly is not palatable enough to keep one wanting more each week. Currently, I feel that I could skip the next three episodes or more and come back confident that I have missed little.
A story about a highly detailed map makes me long for the knowledge that the show writers have an equally detailed map of where this story is going. It seems content to rush from one contrived situation to another using a loose connection of “the foreigners are doing bad things to steal some secret treasure”. The plot and character development are as unfocused as a daydreaming Manjiro, and the preview for next week’s episode leaves little hope that this is changing.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
24” Early 2009 iMac, Firefox 17.0.1