This is going to be the last Blade of the Immortal reread post for a bit. I will probably tackle the next arc eventually, but right now I’m just not in the mood for something so dark! But it’s never too late to make helpful changes, which is why this post doesn’t strictly cover one volume of Blade of the Immortal, but more or less one and a half. This covers the entire finale and ending of the Kaga arc! Spoilers follow. (Also spoilers for the entire manga’s ending!!)
Surely I have mentioned before that one of my favourite storytelling tropes ever is “enemies must work together”. Well, the last few volumes of Blade of the Immortal have been great for me! First Manji and Magatsu team up, and now Rin and Anotsu find themselves on the run together. Rin and Anotsu!The entire premise of Blade of the Immortal is that Rin wants to kill Anotsu!
But we’ve come a long way. The manga has long ago shifted from its simplistic “battle of the week” format to a more complex drama with at least three factions and lots of changing allegiances, twists and betrayals. Anotsu has been properly humanized, not least of all during the past story in Kaga. And finally, the circumstances are now changing dramatically: Itto Ryu used to be powerful and on the rise, but the events of these volumes will result in the deaths of most of them, and the surviviors become hunted outlaws.
It’s an insanely ironic situation when Anotsu not only puts up with Rin’s presence, but suddenly finds himelf actually depend on her help, as he falls ill thanks to a tetanus infection.
And why does Rin help him? I know that this is something people have been complaining about. And other people have been complaining about the fact that her time traveling with Anotsu doesn’t end up dissuading her completely from her path of revenge. No, Rin helps Anotsu because she doesn’t want him to get killed by someone else, in a battle that has nothing to do with her own quest. And then she doesn’t want to kill him because he’s barely able to walk, and killing a defenceless man would be wrong.
Still, it’s funny that Rin often-ish runs into Anotsu, and without even trying to kill him, just declars that she will kill him eventually!! Just not now. ;)
Rin and Anotsu’s escape ends in a dramatic showdown, as they are trapped by Anotsu’s enemies … and then their bad luck turns with the arrival of Manji, Magatsu and finally Makie in short order. :D At the end of it all, Manji scoops up Rin, Magatsu and Makie scoop up Anotsu and they part ways.
Welcome back, Makie! This might be her most iconic fight. Maybe because we see her from Anotsu’s POV, and Anotsu has been in awe of Makie since their childhood. There is something about the way Makie is drawn, both her facial expression (stoically, beautifully sad?) and her movements. That big panel of Makie on the boat: a classic!
But Magatsu has a great entrance, too! And Manji, mostly because of how confused he is when he realizes that Anotsu is there, too, and Rin is on his side? :D This is the first time he sees Anotsu in person. And I think it will take a really really long time until they meet again?
Another cool moment, given weight through the finely-detailed visuals, is Rin’s parting words to Anotsu. She tells him that no matter what happens with Itto Ryu, at the very end, she will be there to kill him. I didn’t really take these words seriously, I admit … but Rin is going to keep this promise. =o
Rin and Manji are reunited after what fels like an eternity! The odd thing is that they will be separated again very soon! It’s one of the reasons why the next arc was such a bummer to read! And even though I think differently about it now, and might even be able to focus on the positive aspects of the storyline, I really don’t want to tackle it at this point! It’s … too much about human experiments and senseless slaughter. But, later, for sure. ;)