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Sengoku Youko – 13

I’m going to continue hoping this one cour business was always the plan, and we haven’t been struck by some sort of extinction event like we were with Hoshiai no Sora.  Because never would the phrase “just when it’s getting good” be more apt than if Sengoku Youko were simply ending after the prologue.  It would be like Rurouni Kenshin (a series featuring the same actor in a leading role) ending before Kyoto, I suppose.   But there was never much chance that was going to happen, even if the production committee was cagy with broadcast plans.  With Mizukkami, I don’t feel nearly so confident.

Therefore I’m not going to say the series is going out with a bang – that’s just too horrible to think about.  But if it is going into intra-cour hiatus, it certainly is leaning on the accelerator.  We have two major battles going on here, Barry vs. Shinsuke and Douren vs. Jinka Yamato – but those are really just the prologue (just as this cour itself is).  Douren is a heavyweight in every sense of the word, and he seems to have an answer for just about everything Jinka can throw at him.  But when Jinka decides to take hands-on in approach, the tide shifts.

Even his opponent was aghast that Jinka put his spectral hand inside his noggin and rooted around.  But he must have flipped the correct switch, because he gets yet another yet spiritual power-up.  Seriously, this guy has more tails than the U.S. Mint.  Still, I don’t think we can really say Douren would have been unable to withstand this attack, because we just don’t know.  Something or someone interfered, distracted his attention at the crucial moment.  Whether intentionally or not again, we just don’t know.

Whatever the reason, Douren is down for the count – much to Yazen’s chagrin.  He determines that it’s time to cut bait, not even bothering to see what happens with Barry – who he describes as merely a collection of stuff that was about to be disposed of.  Not being a fighter himself, Yazen figures he has nobody left who can stand against Jinka Yamato.  He decides to apply a scorched Earth strategy – burn what’s to be left behind and play his trump card.  Or, as manga readers have come to call it, Yazen’s moving castle.

Meanwhile, Shinsuke and Barry continue their dance inside the mountain and then, after Arabuki tricks Barry into blasting a hole in the ceiling, up in the sky.  Arabuki is embracing this role as Shinsuke’s wings as well as his weapon, enjoying the fact that his “master’s” own dearth of spiritual power leaves him free to do pretty much as he pleases.  Once Arabuki slices away Barry’s battle suit it’s pretty much just a fistfight at that point.  But unfortunately for Barry, Yazen’s manipulations haven’t left much of the original, and one solid punch is all it takes to put an end to him.

That Barry’s death offers Shinsuke neither solace or satisfaction is pretty obvious.  The more interesting question is whether he would have killed Barry if he knew that’s what his attack would do.  Barry is dead and Shakugan is no less a rock than she was before.  Now Shinsuke’s a killer and what did it get him?  But there’s little time to ponder that, as Yazen’s moving castle – also known as Taizan – lumbers into action.  Taizan, of course, is the whole reason Yama no Kami recruited the trio to her cause in the first place, and Rinzu puts in a call as soon as it’s clear Taizan has entered the fray.

Mizukami fans weren’t surprised that Planet With revealed a fascination with mecha, because Mizukami tipped his hand with Sengoku Youko.  And Taizan is certainly a terrifying presence on the battlefield.  But as Inga (who always seemed like the sharpest knife in the drawer where the Dangaisyuu were concerned) notes, there’s always going to be someone more powerful than you, no matter how relentlessly you chase power for yourself.  The thirst for power only ends one way if left unchecked, and a moving castle is no match for a walking mountain (and a pissed off pilot).

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