Legitimate tension is real hard to come by in shows about nigh-unstoppable asskickers. No matter how scary the bad guys look, you can be rest assured that the good guys are going to eventually beat ‘em. And no matter how certain the deaths facing the good guys seem, you can feel confident in expecting them to find some way out.
This time, though? There was some real uncertainty about whether Fuu, Mugen or Jin were going to escape with their lives. And, man, it was exhilarating. Countless shonen fighters will devote entire episodes to fights, but it takes skilled hands to make you feel every blow, block, step and parry the way this did. There was just a startling authenticity to the messiness of these fights - - especially when Mugen’s fight with the claw assassin gets so frenzied in the water.
(Speaking of that devil - - I need to find out what the name of that particular ninja weapons was, because all I want to do is compare him to the squirrely, midget-sized Freddy Krueger from King of the Fighters… and that feels inadequate.)
Not all the tension even centers on the fighting, either. I love all the teasing the show’s doing about whether this mysterious and cold-hearted assassin is actually Fuu’s father. The quest for this guy has already taking on some Quixotic, almost DARK TOWER obsessive dimensions at this point… there’s a fittingly allegorical irony to this trio searching for the Samurai Who Smells of Sunflowers just so he can kill them, isn’t there?
Watch this episode, "Evanescent Encounter, Part 2” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.