It’s hard not to call a plot twist when the title goes on and spells it out. I was still thoroughly surprised by this episode, though, because there’s another twist that even the savviest genre fan couldn’t have called. True, they did let the cat out of the bag (as it were) about Genkai and Toguro’s past relationship in the previous episode, but actually seeing it explicated here is a whole other, head-spinning matter.
Of all the comparisons I’ve drawn between this show and the pop cultural traditions of things like video games and pro wrestling, it’s a legitimate trip to see it handle a “revelation of love lost” like this with the visual vocabulary of a kung fu flick. You’re getting the familiar reveal of there being history between the mentor and the bad guy, only this time, they happened to be hooking up, as well.
And I do emphasize the “visual vocabulary” of a kung fu flick, because this was another episode where you can tell the animators were excited about the material and wanted to make the storytelling more impressive than usual. There’s rack-focusing, cross-dissolving, some pretty inventive use of the multi-plane and a whole host of other tricks to make this toon look more filmic - - specifically 70’s chop socky filmic. Believe it or not, there's some style to senseless fighting.
I honestly wasn’t that impressed with Toguro when he first showed up in that rescue mission arc. Now that the show’s steadily piled up a little more mythology behind his grotesque muscles and evil designer shades, I’m really starting to appreciate the dude’s villainy in the ever-elusive “love to hate him” way. Hell, even as I’m hating his guts after Genkai’s murder, I was actually rooting for him a little when he backhands Yusuke through a couple dozen trees. That's a proper heel, now.
Look up this episode, "The Death of Genkai" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.