* MUNCH MUNCH *
That’s the sound of me eating some of my words about this show.
No sooner had I griped a little about how the plot needed to come together more for me… no sooner did I write that then the show actually does stand up for a very solid capper to this short arc. To be honest, I’m not sure if I have the best grasp on the complicated net of alliances and double-crosses that was woven in this episode. (Maybe I was a little distracted by the notion that organized crime has been part of Japanese culture for this long?) However, the show manages the strut better this time - - the strut that makes it OKAY for you to not grasp every little detail of the story so plot as you’re enjoying the ride.
I’m starting to think the hook of this show will be extending the hook of FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (the best installment of the Dollars Trilogy, I might add.) Namely, instead of having one morally-ambiguous badass to root for (and, thus, have a rough idea about how the plot will always unfold,) you get two morally-ambiguous badasses who are frequently at odds with one another. Again, to repeat what I’ve always been observing about this show, that’s a narrative set-up that really lets you get more of what you want from an actioner for more of the running time (since any “slowdown slack” dropped by the one swordsman is going to be picked up by the other one.)
Or at least, that’s how I see it.
I should also take some space here to voice my appreciation for Kazuto Nakazawa’s character design on this show. I always appreciated the guy’s sense of motion from all the other work he’s done, but this is the first time I’ve really keyed in on how much I like his approach to stylizing faces. He’s got a truly skill for rendering the wonderful grotestqueities of real human faces while still keeping his line-work sparse with a real cartoonist’s sleek, minimalist skill.
Watch this episode, "Hellhounds for Hire, Part 2” here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.
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