It was fairly inevitable that our pair of protagonists would end up separated at some point, and that time has finally come. Unfortunately, the breakneck pace of this adaptation made the nature of their separation somewhat less clear. All we got here was single line from Manji about how Rin is the only one that can cross the gate, which almost sounds like a suggestion on his part. But as Rin leaving in the middle of the night while leaving behind a note hints at, she actually did this without Manji’s consent, effectively putting a premature end to their contract after deciding to continue to pursue her revenge on her own. How Manji will respond to this remains to be seen.
Rin has both practical and emotional reasons for doing this. Initially she thought only Manji was a wanted person, but as she soon found out, thanks to the spiteful Shira, she now has a price on her head as well. But nevertheless, she still has a much better chance to get through the gate on her own by disguising herself, which Manji would have a much harder time doing with his easily recognizable scars.
But just as important to her decision were Rin’s feelings and the conversation she had with Hyakurin in the previous episode, which made it clear she is feeling guilty for all the suffering Manji has to endure for the sake of her own quest for revenge, especially since she can’t do much to support him in battle. Not only that, Hyakurin told the young girl that she’ll never grow stronger herself if she keeps relying on Manji to protect her all the time. Basically, it was the perfect storm of circumstances, and the result is that our heroes are now separated at last.
As a result, we got essentially a Rin solo episode, which will hopefully please those that were craving for her to accomplish more on her own, without Manji’s help. What she did in this story was mighty impressive, and yet, at the same time, I can’t help but find it rather tragic that she feels she must go as far as mutilating her body and endure that terrible pain all for the sake of something that might bring her some closure, but which is difficult to imagine will make her that much happier. It is the fundamental question behind all stories of revenge – is it really worth it, and worth everything one must sacrifice in its pursuit?
The crux of Blade of the Immortal is that Rin’s kind nature makes her uniquely unsuited for such a quest, and yet, she was left so traumatized by the harrowing events of that fateful night that she feels she can’t move on with her life until she settles things with Anotsu Kagehisa. She’s had a lot of hiccups and moments of hesitation along the way, but it’s hard to question her resolve after the ordeal she went through in this episode, and it will certainly be interesting to see what she plans to do when she actually meets her target, without her bodyguard to fight the battle for her.
As for the interrogation scene, as good as it was, I felt it could have been even better with more tense music. The piece they used for it seemed a little too calm, even if the direction and voice acting still did a good job in creating a suitably suspenseful atmosphere. And using Rin’s memories of the night her parents died was a good way to – besides save budget – show how she managed to conjure up the emotion needed to cry in that exceedingly tight situation.
On a less positive note, the Amazon translation, which has never been good, hit a new low with the subtitles of the letter at the end, which was supposed to provide the emotional closure to this story, but which will have left some viewers confused with these subtitles: “I might as well say, I can’t even begin to imagine how you’d use a sum of 21 ryo. While it is selfish, I will be taking about half of it for myself. My husband will be getting his share too, don’t worry.”
Here is the manga translation for comparison: “It was very generous of you, but honestly, I can’t imagine what we’d do with twenty-one ryo. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like you to take half of it back. Don’t worry, my husband knows I’m doing this.” As you can see, they got just about everything wrong. She didn’t know how they would use the money, not Rin. And the “While it is selfish” part makes even less sense, seeing as Rin had agreed to pay them 21 ryo and the woman gave half of it back out of sheer generosity and empathy (which moved Rin to tears, although they didn’t show them here). But nevertheless, it was a touching conclusion to a very unique and creative story.