episode 01

Episode 1 — Slash!

The first few minutes unleash Gonzo’s full potential on a good day, with a long flashback to the last major war. That war has aircraft, humans in those flying tin cans, and mechanical samurai of various sizes. We are given a short but cool glimpse of Kanbei and Shichiroji in action, Roji bringing the plane close then Kanbei jumping off and slicing for all he’s worth. Even then Kanbei tells Roji that they lost the war, before launching a final attack on a flying base.

Fast forward to the present. Short clip of farmers being given a hard time by Nobuseri, robots that take their rice by force.

Nice rice fields and diligent farmers of Kanna village. They are led to a new spot through an elaborate ceremony by Kirara, the water maiden, who is holding the water crystal to search for a new water source. Then the farmers run for cover as large robots, the Nobuseri, loom overhead. There are rumors that they also take women and children.

The men have a meeting at the elder’s hut, discussing what they should do about the bandit threat, especially with the next harvest coming. Rikichi spiritedly proposes that they fight and kill the Nobuseri, and the elder actually agrees. He proposes that they hire a samurai to protect Kanna village, in exchange for being fed with rice to their fill. Rikichi volunteers to go to the city to do that, then Kirara volunteers to come too. She says she can tell through the crystal. They are given until the time the ears bow down (I don’t know how many months that really turns out to be, but from the run of the story that’s probably 2-3 months.) Komachi tags along to see the big wide world.

The three start walking around in the city, with Rikichi carrying a big load of rice. Lots of ronin roam the city, but Kirara’s water crystal does not register anything.

A robber makes a run for their rice, and the farmers could not stop it. A young man, Katsushiro, stops the robber, makes short work of him, then threatens those that try to get at the ruined sack. The three try their best to salvage what they can of their rice. Katsu helps out, saying that protecing people is part of the samurai code. The crystal glows slightly. But Kirara says he’s not the one, saying he does not smell of a war (he has no war experience).

But the crystal starts glowing like crazy, and Kirara follows where it leads. It leads to Katsu again, asking about a family whose baby was kidnapped. A mechanical samurai, Kikuchiyo, also comes around and asks. Kiku then slashes at the entire house, revealing a ronin, holding the baby. The ronin opens his vest lined with bombs, threatening to take down himself and baby.

Herein enters Taiheizaemon Yoshioka (Kanbei), telling his “sworn enemy” with an insanely long name (Kiku) to quit it, slices Kiku’s head off, then goes to the crazy ronin and slices off the bombs and saves the baby. Kirara’s crystal goes haywire. Kiku’s head loudly demands justice, but Kanbei asks him if he is really a samurai, and tells him to ask for a fight when he can already pick up a sword. As Katsu looks on with awe, Kanbei exits through the crowd.

Kirara runs after him. He’s the one.

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