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Bye bye comedy, hello action and drama.
Well a lot of things that happened in the episode were to be expected, to name a few: Isanami's mood during the entire episode, the change of tone in this episode compared to the rest and of course the (re)appearance of our old friend Hattori Hanzo but of course this time he's brought along his friends and together they form the Iga League of 5.
So anything surprising in this episode Nope. Is that a bad thing Nope, and here's why.
Since we finally managed to avoid an episode that is full of ridiculous and rather generic humour, I was already happy and when they decided to add a lot more action that just made my day. Sure the action itself doesn't hold the same excitement as when you watch a shonen battle series but watching a seinen history battle series which lacks action was just plain depressing, so I was glad to see a more action-centred episode.
The new enemies (Iga League of 5) may be a group of villains whom you'd expect to see in any anime of the same type. Some of their powers do just seem dull and in the end, their purpose is to serve as an obstacle for our protagonists to overcome. The way they were presented was not great but then again, when I saw how Hattori Hanzo re-appeared I was even less impressed and so didn't hold great expectations for how the others would be presented.
Seems like there are still 1 member of the Iga 5 that we are yet to meet and presumably since we only saw 6/9 Braves engaged in battle or otherwise occupied (the current number is ignoring Ana) and based on the preview of the next episode, Kamanosuke is going to have to engage in battle with this last mysterious member, an event I hope is not turned into a rather absurd comedic situation much like all the rest of his have turned out to be.
A final thought that did occur to me whilst watching this episode is in relation to the character development and how the series has progressed in general. Whilst Saizo has turned out to be a "tsundere" type warrior, changing after meeting Isanami and living in Ueda whilst serving a feudal lord, Isanami hasn't seemed to have progressed at all! She still seems to have a rather weak character and is constantly having to rely on Saizo (even when she was captured it just seems that her character hasn't changed at all!). The rest of the characters served as support, so it would be a little hard to complain about their development. But most importantly the one thing on my mind right now is how the series is going to end.
Well the next episode seems to be centred around the final member of the Iga 5 vs Kamanosuke, and that will leave us with one more episode. Will the Brave's be defeated, will there be a training period for them or will they end up beating their counterparts in battle in just one episode. No matter what way you look at it, a great ending just doesn't seem plausible.