As the serial murderer tries to lead Sugimoto to an appropriate place for an ambush, they stumble across the 7th Division, which is there convincing local businessmen to support their bid for independence from the rest of Japan. After killing at least one of them, the two flee to where the Ainu are still fishing, and Shiraishi identifies the serial murderer, precipitating another bloody showdown where Sugimoto emerges the victor. Then an orca whale rolls up, grabs the guy (and his precious tattoo) and heads back out to sea, causing another chase (and escape from the 7th in the process). The 2nd half of the episode focuses on Tanigaki, who is recovering at the Ainu village when two of his fellow soldiers show up. They’re part of a group that plans to betray Tsurumi (the leader of the 7th), and they assume Tanigaki has killed the other soldiers with him (who were part of this secret plan). Now Tanigaki must fight a master marksman and his spotter while attempting to keep the Ainu safe.
Another rollercoaster of an episode this time, and the show continues to do a good job keeping things fresh. There are so many competing groups and individuals in this show that none of them are able to complete an objective without things being thrown off-course along the way. No subplot seems to follow the trajectory you’d imagine it would.
This ends up being a double-edged sword though. On the plus side, I’m never bored, and I don’t see the disruptions to a plot’s trajectory coming. On the minus side, it can make things feel a bit random – there are so many actors in play that it’s hard to keep track of them. Perhaps my biggest complaint about this is that it’s hard to get a grip on who to pay attention to. Every episode introduces multiple new characters, and then kills at least half of them off, but the overall number of people to keep track of keeps growing.
Like, these two guys? They pretty much came outta nowhere, but now we’re going to spend a full episode’s runtime on them, and if either of them isn’t dead by the end of next episode, it’ll be something else to keep track of. At some point, it feels like the show needs to stop adding new characters and focus on the ones it’s got.
The show’s oddball approach to humor remains on display, though the moments are shorter this episode. I’ll admit I laughed, in the middle of a life-or-death battle between Tanigaki and the markmen team, when this happened:
On the other hand, I can’t tell if I’m supposed to laugh or what when the orca grabs the serial murderer guy. Sugimoto has just about killed the guy, the 7th Division is right on their tails, and then:
Seriously? This is so far out of left field it was hard to process. I actually paused and went back to make sure this had really happened. Does EVERY wild creature in this place attack humans on sight? Maybe the real final winners in this gold rush are going to be, just, an avalanche of bears.
Also on unfortunate display was a marked decline in quality, with the following being the most noticeable moment:
Ultimately, the show has turned out to be interesting, but flawed. At least it won’t be boring.