My apologies in advance if this post will seem rushed. Despite the high volume of posts this past week, I wrote only one within the last 45 days. I’ve been rather busy with my practical projects and my ability to watch backlogged shows is the first casualty, writing with intensity is the the second.
This is compounded by this episode, which is very very rich both in terms of narrative progression, providing a broader view of the story, and insight into the characters. I will choose the thing that I feel is the most important. But we can discuss other things in the comments.
With that, here is the big one:
Kyotoryuu is a deviant blade.
Each deviant blade has a great power, and a curse. In this case Yasuri Shichika is cursed by being unable to add variety to his arsenal of weapons.
He is the weapon.
Zanki Kiguchi points out to him the thing that makes his curse what it is: wielding weapons adds versatility to one’s fighting ability. Shichika is unable to use swords, thereby limiting his versatility in a very big way.
The consequences and/or dynamics of this extend further.
Each deviant blade seems sentient, as if it has a will. In most cases, the will is some kind of programming to make the user dependent on the blade, and effect some form of corruption. In one other case, the will is to defend something, as if the sword has some agency.
But not really, not until the Yasuri clan, and therefore Shichika.
Shichika and the Kyotoryuu style of fighting are, or at least seem to be, one and the same thing. He is a sword. However, he is fully human, and therefore possesses the will of a human being.
This perhaps is how he, as a deviant blade, is perfect: a progressive, learning weapon. It is arguable whether he actually learns new things, it would be a “no” if we limit the possibility of learning to fighting.
What Shichika has been learning is how to be human.
The questions here really, that the episode raises and perhaps doesn’t quite answer, is what is Shichika’s will? He surrenders his will to Togame, which would seem an abstinence of further choice. He commits to another person’s will, and becomes a consequence of that person’s choices.
A being of a weapon is the threat of violence. That’s what Shichika is.
Togame is the tool user, and she is the one who has a purpose. Togame is criticized to view life itself as a fight, and does not understand the pointlessness of fighting. (It also occurs to me that Togame’s realizations in this episode are important leaps forward for her and the story in general; I merely do not have the ability to expound on this at this time).
I would go further, to say that life itself is pointless, in broad terms. Fighting is only symptomatic of life’s meaninglessness, if one extends conflict and struggle also as fighting. But that’s perhaps outside of what Katanagatari is saying.
The episode presents a number of paradoxes I’m too besieged to enumerate here, but Shichika giving up will and purpose, acquires exactly that. Togame is merely the originator of the will and purpose, but Shichika chooses to own them.
This is where Shichika finds his human agency, his will and freedom. This, for all intents and purposes may perhaps be all the meaning he needs.
OH WAIT MANIWANI PENGHIN FFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU