Donten ni Warau – 02

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One thing I enjoyed about the first episode was its simplicity: three close brothers, carving out a living ferrying criminals to prison and keeping the peace. By the end of the second, things are a lot more complicated, not only introducing a new baddie-of-the week who wants to topple the emperor, but an entire elite unit of government officials, of which Tenka was once a member; possibly the member

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And oh yes, did we mention that both Tenka and the unit (called Yamainu…”mountain dog?”) are after the “vessel of Orochi” as is Chuutarou’s lilac-haired teacher? Or that it’s strongly implied Soramaru may be that very vessel? And that Yamainu and Tenka have opposing plans for said vessel? Yeah, it’s a lot of plot in one episode. It’s a lot of characters, too, and Yamainu is apparently one of those government squads with lax dress codes.

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But despite all this stuff coming to light, the show doesn’t forget about its core, the trio of brothers. I like how distraught Chuutarou gets when Sora gets mad at him for touching his neck, and doesn’t respond to a gift of poo-on-a-stick (?) But then Soramaru goes and gets distraught about Tenka keeping secrets from him, like the one about the vessel. Sure, there’s probably good reasons for that, but it’s another sign Sora resents being in such a protected state all the time.

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And for his part, Tenka is as playful and nonchalant as ever, but a couple of people piss him off, and we see a bit of the thunder behind the clouds. We also learn their lodger Kinjou Shirasu was/is a member of an all-but-extinct Fuma clan of ninja murderers, something Tenka is very much aware of, but I imagine because he saved his life a while back, and because they’re friends, Tenka lets Shirasu stick around to help out. In any case, he’s a nice ally to have in a pinch.

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Soramaru gets in another pinch with an enemy far weaker than his big brother. Which begs the question: will this show end up getting rid of Tenka, and making comparative lion cubs Soramaru and Chuutarou stand on their own? Beyond his easygoing demeanor, Tenka is shouldering all the family’s burdens, but as the eldest, be probably feels that’s his duty until death.

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