The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
Orient Season 2
How would you rate episode 13 of
Orient (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.4
What is this?
The ferocious battle of Awaji Island begins with the appearance of the all-powerful Kishin. The land of Hinomoto is now dominated by oni, instead of humans. Musashi and Kanemaki Kojiro set out from their hometown swearing the form the strongest Bushi band of all time, and after encountering Hattori Tsugumi on their trip, the three of them found the Kanemaki Bushi. After obtaining the only weapons that can slay oni, Kitetsu Blades, they have taken the first big step towards their dream. In Harima, Musashi's group will encounter the massive band of Uesugui Bushi, and their leader Uesugi Tatsuomi. They have gathered to slay the giant Kishin that threatens to consume the Awaji island: Yamata no Orochi, the Artillery Wyrm.
How was the first episode?
Orient is back, and it brought a helicopter! I mean, why not – there are already motorcycles and floating castles, although I do admit that the helicopter feels a bit much. But that's hardly the most important piece of this first episode of the second cour; that honor goes to the fact that the merry Kanemaki Band is well on their way to pursuing a lead about Kojiro's dad, and it's led them right to the Uesugi base camp, where a giant alliance of bushi bands are preparing to take on the kishin known as Orochi, for the dragon of Japanese folklore. Naturally things aren't just going to be that easy for our heroes, though, because the Uesugi alliance is astoundingly insular; as far as their leader is concerned, blood is everything, and if you don't have or can't prove a blood tie to an allied member, you're dead.
Given what we learned about Musashi, Kojiro, and Tsugumi in the first season, this comes off as more than a little unfair. The Uesugi leader is clearly speaking from a place of privilege as a member of an old, established, and gigantic family. But Kojiro and Musashi are both orphans while Tsugumi was abused by her family, and given the dangerous world the story takes place in, they can hardly be the only three in such a position. Uesugi's model is therefore a form of gatekeeping, a method to keep the riff-raff out and the honor and glory right where he wants it: in the family. More kindly, it could also simply be a safety measure that spun out of control, originally implemented to create a unit based on the trust inspired by family ties, but again, given what happened to both Musashi and Tsugumi, this is either deliberately blind or astoundingly naïve on Uesugi's part. Since the character writing has been consistently impressive in this franchise (more so than the storytelling or worldbuilding, even), there's almost certainly a point to this that will reflect on Uesugi badly, but in this episode it just feels remarkably unfair.
But it does get the gang onto the frontlines, for what it's worth, and reunites Musashi with Michiru, his presumptive love interest according to the new ending theme. I said in my review of the full first cour that it felt like the story was just getting started when it ended, and I think this episode bears that out; Musashi is about to prove himself to a new group of people, which can only help Kojiro as well, and the Kanemaki Band's more accepting philosophy will hopefully come shining through to help others the way it did Tsugumi. That's the power of shōnen friendships after all, and Kojiro's and Musashi's is a particularly nice one, which we get ample reminders of in this episode. Now if Musashi's pants could just get a belt or something, there'd be very little holding me back from anticipating more of the band's admittedly sort of standard shōnen action fantasy adventures.
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