Episode four is a turning point for our characters in many ways. It picks up at Soramaru’s time in Gokumonjo’s insolation room where he recalls his childhood nightmare of his parents being slaughtered. The mysterious ninja locked in Gokumonjo’s deepest dungeon seems to be responsible. His white hair and striking violet eyes are a clear telltale sign of his connection to the Fuma clan, and by association, Shirasu’s past. The Orochi vessel elements in the plot have been sort of shelved this episode but it’ll definitely come again very soon.
In this episode, Soramaru does a really quick 180 on his perspectives. After meeting the Fuma ninja, he seeks revenge for his family, as does another warden within the prison grounds. However by the end of the episode, he becomes motivated not by his revenge, but by a desire to live up to the Kumo nam and support his brother as an equal.
Tenka on the other hand is learning to let go of his brothers who are growing up quicker than anticipated… The events of this episode are actually rearranged from the manga to present a neater wrap-up of Soramaru’s Gokumonjo experience as well as end the Gokumonjo infiltration ideal on a happier tone. The next episode will show Soramaru returning to the Yamainu with his findings and the story will proceed from there.
One of the subtle references to the title of the series is referenced by Soramaru’s character change. He realizes that being strong isn’t just training day in and day out. After remembering that Tenka still found the willpower to smile for him in the face of blood and death, Soramaru resolves to be strong enough to smile no matter what life throws at him. I like the title hint more than an outright dialogue reference because it delves a bit deeper into the core themes of the show and ties into the Kumo brothers’ sibling relationship.
I find Tenka to be the most adorable older brother ever. He’s much more three-dimensional than Soramaru who resembles more like headstrong stubborn shonen protagonists who always want to get stronger to fight and protect. As the head of the Kumo family, Tenka is not only an older brother to his siblings, but a father figure in the household and an example of an ideal warrior his siblings would aspire to be. Tenka is so fixated on keeping his worries and burdens away from his brothers that it’s almost difficult for him to let his true emotions show when the brothers are caught in deep moments. Luckily, Shirasu can easily see through Tenka’s smiling guises.
Speaking of Shirasu, he is probably one of the most intriguing character in the show because of his past. Being born with the features of a Fuma shinobi and raised with their shadowy beliefs, Shirasu is unique in that his loyalties lie not with his old clan, nor wit himself, but with the Kumo clan. The episode hints at Shirasu’s fight with the murderer of the Fuma clan – the reason for which he was injured and also the inciting incident that led him to the Kumo family). He doesn’t seem to have any identity isues though as he openly claims loyalty to Tenka as a Kumo shinobi. The mysterious Fuma shinobi locked up in Gokumonjo seems to link all our characters together.
What are you pondering today?