So I’m waiting for the episode to buffer and what do I see at the very top? Oh, just this charming message from Crunchyroll: “Who will be the next to fall? The twists, turns, and brutal battles continue in the newest episode of JUNI TAISEN: ZODIAC WAR!” God bless their souls. It’s cute how hard they’re trying to hype this show up. Needless to say, I skipped last week’s episode exactly because there weren’t any “twists, turns, and brutal battles”. In fact, I closed the tab as soon as I saw yet another backstory for Snake and Dragon. Dragon was asking a judge if he could represent himself in court for some reason or other. I don’t care. I went on Wikipedia to read a summary of last week’s events, and all it did was validate my decision to skip the episode entirely.
In this week’s “twists, turns, and brutal battles”, zombie Monkey — poor, poor Monkey — chucks Snake’s head way up into the sky. Shortly afterwards, she chucks Rabbit way up into the sky. Y’see, Dragon has been camping out up there. He’s a coward so he intends to let the other combatants kill themselves before he goes in for the clean-up. Unfortunately, he’s not even the best coward, a distinction that goes to Rat. As a result, Snake’s flying head distracts Dragon long enough just for Rabbit to appear behind him and chop him in half. What a “brutal battle”! But for the rest of us, it is simply chump death #1.
Elsewhere, Snake’s headless body is about to engage both Ox and Tiger in a “brutal battle” of his own, and he’s joined by his brother’s upper and lower halves. They’ve fallen from the sky to lend a hand. Seeing as how they’re outnumbered, Ox suggests that he and Tiger come up with a plan. He admits, however, that he’s not very good at battle strategy. I would think someone who kills systematically would, y’know, know his way around a plan or two, but apparently not! But before the “brutal battle” can get underway, it’s time for the “twists” and “turns.”
Not really. We just finally get Tiger’s backstory. She practiced aira, a form of Japanese martial arts. Having completed her training, her master sent her off to war-torn battlefields where she was supposed to fight with honor, righteousness or some other high-falutin warrior philosophy nonsense. But war is brutal — like a “brutal battle”, you might even say! — so Tiger fell into despair. How can she be a proud warrior in the midst of all this senseless killing? What’s even the point of fighting for peace if these countries are just going to fall apart afterwards anyway? So unlike Monkey, Tiger gave up. She turned to booze, and somehow, this vice made her an even more effective killing machine. TL;DR: Tiger lost her humanity. Despite winning accolades left and right for her wartime exploits, she failed to uphold the aira philosophy — some michi bu nonsense. As a result, she was eventually and unceremoniously kicked out of her dojo. End backstory.
My first quibble is that nothing we’ve just seen really explains how she went from drinking booze to drinking human blood. Tigers aren’t vampires, man. Vampiger? Tiggula? My second quibble is that it also doesn’t explain why she hates Ox so much, but I guess that’s reserved for a future episode. And last but not least — unless I missed something — it doesn’t explain why she was chosen for this tournament, but whatever. At the end of the day, I don’t really care too much about Tiger.
Back in the present day, Tiger snatches the tank off of Dragon’s back and uses its liquid hydrogen to freeze the zombie warriors. I guess you don’t need fire after all. Even though he no longer has his undead team to back him up — where’s Monkey? — Rabbit comes out of hiding and tries to attack both Ox and Tiger head on. So what do we get? Chump death #2. Woo, what a “brutal battle”! Be sure to tune in next week for the long-awaited showdown between Ox and Tiger. And by showdown, I mean fifteen minutes of Ox’s backstory, and five minutes of sloppy animation that culminates in yet another chump death. I bet Tiger goes down, but you never know. After all, Juuni Taisen is full of “twists [and] turns.” Poor zombie Monkey is still out there somewhere. Maybe she can shake things up. As for me, I gotta get myself all caught up on Ousama Game. Ugh.