Over the course of half a year, our lives changed completely. The humble shield of our sovereign lord. Oh to die for the Emperor, would leave me no regrets. Many of the young men who professed these words fell gracefully in battle like withered blossoms, while those who survived returned home to form our black-market.
– On Decadence, Sakaguchi Ango
This episode left me overwhelmed with the sheer number of themes it set itself to tackle, all in one episode. Everything went by very fast and as such, it requires the audience’s full attention. Even the smallest pieces of dialogue in this episode mattered. I wasn’t bored watching and rewatching it can be very rewarding (the same goes for any of the episodes, I find them much more enjoyable the second time around). I thought this episode had good progression and while some scenes weren’t as effective as others (Read: Rie on horseback, lecturing Shinjurou) this episode was a decent followup. It wasn’t as strong as episodes 3 or 4 but it is definitely more complex than episodes 1 and 2. Given the standard the previous arc managed to set, it’d be difficult to recreate that success using a 22 minute format. This episode could be considered ‘padding’, but it’s a well-done sort of padding used expound more on Shinjuro’s character.