Normally, this is where I would kick off the weekly Nanbaka recap with something witty and possibly funny, to serve as an easy opening. But that’s not the case, this week. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 9, 2016, the United States of America elected Donald Trump to be its next President, and for half the country, that’s great news. For the other half, that’s terrible news. Regardless of how you, personally, feel about this, it is more important now, more than ever, to stay strong, stay civil, and most of all, stay sane. Things are about to get really rocky here in this country of ours, but it is immensely important to band together and work toward a better country, despite the outcome that the majority chose. Things cannot, and will not, get better, unless you start to make it better. And you can do that in any kind of ways, be it through simple productivity or simple entertainment.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about some sparkling pretty boys in prison.
The final event of the New Year’s tournament is about to take place, coming off a short break for everyone to take a moment’s rest. Some of “The Fallen” are licking their wounds and wrapping their cuts, but the time for rest isn’t long; it’s time for the grand finale between Buildings 4 and 13, a rematch from the previous year, and what is this event? Opening a giant sake bottle. How fittingly ceremonial. And since Jyugo is the main character, he’s up to bat for his team, alongside Hajime, thanks to his opponent, Building 4 guard Yozakura, insisting on a fair match, and possible revenge from the previous year. Yamato can’t fill in for him, since the Warden is staring daggers down at him, only not for the reasons he’s thinking of. As usual, she’s staring lovingly at his body, proving once again that dramatic irony is the best irony. But wait! There’s an interesting plot development abound, as Yozakura has quite the thing for the Warden, and is fuming over her always fawning over Hajime, so now we have ourselves a true fight brewing. And alongside Yozakura is inmate number 634, a large and blind man named Musashi, and a man who Jyugo knows from another prison, years ago.
The fight is on, between inmates and guards, but winning doesn’t seem to be on the minds of Musashi and Yozakura. That isn’t going to stop Hajime from pulling out some guns on his fellow guard, though, from a nearby treasure chest with other fake weapons inside. (Yes, literally.) And they’re just loaded with rubber bullets, which, while non-fatal, will still hurt like hell. As for Jyugo, he’s trying to fend off Musashi, who’s held quite the grudge over him throughout the last several years. He’s not doing a good job, ending up on the receiving end of some vicious head blows with blood flowing down his face. Musashi wants Jyugo’s shackles, and says that he’ll do anything to take them, but Jyugo insists that they can’t be unlocked. One certain man can, and apparently Musashi knows said man, and this infuriates Jyugo and sends him on a hard offensive, only to end up getting blown back by Musashi literally throwing a blast of fire at him. Didn’t know Musashi was a firebender, but apparently he is. Jyugo doesn’t seem to be that fazed by it, though, because his drive to find the man that can undo his shackles motivates him more than anything, and he lunges out of the debris and rubble atop him. But what stands is something quite different from what we’re used to. Something happened to Jyugo’s body, long ago, and it’s now been awakened and has started to take form. This fight’s not over, it’s only just begun.
Holy cow, things took a hard left turn into serious territory, and I am all for it. We’re getting a bit more development of the overall plot, revolving around Jyugo and those shackles of his, and that brief shot of his altered state of being only adds to the mystery surrounding his past. As for the whole episode, it’s all about the final event of the tournament, and all about the fighting, so on that front, it more than delivered, thanks to the addition of plot development later on. Other than that, I don’t really have much to say, mostly for outside reasons that have been consuming my mind over the past couple of days. It’s been a rough week, but in times of stress and glooming outlook, it’s always a good time to sit back, relax, and just take in some simple entertainment to take your mind off of things in the world. That’s what I’ll be doing a lot, in the coming months, because I certainly need all the simple and mindless entertainment I can get my hands – and my mind – on.
Nanbaka is available on Crunchyroll as a weekly simulcast, every Tuesday at 3:30pm EST, and on FunimationNow as an English simulcast dub, every Saturday at 10:30pm EST.