This week, it’s a bit of a mixed bag on Shinobi no Ittoki, but probably not that shocking, given how I’ve felt about prior episodes.
So from a plotting standpoint, I have no real issue with what happens in the episode. This outright war between the Koga and Iga needs to have casualties (or at least significant consequences) for it to feel meaningful because there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the bottle after we’ve moved into kinetic conflict. Having Yumika slain is appropriate in terms of its narrative importance, so it fits the bill. Plus, the past few episodes have delved into her background and shown how solid of a leader she is for the Iga—both heightening the impact on the audience and ramping up the pressure on Ittoki to fill her shoes now that she’s gone.
The scene where Kousetsu slays her is also full of great tension. The framing and animation are both top-notch, and the visuals have a high fidelity that manages to ride the line between gruesome and poignant. Shots like pooling blood around her limp hand with her wedding band still visible or Ittoki cradling her as the sun rises are both real gut punches. It’s masterfully done in that regard.
The problem is that… something still feels unbalanced on the other end. The battle is technically appropriate, but the fights between the robotic ninjas and regular shinobi don’t feel all that tense or exciting. They are kind of bland and run-of-the-mill fights interspersed with ho-hum dialogue between many side characters we don’t know or care about. Furthermore, the Kousetsu reveal seems to distract more than add to the drama, a Shocking Twist that pulled me out of the moment rather than illuminating past events. Plus, the sudden reveal of long-distance control powers by the villains was… odd? So much of the ninja world up until this point has been technological in nature, and suddenly having this potent magical power appear was an out-of-left-field moment that struck me as writer fiat more than anything.
The episode works well on the net, but there’s still an uneven sense of what the show attempts to do. The question now is what the series will do with its limited time remaining in the season.
Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.
Shinobi no Ittoki is currently streaming on