Joran The Princess Of Snow And Blood Ep 3

Welcome to episode three! If you haven’t watched the previous two episodes and this one, I would recommend that you do, because ahead will be spoilers. Let us begin.

We start with Hanakaze getting ready for her night job (so to speak) – while Kuzuhara tells Sawa that she is correct – he did order the execution of the treasurer, who remembered everything in Episode two. Which, as you know, would probably end the story rather quickly, as Sawa was going to find out everything about herself through the said treasurer. Or specifically, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the guy on top, made the call. It then brings out the inner conflict of Sawa, as Kuzuhara’s training was to rid her of her humanity. But to kill the treasurer’s son, as well… ‘that’s too much, even for this monster in training. We then get a glimpse into the one-sided romance that is Hanakaze and Kuzuhara, with Hanakaze being interested and Kuzuhara not having any of it. Perhaps he knows her well enough to see it as a terrible idea. ‘Perhaps he knows that to fall for her would ruin the very thing keeping him stoic…or maybe he isn’t interested in women. I’m sure we’ll find out later. But until then, we get the opening credits again.

Makoto and Sawa are now on shaky ground. The killing of the treasurer has created an extra rift. However, we know why it happened… ‘it is to keep the peace. Yes, the Yoshinobu grasp is in place – but on the surface, all looks peaceful because of this assassination. Sawa acknowledges that they will probably never know the truth. But Makoto adds a layer to himself by saying, “I don’t think the truth is as important as our perspective”. And to trust what we can see. It puts Sawa’s focus back on her goal – to kill Janome, who would have used the treasurer to start a war. Makoto then suggests cutting out Asahi to focus on the mission. Sawa refuses – continuing her inner battle, while Makoto keeps suggesting that the things that make us human make their job harder. Makoto then suggests handing Asahi over to some Monks as a sanctuary for her. ‘Knowing that Janome would use her to get to Sawa. And while Sawa says she doesn’t care if Asahi dies – Makoto lets her know – his humanity causes problems for him on the job too. He then quotes from The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare. A reference to “playing your role”.

Afterwards, we get some of Sawa’s backstory – more specifically, Kuzuhara’s training sessions. Here we are given more development on Janome. So we find out that he is a scientist with crazy eyes who once served Yoshinobu. We then find out that he has done a few terrible things. ‘He is like one of the scientists involved in Unit Seven Thirty-One (Peace be upon the victims and their families) – while also like Seth Brundle from The Fly. ‘Guinea pigging himself in a cellular genetic modification experiment to try and give himself eternal life. He found a lead to obtaining this “immortality” through Sawa’s Clan. However, when they didn’t want to cooperate – he had them all killed and retrieved their blood. Kuzuhara then continues the theme of forgetting about emotion (calling it a weakness) to accomplish revenge.

The albino crow then sits on Sawa’s shoulder. She asks why she saved Asahi at all. Arriving back at the bookshop, she puts Asahi to bed before finding her writing exercises… ‘and ripping them up. That morning, Asahi finds the scraps in the bin but has breakfast with Sawa anyway. ‘Leading to Sawa breaking off their connection by telling her to leave. She makes it clear that they are enemies and know nothing about each other. And that if Asahi is going to kill Sawa, she needs to make it count. There will be no second chances if she fails. She then gives Asahi the letter, boat ticket, map, and money to get to the Monk’s monastery. She then forbids Asahi from killing her before she finishes her mission. So ends, at least for now, I’d say, the meetings of Sawa and Asahi.

After Asahi leaves – Sawa, Makoto, and Hanakaze arrive at a graveyard to confront the Cleaner. The Cleaner, who disposed of the treasurers’ remains and gave Hanakaze the bad intel in Episode One, was paid for by Janome. He is then threatened with Kuzuhara’s torture methods if he doesn’t take them to him and offered a painless death if he complies… ‘leading to the Cleaner stamping on his hat. ‘Causing an explosion.

Meanwhile, Asahi plays with a dog, and an Old Woman (Yamazaki-San) gives her a Daikon from her garden. What significance this has remains to be seen at this point.

We then find out that the Cleaner wasn’t a suicide bomber, but the explosion was a good distraction, as one of the gravestones is also the entrance to a tunnel. Sawa goes into the tunnel, Hanakaze goes to a potential tunnel exit, and Makoto shows that the Cleaner was hiding in the coffin all along. He kills the Cleaner, then passes it off as a suicide to Kuzuhara in his report. Sawa and Hanakaze bury the Cleaner and have a conversation about morality. After this, we get a bit of a surprise. Knowing that Makoto has been lying, Kuzuhara brings out a small blade and proceeds to slice Makoto’s shirt and waistcoat. ‘Revealing that Makoto, whose name means truth and sincerity, is a woman passing herself off as male.

We then get to a flashback, where Makoto (dressed as a faded-green Carmen Sandiego, heels included) had acquired the treasurer’s book of secrets, which could lead to the war that Janome wanted. Upon returning home, Sawa finds that Asahi had jigsawed her writing exercise back together to reveal the word written was Yuki (‘Snow’, the name she knows Sawa by), and that she didn’t take any supplies…which now have some blood on them. Sawa’s home has become a crime scene. Meanwhile, we get our answer about Asahi being with the Old Woman. The Old Woman, Yamazaki-San, had kidnapped her. Sawa then goes to Yamazaki’s home to find one of Asahi’s shoes. Then see Hanakaze making comments about hating kids… ‘making us wonder if she played a part in the blood in Sawa’s shop. Lastly, we get the truth. Yamazaki is, in fact, Janome in disguise… ‘and Makoto is working for him. ‘They plan to unite the ‘sisters’…and yes, Janome is a creepy bastard. And Makoto has become a complicated villain.

‘This is interesting. Very interesting. I’m engaged in this story, and even though the cards seem laid out at this point, I feel the desire to see if it becomes predictable or even more unpredictable. We may not have had a battle scene where Sawa brings out the beast in this episode, followed by a haiku to accompany it. But we need these slower, intimate, dramatic exposition episodes to make us care. ‘Like the promos before a fight or wrestling match.

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