Blade of the Immortal Episode 4

Blade of the Immortal Episode 4

Act Four – Rin at Odds

The fourth episode of Blade of the Immortal focuses on the backgrounds of our two sides. On one side we have Rin and Manji, and on the other we have the Itto-Ryu led by Kagehisa Anotsu. However, it’s the latter who gets the most attention this time around.

So before we get into Kagehisa’s background, let’s quickly go over Rin and Manji.

Now, we don’t actually get any new information about Rin’s past in this episode. But we do get some information about her father, whose death started the events of the series. We already knew he was a samurai officially recognized by the shogunate, but now we also know a bit more about why he was killed.

Part of the reason for his death was the fact that Rin’s grandfather earned the title of samurai over the grandfather of Kagehisa. But, what seems to have been an even bigger factor is that Rin’s father was accused, by Kagehisa, of soiling the way of the Samurai by not continually striving to be stronger.

I’ll discuss that a bit more when I go over Kagehisa’s past and the origins of the Itto-Ryu. But first I need to mention Manji. I believe it was last week when I mentioned that we don’t really know how he became immortal in the first place, but it seems to be a curse.

In this episode, we still don’t have the answer. But we do have another piece of the puzzle. He tells Rin that over a two year span he killed 100 samurai. We don’t know if this was before or after he gained his immortality, but we do know that it was “some time ago” and that the Itto-Ryu are stronger than those samurai were.

My guess: that was before his immortality.

Kagehisa Anotsu

As for Kagehisa Anotsu, the current leader of the Itto-Ryu, we learn that he didn’t have the best childhood. From what we see, he lived alone with his grandfather who often physically abused him for being weak. His grandfather also seems to have been taking out his anger regarding not being named an official samurai on the young Kagehisa.

From what I understand, it’s this physical abuse which made Kagehisa’s eventual killing of Rin’s father a personal matter. Yes, his lack of samurai ideals played the biggest role, but Kagehisa also wanted revenge for what he dealt with as a child by the hands of his grandfather.

And since Rin’s grandfather, the one who “stole” the samurai title from Kagehisa’s grandfather, to Kagehisa he was the cause of the abuse. But Rin’s grandfather is no longer alive, so Kagehisa decided to kill his son, Rin’s father.

Kagehisa Anotsu from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
Kagehisa Anotsu

So now that we know how Kagehisa started the cycle of revenge found in the story, we look at how he became one of the most formidable swordsmen in all the land. After all, when he was a child he was referred to as weak by his grandfather — something that certainly doesn’t describe him today.

Well, it all started when he was defended against something or someone by a mysterious swordswoman. This woman was then beaten and left for dead by Kagehisa’s grandfather for no apparent reason. But what influenced the young Kagehisa to become stronger was what happened next.

Rather than being killed by the wild beasts she was left out for, she ended up killing 52 of them and escaping. This act seemed to show Kagehisa that just because someone appears weak and beaten doesn’t mean they can’t actually be strong.

Itto-Ryu Origins

Contrary to what I originally thought, Kagehisa technically didn’t found the Itto-Ryu. It’s implied that his grandfather is the founder, but it could have even been around long before him. With that said, the Itto-Ryu drastically changed once Kagehisa took over, so it’s almost not fair to consider it the same group.

At the age of 10, Kagehisa decided he was going to kill his grandfather and take over as the leader of the Itto-Ryu. However, at this point it doesn’t seem like there were actually any other members of the group aside from his grandfather.

This is also the same time when Kagehisa gained his first follower, the first samurai Manji defeated in the series. You know, the one who had his ex-wife’s head sewn onto his body. Even back when he began following Kagehisa her head was already attached to him, but he didn’t yet have a second.

The Samurai who killed Kagehisa's grandfather from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
The Samurai who killed Kagehisa’s grandfather

However, Kagehisa’s grandfather knew that his grandson was planning to kill him, so he came up with a plan of his own. He invited one of his old samurai pals over and asked for his help killing Kagehisa and his follower. Kagehisa’s grandfather alone was too frail to kill the follower, which is why he needed an accomplice.

Unfortunately for Kagehisa’s grandfather, his accomplice decided to kill him instead. Why?

He claims he killed his friend because Kagehisa’s grandfather was worrying about losing the Itto-Ryu. So by killing him, he’s making it so he no longer has to worry. But I think he’s actually planning to become the leader of the Itto-Ryu himself.

He probably recognized that he could kill Kagehisa’s grandfather to get himself in good graces with Kagehisa and then eventually assassinate him at a later point to become the leader.

Conclusion

I’ll admit, there are some flaws with my prediction, such as why Kagehisa would still be alive after all these years if his grandfather’s killer also planned to kill him. But maybe he failed and was killed by Kagehisa. Or maybe he decided to truly become one of his followers at some point.

What do you think? Do you think this mysterious, one-armed samurai is plotting something? And also, what do you think about the woman who saved Kagehisa as a child? Will we meet her again? Or have we already? Was she the woman who defeated Manji? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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