Blade of the Immortal Episode 13

Blade of the Immortal Episode 13

Act Thirteen – Twilight

After episode 12, I wasn’t sure what direction Blade of the Immortal was going to head in. But with episode 13 it’s becoming clear. Most of the series so far had to do with Manji and Rin in their battle against the Itto-Ryu, but now the Mugai-Ryu have officially entered into the fray.

Yes, the Mugai-Ryu have been around and have been opposing the Itto-Ryu, but with this episode the focus of the series really seems to shift to the struggle between these two organizations. We’ve learned a little more about the Itto-Ryu, and before now the Mugai-Ryu was almost entirely unknown to us.

So today I’ll be going through all the new information we received about both the Itto-Ryu and Mugai-Ryu, as well as Manji. That’s right, we also got some new information about Manji, and it actually seems to be pretty important information.

Not only can we get a rough estimate for his skill level compared to the other swordsmen in the series, but we can also begin to build a real timeline surrounding his immortality. All we knew about his age up until now is that he wasn’t nearly as old as the other immortal we previously met who was a couple hundred years in age.

Itto-Ryu in Hiding

The big thing that happened with the Itto-Ryu is that their forces were decimated by a mere two members of the Mugai-Ryu. Everyone except the old man and one other person who happened to go to the bathroom was slaughtered.

In his meeting with the remaining members of the organization, Kagehisa mentions that this is a much larger loss than it at first seems. Nine of those who were killed were the leaders of various dojo spread across the land. So with them gone, the Itto-Ryu’s hold on power has been severely weakened.

While the older man whose name I don’t remember was definitely in the meeting, it’s not clear if the younger man who was also shown to be there was. It sounded like he arrived afterwards and wasn’t initially a part of the meeting despite still being a member of the Itto-Ryu.

The remaining members of the Itto-Ryu from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
The remaining members of the Itto-Ryu

But what’s interesting is that the older man already knew who the attackers were even though he was out of the room at the time. He assumed there were only two attackers, and that one of them was Kagimura Habaki — someone we had previously seen, but who was never named.

We later learn Kagimura is the leader of the Mugai-Ryu, and that just leads to further questions. If the Itto-Ryu already knew about him, then why did they think someone by the name of Akagi was the leader? I’m starting to think the older man is manipulating both the Itto-Ryu and Mugai-Ryu into fighting one another.

Also, Kagehisa’s meeting doesn’t seem to include all of the remaining Itto-Ryu members. Makie isn’t present, but we know she’s still one of his followers.

Origins of the Mugai-Ryu

The origins of the Mugai-Ryu have been mentioned and hinted at a few times since their introduction into the series. However, exactly what the organization was hadn’t been explicitly explained until this point. They’re a group of former criminals who are controlled by the shogunate as a pseudo police force.

So for example, we know that Hyakurin killed her husband and was then sentenced to death. However, she was spared execution and instead became a member of the Mugai-Ryu. It’s now clear exactly how the organization was able to give her a stay of execution — they’re run by the shogunate.

The shogunate itself can’t really deal with all the various criminals around Japan, which is why they have this organization. The Mugai-Ryu is basically slave labor which the shogunate uses for the most dangerous covert missions. And while they aren’t really slaves, they might as well be considering the alternative to joining is death.

In a previous episode there was also talk of being able to buy your way out of the Mugai-Ryo, but it seemed like Kagimura dispelled that idea as a mere rumor in this episode. He says something along the lines of, even if you were to buy your freedom, there’s no place for a criminal in society.

The best outcome as far as the shogunate is concerned is for the members of both organizations to take each other out. That way the Itto-Ryu will be gone, and the criminals of the Mugai-Ryu will have their executions while also helping out the government.

Manji vs. 100

And as much as I enjoyed learning about the background of the Mugai-Ryu, Manji’s background is much more interesting. Kagimura himself wants to meet Manji and sends Giichi to bring him in. There’s not much to say about the following fight other than that Manji won against Giichi by technicality.

The interesting stuff comes when Manji and Kagimura actually meet. Kagimura wanted to confirm Manji’s immortality, but apparently not so that he could recruit him. It seems like Kagimura instead plans to learn the secret of Manji’s immortality so that he can wield it on behalf of the shogunate.

Up until this point, Manji was allowed to roam free because the shogunate saw his fighting against the Itto-Ryu as helpful. But it’s come to a point where they’d like to cut out the middle man, so to speak, and have immortality themselves.

Kagimura Habaki stabbing Manji from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
Kagimura stabbing Manji

However, even if Manji knows exactly how he received his immortality, he’s not saying. What he does say is that his killing of 100 men happened before he was immortal, which shows that he does have exceptional sword skills despite how we typically see him fight.

And Kagimura mentions that nine of his own men were among those 100 killed by Manji. This gives us a rough estimate for Manji’s age. Kagimura isn’t that old, maybe 60 at the latest, so we can assume Manji killed his men within the past 10 or 20 years. And Manji wasn’t immortal at that point.

So with that in mind, Manji has probably been immortal for about 5 to 10 years, and while we still don’t really know his age, I’ll say he’s between 40 and 50. Based on his appearance I’d say his pre-immortality age was like 35 to 45.

Conclusion

What do you think of Blade of the Immortal episode 13? Do you think the old man of the Itto-Ryu is actually a traitor? Do you think Giichi will make it out of the Mugai-Ryu alive? I don’t. And how old do you think Manji is based on this new information? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the series as a whole is available here.

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