Blade of the Immortal Episode 6

Blade of the Immortal Episode 6

Act Six – Wing Roots

The sixth episode of Blade of the Immortal didn’t exactly introduce us to anything new about the world or Manji’s abilities. And because of that, there’s a lot less to discuss regarding this episode than those which came before. But, I still found this to be one of the more enjoyable episodes so far.

Still, there is one piece of information which has been implied in the background of a few episodes, and this one is no different. Is the Itto-Ryu still an active group?

That may seem like a stupid question, but think about it. At the start of the series, when they attacked Rin’s family, they were traveling in a group. Sure, not all of the members were there yet, like Makie Otono-Tachibana, but they were clearly a single, group.

However, since then, we’ve only ever encountered the members of the Itto-Ryu one by one. And they don’t all seem to still be affiliated with the group. Even the leader, Kagehisa Anotsu doesn’t seem to have much to do with the other members anymore.

The first member of the Itto-Ryu we encountered (I forget his name) wanted to kill Rin despite that being against Kagehisa’s direct orders. Then we had Makie who allowed Rin and Manji to leave with their lives. And now we have Araya Kawakami who’s an official Itto-Ryu retiree.

But if the Itto-Ryu isn’t disbanded? Why are all of their members spread apart? It can’t be because they’re hunting down Rin, because Kagehisa already captured and let her go. Are they expanding their sphere of influence? It doesn’t seem like that’s the case either.

I’m fairly certain they’ve simply disbanded and the former members are currently doing whatever they want.

The Happy Mask Salesman

Some of the “former” Itto-Ryu members decided to go off on their own in search of prey. For that first member we met, he wanted to add Rin to his collection. Eiku Shizuma from last week’s episode was in search of someone who could finally kill him. But, what about Araya Kawakami?

Araya isn’t looking for a fight. In fact, he wants the opposite. All Araya wants is to live a quiet life with his son, Renzo, as a mask salesman. Proof of this is in the fact that he no longer even owns a sword, and his son doesn’t know that he’s a former samurai.

Renzo has never even heard of the Itto-Ryu.

A custom mask made by Araya Kawakami from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
A custom mask made by Araya Kawakami

But Araya doesn’t hide this information from his son to protect him from the other members of the Itto-Ryu. He doesn’t even do it because he’s particularly ashamed of his past — he’s not at all. Instead, he simply doesn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps because he knows it’s a lifestyle that, generally speaking, literally gets cut short.

And because Rin realizes that Araya is truly trying to keep his son from going down the same path he did, she decides not to kill him. Araya believes his son will follow his path if he learns about it, and Rin believes Renzo will follow her own path if his father is killed.

This is why I liked this episode. We’ve had other antagonists so far who aren’t completely evil. In fact, I’d say all of the antagonists have been somewhat morally grey so far. But with Araya we actually have an antagonist who has changed their ways — like Makie planned to do after meeting Rin and Manji.

Renzo’s Revenge

However, Araya does get killed in the end, and it’s really his own fault. Rin does say that it’s cruel of him to be able to raise his son and have a normal life after doing what he did to her own mother, but at the same time Rin isn’t going to expose his past to Renzo.

Unfortunately, Araya believes he needs to kill Rin in order to keep her silent, and this is his downfall. Even after being attacked, Rin didn’t plan to kill him, but Manji is a different story. He’s been hired to protect Rin, so he’s going to do just that, even if she doesn’t want him to.

But, Manji is nothing if not smooth. He knows that Renzo would go down a path of revenge if he were to escape after killing his father, so he let’s himself get “killed” by the boy. He even severs his arm and allows Rin to bury it (temporarily) as evidence that he died.

Manji holding an unconscious Rin from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
Manji holding an unconscious Rin

Looking at Manji you wouldn’t expect him to be the kind of person to have a soft spot like that, but I guess he does. I mean, we already knew he sort of has a soft spot for Rin, but maybe it’s just for orphaned kids in general. Perhaps this connects back to his own past in some way.

Also, I wonder how long his arm was severed for. We know that he can still die if he bleeds out, so I’d imagine his arm couldn’t have been severed for that long. But it still would have to have been long enough for it to be buried and then for Rin to show it to Renzo.


So what did you think of Blade of the Immortal episode 6? Were you hoping to learn more about Manji’s immortality? Did you like this episode’s change of pace? And, do you think the Itto-Ryu has disbanded or not? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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