It’s often been said that the real power lies not with those who hold them but those who control and pull the strings of the puppets who hold such power. As the title suggests, we see all too clearly in this episode just how warped the feudal times came to be because of a handful of puppet masters.
I have to start off with a little rant on how under the radar narrator of Sengoku Saiga Mitsuki has been recently. She’s only narrating things here as the boys (and one Romi Park’s Uesugi Kenshin who is… a guy this season I think) go off on their respective silly fights and I can’t get enough of her simply narrating things. That’s how much I miss Saiga Mitsuki!!! Ok enough on that. Moving on. As our lovely narrator said, the show’s main characters are Sanada Yukimura, One-Eyed Dragon Date Masamune, Tokugawa Ieyasu (sans robot this week) and newly minted Dark King Ishida Mitsunari. I say newly minted but really we never saw any of that, everyone just naturally started calling him the Dark King for no apparent reason apart from the events 2 episodes ago when a huge dark ominous cloud gathered around Ishida. So the 4 of them each have their own pride and agendas for engaging with one another, eventually leading up to Sekigahara (69 days to go!). But actually, the main sh*t-stirrers are Ootani (floating mummy guy), Mouri (green, bug-like outfit guy) and Tenkai-sama (voiced by my favourite ojisan seiyuu Hayami Sho so I shan’t give his character a nickname), who between the 3 of them, have almost everyone wound around their fingers in an epic all out war.
Ieyasu’s still the good boy going around trying to form an alliance and unite the country through bonds. He’s determined I’ll give him that. He approaches useless coward Kobayashi Hideaki aka Kingo (iconic bumbling Fukuyama Jun doing bumbling the way he does best), knowing full well that Kingo’s
more preoccupied with cooking up a huge steamboat wok of food afraid of Mouri and Ishida. He still reaches his hand out to offer an alliance so Kingo knows he can always approach Ieyasu if the need ever arises. But Kingo’s controlled by Tenkai-sama, who has kidnapped Matsu-nee (monkey boy’s aunt), making it look like Ieyasu’s work. That’s how Keiji and Saika are dragged into this war.
On the other side of the land, Takeda Shingen is still down from his illness even though his protege Sanada Yukimura seems to think his master’s fallen due to Ieyasu’s attack. Naturally, as Sanada takes over and starts taking charge of Takeda, he first tries to conquer Shingen’s life-long rival Uesugi Kenshin, perhaps to strengthen his forces before taking on Ieyasu. Stupid move Sanada because Kenshin’s overpoweringly strong – even Sasuke could see it a mile away. But because Shingen and Kenshin have a love-hate rivalry, he advises Sanada to be ashamed of his failure in just following Shingen so as to confront and take pride one day as he leads Takeda. Kenshin’s chosen the smart thing to do – stay out of the war colliding in the East and West, but he’s offered his lovely ninja Kasuga to help lead the Takeda boys onto the right path – something only she can do of course. でたよね, Kenshin’s lovely manipulation of Kasuga who’s simply infatuated with her master. Such an odd couple (if you can call them a couple) but glad to see that running joke make its return this season with all the flowers and soft background colours lol. I personally am shipping the 2 shinobis Kasuga and Sasuke because the way they bite at each other with words is actually rather affectionate, even if Kasuga watches on nonchalantly as Ishida takes on Sasuke.
Eventually, Sanada chooses to ally with Ishida against Ieyasu as a common enemy though it remains to be seen if it’s an alliance or an outright surrender. One thing’s for sure though – Date Masamune will be royally pissed if Sanada sides with Ishida, the deluded Hideyoshi retainer who forgot who the one-eyed dragon is. Talk about double whammy. We might get into a situation where it’s Sanada+Ishida vs Date+Ieyasu, with everyone else on Ishida’s side of the field until the truth slowly unravels when those led astray see Ieyasu’s true light.