I want to say this is a perfect example of why Juni Taisen is failing as a show. It’s full of good ideas — good ideas that are like flowers. But instead of those flowers being planted delicately in neat, deliberate rows, they’re scattered haphazardly around the show’s staff like a minefield they have to tread. When crafting each episode, a staff member tries to escape the flower field, and whatever flowers they crush along the way are the ideas that are tossed into the episode, regardless of what they are.
My analogy is just like those good ideas — started off strong but failed to deliver anything meaningful in the end.
I’m not even going to bother talking about what happens during the present timeline this episode, because it amounts to absolutely nothing except that Ox manages to free himself and Tiger, and I’m pretty sure fire doesn’t work like that. Anyway, nothing happens, because almost all of this episode is taken up by a needlessly long flashback (Surprise) detailing even more of the (mis)adventures of the Tatsumi brothers, Dragon and Snake.
Now let me start this off by saying that this flashback isn’t bad by itself. It gives insight into the characters, as shallow as that insight may be, and it’s honestly fun to watch. The problem(s)? It interrupts arguably the best scene the show has delivered to date, tries to make us care for a character who is already dead, is mired by political and legal jargon specific to its universe, and runs for far too long (as most things in this show tend to do). This is an ill-timed flashback that truly should have been completely condensed into last episode, or, better yet, should have simply been the first episode. Zodiac order be damned.
So what is this flashback, you ask? In a nutshell, it’s Dragon and Snake on trial for their misdeeds, with Dragon defending their actions. We are treated to a sort of montage of their heinous “good deeds” as Warriors, where they act sort of as Robin Hoods, if Robin Hood was an agent of chaos. They spread good fortune to the needy, but every time doing so only results in further chaos and violence. Do they care? No. They’re in it for the fun, and sometimes the money. As long as they’re entertained, they don’t care who gets hurt, as illustrated by them taking on two different jobs just so they could each kill the other’s employer in the end without technically breaking any laws as Warriors. That’s really the point all of these snippets of their actions drive home. It’s the fact that the show keeps hammering its points again and again, after audiences are well aware of the message, that works against it most. This backstory could have easily been condensed to leave more time for present-time stuff, but I guess that would not be in line with true Juni Taisen fashion. It’s a shame that so much time these past two episodes was spent on arguably the least likable of the warriors. And their backstories do nothing to make them more sympathetic. Again, it’s just hollow rambling of largely unimportant details.
I’ve honestly lost all interest in this show outside of simply enjoying eighteen minutes of mindless entertainment each week, because that’s all this show has going for it at this point. Well, and honestly, I do have to give the show props though. For a character to be as scantily clad as Tiger, I at least respect Juni Taisen for not sexualizing her. At least that’s one point in its favor.
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War - Episode 8
- Backstory at least follows a structure
- Despite losing more and more of her clothes, Tiger is refreshingly not sexualized by the show
- We literally progress fifteen seconds in terms of narrative
- Timing of backstory
- Dragon and Snake are still too similar
- Visuals falter