When I saw the last chapter of Katanagatari, I felt angry. Princess Hitei survived? And maybe she Pair The Spares
with Shichika? Unforgivable! But then it hit me: I was completely at peace with Togameís death. Why?
First I tought this tale was a deconstruction of the High Fantasy
Chambara sword fights in eighteenth century Japan. But then I couldnít place exactly where was the deconstructive work. I certainly recognized Truffaut Was Right
or Shoot The Shaggy Dog
, but I was still confused.
Now I think I have figured it out and I want to share my theory:
We are seeing not a deconstruction, but a very normal and even typical Chambara story. There is an Ancient Conspiracy
that must be stopped. There is Gray And Gray Morality
, there is the usual epic battles, heroic sacrifices and cardboard villains and heroes.
But in this tale, the Sympathetic POV
is in the villains, and all the attention is given to the protagonist of the Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story
, because is the only way to truly avert the Truffaut Was Right
: Togame is the Dragon In Chief
who thanks she was killed before getting a true chance to become the Big Bad
. Shichika is The Dragon
. The Big Bad
was Shikizaki Kiki, the guy who organized all the plot. Princess Hitei is the Antihero and Emonzaemon is The Lancer
. The Evil Plan
was stopped. Japanís true history was restored, and You Cannot Change The Future
Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story
: This tale is not about Princess Hitei and Shichika (lampshaded as the least interesting characters and among the only ones to survive), is about the Maniwani Corps, whose every member had less power and more personality than Shichika. Itís about the story of the mook who looks cool for a moment and is killed immediately by the Antihero
. Itís about The Lancer
who knowís the antiheroine
will never love him and yet fights for her. And more than anything, Itís about the interesting villain Togame, who sacrificed everything to accomplish his goals and is killed by the antiheroine
just in her moment of triumph.
Only that you can avert Truffaut Was Right
. Only that you can explain chapter 4, when instead of a Crowning Moment Of Awesome
you get a Mook Horror Show
. Indeed, swords and Nanami, even when beautiful, where created to kill.
You have to love and respect a show that reminds you of that little truth.