Episode 3 of Yasuke Season 1 begins with the Priest using his assassins to drag a chained up Yasuke through the streets. The villagers are concerned, and eventually form a crowd as the Priest greets them.
He confirms Saki’s Mother has passed on and claims Yasuke is responsible. This sparks up the flames of xenophobia among the people. Ichiro exhibits doubts, until the Priest shows the necklace to him. He refuses to believe Yasuke is responsible though and eventually walks away, unable to hit him with a rock.
With the village against him, the Priest takes Yasuke away to a secluded cabin. Two of the assassins – Robot and Nikita – head back out again and go hunting for Saki. Well, they don’t have long to wait as Saki presents her powers to them in the village. Saki eventually runs away, managing to get away from her captors.
Out in the forest, Ichiro arrives and greets Saki. She tells them Yasuke didn’t harm her Mother but the stress of this encounter causes her powers to manifest again. A sudden bolt of light sends the boy sprawling. Although Saki apologizes, she quickly turns and hurries away.
Back inside, the Priest suddenly uses electric powers against Yasuke while he’s held captive. As bolts burst through his body, he screams in agony. The Priest demands to know where Saki is.
During flashback sequences this episode, Yasuke and Natsumaru continue to drift apart after an uneasy sparring session leads Yasuke to notice a pendant on her necklace. The same insignia from the Iga General he killed. Yasuke spies his comrade heading out in the middle of the night too, speaking to a general outside the camp. This tension continues to weigh on Yasuke’s mind as we reach the Tensho Iga War in 1581.
The horses ride at a trot, with Hattori Hanzo arriving before them with a whole swarm of soldiers. They charge straight for them.
During the battle, Natsumaru shows her true colours. She was never an Onno Bugeisha. In fact, she’s actually part of Hanzo’s personal guard. Eventually this leads to Yasuke besting her in combat, plunging a sword through her belly. This is obviously a difficult choice, especially given his closeness to her.
Back in the present, Saki arrives before the Priest, exhibiting some awesome powers as she fights off the Priest’s electric blasts. She eventually manages to telepathically move a large cross, impaling the holy man. Writhing in pain, he eventually withers away.
The four assassins are nonchalant about this and eventually settle their wager, snatching up funds from the Priest’s dead body. With their debt settled, Yasuke and Saki are allowed to walk away together. Only, there’s a much larger threat out there waiting to present themselves.
The Episode Review
With only 6 episodes in this first season, Yasuke is racing through its story without any time to deliver crucial characterization. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing for an action anime, it doesn’t quite allow for more intimate storytelling to shine through that this anime so desperately needs. One can’t help but feel an additional 6 episodes or so would really help give this show more depth.
The assassins, for example, could have been given more screen-time and allow their quirky personas to come out a lot more. Likewise, Yasuke’s xenophobia and difficulties rising up the military ranks are barely given any screen-time, during rushed flashbacks.
Don’t get me wrong, Yasuke is still enjoyable and there’s a lot of action to enjoy, but there’s also a sense that this series could have been a lot more.
The final scene definitely hints that we’ve got more drama to come though, and with the reveal of a brand new enemy, we’ll have to wait and see what that means for the rest of the show.