The first thing I see is that the quality is dying. The animation style seems to be hit heavily by a budget cut or something, resulting in Katanagatari being mostly drawn out with thick,bold lines, making everything seem awkward and disjointed. The perspective for some scenes were way off, or as how others have put it, Katanagatari is now a 2D RPG.
Not to mention how Shichika and Nanami’s epic fight was just drawn out to be a bunch of flurries and punch lines to the extent that I’m thinking that it’s just 3 frames used repeatedly.
Next, everyone loves dying. No, seriously. I’m not a hater or anything, but Nanami constantly talks about seeking death. To the extent that her character is actually built upon this desire, this fanatical lust for Shichika to kill her. She lays waste to a whole bunch of villages, massacres countless people and yet seeks to die. I’m okay with that, after all it’s who she’s cut out to be. The episode spoiler just tanned it for me. “Will we ever die normally?” An innocuous question by Togame, but it left me thinking : Every episode is driven by death – which I don’t mind, since it is , after all, based on samurai and ninjas and whatnot. Feuds, man.
Nah, time to get serious, so to speak.
So in summary, in episode 7, Nanami acquires the Akutou Bita, which when stabbed into her own chest, gives her the power to overcome all her weaknesses. When Shichika fights her, Nanami ‘defeats’ him with the strength acquired from massacring Konayuki’s village with her little finger. Shichika enters depression, to be slapped awake by Togame. They challenge her again, in front of a statue of what Togame calls the ‘Buddha of Swords’. In the end, it’s all elaborate trickery as the lights go out and Shichika retrieves the Akutou Bita. In the end, Nanami is still standing and it’s a fight to the death.
What can I say? Nanami’s elaborate scheme for Shichika to kill her paid off. After all, the entire episode reveals a lot of bloody pasts : Shichika reveals to Togame that he killed his own father, and that he knew that Togame was the daughter of the very man whose rebellion was squashed by his own father. Nanami reveals that they were exiled to the island because her father was accused of killing her mother, to which they still have no idea whether it is true or not. Rather disappointingly, the theory of Nanami being the final boss in the show is eliminated, leaving us to wonder who’d it be.
The cutting of Togame’s hair also proved several things. One, it proved Shichika’s love for Togame, to the extent that to save her life, he kills Nanami, whose life he saved by killing his father. Trippy. The two are after all, sword and master, and the sword is for defence. It could also have been a metaphor for ‘change’ or ‘ simplification’ , but maybe I’m just over-scrutinizing things. Change : Togame has had long hair for the first half of Katanagatari, when she and Shichika were just tied together by the quest to get swords, but throughout their journey we can see that they develop feelings for each other, no matter how subtle. After all, her hair seems to be constantly assaulted by Shichika’s affection, stroking it, smelling it, and whatnot. Simplification : Every episode, her hair seems to be a gag, especially in Episode 6 where it became frozen like an ice bar. By cutting it, all of this is removed : simplifying everything. Previously, their relationship was on several levels, from friend-to-friend, lover-to-lover, sword-to-master, misled sheep -to-shepherd, and what other various analogies they could come up with. Now it’s just one level : complex in itself, but after all , simply one level.
Also, it proves that Shichika has a sexual fetish for hair. Ding ding ding -new gag.