Note: I am watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter blind. Please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments.
Yippee, the Sentinels are back! My favorite characters in the whole world…
Am I surprised to see the Sentinels again? No, actually. I suspected as much back in Episode 4 that we haven’t seen the last of them and I knew as much once I saw more of the thumbnails on HIDIVE’s playlist for this season. Am I excited? Also no, to be frank. The NoWaYu cast got very uneven treatment but I do find their journey pretty interesting. At the very least, more than one of them got the spotlight. I can’t say the same about the KuMeYu cast. Mebuki is really the only interesting one and I honestly had to remind myself what even happened in the episodes they starred in. To be fair however, their tenure isn’t technically over so who knows! My opinion on these characters may change over time…note that I didn’t say it starts here.
The episode takes place right before and during the the fifth episode of The Hero Chapter (and yes, this season is really darn close with catching up to the last one). The Taisha are preparing for Yuna’s wedding with the Shinju; among their arrangements is calling upon the Sentinels one last time to defend Shikoku alongside the Heroes. While this is a perfectly justified explanation for why the Sentinels are back in the narrative, there are a few holes in this plot. Obviously, the Taisha are lying about the Heroes’ exact role here. As evidenced in The Hero Chapter, the Heroes are fighting the same threat but they are nowhere near the Sentinels, which is mighty convenient for the continuity considering that the Sentinels neither appear nor are acknowledged in The Hero Chapter. I also want to point out that not only does the Taisha not reveal the Sentinels’ existence to the Heroes, they also don’t tell them about the upcoming attack until right before it starts. I know the Taisha don’t have the Heroes on a leash like they do with the Sentinels but you’d think for a ceremony so important, they wouldn’t be this haphazard.
For the final fight, the Sentinels station themselves in the skyscraper they’ve been going to whenever they called upon by the Taisha. Apparently, they get a spirit beam cannon which sounds awesome but you don’t really get to see it in this episode. At one point, Aki-sensei randomly reveals to Mebuki that the building is called “The Palace of a Thousand Views” due to its nature as a vantage point and that it was constructed by the Uesato family. If you recall, Uesato is Hinata’s surname so this tidbit confirms that her family is still around much like Wakaba’s. Aside from the fact that Mebuki wouldn’t give a crap about it, I call this tidbit random as this show is assuming that I care about what Hinata may have been up after the events of NoWaYu. The problem is that I don’t. In my posts for the NoWaYu episodes, I only mentioned Hinata once and that’s because she does squat in that entire arc. The most she does is convince Wakaba to let her grief out over Chikage’s death in Episode 7 and that’s it. For the most part, she’s just there. Hell, she’s not even properly introduced in the story. If wasn’t for the OP, I wouldn’t even know that Hinata works as a miko. So when Aki-sensei to drop this tidbit, I feel nothing about it. Now that I think about it, a better tidbit would be if Hinata was the one who told the Taisha to use mikos in the intervening 300 years. After all, she saw how the first gen heroes suffered for all their hard work so maybe she advocated for an alternative, albeit in a “pick your poison” kind of way.
Something you may notice with this episode is that there is no framing device anymore. I suppose YuYuYu is done with that now that the events are actually running in parallel with the main story. I can’t say I miss it, though. The past two times, it honestly felt like an excuse to have the Hero Club appear in some way. I’d even go as far as argue that it doesn’t add anything to the Hero Club. KuMeYu‘s framing is just Togo learning about what the Taisha are up to, just so that she becomes convinced to do them a favor. NoWaYu‘s is a little better as reading the Hero Annals encourages the Hero Club to keep on fighting, just like their predecessors did. I would however argue that the Hero Club would make that resolution with or without a precedent for them to learn from. In fact, that’s how it was originally presented in The Hero Chapter. Even putting that aside, YuYuYu barely cut back to the present so you almost forget that a framing device is there at all. Not having it anymore will make the story’s structure less awkward so I say good riddance to it.
Despite this episode marking the return of the Sentinels, it is actually Karin who gets the spotlight here. I can’t help but find that hilarious but the show is focusing on a character that I actually care about, one of the best characters in fact, so I’ll take it. At this point in time, Karin has just read Yuna’s diary with the rest of the Hero Club and has learned about what her friend has been trudging through this entire time. This of course comes after Karin lashed out at Yuna when the latter tries to keep her curse a secret. Frustrated over how she reacted and distraught over her friend’s situation, Karin transforms and crosses the barrier in the hopes of confronting the gods. While nothing obviously happens here, I really love how ballsy Karin is here. It shows how much Karin cares about Yuna now. I’d also argue that it shows how much Yuna has rubbed off on her as this is the exact kind of stunt that Yuna would pull for her friends.
While outside the barrier, Karin notices the Sentinels’ ships. It’s here that Karin reunites with Mebuki for the first time since the training camp. Mebuki notices the stressed state Karin is in and decides to knock some sense into her, both figuratively and literally. Season 1 Episode 9 will always the take first place for the best Hero vs. Hero fight (and really, the best fight in general) but this one isn’t half-bad. While Karin is technically more powerful, I don’t mind that her fight with Mebuki comes to a draw. It’s not like Karin is going to bust out her Mankai and given what we’ve seen in the training camp, these two have always been very close to each other in terms of skill.
More importantly, Mebuki is an appropriate choice to give Karin a pep talk. They’re both competitive characters who had shed away their more toxic traits and have tried to make the most out of their situation. If they were in each other’s shoes, their conversation would probably still play out in the same exact fashion. As for what Mebuki actually says, she tells Karin exactly what she needs to hear. The Heroes have managed to trudge through everything that’s been thrown at them so far. Why should Karin’s current situation be any different? I’ll admit that things gets presumptuous when Mebuki tells Karin how a Hero should act. However, I give her points for admitting that she doesn’t know exactly what Karin has gone through and for never once demanding that Karin hands the Hero powers over her.
After Karin receives her extra character development, Great Mankai Chapter returns the story back to the final battle in The Hero Chapter. While the next episode could just be the Sentinels firing their rifles at things, I do think there’ll be more to it. Something that’s constantly on Mebuki’s mind is the fire offering which, if you recall, was intended to involve Aya. I don’t know how that could still be relevant now but after giving Aya an easy out, I do expect the show to throw her back into the conflict and have Mebuki try to do something about it.
Watch Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter on HIDIVE
One thought on “Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter – Ep. 9”
The “Palace of a Thousand Views” thing, for once, doesn’t actually require any knowledge of the novels or other non-anime material to parse. It just requires knowledge of kanji. “Thousand Views” is written with the same kanji as “Chikage”. In other words, the Uesato family–Hinata’s descendants–sneakily named the building after Chikage, evidently as part of a centuries-long protest/rebellion against her getting written out of official history.
A much more subtle example of the same (a real Easter Egg which does require both novel knowledge and sharp eyes to get) is that painting of the NoWaYu heroes, minus Chikage, in the Hero Chapter OP. Where Chikage “should” be in the painting, there’s a C-shaped shadow on the ground. Chikage’s gaming nickname was “C-Shadow” (which is itself a wordplay on her name). I guess that painting was painted or commissioned by one of the Uesatos as well.