Steven J. Mepham

Connections and revelation is the essence of episode 43. Opening to a nighttime view of Mapulehu and Kanae training with her bow. Initially, it is unclear if she has gotten any better as she still seems to miss her shots but then the focus pans down to a pile of struck targets, another clattering as it joins those that came before. The look on Kanae’s face is one of determination and frustration. She is joined by the female guard that has been training her. “You’re holding your breath too long.” The exchange between them is key not only as it highlights the growing respect between the Guard and Kanae but also that it summarises where Kanae is in terms of combat skills.

I’m doing what you told me to–

Kanae

I really like the energy in this segment. Kanae is a bundle of frustration and biting back at the Guard, who could easily brush her off but instead offers words of encouragement.

This culmination is important because it shows how serious Kanae is in supporting Jinsei and retrieving the Punavarsu coin but also because of how much these two seem to complement each other. As the scene moves on we see the guard demonstrate shooting multiple targets and moving targets, pivoting a target slate over the balcony nearly hitting Jinsei who is passing by in the street below.

Kanae’s feelings

Since the very first episode of Cape of Spirits, Kanae and Jinsei have had a rocky relationship. They started as enemies and as the chapters have flown by have blossomed into an unsteady friendship. Though they support each other, it is difficult to say where Kanae’s feelings actually lie. Punavarsu’s test gave her a visualisation and a realisation that they are similar and that the Jinsei who was the heir to the empire and the Jinsei who is travelling with her are not the same person. Kanae rejected murdering the vision Jinsei because she concluded that he wasn’t the enemy but since then, there has been little opportunity for her to revisit where she stands… that is until now. What is striking about this part of the episode is how human Kanae is. Her instinct when the guard drops the target on Jinsei is to try to smooth things over, but she never quite manages to say “that wasn’t on purpose,” Partially, I think because it would be a lie. The gate guard has a grudge against Jinsei, one that she is not able or unwilling to put aside. Kanae for her part did find the near miss satisfying and while she does initially try to hide this fact, she offers no resistance when the guard says she does, going as far to chuckle. What is important about the exchange is the sigh she gives and the awkward rubbing of her neck. It is a motion that to me conveys uneasiness and firmly grounds the path she has been treading. While she did find the situation satisfying, I suspect that is not because the Guard was teasing Jinsei. The segments finale is important because it sums up exactly her thoughts on Jinsei and shows just how far they have come as friends.

Kanae’s expression of faith in Jinsei is the first time since her realisation that she has vocalised her feelings around Jinsei. It shows her acceptance of him and acknowledges the growth and change that he has gone through.

We’ll See about that

The gate guards response is one that can be read several ways, initially it seems as dismissive, that she doesn’t believe for a moment that what Kanae is saying is true. The clue lies in the expression on her face. While her eye is undoubtedly trained on Jinsei, there is not the twist of anger and hatred that was prevalent in previous episodes.

Instead, there is a quiet confidence to her look. A patient observer that promises to wait to see how things will play out. She is nowhere near to trusting Jinsei, she delights at any misfortune that plagues him, but she is open to seeing where it will lead. Her words sum up where she is at. “We will see” if Kanae is right and Jinsei can prove he has changed.

The truth and lies Jinsei must face.

The sudden switch of focus from Kanae and Jinsei at this point is interesting. If Kanae had a reply, we are not privy to it. We are treated to a scene with Marius, Jinsei and Flayvus following the meal they had mentioned seeking out a few panels before. While Marius makes small talk and gives us a new nugget of information about Jinsei – he’s a picky eater, Jinsei himself seems lost in thought…

Finally, we get to know Weret’s name. But the more interesting reveal is that her name is also shared with a Divinity Coin, the very one that Jinsei’s father wielded.

Its sections like this that really begin to show why Jinsei is messed up and conflicted. Piece by piece the world he knew, the aims of the Empire he grew up in and assisted, are shown to be lies. The people he cared about and respected revealed to be liars constructing a pleasant facade to cover up the ugly truth. While it is true that Jinsei killed his father, (as far as we know) he believed in the vision that his father offered. He believed that the empire was bringing change to the world that the Empire’s ways were better than those of the old world. In this moment, we begin to see Jinsei finally begin to see that what he has been told, the things he has cherished are little more than a lie. He is beginning to question not only what he was told but also his part in it.

… Bit ironic don’t you think? The empire ruins a village. The Emperor’s brother tries to save said village by lying to them. And now, an Empire runaway is taking refuge in that village

Jinsei to Marius

Uncle Marius reminds me a lot of Uncle Iroh (Avatar the Last Airbender) he knows that Jinsei faces a difficult realisation having walked the path before him. He knows which path he wants Jinsei to take and yet he doesn’t try to push him there. Instead, he gives him the information that Jinsei needs and is supportive. I really like the dynamic between them it shows a lot about how close they were in the past and perhaps, how much Jinsei needed a parental figure to guide him.

I assume my father was responsible for stealing Weret’s village relic. I even used that very coin in order to open the Spirit World gates.

Jinsei

There is little in this panel to indicate what Jinsei feels. It is unclear whether he believes it. But the angle of his gaze, and the slight grimace combined with his slightly narrowed eyes are all indicative that to Jinsei, at the very least it is distasteful.

Marius’ Goal

Marius for his part is playing a long game and his goal is revealed slowly.

In a way, you actually have an advantage that she knows you are the Emperor’s son.

Marius

What I love about segment is how much unyielding faith Marius has win Jinsei. He lays his goals out clear and plain. he wants to stop the Empire, with the help of the old world but ultimately he trusts that Jinsei is the one who can and will do it. Grim determination oozes from him in the second panel, he knows Jinsei can do it and wants to give him a push to ensure he can. Marius responds to Jinsei’s words with a smile.

Whether you agree or not, you should rest up soon. You can ask Weret anything during tomorrow’s match.

The episode ends with the first light of dawn. It feels symbolic, as though Jinsei stands on a threshold. His stance is neutral as he looks towards Weret and Seven. It is a beautiful visage, and perhaps a hint that despite how dark things seem… dawn must always come… but first Jinsei must face Weret and her Khopesh… something tells me this will not be easy for him.

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