Juni Taisen 8

Juni Taisen is all about how those we, the common folk, perceive as the rich and powerful are still beholden to those more powerful. These warriors are representatives of mercenary/soldier/whatever families, and they hold considerably mundane power. They have financial, political, and martial power far beyond that of the vast majority of people– they’re that 1% that seems to control all. But there’s always a fraction within any fraction who’s superior to their “peers,” and they’re the ones who ultimately create the rules for the next “tier” below them.

Dragon’s flashback goes into a court proceeding where he and his brother, Snake, are placed on trial for breaking some undefined to the audience warrior code. They go about their business legitimately as far as we can see, but by playing both sides in a conflict they’ve broken the arbitrary laws of their “kind.” Dragon worked for a doctor who got “patients” for experiments through human trafficking, and Snake worked for the criminals who provided those “services.” In the end, the brothers turned on their employers, destroyed their enterprises, and murdered their leaders before robbing them of the assets procured through this trafficking. In doing so they’ve committed two wrongs in the eyes of their “superiors.” Not only have they betrayed the trust of their employers and used their kinship to their advantage, their Robin Hood antics after the fact, where they gave victims money (a common thread in many of their crimes) was done not out of altruism, but out of boredom.

They really don’t believe in anything. The fact that their actions killed a bunch of kids didn’t mean much to them. When they give away some of their earnings, they do it just for the kick of being ironic. In turn, their “generosity” often backfires, as the recipients are often brutalized or murdered by the initial criminals (or the supposed caretakers of the recipients) in order to claim the money for themselves. They’re well aware that their actions are hollow and empty at best and added atrocities at worst, and they just don’t give a damn. Dragon and Snake are young, rebellious, and don’t give a damn about what anyone has to say about any supposed system or leadership. Their participation in the Juni Taisen seems largely due to boredom as well, and even that’s regarded with a shrug and a hint of annoyance.

They’re true nihilists, and in that they may be the most fully realized characters in the anime version to date. Building off of last episode’s post, they really do seem like the most “humane” characters out of everyone we’ve met thus far. They’re sociopaths, but they’re cruel and twisted in a way that comes off as understandable. They’re two nonconformist dudes rebelling against the world they know, and that world just happens to be one of paramilitary proxy wars and games of death. If they lived normal lives, they’d probably shoplift, get into fights, drink and smoke just to stick it to the folks, and all that. They’re just reacting the way a “rebel” would when the thing being rebelled against is fantastical.

Also, Snake eats a barbecued lizard, despite it being disgusting. He even rebels against himself.

The pacing was a little weird at this point in the series, since the two-parter focusing on these dudes comes at a weird time, but it was like that in the novel as well. Things are building up, and then Dragon and Snake put on the brakes a bit. They’re even fucking with the reader/viewer, not giving a damn if they’re story bores you. They’re just as bored with you.

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