Since the days and weeks of Asano’s death, the clan’s former retainers have been busy laying low, preparing for the time when they will strike back at Kira for his insults. To keep suspicion off of their activities, the retainers have been taking up menial jobs and acting like dishonorable drunkards. The plan works, with Lord Kira calling off his beefed up security, so that he can prepare to move into his new dwelling without the extra costs. Soon, the retainers gather to eat one final meal in the presence of one another before setting out to fulfill their oath, an action that will surely cost them their lives regardless of the outcome.
Even though the issue does a great job of showing just how the retainers are making their living after the fall of Asano’s power base, it only shows one or two individuals who have been identified in previous issues. While I can understand that they want to keep the attention focused on those they have personally made a connection with, it would have been nice to see what some of the other retainers have been doing to keep themselves busy and free of suspicion. Likewise, it would have been interesting to see what the shogun’s court thought during this time, even if they had no direct involvement in this particular moment in the story.
Almost at odds with what I just stated, however, is the belief that sometimes there was too much time spent on what the retainers were doing; this tale is five issues long, and there are times when it feels as though it could be longer, or it could be shorter. This is very much a storytelling series with very little action, so while it does give a lot of cultural and historical knowledge to the reader, it might not be able to draw in those who aren’t already interested in the situation.
The time has come to put the plan of action into reality, knowing full well that their lives are forfeit before the judgment of the shogun following the fulfillment of their oaths. But they persevere, knowing that their actions are just and honorable; they will see their Lord Asano again in the afterlife, where honor has been restored to their fallen daimyo.