Episode 17 - The Gathering of the Juppongatana!
Kenshin literally ransacked the whole house and find a small packet of herbs. He hopes that this will save Hiko Seijirou's life. All he can do now is to wait.
Sanosuke deliberately allows himself to be arrested because this will be the quickest way to find Kenshin. Saitou pretends not to know him but orders his assistant to have locked him up (just for precaution). Sanosuke snaps and uses his Futae no Kawami, breaking out of the cell. Saitou quietly tells his assistant to wait for him while he takes care of this. Sanosuke boasts about his improvement but yells at Saitou who is keenly examining the broken pieces of wood. His technique is no big deal. Obviously, Sanosuke has not learnt any defense techniques at all. How typical of him.
Saitou unlocks a metal door and introduces Katagari Cho, a member of the Juppongatana, who bound both hands and feet. He wants some answers from him but Cho refuses. He has nothing to lose despite the offer of being set free. Sanosuke sarcastically comments that Cho is afraid of Shishio might come after him for allowing himself to be arrested. Both bickering at each other, calling each other names like vegetable head (for Cho) and roaster (for Sanosuke). Saitou nonchalantly smokes a cigarette, imaging a roaster quarreling with a vegetable stalk. Cho and Sanosuke yells at Saitou to give them a signal. He throws the cigarette onto the ground. Immediately, Cho flings the metal dumbbell at Sanosuke's face. No effect. Sanosuke uses his Futae no Kawami on the wooden block that is bounding Cho's hands. Cho gasps at the sight of the wooden dust. He gives in.
In Kobe, 50 policemen were killed within 1 or 2 hours last night. How many members of the Juppongatana could do that? Cho replies that anyone could do that. Anyone could do it if it isn't for the time limit (pointed out Sanosuke). The vegetable stalk against the roaster again. Saitou reminds them that he is still waiting for an answer. Cho could only think of 2 members. One of them is Soujirou, the heavenly sword. But he couldn't be the one since Shishio has ordered him to gather the Juppongatana. So, it is be the other one...
Back at fortress, Hoji and Ayumi are informed that there has been an intruder in the premises. A lot of the guards have been killed. They report it to Shishio who already knew that intruder. He is one of the Juppongatana. And he is in this room. Where is he? On the ceiling, a blindfolded man (with a tortoise shell on his back) charges. Shishio blocks him and greets him. Usui.
Usui the blind swordsman. Some years ago, Shishio has blinded him. However, Usui has mastered the Shigami - Eyes of the heart. With this skill, Usui is twice as deadly. Saitou seems to be interested.
Shishio has made a deal with Usui before he joined the Juppongatana. Usui is allowed to kill anyone he pleased, including attacking Shishio. Usui reports on his recent slaughtering of the 50 policemen in Kobe. Shishio orders him that if he ever meets Kenshin or Saitou, he must eliminate them.
The next question that Saitou asks is when does Shishio intend to destroy Kyoto. Cho asks him whether he recalls the Ikedaya incident in the Tokugawa era. (Saitou pretends that he doesn't know) During the incident, the Royalists tired to burn down Kyoto but the Shinsen-gumi stop that from happening. Shishio tends to use that incident for his revenge. He wants to burn down Kyoto the same way they tried to burn him. The destruction of Kyoto (the symbol of stability for Japan) will cause endless chaos and the people will lose faith in the Meiji government. Sanosuke is determined to stop the destruction because all the people want to be in peace. Who cares about politics?
Now that they are on the same page, Saitou suggests that they should find Kenshin. Sanosuke agrees. Looks like they have to settle their fight later. Oh really? Saitou continues to annoy Sanosuke as they leave Cho in his cell.
Soujirou returns and Ayumi is glad to see him. For the last 3 days, Usui is like a mad man, killing anyone whom he pleased. Soujirou greets him politely. Usui tells him that gathering is beginning shortly. In a room, Kamatari (another Juppongatana member who is madly in love with Shishio) and Ayumi have a little catfight. Soujirou greets a little foxy man named Saizuchi. His helper, Fuji is outside. Shishio appears and gives a formal greeting. Soujirou opens a box and shows him a hidden message. Shishio smiles. The destruction of Kyoto will begin at 11.59pm. One by one, he names out the Juppongatana - Soujirou, Hoji, Ayumi, Anji, Henya, Iwanbo, Saizuchi, Fuji, Kamatari and Usui. (I think that Cho is kicked out soon after his arrest)
The recovered Hiko Seijirou gives a kick to the sleeping Kenshin on the head. What is he doing here? Shouldn't he with those people who are waiting for him? Kenshin is so happy that he leaps up to hug him. Hiko ducks away, letting Kenshin crash into a shelf. (Hiko has this thing about men hugging men) Kenshin is relieved that the medicine has worked. This bag of stuff? Why, this doesn't have any medical value in it. (HUH??) Hiko then shows Kenshin a Sakabatou. On the handle, there is a peg inserted in it. This peg enables him to hold his sword steady when using the god-like speed of the Hiten Mitsuguri. Another little secret.
Hiko gives him his cloak, since Kenshin has successfully mastered the Hiten Mitsuguri. Kenshin turns down the offer. (Anyway, he is too small to wear such a huge cloak.) He wants to lead his own life. Before he leaves, he asks Hiko if he could protect the people of Aoiya while he's fighting Shishio. Of course... not! How could Kenshin ask such a thing from him? Hiko goes back into his house, indirectly giving Kenshin his blessings.
Kenshin bows and takes his leave.
The streets of Kyoto are filled with policeman. Saitou is in his office, reading and smoking. (Man, he better quit smoking before he dies of lung cancer.) A policeman rushes in and tells him that Himura Battousai is coming. He has already sent a carriage to fetch him. The carriage arrives. Kenshin steps out.
Saitou senses a change in him.
Sanosuke "rooster" VS Cho "Vegetable head"
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