Episode 20 - The crashing of the Futae no Kiwami
Shishio informed that the trio is approaching his fortress. Hoji suggest a new strategy to ensure their victory after the loss of the Rengoku. Chose the best 3 fighters of the Juppongatana remain here while the rest deal with the Oniwabashi. The sooner they remove the obstacles, the closer they reach to their goal. Shishio does not approve of it since he gave his word to Kenshin and intends to keep it. Hoji objects that when it comes to winning, nothing matters including honour. Hoji will do anything to let Shishio achieve his goals. Shishio then summons the gathering of the Juppongatana. He lets Hoji takes the rap for the failure. Hoji admits, kneels and begs for forgiveness. Usui steps forward, he wants to know the truth. Hoji insists that he is responsible for the failure. Usui breaks one of Hoji's fingers. Hoji then stabs his hand to prove his faithfulness and loyalty to Shishio and the Juppongatana.
Shishio gives the word - Usui, Soujirou and Anji are to stay behind while the rest go to Aoiya. Before they left the room, Usui gives a knowing smile to Shishio. Shishio is convinced of Hoji's loyalty and allows him to continue working for him as his chief advisor.
The trio reaches the shrine archway and is greeted by Ayumi. She will be their guide since nobody comes out the maze in fortress alive. The skeletons lying on the ground are the evidence. These are the rules for each fight, it will be a single combat fight and nobody is allowed to help the fighter. Kenshin agrees on one condition - no killing. The first room is opened - Anji. Sanosuke is shocked to see him. Ayumi recalls her discussion with Shishio. She feels that it would be a bad idea to allow Sanosuke to fight with Anji since they a teacher-student bond. Shishio replies that the rage that Anji has would surpass his compassion.
Anji is disappointed with Sanosuke for 'working for' the Meiji government. Sanosuke is too disappointed with Anji for working for a murderer. Bloodshed is necessary in Anji's duty to cleanse the corruptive world where the rich take advantage of the poor. Sanosuke punches a hole in the wall. He feels that it shouldn't be right for him to use the Futae no Kiwami since he has perfected it. Perfected? Anji demonstrated his meaning of perfection. He could use all his limbs unlike Sanosuke has his right fist only. (You have perfected nothing!) Sanosuke's confidence seems to decay but Kenshin encourages him on. As long as he holds his guard, he will find a way. Ayumi reminds Kenshin that he doesn't suppose to help Sanosuke. Kenshin points out that she didn't mention anything about helping through talking.
Both men fight. Sanosuke discovers that Anji's movements are slow due to his overdeveloped muscles. If he could calculate the right time to strike... Sanosuke strikes on Anji's side. (Too early to claim victory) Anji has reversed the impact of Sanosuke's Futae no Kiwami by hitting himself on the other side. Anji punches, Sanosuke leaps away but vomits blood. Anji wants Sanosuke to walk away because he doesn't want to kill him. Ayumi demands for an explanation. Anji replies that he made a deal with Shishio. He can choose to kill anyone including Shishio himself.
Sanosuke tells Anji that Shishio baits him with this 'power'. Who is he to chose who live and die? The bloodshed and the destruction will not end as long as Anji keeps his overzealous idea of cleansing the world. Sanosuke tries a multi-attack while keeping his right fist for the right moment to strike. Saitou observes that Sanosuke might stand a chance. Is he concerned about Sanosuke? No. But he is concerned with Sanosuke's death would affect Kenshin's performance later on.
Anji hits Sanosuke on his side. Unknown to him, Sanosuke (thankfully a quick learner) reverses the blow by hitting himself on the other side. Reacting fast, Sanosuke hits Anji in the chest with Futae no Kiwami. He vomits blood and falls. To everybody's surprise, Anji gets up and takes out a memorial tablet. Memories of a burning temple and burnt bodies...
Hoji stabbing his hand
The raged Anji
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