Shikizakura ep 3: Soaring Angel

Shikizakura this week hit us with an episode focused on the 2nd member of the team: Kaede Naruse. In true Sentai fashion, she struggles with her own issue and regret, but her friends and the people around her extend a helping hand – of course, our hero-wannabe protagonist does too.

We open up with a flashback of Kaede’s past. And learnt that she was once possessed by an Oni as well. This helped her win the athletic competition she was participating in and some time afterwards, she must have been exorcised and joined the team as a member. So far, it seems that Kaede has quite a normal background as in she’s not a descendant of a family of exorcists or anything, so her joining the team might be because of guilt that she was possessed and cheated in the competition, even though she completely disappeared and was disqualified anyway. Her doing that basically gave her rival an inferiority complex and Kaede must have felt bad ever since.
This lead to her hating on Kakeru, of course, since he joined with quite lofty ideals and the “wannabe hero” charade that definitely irks her, as well as his overly friendly and easy-going attitude. She also might feel some complex as well since his suit is immensely powerful. But it’s not as though Kakeru is completely oblivious to it either, since while he is overlu optimistic, he speaks his mind and is quite good at inspiring others (maybe precisely because of his naive heroism). He and Haruko might have formed a love-hate relationship at the end of the episode lol with how Haruko being quite “overprotective” of Kaede.

Kaede of course resolved her problem with a push from Kakeru and Yoko. She already knew deep inside that what happened was wrong, and that she was able to repel the Oni and not succumbed completely to it. But the guilt of showing weakness and letting the Oni into her heart still haunts her to this day. But finally, she was able to overcome it. And of course, after a struggle calls for an upgrade! Now her suit (02 suit hehe) can now fly.

I have done enough complaining about the human model animation, so let’s focus on the juicy parts instead. The suit-up scene is absolutely amazing! Both for Kaede and Haruko. The aerial fight scene was great as well. The camera works is very cool. It is one of the strongest suite of 3DCG, is that you can easily manipulate the perspective to give a more exciting and dynamic view of the action, making the viewer feel like they are at the character’s side and seeing the action from up close. If they can improve the character animation, that’d be a 10/10 but not a lot of hope on that front. Otherwise, a great episode of characterization and action. Resolving Kaede’s problem also help us like Kakeru a lil’ bit more.

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