TMNT: “Kagayake! Kintaro” Review
And with that, we’ve finished another Tale. “Kagayake! Kintaro” saw the climax of the Usagi Yojimbo arc and it centered around Kintaro’s power as the Golden Child awakening. The episode featured our heroes’ journey through the snow covered mountains on their way to the Temple Palace of the Sky Buddha. The well paced adventure saw the Turtles and Usagi battle the elements, battle with ninjas near the top of the mountain, and finally come face to face with Jei. All in all “Kagayake! Kintaro” delivered on the promises of the arc, and proved an enjoyable finale.
As mentioned, the episode centered on Kintaro. If he ever hoped to achieve his full potential, he had to see past his self-centered and mean ways. While shades of his growth can be seen in the last episode, Kintaro really changes here. He starts off as his normal boastful, conceited self, insulting Usagi and extolling about his future power. When the party comes across a massive boulder blocking their way, Donnie and Raph tease Kintaro into trying to move it. He of course cannot move the boulder, and the two Turtles let him have it. Leo stops them however, giving Kintaro credit for trying. They ultimately get past the boulder when Usagi slices the tree that was holding it in place, teaching Kintaro that strength doesn’t always solve everything.
Strength and skill their place though, as the party finds out when they are attacked by ninjas hiding in the snow drifts of the mountain! The Turtles and Usagi hold their own and even Kintaro attempts to stand his ground before retreating. The fight scene was another great set piece, with the cat ninjas disappearing into the drifts before popping out again to attack. It also showed off the skill of the Turtles. Despite being caught off guard, they know the fighting style of ninja and do a great job anticipating where attacks will come from. Seeing Donnie no-look bat away attackers was suitably bad ass.
Ultimately, the cat ninjas get the upper hand on Kintaro, their target all along. Attaching a chain line to the mountain and dropping him down the cliff, the fight shifts to a race to the bottom to get Kintaro! With characters leaping and bounding down the cliff, coming together only to clash, this part of the fight was very entertaining. It ultimately ends, with Usagi saving Kintaro after dispatching three ninjas down the mountain.
Before reaching the temple, Leo takes on the task of protecting Kintaro. He takes a quiet moment to congratulate Kintaro on his courage. It’s another moment of our heroes showing Kintaro kindness, and in so doing, showing him how to grow up. It’s a small, touching moment, with Leo giving Kintaro the encouragement he needs.
Of course, this is what Jei wanted all along. After finally reaching the temple, they find it abandoned. Obviously suspicious, the Turtles and Usagi enter the grounds on high alert. When they think they have found a remaining priest, they are instead greeted by Jei himself, flanked by Sumo Kuma. He explains that he needs Kintaro at the temple in order to perform a ritual. Sumo Kuma takes on Usagi, while Jei goes after the Turtles. It doesn’t take long for Usagi to overcome the heavy brute, but when he turns to the Turtles, he can only watch as Jei takes the Turtles back under his control.
What follows is a quick beatdown of Usagi by the four Turtles. Just as it seems as the mind controlled Leo will deal the final blow, Kintaro comes out of hiding to save Usagi, his powers finally awakened. He blocks Leo’s sword and it shatters. He then easily dispatches each turtle and even Sumo Kuma! But this is what Jei was waiting for all along. He brought the Turtles to this dimension. He put them on the path with Usagi and Kintaro. He knew that together Usagi and the Turtles would teach Kintaro humility, compassion, and courage. All to awaken the boys powers so he could take them for himself. The ritual will be used to transport Jei’s soul into Kintaro’s body, giving Jei ultimate power on his deluded quest for his gods. He easily takes down the already wounded Usagi.
Jei doesn’t know, however, that Kintaro’s attacks on the Turtles cleansed them of his influence. Now free of Jei’s control, the Turtles pretend to still be under his influence in order to get close. Once in place, Leo throws his sword into Jei just as his spirit is flowing into Kintaro, forcing his spirit back to its source! A fight ensues, but Jei uses Kintaro as a weapon to ward off the Turtles. Witnessing his brutality, Usagi goes into a rage rushing the wizard. Despite his skill, Usagi is bested once more by the immortal Jei. Just as Jei is about to claim victory, he is distracted by Kintaro who bites him on the arm. This gives Usagi the opening he needs to use Leo’s still embedded sword to throw Jei off the cliff, separating his soul and his body, and finally killing the sorcerer.
“Kagayake! Kintaro” proved to be an entertaining conclusion to the Yojimbo tale. The growth of Kintaro was pretty much confined to this episode and it would have been more fulfilling if it started early in the arc. That being said, the rest of the episode more than made up for this shortfall. The setting allowed the animators to come up with interesting and visually striking action set pieces, and it was fun to learn about the new world. Rabbit warriors, Wolf sorcerers, Bear priests, Cat ninjas, and Divine Dogs all came together for a great adventure anchored by our Turtles. With the Turtles now returned home, it will be interesting to see where the next Tale takes us.