Enter Bankotsu, The Leader of the Band of Seven is the one hundred tenth episode of the InuYasha anime.
- Bankotsu is introduced and reunites with the Shichinintai.
- Details surrounding the Shichinintai's arrests and executions are revealed.
- The Shichinintai take revenge on their executioners.
- Bankotsu recovers his "companion", the halberd Banryū.
On a grass-covered cliff overlooking a castle, a young man finds himself suffering from illiteracy and throws away several attempts at whatever he is writing. Behind him, Kohaku appears and heralds the arrival of his comrades, the Shichinintai, who greet him as Bankotsu, their leader.
Renkotsu, Jakotsu, Suikotsu and Ginkotsu greet their leader. Renkotsu begins to break the news that Mukotsu and Kyōkotsu have been killed, but Bankotsu is already aware of this and dismisses it as unfortunate and nothing else. He then puts Renkotsu to work writing a clever, threatening letter to the Shōgun responsible for their deaths, declaring it's payback time...
The scene changes to a flashback wherein all seven members of the Shichinintai mercenary group make their way toward a castle in search of new work. When they arrive, Bankotsu bargains with the Samurai General, accepting work as an advance guard at a very high price.
The scene returns to the present and Jakotsu remarks he is glad that the other Daimyō Lords have not defeated the leader of the castle in the past few years. Bankotsu agrees and mentions his companion is inside. Renkotsu presents Bankotsu with a completed letter, which he finds acceptable. He then asks Kohaku to deliver the letter to the clan lord directly since he's a shinobi and such. Kohaku tells him he isn't shinobi, but agrees to deliver the letter. As he departs, Jakotsu fares him well and tells him to be careful.
Behind them, Ginkotsu watches a butterfly as it dances on the wind. Displaying his impressive speed, Bankotsu jumps through the air, snatching the butterfly and presenting it to Ginkotsu, thinking the latter wanted to eat it for some reason. Ginkotsu (somewhat offended) indicates he doesn't want to eat it, so Bankotsu releases it and it flies away as they all watch on. Renkotsu then asks Bankotsu what the plan of attack is. Bankotsu tells him there is no plan of attack yet, and that he sent that letter to the castle so he could "watch them squirm" for a bit before they move in, saying they can hold onto his "companion" a little while longer.
The scene changes to Inuyasha's group as they gaze up at Mt. Hakurei, having come closer to its base. Miroku and Kagome comment on how pure the environment is. Kirara, affected by the ki of the mountain, reverts to her kitty form with a growl and Shippō more or less passes out on Miroku's shoulder. Miroku explains that as full demons, they are more affected by the barrier than a half demon like Inuyasha, who is in no way unaffected by it, either. Miroku tells them that even he, a human, feels uncomfortable in the mountain's shadow. Kagome and Sango remark that they feel just fine, and lead Miroku deeper into the mountain barrier. He struggles against them and breaks free, practically fleeing from the mountain's barrier, leading the group to the conclusion that he isn't a very pure monk.
Miroku comes to the conclusion that Naraku could not possibly be on Mt. Hakurei because a mass of evil like Naraku would be purified instantly. He asks Inuyasha what their next move should be. Inuyasha suggests they track down the Shichinintai, since they are their only lead to Naraku. Miroku then proposes that they make their way away from the mountain as quickly as possible—for Shippō and Kirara's sake, of course.
Later, as they reach a village, an elderly gentleman flags them down and tells them to leave the area immediately. He explains the local Daimyō has been forcibly recruiting men to defend his castle, and that if the group is seen, they might be taken away to serve him. When the group asks if a battle is coming up, the man tells them the reason the Daimyō is recruiting is because they received a warning that someone is coming to take the castle treasure.
Just as the old man recommends they lay low until things calm down, the same Samurai General who bargained with Bankotsu years before charges in on his horse. He demands Inuyasha's group identify themselves and chastises "the demons wandering in their borders in broad daylight." Naturally, Inuyasha gets confrontational—and narrowly dodges the Samurai General's attempt to stab him in the throat with his spear. He tells Inuyasha to be grateful he survived the jab and warns the group to leave their territory immediately before storming off again.
Inuyasha gets grumbly about the how the Samurai General is "nothing much", but the old man tells Inuyasha that the General is the Devil, and that he was the one who successfully captured the Shichinintai and executed them years ago. Although he also warns them to go nowhere near the Daimyō's castle, the group is conflicted now that they know the Shichinintai are involved somehow.
The scene changes to the remaining members of the Shichinintai as they ride Ginkotsu up the mountain path to the Daimyō's castle. They all discuss their anticipation and Bankotsu ruminates on events that happened years ago.
The scene fades into a flashback of a burning castle. At the base of it are all seven members of the Shichinintai, appreciating their own handiwork. They are each shown using their particular weapons and skills to lay the castle's warriors low with relative ease. After this, they take some time to rest and laugh about all the fun they had killing everyone and how easy it was. When Renkotsu asks Bankotsu if he's interested in becoming a Daimyō himself, he dismisses it, saying he likes fighting better than leading. But he does offer his services to Renkotsu if he wants to become a Daimyō. The group talks about how much fun that would be: they would have countless enemies to wipe out, and even when they'd had their fill, there'd still be more left.
Suddenly the Samurai General appears with a legion of his soldiers and Bankostsu gets grumbly because they arrived ahead of schedule. When three other unrelated legions flank them, they realize it's a double-cross. The Samurai General tells them they have nowhere to run and that all the Daimyō Lords in the area agree that the Shichinintai are too dangerous to be allowed to live. Bankotsu orders his "brothers" to flee, but they are eventually captured...
Back in the present, Bankotsu reminisces on how he managed to kill 999 men before he was killed himself, and that he now has the opportunity to make it 1,000. Telling them not to slack off, he goes on ahead of the group to collect his companion in time to join them in the fun they're going to have.
Inside the castle walls, the men who were forcibly recruited wonder when they'll be allowed to go home. A higher ranking soldier notices them chatting and orders them to get back to work. Inside the castle, a high ranking soldier assures the Daimyō Lord that reinforcements will arrive shortly and that he has nothing to fear. The Daimyō remarks that he feels the reaction to the letter is a bit blown out of proportion.
Outside, an unarmed Bankotsu makes his charge on the castle gates, to the shouts and warnings of the guards. He announces his intentions of taking back his companion, and forces his way inside.
Back inside, the guard tells the Daimyō that there have been reports of the Shichinintai wreaking havoc all about the area and that the response was not unwarranted. He then reminds the Daimyō that the clan's treasure is Banryū, the leader of the Shichinintai's most valued possession and weapon, and that if he is alive, he will surely come for it. The Daimyō says they killed him once, so they'll just do it again if that happens.
Back outside, Bankotsu's reinforcement's arrive and set to work making everyone inside into a mangled corpse. Loudly.
Inside the trembling castle walls, Bankotsu forces his way past a legion of guards (by comically launching each of them up head-first into the ceiling) and enters the room with the Daimyō and his halberd. Bankotsu picks the weapon up with one hand, then thanks the groveling Daimyō for taking such good care of it by cheerfully beheading him with it. ("One thousand!")
Outside, Suikotsu and Jakotsu are a bit unhappy with themselves for killing everyone so fast. When the Samurai General and his legion come up on the castle gates, the two mercenaries are overjoyed to have more work to do. Their joy is crushed when Bankotsu calls dibs on the oncoming soldiers, wanting to greet the Samurai General personally now that he has his Banryū back. Bankotsu re-familiarizes himself with his weapon by swinging it up and shredding the butterfly he tried to feed to Ginkotsu earlier. He remarks he's never felt more alive now that he's dead, and sets to work paying the Samurai General back in kind for what was done to him and his comrades.
From some distance away, Kagome alerts everyone that she senses Shikon Jewel shards. Not only that, but Inuyasha also detects the smell of gunpowder and lots and lots of blood.
Back in the body-littered castle grounds, Bankotsu scolds Jakotsu for killing all the bar wenches because now he has to pour his own sake. Jakotsu wonders if they should be drinking at a time like this, when they're supposed to be hunting down Inuyasha. Renkotsu assures him that Inuyasha has a keen sense of smell and that the blood from all the people they killed will lead him right to them. He then takes the opportunity to share his concerns about Naraku. When he asks Bankotsu why Naraku brought them back, Bankotsu explains it was to get rid of all the pests that keep getting in his way. He then asks Bankotsu what Naraku is like, but the latter tells him to stop worrying and enjoy the fact that they get to wreak havoc like in the old days. This clearly does not satisfy Renkotsu's curiosity or quell his concerns about their client, but he drops the subject.
Suddenly a whirlwind approaches the castle, and when it disperses, Kōga greets the Shichinintai. Jakotsu greets him back affectionately, and Bankotsu notes the wolf came before the dog. Kōga demands to know where Naraku is so that he can kill him good and dead. Bankotsu then wonders aloud if maybe Renkotsu isn't right about Naraku, seeing as how so many people want to kill him. Impatient with the way they're pretending he's not even there, Kōga attacks, being met with a parry with the Jakotsutō. Jakotsu remembers he has a match to finish with Kōga and sets to work killing him while Bankotsu continues to casually sip his sake. Kōga laughs Jakotsu off, saying he's already learned how to deal with his sword tricks, and Ginkotsu wittily replies by opening fire on him with explosive rounds, sending him jumping into the air to dodge them.
When he lands, Bankotsu compliments his speed and agility, but then remarks it's only because he has Shikon Shards in his legs. Kōga gets angry, but when Bankotsu prepares to attack, he pauses when realizes that there is something different about him. Bankotsu takes a mighty swing with Banryū, but Kōga jumps onto the nearby gate wall. Bankotsu tells everyone to take Kōga down. As Ginkotsu, Suikotsu and Jakotsu attack in turns and sometimes simultaneously, Kōga can do nothing but focus on dodging their collective attacks. When Kōga leaps into the air to dodge, Bankotsu takes advantage of his vulnerability and moves in for the kill—
—only to be thwarted by Inuyasha and Tessaiga!
Characters in Order of Appearance
- It's strange that the animators went through the trouble of hiding Bankotsu's face at the beginning of the episode when he's appeared in the previous episode's closing sequence and this episode's opening preview, as well as every opening theme since episode 96.