Image Source: テレビアニメ「十二大戦」公式 on Twitter

Nothing is more painful than being forgotten. In female warrior Tiger’s case, she has to deal with being forgotten by the person who means the most to her in the entire world.

Image Source: テレビアニメ「十二大戦」公式 on Twitter

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for episode ten of Juni Taisen: Zodiac War.]

Tiger, civilian name Kanae Aira, was born into a large and famous dojo, where she trained to become a martial arts master since childhood. Against her fellow dojo mates, Kanae was unstoppable. She had a very positive philosophy toward effort to improve oneself and the way of the warrior. In order to be chosen as a candidate to become the next head of the Aira clan, Kanae is ordered by the current clan head to go out to the battlefields of war, and she keeps her pure ideals of strength and honor in her heart.

Everything changes, however, when she sees the real carnage. She is utterly heartbroken when she sees humans killing each other without a second thought, giving little to no value to the lives they take. Having everything she believed with all her soul broken in front of her eyes, she gives up on being able to uphold true justice. Hurt and distraught, she finds herself relying on alcohol to stop herself from having to think at all. She becomes a successful soldier, but forgets her way of the warrior and is thrown away by her clan. The anime takes almost two entire episodes to depict the rise and fall of this sympathetic girl who lost everything she has believed in.

Image Source: テレビアニメ「十二大戦」公式 on Twitter

It’s only when she encounters Bull on the battlefield—mistaken for a child taken advantage of by soldiers—that her entire life changes for the better. Bull has been out in war-torn lands for just as long as she has, possibly even longer. However, he retains his honorable stance, and believes in doing what he believes is right.

This flashback shows us a side of Bull we never see in the present day of Zodiac War, who kills everyone systematically. As Kanae, Tiger sees Bull as a figure of hope. Someone she can respect more than anyone. He represents something that she was unable to become: a warrior holding his honor and beliefs firm in the face of chaos and hypocrisy.

Image Source: テレビアニメ「十二大戦」公式 on Twitter

After parting from him, she desired to be reunited with her savior once again. She aimed to live up to his ideals, turning her life around. When she meets Bull once again at the beginning of the Juni Taisen, however, he doesn’t remember her. Filled with rage and alcohol, she demands revenge.

But what makes these two so interesting is that Tiger doesn’t really want revenge. She’s just hurt that the person she respects so much has forgotten her. He was everything to her—her entire reason for changing around her life, for living at all when everyone else had abandoned her. Despite this, she was forgotten by the person who meant the most to her. And even though he might have treated her as insignificant, Tiger makes a noble sacrifice and saves his life. This makes even the seemingly emotionless Bull feel something toward his fellow warrior, going so far as to attempt to save the life of someone he was meant to kill in the first place.

Image Source: テレビアニメ「十二大戦」公式 on Twitter

Weakened by her wounds, Tiger starts to think thoughts that almost resemble a girl in love. Instead of a final kiss, however, she begs her beloved warrior to kill her with honor. What makes these two so heartbreaking is that it took them so long to reunite, only to have one side forget the other—or, as we find out, not recognize her despite seeing a resemblance. But, even so, they hold so much respect for each other. Heck, they might even have some affection for each other. The only reason Bull didn’t recognize her as the girl from years ago is because he once saw her as a victim of war. Now, he sees Kanae as Tiger as a strong, formidable warrior worthy of not pity, but his respect instead.

And, the sad truth is, that with her death, Kanae will never know that Bull really did remember her existence. Seeing these two noble warriors having to part with one another after finally meeting again after so long is a heartbreaking ending that kept me somber long after the episode’s end.

Love Is the Perfect Weapon Against Juni Taisen’s Most Sympathetic Warrior

JUNI TAISEN: ZODIAC WAR began airing on October 3. It is viewable with English subtitles on Crunchyroll, and with a dub on FUNimation.

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