Jerome has survived, unsurprisingly; he is confronted by grey dogs.
Jerome: Are you friends, or enemies? More importantly, is there supposed to be any suspense for those who’ve seen the preview and already know that you’re Ninja Dogs?
Some time later, Weed and the others find the bloodied stone where Jerome climbed out of the river (GB is useless in battle, but he can track). Before they can do much about it, they too are confronted by grey dogs and taken to a hot spring.
Weed: Who are you? What’s going on?
The mist clears, and Tesshin is revealed!
Weed: Tesshin, we didn’t recognise you with that slightly obscuring mist.
Tesshin: Weed, I tried to rescue your father, but instead of the real thing, all I have is this message. Enter Oratory Mode!
An image of Gin appears.
Gin: Son, I may not be long for this world, but that no longer matters, because you are now the main character. Do well, defeat Hougen, make me proud and all that; your mother and the numerous dogs who have died (except the EVILZ ones) are looking down on you from heaven and rooting for you.
Kyoushiro: It’s not too late; we can still go and rescue the leader from Hougen’s evilz clutches.
Everyone except Weed gets out of the hot spring.
GB: Come on, Weed, just give the word and we’ll get going.
Weed: I’m sorry, everyone, but the time has come for me, as the leader, to enforce an order that you don’t agree with but will obey because of your respect for me. Much as I love my father, I’ve got to think of the good of the many, and also that of the plot. That’s why we’ll rest in these hot springs for now.
Tesshin: These hot springs will heal any wound in three days- it’s the old shounen action ‘heal quickly’ plot device.
Everyone’s mood immediately changes to ‘relax in the hot springs mode’.
Later that evening, Weed angsts by himself; Tesshin approaches.
Tesshin: Weed, there’s one more thing I need to teach you. It’s your final Limit Break, the technique your father mastered and passed on to me- Zetsu Tenrou Battouga.
Tesshin demonstrates the move- it is the spinning attack from episode one. Weed starts practising, initially with little success.
Weed: This cutting attack seems a little impractical, but it’s bound to be important later on.
Tesshin: It took me five years to learn this, and even then I couldn’t fully master it, but Weed has something I don’t- he has DESTINY. He’ll surely pick up the technique in about five minutes.
The other dogs arrive on the scene.
Kyoushiro: Tesshin, the time has come for a brief training arc- could you help us all level up?
Tesshin: Of course.
Over the next few days, everyone levels up via a series of stills, and Weed even manages a Battouga.
Weed: I’ve finally reached Level 42, but it just isn’t enough. Attacking a branch is one thing, but I need to test myself against a real opponent.
You know that saying about being careful what you wish for? Well, when you’re a main character it’s called ‘plot foreshadowing’.
Later that time-period, a trio of wild boars hastily dubbed the ‘dog-eating three’ arrives at the hot springs.
Boar 1: These are our hot springs; get out!
A random dog named Jiro is killed.
Rocket: Jiro, your name was never mentioned before this episode, but now your death shall fill all of our Fury gauges!
Everyone except Jerome backs away- Weed, Tesshin and Kyoushiro arrive on the scene before the viewer can get bored (relative to their usual ‘enjoyment’ of the show). Kyoushiro is first to launch an attack, but Jerome stops him.
Jerome: Kyoushiro, you aren’t in the active party for this battle. We must leave it to Weed so that he can use his new technique in battle.
Weed stands and deliberates for a moment.
Weed: I’ll do it! Battouga!
Weed attacks, and seems to do only a small amount of damage.
Boar 1: You call that an attack? I barely felt anything- aagh!!
Wounds suddenly appear on Boar 1’s face.
Weed: Sorry, I forgot to mention I equipped the “delayed reaction” materia.
The boars run off; skip to the end of the three day stay.
Weed: All right, we’re all healed up and ready to go.
GB: By the way, Jerome, did you ever get that bullet out of your leg?
Jerome: Oh yes, Tesshin did it offscreen. Private Flashback mode!
Dissolve to flashback.
Jerome: Tesshin, foolish and inconvenient though it will be, I’m going to keep this bullet in my leg as penance for all the dogs I’ve sent to their deaths.
Tesshin: You are truly a REAL MAN.
Cut to Hougen HQ. Kamakiri goes in to see Hougen.
Hougen: To show the audience how much Weed still has to level up, I shall briefly own you, Kamakiri. Yet even though I am Level 90, you are a respectable Level 70, and shall become my new subordinate. Now, let’s go to Ohu to set up the final stronghold of evil at Gajou.
I know you just can’t wait for the next episode…