WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 2 of Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood, "Confidential File 033, The Treasurer," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
We're only two episodes in and Joran is already taking a slow and methodical approach to its world-building. Though audiences might not yet have the full picture, things are gradually coming into focus, though. For instance, the true nature of the alternate Tokugawa Shogunate becomes clearer in Episode 2, as does the tragedy that thrust Sawa into her role as a Nue executioner.
In "Confidential File 033," a string of seemingly random murders spells trouble for Nue, as all the victims have secret ties to the government. Suspecting that Janome is behind the killings, Jin sends for Sawa who is still recovering from her wounds sustained in the assassination attempt in Episode 1. Sawa reminisces on her past, remembering the last day her family was alive.
Following the attack on her village, Sawa is left as its sole survivor. Jin seeks her out and offers to train the young girl, promising her revenge. The deaths of her friends and family deeply scar her, leaving Sawa cold and distant, but in the years between her family’s death and the series’ first episode, Sawa devotes her time to hunting down Janome, obediently following Jin’s orders and fulfilling her role as a Nue executioner in the process.
On one occasion, Sawa tracks down a married couple with connections to the terrorist. The two provide her with little information and are quickly disposed of, but Sawa notices a young Asahi in the house and recoils in horror at having orphaned a child. Sawa takes the girl in though this only serves to continue the cycle and fuel Asahi’s own desire for revenge.
After Sawa finishes musing over her past, she and Elena are tasked with protecting a VIP target known only as “The Treasurer.” The two discover the Treasurer works as a waitress and note her impressive skill in memorizing all her orders without writing anything down. After pulling her aside and explaining the situation, they escort her out to a rendezvous point but are ambushed by assailants.
While accompanying her through a series of underground tunnels, Sawa learns of the Treasurer's immense knowledge of the Tokugawa Shogunate’s dealings. Thinking that she can be useful in tracking down Janome, Sawa asks for her assistance but the woman declines, stating that the government is holding her son as collateral should she defect. Elena meets up with them at the drop-off point and abruptly murders the Treasurer, telling her that her son has long since been killed as well. A shocked Sawa strikes at Elena and the two prepare to face off.
“Confidential File 033, The Treasurer” shows the audience more about what makes Sawa tick, as well as the nature of her relationship to Asahi, while also providing a fair amount of information on the world around them. With the murder of the Treasurer and her son alongside the various riots and civilian murders, the authoritarian Tokugawa Shogunate seems primed to take the villain role as the series progresses. Sawa’s possibly amoral attitude allows her to continue along with Nue’s atrocities in her quest for revenge, but she may soon take a stand.