Gosh darn,that was a beautiful, tragic, moving episode. Easily the best of this series so far. All the more astonishing considering it’s all a flashback primarily about Aki, with a cold open and only a brief punctuation mark at the end bringing us back to the present, with Kyohei telling the story to Hibino. By the end, the rain stops, but the tears start for Hibino. I can’t really blame her.
We go back to the time when Kyohei was still a seki, and before Aki lost it. Prior to this week I hadn’t had much reason to root for Aki’s character beyond a general sympathy for his alleged rough life. Well, damn it all if I don’t feel for the guy infinitely more now. A bastard child, he was adopted by the Kuga clan, and chosen to be Kuramitsuha’s seki. However, his penchant for killing animals let the kakashi to pass to the one it was originally promised to, Aki’s stepbrother Asushi.
Asushi is, as Aki succinctly describes him, scum. He’s a shaky seki at best, and his antisocial tendencies probably surpassed Aki’s at the time. When a beautiful young substitute teacher, Senou Chihaya, arrives in the village, Asushi grabs her by the arm and demands she become his girl. She refuses, and he proceeds to ruin her reputation, making her a pariah in the town…like Aki.
Senou falls for Aki, who saves her from being molested by Asushi, and they end up sleeping together. But photos are taken of them, and she’s fired from her job. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Asushi kidnaps her, kill’s Aki’s dog (his best friend), and calls him out. After raping Senou, he then tries to kill Aki with Kuramitsuha, but Senou leaps out to protect him, killing her. And that’s the last straw for our friend Aki. Regaining control of Kuramitsuha, he massacres Asushi and anyone else around.
When Kyohei finds him, the scene makes it look like Aki killed Senou too, although he later learns that wasn’t the case. Aki may have gone too far in his vengeance, but there’s a possibility he couldn’t control his actions. He was ready to die to protect Senou. Losing her crushed him, and perhaps his humanity along with it. But Kyohei was also in love with her, and her death and Aki’s revenge led him to give up being a Seki.