Mayura tests Miyuki by sending ninja after him who are controlled by Masumi, and he must either find the true Masumi or break his barrier. He can do neither and is saved when Suzuhara tells him where Masumi is, and the test proves he’s a newbie just as he claimed. Manatsu gets a message that Tabi has fallen ill and heads to the stables to tend to him. Masumi fills in for him on the trip, but Mayura isnt happy Manatsu has gone alone. After Kisaragi performs a purifying dance, but Masumi is strong enough to resist it. The next morning Izumiko and Miyuki visit Manatsu, and learned he’s euthanized Tabi. Mayura confronts him, not wanting them to be apart, but Manatsu didn’t want her to “choose” him. The spectre of Tabi coalesces, and Manatsu mounts him and rides off.
This week we delve, along with Izumiko and Miyuki, intot the depths of the very unconventional Souda family. Mayura is one of the most powerful people in Houjou Academy, but draws much of her strength from the bond with her triplet brothers, one of whom has already passed away. She shows no mercy in testing Miyuki, and is only mildly apolgetic after she’s proven wrong. In her mind, she had to know one way or another, and it wasn’t something she was going to trust his word about until he knew he was who he said he was: a novice mountain monk. If she were serious and counted Miyuki as an enemy, it’s made pretty clear he wouldn’t stand a chance. This goes against expectations, in that we thought we’d see some new power of his awaken.
Still, we don’t mind that that didn’t happen, either; it means he’s been honest in his doubt these last few episodes. Instead of Miyuki, it’s Manatsu who undergoes a transition this week, after Tabi dies. He actively decides to put Tabi down, to let him rest and spare him further suffering. He does it because he’s exercising his powers as a human to bypass fate and end things on his own terms. He’s mindful he and Mayura and Masumi can’t always be together (even thought Mayura doesn’t want to think like that), so in the final twist of the episode he contemplates joining Masumi in the “in-between”, so that they can stay together. Which sounds an awful lot like suicide, something Mayura won’t abide.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Izumiko and Miyuki accompany Mayura and Manatsu to their home in Nagano. Their family throws a big barbecue party where Izumiko gets drunk and passes out on fruit punch. She wakes up and meets a ghostly Masumi again. The next day the group heads to a shrine at Togakushi for a meeting of the student council’s executive committee. Mayura’s fanclub, the “Japanese History Club” in tow, but President Katsuragi and VP Akinokawa warn her the council will remain neutral in the fight between Mayura and Takayanagi, a fight which will decide who becomes a canidate for the World Heritage Collection. Mayura confronts Miyuki, insisting he choose a side, and then she decides to test the extent of his powers.
The more we learn about Souda Mayura, the more relieved we are that Izumiko is on her good side. As for Miyuki, well, Mayura thinks he’s hiding something, and isn’t as weak and useless as he says he is, and is determined to find that out, even if she has to use force. Meanwhile, Izumiko finds that school is not just a figurative battlefield, but a real one in which hearts and minds are won and lost and political maneuvering comes as naturally to her classmates as clapping erasers. It’s also great to see someone first established as a kind friend in Mayura suddenly put Miyuki’s back to the wall and even challenge him to a fight. It shakes up the status quo nicely.
Like Izumiko, we found ourselves a little overwhelmed by all these new concepts cropping up, but at least she and we know a bit more about what this series is going to be about: Houjou academy is little more than a crucible in which gifted students fight other gifted students for precedence It’s apparent the neutral student council is composed of those who’ll judge the eventual victor, who will receive candidacy in the World Heritage Collection, the full benefits of which remain nebulous but are obviously very important. So we’ll see what roles Izumiko and Miyuki play in Houjou’s little war.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
- Izumiko’s blissful, carefree drunken scenes are lovely. Miyuki should have caught her, the ass!
- Does Mayura truly consider Izumiko a friend…or just another high-level strategic asset?
- The council’s leaders jealously protect both their positions and their neutral status, and even the mere hint of maneuvering on Mayura’s part compels them to air out all the laundry.
- Welcome to the New-Look RABUJOI! We’re still tweaking things, and it will be a while before new Org Charts are set up, but a start’s a start.
Izumiko gets a new cell phone from her mother Yukariko in the mail and with it, an invitation to meet up in Tokyo. Izumiko and Miyuki use their school’s class trip to Tokyo to do so, but everywhere Izumiko looks, she sees dark, shadowy, threatening figures. Sagara surprises them by appearing, and telling them they won’t be meeting Yukariko after all. Crashing in an apartment for the night, Izumiko is possessed by some kind of divine being, and tells Sagara that Izumiko will probably be her last vessel.
As the OP helpfully points out, “Red Data” is a reference to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, or Red Data Books. Obviously, this suggests that Suzuhara Izumiko is a rare girl whose preservation is Sagara’s priority. Last week we saw a lot of what makes her different from ordinary humans, but that was just scratching the surface. As it turns out, she’s never been able to use cell phones or computers. This essentially makes her a culture of one: stuck several decades in the past and unable to avail herself of the technology that the rest of modern society takes for granted. A girl like this needs to be protected, and while Miyuki will follow Dad’s orders and stay by her side, it doesn’t mean he isn’t going to complain or question the efficacy of the task.
This week we fly to Tokyo (a very accurate Shinjuku, to be exact) with them, in hopes of meeting with her very busy mother (who works at the “public safety something”). But this meetup never happens. It’s almost as if Izumiko’s trip was a test to see what threats show themselves. In the end, Miyuki finds out what makes her so special, besides the technophobia and ability to sense creepy figures mixed in among the masses: this girl is a vessel; for whom exactly we don’t know. Moreover, the entity who inhabits Izumiko (imbuing her with an ethereal aura and gorgeous yukata) states Izumiko may be her last such vessel…endangered species indeed. While the nature and mission of this entity and her specific powers remain a mystery, there are parties out there who want that power, and Sagara fears his son alone is not sufficient protection against what’s coming.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)