Shinozuka accompanies Kana and Mina on a Seven Pillars Tour, using the opportunity to apologize to everyone he fought. Hime asks Akina if anything’s changed now that he knows she’s a youkai, but he doesn’t have a chance to answer. He and Hime are called before the elders; Akina is reluctant to go beause of their disregard for youkai. They warn him that Enjin has taken up with four half-youkai youkai hunters.
Hime’s position as mayor may be stable and the townspeople seem fine with her being a youkai, but she’s still uneasy, particularly where Akina is concerned. Now that he knows her secret—and she knows his, for that matter—she’s worried that something’s “changed” between them. And she doesn’t get any straight answers, so she can only judge for herself by how Akina acts around her. She may well be worried about nothing at all—Akina’s all about harmony with youkai—but even if you tell her that, she’s still likely to be worried. Every scene the two are in is a nice mixture of comfort in each other, tinged with tension from recent events. But all either of them can do for now is carry on and hope for the best.
We really dig the subtle, tender Akina-Hime dynamic, and while not a lot happens in this episode, watching them interact are the highlights. They’re united in the belief that Sakurashin remain a town of humans and youkai. Akina is not willing to sacrifice the youkai to save the humans, but he has yet to find a solution that will stop the pillars blooming without losing anyone. If there even is one, odds are Enjin’s one of the only people who knows about it Of course, Enjin wants them to bloom, so convincing him otherwise won’t be easy, especially now that he now has his own quartet of powerful new friends.
Rating: 6 (Good)
- Nanami is confident her brother’s soul is still intact and fighting Enjin. We wouldn’t be surprised if sometime near the end of all this, Nanami Gin regains his body and reunites with her.
- Hi, Kotoha’s panties!
- Offering Akina a bowl, then asking if she can eat it after all: a classic Hime move.
- The head elder’s quite the dick, isn’t he? Akina is having none of his nonsense.
- We like the many ways Hime’s ridiculously-long scarf is used, including as a way to pull her near you and to hide her tears.
Hime has the bad guy cornered with her Dragon Lance, but he still has Kohime as a hostage. He conjures a super-massive lizard, teleports to the top of a building, and prepares to drop Kohime into its gullet, but Mayor Morino and Shinozuka save her. The bad guy reveals himself as Hiizumi Enjin, a descendant of the branch family member sent to the other dimension, possessing the body of Ao’s brother Gin. He stabs Akina, and Kyousuke, Touka, Kotoha and Hime respond by beating the crap out of him. Shidou stops Hime from killing him, and he vanishes. Yuuhi arrives and judges Kohime too young to be mayor.
The third and final chapter in the “Mayoral Crisis” arc takes a little while to get going and is a bit too stationary, but was ultimately an improvement over last week. For one thing, it finally reveals who the hell the old guy is and what he’s after. Akina learns that the branch family members didn’t go to the other side willingly, but as sacrifices, which could potentially make him question his role as dutybound; that, is, if Enjin wasn’t such a dick about things. First he steals the body of Gin, a good friend of Akina’s and Ao’s beloved brother. Then he attempts to kill Kohime and Akina and threatens to destroy the town. None of these actions are bound to endear anyone to his plight or that of his ancestors. But Enjin isn’t really looking for love or sympathy…just revenge.
He and his family were hurt by the head Hiizumi’s, so he’s going to hurt them back. It makes for a rather simplistic, all-too-easy-to-root-against villain, but he’s also a tough cookie and someone who brings out the best in the good guys. When everyone thinks the utility knife to Akina’s chest was fatal, it’s great to see his friends lose their shit and start whaling on Enjin with unrestrained rage. We also liked how Enjin also ended up being too evil for Morino to have anything more to do with, gaining the esteem of his loyal Shinozuka. We were also mildly amused by Yuuhi showing up and in five seconds making the whole mayoral stuggle moot, as Kohime really is too damn young to be mayor. Obviously the mayor thing was just a means for Enjin to announce his presence to Hime and the others, and letting them know he’s not going away.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Akina and Kyousuke are beaten back by Shinozuka, but Shidou, Touka and Ao rescue them in Shinou’s car. Unable to leave town, Kotoha conjures a railway gun and fires it at the Tokyo Tower, destroying the anti-youkai field. Rested enough to fight, Hime relieves Akina, takes out Shinozuka, and and along with a revived Kyousuke, fights off the numerous lizards their opponent is summoning. When the old storekeeper watches Hime protect her shop, he blows it up, revealing the “Dragon Vein” from which Hime is able to draw the Dargon Lance Sakanade.
We carried lofty expectations into this payoff episode after last week got all the game pieces into place. In the end, this episode didn’t quite meet them. Despite some truly inspired and redonkulous moments of action (Kotoha’s awesome railway gun; Kyousuke hitting a lizard with a telephone pole like a batted ball; Hime’s sundry acrobatics), and some lovely isolated moments (the flashback with Hime andJuri catching the KIshis; Akina grasping Hime’s scarf) the episode suffered from bouts of what we’ll call “Shounen Battle Paradox”, in which a battle actually hinders its own momentum with too many escalations in the combat, thus stretching things out when a shorter battle would’ve had more potency. Take the old bad guy (whose name still escapes us) helping the mayor: He creates giant lizards that Hime and Kyousuke quickly dispatch; then he just makes another batch. Tactical genius, this guy is not.
A smarter villain would’ve retreated as soon as the anti-youkai field dropped, yet he stays put. The battle gets a bit too tag-team happy, with someone showing up just in the nick of time to someone else. And the entire sequence with the old man and the giant crane that pops out of his shop—that just didn’t make a lick of sense to us. Kotoha’s toying around with giant machinery makes sense—she’s a conjurer—we don’t know what this guy’s deal is. He’s just there so he can blow up his shop (inches from where Hime was—a lil’ warning would’ve been nice, geezer!) and show Hime the next escalation in the battle, when she pulls the real Dragon Lance out of the wreckage. The last flaw that keeps this Part II from living up to the potential of Part I? The fact there’s a Part III next week.
Rating: 6 (Good)
While saving Kana and Mina from Mizuki’s runaway car, Touko squeezes them too hard, seemingly killing them, though they’re later revealed as vampires and heal quickly. Kyousuke blames Akina for not beng “dutybound” and they have a row. Mizuki and Kotoha tell Kana and Mina about Akina’s duty as Hiizumi family head to “tune” youkai into their own dimension. But because tuned youkai never return, the act is thought of as murder. In a confrontation by the river, Akina proves he’s inherited the power to tune, but chooses not to use it.
True faith does not require proof (just ask Major Kira!); so throughout the generations the Hiizumi clan has performed their duty with the faith that what they are doing is right, and that they are safely bearing grateful youkai to their proper place, even though no one knows for sure if they’re actually reaching that place, rather than simply being killed. Since becoming the leader of his clan, Akina has not performed that duty, and the youkai have piled up in Sakurashin. But it’s not for lack of faith, or resolve. Akina simply likes having youkai around, so he’s in no hurry to dispatch any of them. Mind you, he’s well aware it’s a selfish decision.
It’s understood that youkai in the human world are “irregular” elements that upset the balance between the dimensions, so things won’t always go smoothly. Take Touka: beneath her cute exterior she’s an immensely powerful ogre, and had the kids she grabbed been human, she’d have popped them like balloons. And shady characters like Lily and Ao’s brother are constantly trying to destroy everything Akina’s built. But regular human society isn’t perfect either. Akina is trying something here, and he has faith it can work.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- The car accident scene, which we watched not knowing exactly what those kids were, was perhaps the most visceral of the season; a true WTF moment, set up perfectly by the extremely mundane events that preceded it.
- Speaking of those mundane events…now Ao is just flashing her panties every chance she gets.
- Touka’s line to Akina about taking responsibility was pretty funny, especially when she praises herself for saying it.