“Forever Together with You”
The purification ceremony proceeds as planned, but is interrupted when the head of the Shito family demands justice for her dismissed cousin. Ki silences all doubts when he chooses to spiritually bind Keika to himself, thereby giving him the protection of the Tanmoku name. Keika comes to understand Ki’s daily life afterward as he follows him to meetings and school.
This week’s episode of Spiritpact chooses to forgo most of the mystery and drama around the nature spirit shadows as the events instead seems to focus on the bond between Ki and Keika. With blatant symbolism like the string containing Ki’s hair being used to tie Keika’s, and the tender way in which Ki drapes the cloth around him, the whole thing feels more like a wedding ceremony than anything else. Even Shiyou, Ki’s fiancee, seems to pass out from the sheer passion of the moment as the series, at only 5 episodes in, delivers a musical montage of Ki and Keika’s moments together.
As is becoming normal with this series, the small details about what else is going on, notably the Shito family challenging Ki to answer for what happened between Keika and Ritsu is barely fleshed out before the ceremony and casually brushed away after Ki grants Keika the Rakugetsu sword – formally establishing Keika’s place at his side. Even more brief is the momentary glimpse of Rakugetsu Tanmoku in the sword, demanding that Keika help him, only a second before the scene ends.
The rest of the episode similarly loses whatever message it hoped to convey with extra helpings of absurdity. While Ki isn’t eating or sleeping, he goes to school despite being the world’s foremost exorcist and looking nothing like student age. Here he fells girls by brushing aside his hair, receives prostrate praise for solving simple maths, only eats food from home, and still sleeps a lot. If I was meant to learn something from this sequence the series is going to have to be a lot more blatant. Thus far whatever momentum the series built up in earlier episodes is being squandered in favor of romantic subtext that also goes nowhere because Keika is still as oblivious as a brick about it.
– Now that Keika is officially a spirit shadow the series might go somewhere?
– Any narrative merit in this episode is lost in nonsensical comedy or musical montage.
– It seems like translation issues are abound. Eg: Jiun introduces Jimei as her son in ep 3, but is clearly his sister in this one.
In this week’s episode, the
marriage ritual took place. As explained by Ki, the ritual is a ceremony to purify the aura of heaven and earth. This ritual an extremely dangerous, yet crucial undertaking for a Youmeishi. Because of this, Ki requests that Keika promise him three things:
- Never cut the string, made of Ki’s braided hair, that has been tied around Keika’s own hair. It is meant to bind their souls together.
- Do not take off the spirit binding rings.
- Don’t forget who you are.
In this episode, viewers learn a few more crucial pieces of information to add to the enigma surrounding the Tanmoku and Shito families. The ritual binding ceremony between Ki and Keika is meant to join their spirits, lives, and souls. The purpose of this is to balance light (Ki) with shadow (Keika). By doing so, it will ensure the world remains at peace.
Viewers also uncover a bit more about the Rakugetsu sword. It has been used for centuries to kill both gods and demons, thus subduing evil energy. In a move that leaves family members shocked, Ki bestows ownership of the sword to Keika. Since the Rakugestu sword has remained a part of the Tanmoku family since its creation, Ki’s decision to pass the sword on to his shadow spirit doesn’t sit well with a few relatives.
During the second half of the episode, Ki’s increasing fatigue is continually highlighted. Towards the end of the episode Jimei (Ki’s cousin and Tanmoku family secretary) discloses to Keika that Ki is no ordinary priest. His duties do not include day-to-day activities (such as exorcisms). Instead, his role is to suppress any imbalance that arises between light and shadow; a ritual known as purification. I surmise from this that Ki must rest constantly to reserve energy for undertaking such a considerable endeavor.
What intrigues me most about SpiritPact is the unpredictable plot. The characters and their actions are ambiguous. Those who are seemingly corrupt show hints of compassion and concern. For example, when Keika begins to rant about how Ki is going to end up middle aged, with a slew of health problems, (due to his constant eating and sleeping), Jimei somberly admits that he “…looks forward to when that day comes.” By somberly wishing for this, he reveals, in a roundabout way that Youmeishi may not live long lives. So while Jimei shares in his sister’s, disapproval of Ki, he seems to have a soft side for his cousin too.
In the final few moments of the episode, it is also revealed that Ki was chosen to be head of the family Tanmoku and Youmeishi despite not being a member of the “main” family. Since it is unclear how a Youmeishi is chosen or what Ki’s actual familial connection is to the Tanmoku clan, this revelation is startling… in a most fascinating way. Ki being honored with the most prestigious, important position as head of the family, has led to resentment from the other Tanmoku/Shito family members; who likely view Ki as some interloper.
– Plot is unpredictable, making for an intriguing viewing experience.
– Characters and their actions are ambiguous.
– Humor and serious moments are starting to balance out.
– Inconsistency in wording, may be due to translation issues.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party