“A Kind Sigh”
Seven days after Keika’s death, the people who were closest to him in life offer prayers for his spirit to find peace. Ki takes him to witness this, but Keika is dismayed when he learns that his friends are being targeted by thugs. On top of lamenting the fact that his time among the living is over, Keika disturbing visions of the Rakugetsu Youmeishi may spell great danger for Ki.
It may have taken a little while for this series to get going, but by the mid-cour point Spiritpact seems to have found its legs. This episode progresses on a few of the open story threads and builds compelling drama around them to carry the story forward into its second half.
Highlighting a bit of Chinese funeral tradition, the seven day mark after Keika’s passing sees his neighbors and friends mourning him. It was nice to see some of the impact Keika had while alive, at least retroactively, on the people around him. The husband and wife that were burning the money they owed him, for example, seem very broken up over his passing. We also see the uglier side of their lives though, when a group of thugs come demanding protection money from them. Keika’s frustration in not being able to physically restrain them adds to his lament that he’s not among the living anymore.
Ki’s totally-not-romantic gift to Keika that allowed him to actually chase off the thugs likely appealed to those who bought into their relationship, but the series seems to keep playing it down. From Keika’s stunned incredulity to Ki coldly explaining how the “breath of life” works, there is barely any romance in the moment and it feels like more pandering rather than trying to build something genuine between the two.
That misstep aside, finally seeing some context behind Keika’s visions really picks up the intrigue. We finally understand who the dark haired man from the visions was and his relationship to Rakugetsu. The parallels between them and the current protagonists lends weight to bond they’re forming but also set the stage for more sinister things to come. I didn’t expect that aspect of it to come to fruition so quickly, but Keika poses more danger than most of the cast know. This, along with Jiun’s scheming, may be trouble for Ki. The more we see of this story, however, the more it seems like this is all part of some destiny.
– The story is moving in an interesting direction with Ki and Keika’s tragic destiny.
– Ki comes off really cool in this episode for trying to help Keika’s friends.
– The series flip flops too much between BL subtext and downplaying the relationship.
– A lot of the animation looked pretty lazy this time.
In this week’s episode, much of the mystery surrounding Ki’s and Keika’s past is clarified. To begin with, Ki’s father passed away right before he was born and, according to Grandma Tanmoku, he was a cruel man. Following his father’s death, Ki resided with his mother outside the Tanmoku family until her death when he was nine. At that time, he was summoned to live at the main family estate.
Somewhat mirroring Ki’s life, Keika lost his parents in an unexpected accident when he was fourteen. What is most telling about this revelation is that Ki’s mother and Keika’s parents perished around the same time. It is disclosed in this episode that Keika died a week prior, at the age of 23; nine years after his parents. An earlier episode noted that Ki is 18 and has been residing on the Tanmoku estate since he was nine; a gap of nine years.
Towards the end of the episode, Jiun learns that Keika is a descendant of You Nei, a one armed spiritualist who was responsible for killing the first generation Youmeishi, Rakugetsu. Given that Raktugetsu bears a striking resemblance to Ki and his spirit shadow (Shisei) looks suspiciously like Keika, this really isn’t at all surprising.
Although this episode managed to shed light on the vague back stories of our main characters, it left even more questions to ponder in its wake. For example, Ki retrieves a tablet from Keika’s old apartment that was passed down by his ancestors for generations. Bearing the words “Best Exorcists in the World,” the tablet was initially disregarded as ‘trash’ by Keika but Ki thought it worthwhile to be saved. Why?
My theory is this: Keika explained that he has begun seeing strange visions of Rakugetsu and Shisei (Ki and Keika’s ancestors) since the binding ceremony. Since the ceremony is meant to tie the Youmeishei and Spirit Shadow’s souls together, it is likely that Keika is now seeing visions that Ki has already seen. If Ki has witnessed these visions, then he recognizes that Keika is meant to be his spirit shadow; as their ancestors shared these roles. Given that Shisei ends up killing Rakugetsu, after the Youmeishei becomes possessed by a demon, it is likely Ki understands that this is to be his fate too. Ki is going to become possessed by a demon. Keika is meant to exorcise that demon by killing Ki. In doing so, the balance between light and darkness will remain in harmony and all will be right with the world. Boom!
Also, this happened under the guise that Ki is able to “breathe the breath of life” into Keika. This enables him to touch physical objects in the real world for a brief amount of time. If only for the sake of this boy love moment, I will completely buy into this notion. Oh and Ki gets stabbed by Keika but since he appears in next week’s promo, I am certain Ki is fine and so this whole kissing scene is far more worth mentioning.
– Back stories on Ki and Keika have been detailed; making the second half of the season all the more anticipated.
– The “flip flop” WeekendOtaku mentioned in BL and avoiding romanticizing these characters isn’t terrible. I absolutely support more “breath of life” supplemented with Ki’s reserved nature and Keika’s innocent naivety.
– Agreeing with WeekendOtaku (don’t let him know I said this), some of the animation is questionable.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party
If questionable animation was a breaking point with this series, none of us would have made it past episode 1 (that was really hard to watch and normally I’m not taht critical of animation). I’m kind of ignoring the breath of life moment, it all just seemed like pandering rather than any kind of genuine moment. While it might become important later, I feel these two had more connection during other scenes than that particular one.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.
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You’re right about the animation. The series has many flaws but amazingly hasn’t yet done anything that reaches a breaking point. On the other hand, it’s starting to do some pretty interesting stuff story wise. I think that keeps it just around the halfway decent mark.
There might be something to the breath of life, actually, as this show has done reasonably well in eventually addressing things it’s touched on before. I’ll wait and see, but it didn’t make me feel like they were close any more than a number of other moments they had together, like you said.
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The story definitely has its interesting moments and I really want it to do something with all of those ideas. I’ve definitely been enjoying the last couple of episodes as we’ve had some good reveals.
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