After finding Ki at the scene of his accident, he’s taken home for a healing ceremony rather than the hospital. Jiun takes responsibility for the Tanmoku household in the meantime and orders Keika be restrained. Ki’s fiancee releases him from his prison, but Keika’s ordeal is far from over as Sennen Yoko reappears.
In a departure from the direction the series has taken thus far, things get very serious at the end of the last episode. Ki’s accident sees his attendants and Shiyou arrive quickly to help him as they take him back to the Mount Ura estate in order to perform a healing ceremony. The Nenyou ceremony, as they refer to it, has Shiyou transferring some of her life force to Ki in order to heal him, as his body can’t tolerate any foreign substance or medicine (which explains why he only ever eats food from home).
Keika seems to finally understand the position Ki is in when Shiyou explains it to him. The conversation reveals a number of things that were only suspected until now, like just how much pressure was placed on Ki by the Tanmoku family and the reason that youmeishi never have the opportunity to grow old. The result is Keika at his most passionate, willing to be tested by the Rakugetsu blade himself just to prove that his desire to save Ki is sincere. Where the last episode did nothing to sell me on the idea of Ki and Keika as a couple, this scene illustrates their bond in a much stronger way.
Sennen Yoko’s revelation as Ki’s father’s spirit shadow (named In Tetsu) adds a whole new layer of parallelism to the story. His rivalry with Ki and his fascination with Keika are also much more understandable thanks to this explanation. Sennen Yoko seems to want to break Keika’s spirit as much as he does his body, as he refrains even from striking at Ki while he’s weak to go after Keika instead. It may be that he can’t attack Ki so long as Keika is bound to him, but the show hasn’t made that clear yet.
The one thing that’s certain is that Keika has no intentions of giving up. He’s a much different character than the cowardly, self serving one we saw before, spurred on by his understanding the courage that Ki showed in choosing him a spirit shadow in the first place. The appearance of Keika’s ancestor, You Nei, at the end is a sybolic but clear indication that he will need to go to some drastic lengths in order to protect Ki.
– The tonal change is appropriate to move the narrative along
– Keika shows some real growth, and seems to have found his passion
– The usual problem with this show: A lot of new concepts thrown at you in a rushed way.
All the foreshadowing that has occurred in the previous episodes have seemingly led up to this week. For example, in episode 2 it is revealed that Shin is only chosen to become the fiancée of Ki because “she has a special body type that prolongs the life of youmeishi.” In this episode, viewers learn just how significant Shin is. If Ki becomes seriously injured, his fiancée, Shin, has to perform something known as the Nenyo ceremony. This ceremony involves giving her life force to Ki.
Also in episode 2, Ki explains that Youmeishi cannot use their powers on living humans. At the end of last week’s episode, Rakugetsu is clearly destroying humans with his powers. How is this possible? Well, perhaps there is an explanation. Ki further explained in episode 2 that evil spirits cannot touch a spirit shadow because of the binding rings they wear. Instead, they are forced to take over a human body to inflict any damage on a spirit. With this in mind, it seems likely that demon took over Rakugetu’s body to destroy humanity. To reiterate this point, Shin reminds Keika (and viewers) this week that Youmeishi are still mortal, not superhuman.
In this episode, Tetsu returns with the aid of a personification of a demon sword bearing the name Ryougyoku. This means that weapons can be manipulated to resemble a human form. Reflecting on last week’s episode, You Nei (the one-armed spiritualist) was shown to have two arms, but during his confrontation with Rakugetsu, his hand is missing. I surmise that You Nei cut off his hand to break the contract that spiritually bound him to Rakugetsu. Upon killing Rakugetsu, it is likely their spirits became personified in the sword that bears Rakugetsu’s name. This is why the weapon can kill both gods and demons alike.
This is quite a bit to process and, honestly, only time will tell if my theories hold any weight. There are still plenty of questions that have yet to be answered and I am highly anticipating the coming episodes in hopes they will do just that.
Some lingering questions:
- Why is Ritsu seeking revenge on Ki and where has he been the last few episodes?!?
- Ki had a garment imbued with spiritual energy. This will help protect him from some attacks and avoid situations, like the one with Ritsu; according to Shin.
- Does this mean Ki knew that Keika would attack him and wanted to see that Keika would still be protected against the rest of the Tanmoku family?
- Ki’s father was the first person to make a youma (demon) his spirit shadow, Tetsu no less. What was his purpose for doing this?
- Spirit shadows normally share the same destiny. If one perishes, so does the other. It is explained that Ki created a one sided contract — allowing himself to live even if Keika dies but if Ki dies, Keika also perish.
- In Tetsu’s case, his Youmeishi died but he survived. What was the reason behind this?
- It seems obvious Jiun is not on Ki’s side, but Jimei seems more sympathetic towards Ki. Who is on Ki’s side?
– So much of this series is starting to make sense, however…
– …there is plenty of gray area still needing to be explained.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party