“Never Let Go, Never…”
Keika’s fateful decision allows Rakugetsu to take over his body and threaten to unleash his evil once again. Ki makes a last ditch effort to stop him, leaving Keika to decide between the afterlife and returning to Ki’s side. With Ritsu poised to take his revenge and evil spirits looming, the fate of the world rests on the bond between the Youmeishi and his Spirit Shadow.
If someone were to tell me I would have liked Spiritpact this much after the first few episodes, I wouldn’t have believed them. Well, the manhua author did say that it would get good, as did people who saw the Chinese ONA, but this series did make me wonder at times just what anyone saw in it. From shoddy animation to oddly placed humor and hefty amounts of inelegant info dumping, it never screamed quality to me.
All these things were still true up through the end, but where Spiritpact succeeds is in constructing a very decent story about the bonds between people while holding on to the most crucial plot threads long enough to make a great finale. This episode finally shows us what was so special about Keika for Ki to have chosen him in the first place, and how everything Ki does ties back to his stewardship over humankind. In a nice exclamation point on their relationship, Keika understands how selfless Ki is and reaffirms his vow to protect him.
The fight against Rakugetsu and Ritsu wasn’t entirely predictable, and maintained a fair level of excitement throughout. It was also nice to see that even when Keika was able to fully take on You Nei’s power, he was still very much himself. His awkward bumbling was as defining a part of his character as his dedication to the people closest to him. As strange as he was, he became lovable somewhere down the line and proved that he belonged at Ki’s side, without falling to contrived perfection.
If there was one complaint I had about this episode it was the threat of the escaping spirits and the characters’ race against the clock to contain them. It was played off as the Shito matriarch’s careless action, but everything about it felt like an afterthought compared to how cohesive the rest of the series turned out to be. The spirit’s generic form and quick dispatching had me wishing Ki and Keika were taking on Rakugetsu instead.
As far as any future for this show, they still have Rakugetsu, Jiun’s plans for the Tanmouka family, and the truth about what happened to Keika’s parents to pull material from if they ever wished to continue the series. They did otherwise close out the series nicely and I can say with no reservations that overall I found it worthwhile.
– The reveal of how Ki chose Keika was done well, and the episode tied up most other loose ends in a nice way.
– Ki and Keika’s faith in one another is consistently shown to be the driving force behind what they achieve.
– Weird “final boss” and a somewhat messy climactic sequence.
– Odd tonal shifts made caused dramatic moments to lack gravitas.
While the finale of SpiritPact left a few lingering questions, overall it was a satisfying experience. To begin with, a few of my theories panned out.
With regards to the last episode, a flashback depicted a man and woman standing over someone, attempting to resurrect them. I speculated that the prone figure being resurrected was either Keika or Ki. Furthermore, the man and woman were likely either Ritsu’s parents or Keika’s. Though the finale episode doesn’t specifically reveal their identities, the end scene shows Ki kneeling before a grave. In this somber, yet peaceful moment, Ki expresses that the deceased had been there for him, just as Keika is now. But when Keika learns the truth, he will never forgive him. This lends weight to the theory that Keika’s parents perished while attempting to save Ki and when Keika learns of this, he will harbor resentment against Ki.
Another assumption was that Ki was fixated on keeping Keika’s soul alive because once the You bloodline came to an end, then evil would likely consume Ki and destroy the world. It is revealed this episode that when Keika perished, Ki came upon the scene in time to witness Rakugetsu standing over him. According to the first youmeishi, he was sealed away by the You clan for generations. Now that the seal has been broken, after seven days, if Keika’s soul is broken apart than there is no one left to stop him.
Ki challenges Rakugetsu by telling him that he can keep Keika’s soul from turning evil or becoming a wandering spirit; thus not allowing any reason for the soul to be destroyed. Though a bit contrived, Rakugetsu agrees, if only to humor his ‘descendent’. So the losing bet that Rakugetsu refers to at the end of the previous episode dealt with the vow Ki made to protect Keika at all costs.
Aside from a few of my theories panning out, something that I had been wondering about since earlier episodes was confirmed. Ki always seemed to know what Keika was thinking. I attributed it to the soul binding, which might have allowed Ki a glimpse into some of Keika’s thoughts. While this might explain Ki’s ability to decipher the workings of his spirit shadow’s mind, it didn’t justify his ability to read other spirits thoughts. Rakugetsu claims that Ki has the ability to tell what other spirits are thinking and that this power is proof of someone who has “come back from hell.” Comparing the current youmeishi to himself, Rakugetsu explains that Ki is burdened with the same fate of giving into evil.
For all the queries and theories that have surrounded this series, there are still a few lingering threads that were not address:
- Exactly who did Ki murder that was “very important” to Ritsu? Is it his parents, as I theorized, or someone else?
- What is the identity of Ki’s master? His master revealed that he hoped Ki’s powers were not restored, so that he might avoid the fate awaiting him. Is it the same fate as Rakugetsu?
- In Tetsu was chosen to be the former youmeishi’s spirit shadow, but it is never revealed why this is significant.
- The last scene shows Rakugetsu tearing away the binding that covered his eyes. It is revealed that one of his eyes is missing, though for what purpose is unclear.
From what I’ve read, the SpiritPact story has been extended on in the Chinese manhua bearing the title “Soul Contract.” Unfortunately, there is no English or Japanese translation currently in print. With season 1 of the Chinese version of SpiritPact (by the name of Ling Qi) running during summer 2016, hopes for a season 2 is not lost. As of the time of this writing, however, I’ve not found any information to indicate a second season is in production.
– The bond between Keika and Ki was well executed throughout this series and shown to be truly unbreakable.
– Slow reveals and twists left viewers guessing until the end scene and made SpiritPact, overall, an enjoyable viewing experience.
– Lingering questions mean some fans (ME!) are begging for a season 2.
– Some of the animation was less than stellar, but the action scenes are executed well!
Random Quote-Worthy Scenes:
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party