It’s totally not what it looks like! She’s just drawing a blood seal on his face with her tongue!
Apologies for the delay. Exams came up. Let’s cut to the chase.
The man. The legend.
Well, we should have seen this coming. Any time there’s forbidden magic, odds are it involves meddling with life and death. In this case, the Taizan Fukun Ritual is speculated to be able to reincarnate someone. Bakatora’s ancestor, Yakou, attempted to perform it in battle and it apparently didn’t go very well. The details are still unclear, but we know that he made the attempt during the spirit war. Normally, this would suggest some sort of offensive spell or something along those lines. But the rumors say it’s more about reincarnation of the soul. So then why did Yakou even try to perform such a dangerous ritual? Was he really so selfish that he would create massive death and destruction just to have another go at life? Not to mention, he’s singlehandedly ruined the good name of his own family and put his descendants to shame. Was the former director of the onmyoji so shortsighted and self-centered? I have a hard time believing that. So likely there’s more to this story than the rumors and history lessons.
You can almost see the resemblance.
Questionable character aside, rumor has it the Taizan Fukun Ritual wasn’t actually a failure because it blew everything up. Supposedly Yakou was still able to reincarnate himself while everything else was going to hell. And for some juicy drama, it’s suggested that the vessel for his soul is our very own Natsume (how does Touji even know all this?). If this is the case, I’m sure she’s in for more than a few challenges in the future, mostly of the political kind. Not only is she from the Tsuchimikado clan, but she might also be Yakou himself (sort of)? Surely the onmyoji police will spare no time to jump on her for breaking whatever laws they uphold. Then again, the onmyoji police might not represent much of a threat after all. These guys keep going after Suzuka only to get their bottoms handed to them on a nice silver platter. Granted, this is one of the 12 divine generals we’re talking about. But as the authorities, can’t they at least not suck so badly?
Lots of Plot
She’s cute when she’s not crazy or talking.
Since we’re on the topic of Suzuka, let’s discuss her motivation. Turns out, she wasn’t just sucking face with Bakatora last time for the heck of it. Instead, the crafty girl managed to sneak a familiar into our doofus, which activated when he spoke the keyword: Natsume. Looking back, it was a rather contrived plot device, considering Suzuka never did make it to the shrine and Natsume was able to recover her spiritual power fairly quickly. But regardless, she’s now only one step away from performing the Taizan Fukun Ritual and resurrecting her brother. Which brings up the question: how did her brother die? Well, that’s a long story. We know that onmyoji are fairly important in Tokyo Raven’s world. Given the prestige behind being one, there’s a lot of pressure for children to perform well and become recognized onmyoji. You know, a not-so-subtle allusion to the state of education in Asian countries. Anyway, Suzuka’s parents felt so strongly about this that they decided to do some human experimentation on their children (even when they were just embryos). Suzuka survived and went on to become one of the divine generals, but her brother wasn’t so lucky.
Hokuto’s last moments.
But that’s enough Suzuka for today. Certainly we will see more of her in the future. Someone we won’t be seeing, however, is Hokuto. This is perhaps the most confusing bit of the episode though. So Suzuka is throwing a tantrum because an onmyoji cop made her faceplant into mud. She has her giant spirit-spider-tank-thingy kill the hapless goon, but Bakatora jumps in because he’s righteous. Of course, when he sees death closing in, he has second thoughts. So as if on cue, Hokuto appears and takes the blow. Well, “blow” might be an understatement when you have a giant claw stcking through your chest. But this is where it gets weird. I figured the lack of blood in that scene was simply due to censoring. But I was wrong. Apparently Hokuto is actually a familiar? Because when she “passed”, she reverted to an old, battered shikigami.1 Suzuka then goes on to claim that Hokuto was Bakatora’s familiar, which would make sense since she clearly cared for and looked out for the useless guy. But later on Bakatora has a flashback to when he first met her. If she were his familiar, he wouldn’t have had such a “first meeting”, right? So quite plainly I am just confused. Maybe she was a familiar sent by Natsume to watch over her cousin? Who knows?
I did not expect Tokyo Ravens to get quite as dark as it did here, but it’s not off-putting at all. Perhaps the events will serve as a catalyst for Bakatora to become less useless. For starters, he has become more decisive, going straight to Natsume and requesting to be her familiar. And conveniently, the ceremony comes with a power boost, as the guy is now able to see spiritual energy like a proper onmyoji. So actually Bakatora’s uselessness at the beginning might turn out to be a good thing as the show has him develop into a stronger, more confident person over time. That would be good to see, and definitely a step-up from the main character types who are already powerful enough to begin with.
1So basically one of Bakatora’s two friends is imaginary sort of.