Tokyo Ravens 02 – METANORN

Tokyo Ravens – 02

Tokyo Ravens - 02

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.

 

Forbidden Magic

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.

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18 Responses to “Tokyo Ravens – 02”

  1. zztop says:

    Here’s a hint, Sumairii,

    In the end scene after seeing the torn-up shikigami paper, Natsume says ‘Bakatora’ to herself. How could she have known of such an overtly familiar endearment used by a complete stranger(Hokuto) to her?

    And did you notice how Natsume talked about Suzuka as if she had already met her beforehand? Even though Natsume claimed she had never met Suzuka at all prior?

    • Sumairii says:

      Yeah, Natsume using “Bakatora” is what made me think she might have sent Hokuto. It’s all really speculative, but at least it’s a lead.

  2. zztop says:

    I;m getting the feeling that this Touji seems to know more than he’s letting on…

    This show doesn’t seem to be that popular among the current season viewings. Judging from the fan artwork scene on Pixiv, there’s almost nothing for this show at all(exempting badly-drawn artwork).

    • Sumairii says:

      Yeah, Touji is extremely suspicious.

      If Tokyo Ravens isn’t really getting that many views, that’s sort of a shame. Still, there’s a long ways to go before we reach the conclusion, so perhaps more will pick it up.

    • Iron Maw says:

      Which is weird since the novels are pretty popular and have several serialized manga offshoots.

      • zztop says:

        The novels are popular?

        Have you read them? There don’t seem to be any English translations availabe online, so I’m guessing some of you can read Japanese.

        So who IS Touji really? And what does Yakou want by reincarnating himself into present-day Japan?
        Spoilers are much appreciated!!

        • d-LaN says:

          Or chinese. (I assume its available in chinese anyway)

        • Iron Maw says:

          Yes, they sell pretty well apparently (20k-30k). I haven’t read the novels however.

  3. joojoobees says:

    It seemed like we were on a collision course with harem hijinx for a while, but Hokuto’s ending cleans up some of that nonsense.

    I’m still not convinced by this show. For one thing the direction is unclear. For example, in the diner scene, I was very aware of the man who entered and sat in the next booth. First we see him outside the restaurant, then he is shown being seated right behind Harutora as he and Natsume are having a conversation that probably shouldn’t take place where it can be overheard. Then we even see reaction shots from him when the couple starts fighting. But in the end he was … some random dude looking for a cup of coffee?

    • Liza says:

      I thought he was important too but I guess not? At least we know we got his cup of coffee!

  4. Highway says:

    This definitely felt like the end to the ‘prologue’ section of the show – getting the love interest / anchor out of the way in the hometown, getting Harutora in with Natsume, setting up some of the abilities and power levels.

    I’m expecting a huge shift from here in the show, so we’ll see if it stays interesting.

  5. Liza says:

    The Hokuto dying thing I felt like was not impactful at all. Yeah, it was sad she “died” but I really did not like her character and her reaction to the kiss was very…over-dramatic? It wasn’t his fault that Suzuka was kissing him. -_-

    And I have to say, Natsume is very talented to be able to draw a star with her tongue!

    • d-LaN says:

      A teenage maiden in love is not exactly the most logical creature 😛

      • Highway says:

        Plus, how ‘real’ is a shikigami? How much depth of emotion or rationality is she going to have? If her overriding programming (for lack of a better word) is ‘I love Harutora’, then she’s going to react that way.

        • d-LaN says:

          You know, I have the impression that Hokuto is controlled by Natsume…. But I might be wrong though.

          • BlackBriar says:

            And that the whole thing was a set up to get Harutora to agree to make a contract with Natsume by becoming her familiar. Such skepticism is plausible but Natsume doesn’t look like the underhanded type.

            • Iron Maw says:

              There was no setup (such things are against her character), what happened to Hokuto was complete happenstance. Natsume just want to help Haru against Suzuka with whatever limited power was available to her.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    It always takes a tragic event to get a lazy lead to accept a fate they’ve been trying so hard to run away from. Goodbye, Hokuto. She was far more human than being a simple familiar. So Harutora made good on his promise though I felt uneasy with Natsume’s response. “Now you belong to me”. That was very ominous.

    Suzuka is the type of person consumed by so much despair that even if they have a grand plan, they don’t think things through. If I were her brother, I’d refuse the ritual because the cost is just too high. What’s the point of being brought back to life if it means living in a world where you’ve lost everyone you care about?

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