Le troll face
Despite this being Touji’s episode, we’re actually left with more questions than answers. But from the looks of things we’re getting close to finally learning about his past, so that’s OK.
A meeting of three plotting men.
Lots of intrigue abound in this episode. First we learn about Jin’s history. As we might have expected, the guy used to be a big shot: he was one of the Divine Generals. That kind of puts into perspective the threat that Douman poses. He may only look like a creepy old man, but this is a guy from which a Divine General barely escaped with his life (and not one of his legs). Now, this might not have too much of an effect on us since the only other Divine General we’ve really seen up-close is lolipop-licking wonder Suzuka. And she was taken down without all too much trouble by Natsume and Bakatora. But given that she is the youngest Divine General and we can argue that she was otherwise preoccupied during her clash with the dynamic duo, I’ll give the rest of the bunch the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure they deserve their titles as the strongest of the Onmyoji.
Speaking of Divine Generals, we meet Chief Amami, Jin’s former superior in the Magic Investigation Department. The two have a chat about the Yakou cult. The shady group was apparently responsible for causing a spiritual disaster two years ago under the guise as the Spirit Department (how do these guys keep infiltrating official organizations). The name “Dairenji” is mentioned, which might suggest something about where Suzuka herself stands in the whole mess. The talk of a spiritual disaster is also highly suggestive, because we know someone who supposedly was caught up in one: Touji. And after a mock disaster practical exam gone wrong, we find out that the mysterious guy is being “possessed” by something and sprouts a pair of horns when exposed to miasma. Surely it’s no coincidence the Yakou cult is formally known as the Twin-Horned Syndicate.
This guy needs to be taught a lesson.
Introductions abound as we meet a plethora of new players. I’ve already mentioned Chief Amami, and in the same scene we meet Atsune, the promising young fellow who replaced Jin as the lead investigator of the Twin-Horned Syndicate. Honestly, I’m suspicious that he will turn out to be colluding with said organization. It’s not like we haven’t seen this happen before (the Magic Investigation Department seems laughably easy to infiltrate), and it makes sense for him to be one of the pawns Douman referred to when speaking with Syndicate member Chihiro. Also introduced is Reiji, another Divine General. At this point it seems there’s a bit of a running gag that the Divine Generals are inclined to be slightly crazy (reminiscent of the level 5s in Raildex). Suzuka’s got family problems and Reiji is just an asshole who really needs his own words applied back to himself. Seriously, the guy needs to stop mouthing off at others for not sufficiently respecting his inflated ego and actually get shit done.
I’ll admit he probably does deserve some respect as he’s obviously rather powerful, but there’s no need to leave an enemy unattended to pick a fight with some students. Students who aren’t even trying to be uppity, as he so accused them. If the guy would just take a step back and observe his own results (he let a chimera spiritual disaster loose in the city and he got students in harm’s way), maybe he would have a smaller opinion of himself. But no, he’s too busy grabbing kids by the collar because he wants to “mess them up”. Jeez, who let this guy out of the insane asylum? Anyway, let me stop myself before I rage too much about Reiji, and instead talk about Chihiro. For a guy working for Douman, he seems a surprisingly harmless fellow. Despite setting off the spiritual disasters here, the former Spiritual Department member comes across as less ominous than his boss and even more likeable than Reiji. Which leads me to believe that there’s more to the story about the Spiritual Department than what Chief Amami disclosed.
Overall I like the rate of progression that Tokyo Ravens is displaying. It introduces enough to grab our attention, yet leaves important holes out that keep us anticipating the next episode. I personally can’t wait for next week to finally get a grip on Touji’s story. And I’m also glad that the structure of the formerly opaque Onmyoji society is at long last being taken apart for our personal understanding. I still find it laughable that they are apparently so easily infiltrated, but I guess it’s pretty hard to pick out a Yakou fanatic if he keeps his mouth shut about the Polaris King. Maybe they should just introduce a few questions about Yakou in the job interview and see how the applicant responds.