After three episodes of srsbsns, Tokyo Ravens kicks back and returns to some high school romcom again. And I have to say, I really like the balance of action, serious plot, and humorous interludes that this show mixes together. It’s just right.
Oni Touji to the rescue!
Since I missed episode 9 last week, I’ll just go over it quickly. Touji’s story is wrapped up as he comes to terms with his “affliction” and starts anew by accepting it as part of his identity. In retrospect, the truth about him leaves me slightly disappointed since I always thought there was much more to him. But that’s just me forcing my expectations on the show so I will respect what it did with Touji. One thing that does particularly stands out about the whole thing is the revelation that Reiji is actually in a very similar position with onis. The important difference, however, is that the Divine General is more forcefully enslaving the oni rather than being possessed out of his control. You’d think this might make him sympathize with Touji some, but I can understand how he might look down on the guy for being so weak as to be taken over by a “mere” oni. Or, maybe he was just looking to seize Touji’s oni for his own to further increase his strength and ego. In spite of all this though, the fleshing out of Reiji’s character and his helplessness against the crafty Jin is doing wonders for making me hate him less. He now seems less like a passing asshole and more like a tough guy with a poor attitude.
Complete with gleaming glasses.
But now I’m trailing off so let me refocus on the plot. Basically the chimera are purified before they kick up a shit storm and all is well. Chihiro’s unceremonious death offscreen was rather anticlimactic to say the least, but I guess the suicide spell he was carrying goes to show how serious about being a creepy old bastard Douman is. I don’t know if Chihiro was aware that he was carrying the spell or if it was forced upon him, but either way it sucks for him to turn out to be just a disposable mook. And speaking of Douman, I didn’t expect him to reveal himself to the gang so soon. His plans are still pretty much unknown and his “here are some trials to make you stronger before you face me” spiel is very cliche. But at this point there’s still enough mistique surrounding the guy that I can’t write him off as just another generic, stereotypically evil mastermind. Also, I’m really digging the floating car. I noticed it previously and laughed at it as some sort of horrendous animation hiccup, but I guess it was actually intentional. But I digress. With Chihiro out of the picture, Atsune steps up to the plate as we get confirmation that he is indeed a baddy.
The Prodigal Child Returns
And now on to episode 10. As you might have expected from the episode title in the preview, our favorite choco-banana sucking, dick chopping, french kissing child prodigy returns. I was initially wondering how she managed to get into the Onmyoji school since last we saw she was in trouble, but apparently this is her punishment. Kind of lame considering the ritual that she almost succeeded in carrying out was the one that allegedly screwed up the world horribly the last time someone successfully pulled it of. The official claim is that they “let her off” since she’s just a child lacking in common sense. But as usual there’s politics at work behind the scenes, like perhaps the Shaman Bureau wanting to dump the problem child on someone else. Anyway, the show reverts to the good ‘ol romcom shenanigans with Suzuka sadistically hounding Bakatora while Natsume hides and observes from the shadows. The minor plot complication introduced is Suzuka’s knowledge that Natsume is a girl, but we all know that will be swept under the rug without trouble.
You wouldn’t guess she’s Natsume.
This brings me to the slight issue I’ve always had in the back of my head about Natsume’s act. She’s supposed to dress and act like a guy in public at all times, so why did she compromise this by dressing as a girl when she met Bakatora at the beginning? I understand that she was “in the boonies” and out of the city, but isn’t she the famous Natsume, glorified reincarnation of Yakou? You’d think someone would recognize her regardless. Which brings me to the main problem. I understand objectively that Natsume’s gender disguise is supposed to work because the show tells us it does. But in reality, it’s got so many holes and flaws that it shouldn’t work by all rights. And Suzuka coming into the equation exemplifies this contradiction very well.
I really wanted to find a way to work that weird loli-loving senpai into this post, but she’s so out there that it really can’t be done. So I’ll just cut my losses and wrap up. At the end of the day, I can say with confidence that the sum is greater than the parts when it comes to Tokyo Ravens. The antics in episode 10 (though we shouldn’t forget Bakatora setting things right with Suzuka at long last) are light-hearted and enjoyable. Meanwhile, the explosive battles and plot revelations are both genuinely exciting and engaging. But by mixing the two, Tokyo Ravens has created a slick experience that progresses surprisingly smoothly. Taking into consideration that this fusion could easily go horribly wrong, that says a lot about how well the show has done thus far.