I’d feel sorry for Kyouko, but she’s so useless and her father is the big bad boss.
Lately Tokyo Ravens has been feeling rushed. This episode is no exception.
Lots of Info
The evil mastermind revealed at last.
I don’t follow the LN and I was rather underwhelmed by most of what followed Douman’s assault on the Onmyoji school. So I can only imagine how disappointed LN readers might be at the state of the adaptation, assuming things aren’t nearly as rushed in the LN as they are in the anime. Things are just happening in such quick succession that we don’t get any time to appreciate what just happened or for the important things to sink in. The last three episodes (including this one) have just been development after development without any room to breathe. First Suzu is revealed to be a “bad guy” and Takiko is abruptly introduced. Then we’re suddenly whisked away to Chief Amami’s raid on the Twin-Horned Syndicate, which ends with a rather anticlimactic duel. Now, the show brings back the action with Reiji’s familiar going berserk and suddenly Bakatora powers up because Natsume is in mortal danger. All of these events, more or less separate but placed one after another. So the end result is I’m almost a bit lost. That’s not a good thing for an adaptation.
Out-of-body experiences are conducive to ass-kicking.
Let’s start with Bakatora. The show has hinted before that he actually possesses a large amount of untapped spiritual power. But I only remember that happening once, and that was in episode 5. Which is a long time ago. If there have been other hints since then, please tell me because this is honestly the only instance I recall. Anyway, from episode 5 we now jump to episode 17 and suddenly Bakatora has a realization that allows him to harness his apparently absurd spiritual power to pull off all sorts of crazy legendary spells and techniques that he’s copied from others. From two divine generals, even. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like a bit more lead-in beyond Reiji giving hints out of the blue last episode would have been nice. As it stands, this just ends up being one of many abrupt developments that one might be tempted to call an ass-pull. It’s so distracting that it’s easy to overlook some of the otherwise positive aspects of the episode, such as Bakatora’s calm and analytical approach to the chaotic situation.
Farewell, Divine Fan.
The next offending matter is all of Shaver. He’s just introduced as some sort of excuse for Bakatora to achieve his zen and thus power up. Plus, I really question putting such a deranged familiar in charge of guarding the students in the first place. Did the Onmyoji Bureau not notice that he spends the majority of his time looking like he’s plotting to kill everyone in sight? And it’s not like his master Reiji is exactly the most well-behaved divine general either, so they really could have chosen one with a better disposition, availability permitting. Speaking of divine generals, Chief Amami’s presumed demise here is just as anticlimactic as his battle last time. Kind of unfortunate, but I suppose we should be thankful that the show spared us yet another mindfuck powerspeak showdown considering how the last one turned out. Still, to be killed off-screen really is the saddest way for a bigshot like the Chief of the Magical Investigation Bureau to go.
Twists and Revelations
But enough griping about the show. On to some of the jucier bits. Like Natsume’s true gender being revealed to the rest of the students. It had to be done at some point, and in the midst of a tumultuous spirit disaster is as good a time as any. I wish Kyouko wouldn’t take it so poorly though. Yes, she had every reason to be upset about it, but way to be an ass about it when Natsume herself is also in a rather delicate situation now. I know her accepting and forgiving Natsume with a warm smile would be cliche, but that’s really what she should have done. But no, she only makes herself more dislikable on top of being useless in all of the tight spots the gang have gotten into. Way to go. The other big development is the revelation that Chief Kurahashi is in cahoots with Takiko. Now that’s a real curveball if I’ve ever seen one. It’s not too hard to imagine though, that the Kurahashis as a former branch family of the Tsuchimikados might want to see Yakou “resurrected” in all his glory for one reason or another.
Still not sure what to make of Takiko.
And on the topic of Takiko, we learn that she is related to Suzuka’s father in that his maiden name was Souma. That right there is pretty unusual to just about most of us because that would mean he changed his surname (Souma) to that of his wife’s (Dairenji) when they got married. The only other example of such a thing in anime that comes to my mind is Gendou in Evangelion. I’m not sure what, if anything, this means though. And the web of intrigue is only growing thicker by the second.
So in summary we really only have three main families involved in all this mess: the Tsuchimikados, the Kurahashis, and the Soumas. The latter two it sounds like formed the Twin-Horned Syndicate under the guidance of Yakou. Or at least so they claim. The Dairenjis seemed for a while to be a major player, but now it’s revealed that Shidou merely married into them so to speak. Then there’s Suzu who I guess is just a third party loosely affiliated with the Syndicate? I’d call her one of their grunts, but given her expert knowledge on Yakou and her other affiliation with Douman (who we now know is a big deal) and Jin, it’s hard to claim that there’s nothing special about her. If all this is starting to sound really convoluted to you, don’t worry because I’m sure you’re not alone. I know I’m having a hard time putting a finger on everything no thanks to the pacing.
I guess Bakatora will lead the charges from now on?