Tokyo Ravens – 17

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

Natsume exposed.

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?


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19 Responses to “Tokyo Ravens – 17”

  1. Highway says:

    I have no idea what’s goin’ on.

    I really don’t get Kyouko’s reaction. It just made no sense to me. Maybe she’s upset that she was really trying out for the other team? Nah.

    Also, they need to start putting nametags on people. Or maybe “Suzu Head” style identifiers. Hey thanks for introducing all sorts of people once and then having them be some major character that you’re supposed to remember 10 episodes later.

    At least the fight was entertaining. Never mind that there really didn’t seem to be a reason for a disaster to all of a sudden bust out. Or was the little pom pom thing (whatever they’re called) cursed and it would have injured Natsume if she’d held it?

    • d-LaN says:

      Kyouko was actually terribly scared due to even Hokuto is unable to defeat Shaver. The anime removed her internal monologue frm what the LN readers said.

  2. Iron Maw says:

    Gonna over some points here

    -Harutora’s strong spiritual power has been stated much more LN in then in anime but it’s still there. It would be impossible for him to use a Defensive Servant Type familiar like Kon otherwise, but they need to be maintain nearly 24/7. That’s why most of the students were so suprise when harutora first display her in ep 5. However the anime cut down part of the scene. as left out the part about Kon’s seals.

    -During his duel with Kyouko in ep 4 he didn’t lose because her familiars broke his wooden sword, he actually overloaded it caused it to explode it. Ohtomo (and later) Touji mention it surprised because it was reinforced with magic. This dialogue and scene is left out of the anime, but if go back and watch epiosde 4 again you can see the wooden sword blow before Kyouko’s familiars even make contact.

    -Furthermore this is what allowe Harutora to suppress and control Touji’s Ogre powers in ep 9 use them against the Nue just as Harutora’s father hinted at in anime. Natsume also mentions it back in ep 7 during before their end of the year exam.

    -In ep 13 during Swallow Wisps training Ohtomo again makes a comment his strong spiritual power, but lack of control. Ofcourse there Kagami’s conversation and as well.

    -So the hints and foreshadowing are there, but anime beats you less over the head with than LN/Manga as there are less scenes about it. This actually what has cause most readers and viewers to Harutora to be Yakou’s reincarnation rather than Natsume. I don’t anything in ep 5 was ever mentioned about it. But ultimately Harutora eventually accessing more his innate spiritual power shouldn’t really surprise you, because he always had it, but his control was bad for some reason which I’m going to leave out for spoilers. You can take a good guess though.

    -As far as Harutora skills are concerned, the anime actually left out that he had been training and studying vigorously (with scenes) after Ohtomo vs D. The fight had ignited a strong passion for him to truly learn about magic for the first time. The anime had hinted a this in mock duel with Etou in ep 15 where he casted Othomo’s barrier spell, but LN foreshadowed it off much better in it’s original version of the scene.

    Continuing on a bit didn’t find Takiko’s appearance abrupt, she’s suppose to come of as mystery and Harutora and co only meet once in this arc. I also don’t think anything happened in ep 16 came out of nowhere/rushed. We already knew that Yakou devotees had infiltrated the Onmyo Agency thoughout, and Hirata was a double agent. The real surprise was Takiko was disguised as Hirata all along. The reveal that Kyouko’s father allied with her and some faction within Twin Horn explains why there so many of those in Agnecy in the first place.

    • Iron Maw says:

      The anime is indeed rushed, but it’s been that way since the beginning because cramming whole volumes of novels into 2 to 3 eps isn’t really easy. it could be a lot worse.

      • Sumairii says:

        Bakatora’s wooden sword exploding is the reference to episode 5 I was making. And it’s really the only obvious instance to suggest that he’s harboring great power to the uninitiated anime viewer such as myself.

        Now that you’ve pointed out the other examples, I suppose I can say in hindsight that there has been at least more than one hint. All of the others must have been extremely subtle though, as I didn’t really notice them at the time.

        The point I was trying to make with episode 16 was that all of a sudden we’re thrust into this raid for the sole purpose of revealing Atsune as Takiko. Understandably it did also pave the way to our learning the true mastermind in this episode, but the sudden development of Amami deciding to purge the Syndicate was just jarring.

        As far as pacing goes, Tokyo Ravens never used to feel this rushed to me. Of course, this is because I don’t read the LN. But the fact that it plunging ahead at dangerous speeds is now obvious even to me is not a good sign. I’m not going to say the show is now bad, but it doesn’t look to be heading in a good direction if this kind of pace keeps up.

        • Iron Maw says:

          Well disregarding novel, the purge really wasn’t sudden IMO. We know Magic Investigation Department had been investigating Twin Horn Syndicate for while as noted in ep 7 (which was year ago in the story’s timeline) so operation against them was always going to happen. They were still at large in Onmyo Agency in they is no reason for them to stop. Ep 15 marked the start and setup for it.

          I think it’s pretty obvious that Amami didn’t give the go ahead until now because data been hadn’t been gathered yet. Even he says they had been working on it internally for a year and wanted to get it right, which matches timeline Ohtomo left him to watch after Natsume. We don’t need to see the investigation itself, Amami and his staff aren’t MCs we just need know that’s happening and they will make their move when they were ready.

  3. Iron Maw says:

    About Kyouko, I think you should give her some slack. She right’s that she had been lied to, and truth not only shamed her looked like a prank have been play on her expense. Those were her real feelings she laid out to Harutora, but neither he or Natsume trusted her enough to tell her the beforehand and now she has no idea what do with her feelings. I agree that she is in part being a little overemotional, but not hard to see where she’s coming from at all.

    As for inaction during the chaos, she just scared out of her wits. The anime left out her internal monologue but she realized in they current situation none of adults would able help them like before as things stand. They wouldn’t be able to do anything to Shaver especially after they trump card Hokuto had lost to him. Nobody had any sort of plan, but to run away until everyone got caught. It’s understandable she would be freaked out.

  4. Iron Maw says:

    lastly here is how the mock battle went down in the LN:

    “Excluding the gohou summon from both sides, Harutora charged straight in because he knew the opponent will hold back against human. Then he summoned 2 crow shikigami, 1 got destroyed immediately and another one got around to Etou (the guy’s name). Etou repelled the crow with a charm while using his Nio (emperor in lygo’s TL) to attack Harutora but he defended it with his massive spiritual power. Then he used Kon to interrupt with foxfire from behind and released the wood charm hidden in the crow (the destroyed crow had water for mutual generation). Already saw through his trap Etou had Nio deal with Kon and countered the wood charm with metal, Harutora prevented his counter with fire. Then Etou wiped out everything with a barrier he purposedly let out of control and expanded outward. After the attacks on caster failed Harutora used water to amplify wood element charm to seal Nio’s movement, just when it did Etou casted the Acala’s binding spell on Harutora and won the fight. After that Natsume fought Etou to a draw without Hokuto, Touji had 2 wins against other exorcists, Tenma and Kyouko lost.”

    So you see everything Harutora did in the battle with Shaver was from prior knowledge and smart use of tactics. The thing was most amazing about that battle was his used of those spells like like using (Othomo’s anti spiritual disaster barrier spell as offensive attack rather than defensive). His only issue was always his wonky control over his huge spiritual power that limited his spirit sight and control.

  5. Iron Maw says:

    Ugh, my last post got caught again. “sigh”

    Also the scene where Harutora upgraded sight for the first time sound visually more impressive in lN compared to Anime. When that had happened, for a brief time he had temporarily gained a superior form of spirit sight known as “God Sight” where he could not only perceive spiritual power of every person on the planet but several “large existences” roaming the world. This pretty much clinch him as being Yakou’s reincarnation to most people.

  6. zztop says:

    @Iron Maw: I wonder where Kagami was during Shaver’s fight.

    I understand Takiko’s motives for allying with Chief Kurahashi would be to purge the Syndicate of unwanted Yakou fanatics.
    But what does the Chief get from her? Is it just Yakou-related, or is there something more to it?

    • Iron Maw says:

      It was cut from the anime, but Kagami was held up Kakugyouki, since he had been planning to come in take control of Shaver to test the students and causing more chaos in the process.

      You see Kagami had realized he had screwed up by leaving his familiar out there own too long and knew the Onmyo Agency was going to punish him so he decided roll with get what want out of it.

      As for Genji, it should be explained in about 2-3 episodes from now. But if doesn’t for some reason I’ll do it then.

  7. MgMaster says:

    I was worried about this. IMO,Tokyo Ravens has always been trying to do too much,making it not just hard to keep up for us(at least me) but for itself too. As a result,some of the developments will feel rushed like the ones in this episode(and yea,Harutora’s power up is the main offender here).

    The show should try to do a bit less if you ask me. For instance,I’d like to see more focus on the Tsuchimikados,namely Natsume but maybe we’ll get just that soon.

    • Iron Maw says:

      But’s not the fault of the source. The issue with the anime is that cramming 9 volumes of novels into 24 episodes. It’s very rare so material to be adapted in such a way. So you end up show tightly paced developments with no whole of breathing room. Not to mention tons of cut content.

      Honestly, I’m surprised it’s not worse than it is given the circumstances, but I think it’s something to keep in mind while watching this show.

      • Sumairii says:

        I believe all of us understand that the problem lies with 8bit and not with the LN. The earlier episodes have actually sparked my curiosity in the LN, so I might give it a read later on.

        • Iron Maw says:

          I see.

          I’m used people forgotten that amines are interpretations of an original work like movies are to books. Not the source itself.

          Sorry about that. =)

  8. Iron Maw says:

    Gah! My comment got caught by flood detector again. =(

  9. zztop says:

    Tokyo Ravens radio drama CD vol 1:

    Tokyo Ravens vol 1 BD:

  10. BlackBriar says:

    Natsume’s gender reveal came much later than I thought. I was expecting to happen at the halfway point of the series. Kyouko is brokenhearted but I wonder how the rest of the students are going to react.

    Shaver was a sick puppy that needed to be put down. Attacking indiscriminately is the sign of someone who is beyond help. Reiji has some screws loose assigning anything to him and it’s easy to see why he was blacklisted by the Shaman Bureau.

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