Wow. I certainly didn’t expect Tokyo Ravens to go down this route.
No plot armor here.
Last time I expressed my skepticism at the idea of Natsume dying because of the classic plot armor trope. Well, turns out I was dead wrong (no pun intended). In hindsight, I guess I should have seen this coming as Natsume’s death would spur into motion a much more intricate plot. And intricate is certainly the right word to use here, as Tokyo Ravens manages to introduce more and more twists and turns. First up we have Harutora’s internal conflict. As we expect, he feels personally responsible for Natsume’s death and makes it his mission to revive her at all costs. The obvious thing that immediately comes to mind is the Taizan Fukun Ritual, which has already been used several times before in the show to mainly resurrect some bad guys. The big revelation here though, is that the concept of the ritual as previously explained to us is incomplete. It turns out the ritual isn’t just the simple equivalent exchange thing that we’ve seen Suzuka attempt in the first arc. In fact, one might not necessarily need to prepare a sacrifice in order to resurrect someone, and the very idea the Taizan Fukun Ritual merely refers to a branch of sorcery that deals with the manipulation of souls.
Tokyo Ravens isn’t done just yet though. next we have the revelation that Chief Amami might not be so dead after all. I always thought it was so strange how he was killed off so unceremoniously and even off-screen. Turns out, he’s still around in some way and is out to help Harutora realize the truth behind the Onmyoji Bureau. Now, he has yet to actually show his face and so far his intervention has only come in the form of various familiars. But I’m sure the crafty old man is lurking about somewhere and not just communicating to our hero from beyond the grave somehow (I wouldn’t put it past the show considering it’s recently revealed sorcery to be much more complicated than we thought). Speaking of the Onmyoji Bureau, we also learn yet more about the Kurahashis’ and Soumas’ motives. As we’ve already known, they think they are best friends with Yakou. And this is not entirely bullshit; clearly the Tsuchimikados, Kurahashis, and Soumas worked very closely together to unify and nurture sorcery during Yakou’s time. Appropriately, their main objective is to further the glory of sorcery, which I have absolutely no problems with. But they really need to stop living in the past.
An unlikely collection of badasses.
It’s nice enough that these guys aren’t the kind of bad guys who are “evil” for the sake of plot. However, I still have a hard time taking them too seriously with how hung up they are about Yakou. There is a small attempt on the part of Genji to convince Harutora that they simply desire to put a Tsuchimikado on the throne of the Onmyoji society so that the holy trinity of families can again kick ass and chew bubblegum. But I call bullshit, because no amount of sweet talk can dispell all the shit that they have already done to “awaken” Yakou. And therein lies the problems. Clearly, the Kurahashis and Soumas embrace the “ends justify the means” sort of mindset and are willing to do just about anything to realize their ambitions (or Yakou’s ambitions, as they would have us believe). Not to be cliché, but this kind of thinking is wrong. Just think about all the suffering the main gang and even the students at the Onmyoji academy had to go through thanks to their plotting. Heck, it’s even come down to one of the main characters dying simply because Takiko was impatient about making friends with them. And look where it got her? Now one of her “would-be friends” is dead. I don’t even find it remotely redeeming that she’s supposedly distraught and highly upset about it. What did she think was going to happen if she tried to forcefully awaken Yakou’s soul from within Harutora? He’d grab her hand, tell her thanks, and they would all become friends? Ugh.
Random Weird Stuff
Kyouko’s new powers?
Anyway, a few other interesting things crop up here and there about some of the other characters. Mainly, there’s something weird going on with Kyouko and perhaps Tenma. At this point I’m not sure if the whole warping perception thing was from Tenma himself or if it was merely Kyouko awakening some sort of power. It’s also possible that both are at play and there’s something off about Tenma, which Kyouko herself is just now able to perceive. I don’t know where the show is going with this, but it makes me a bit suspicious about Tenma, considering he never showed up to help the gang bust Harutora out of jail. As for Kyouko, my only guess is that she’s unlocked some sort of clairvoyance ability? It seems to me from the two brief moments we see of her using it that she can now “see” a person’s “aura” from a distance, which wouldn’t be too far out of line from her grandmother’s own powers, I suppose.
So yeah, I’m kind of stunned at the recent turn of events. Natsume is dead, friends & co. are busting into the Onmyoji Bureau, and Jin is also doing the same with Douma’s aid of all things. Not to mention, Harutora has come back to his senses thanks to a monologue from Kon of all people (who would have thought) and most likely will have to bust his own way out from Genji’s office. All of this is setting up for so many epic showdowns that I honestly can’t wait to see what happens next week. It’s not so often that I get this excited about a show, so I’ll take this as a sign that Tokyo Ravens is doing a bang-up job. I just hope that Natsume doesn’t stay dead for long, even though I’m aware that resurrecting souls is supposed to be a huge taboo and Harutora might end up regretting it.
Kon helped here, but I kind of wish she were more useful in combat.