Tokyo Ravens – 23

Have you ever seen a glowing green man with a cane surf on a wave of fire?

This was a pretty cool episode, all things considered.



Battles Everywhere

And this is why you never wear shades indoors.

There were several nice things and several bad things about this episode. Let’s begin with the good stuff. It’s really something that Tokyo Ravens has consistently done well throughout the run of the show, but the action in this episode was pretty darn good. It was the sort of non-stop frantic action that toes the line between keeping you on the edge of your seat and absolutely overwhelming the audience. I won’t deny that watching an overconfident Reiji getting his ass demolished by Jin helped boost my appreciation by way of catharsis. The loud-mouthed and smug onmyoji had it long coming if you ask me. But regardless, pretty much all of the separate yet interwoven conflicts came together just perfectly to present to us a clear view of what could easily have been a very confusing experience. In that way, most of the episode was not only enjoyable, but also fairly easy to stomach, aside from a few points I will mention later. And that adds so much to the watch-ability of the show, unlike some of the thicker moments in earlier episodes that left uninitiated viewers feeling like they were out of the loop. Once again, I praise 8bit for bringing the story back under control after those brief moments of befuddlement.


Look at Tenma! It’s his five seconds of fame!

With the good stuff out of the way, it is unfortunately time to discuss some of the negatives of this episode. These are mostly minor complaints, I suppose. But given that they involve events so integral to the progression of the story, I think they bear some mentioning. First is the dark horse of the group, Tenma. While the show has admittedly attempted to give him some relevance in the past (recall Jin lecturing Tenma on his sense of self-worth), the guy has more or less stayed out of the spotlight until now. And so his sudden rise to stardom as the one guy who actually managed to successfully infiltrate the Onmyoji Bureau is a bit too contrived and unconvincing to me. While I understand the thought behind Tokyo Ravens giving the underdog a task that only he can accomplish precisely because he lacks a presence, it feels more of an insult than anything. It’s nice that Tenma acknowledges his own lack of ability and, knowing this, is determined to push onward with what little he can do. But at the end of the day he hasn’t really developed or grown in any way that the story might imply. He’s just been given a lame excuse to take the spotlight briefly before it returns again to the usual big damn heroes.

Kyouko is a mahou shoujo.

My next gripe lies with Kyouko. I think by now I’ve mentioned several times that I didn’t like how useless she was. Whenever there’s some big conflict she just seems to be in the way and doesn’t accomplish much. Now however, she suddenly gains a powerup and becomes relevant just in time for the finale. Except her relevance here is so forced it’s almost painful to think about. I had previously speculated that she might be developing some sort of clairvoyance ability, which would be in line with her grandmother’s divining ability. Turns out what she awakens is actually an astrology ability, which I guess is kind of a mix of clairvoyance and divining. Point is, she is able to perceive the many worlds (or dimensions or planes) that exist beyond our own, thus automatically becoming the shamanic voice of authority on all matters soul manipulation. And guess what is the first thing she decrees? Why, of course that it’s OK for Harutora to use shady magic to resurrect the dead because “Natsume is waiting.” This flies in the face of everything the show has built up so far regarding the taboo of soul manipulation techniques and rituals, almost like it needed some ass-pull excuse to justify the main character breaking the one rule that shouldn’t be broken.

Even in death, Natsume lingers around Harutora.

I understand we were all expecting it to happen eventually anyway, since Natsume obviously isn’t staying dead. But if this is the path the story has to take, at least come up with a more believable and legitimate excuse. The sudden “englightenment” of one of the main characters does not present a convincing argument for the breaking of the core rules of the world that has been set up. In fact, I might have been more OK with the inevitable situation if we completely left out this weird bit about Kyouko and Harutora merely went ahead with the Taizan Fukun ritual purely out of his love for Natsume. Love is usually a pretty good go-to excuse for breaking all the rules, because who can argue against it? So really, I felt the development with Kyouko was overall unnecessary and even distracted us from the matter at hand. It’s nothing that completely ruins the show, but just a minor eyesore in an otherwise satisfactory episode.

I’m trailing off so let me quickly conclude to keep this post in manageable length. I’m excited to see Suzu finally join the fray (indirectly here and possible directly in the finale). The “strange senpai” has been missing for too long in the show. Someone else who has also been missing as of late is Takiko. While I’m personally fed up with her for creating the current unfortunate situation, no doubt she will have to make an appearance to confront the gang for some closure. What’s really got me pumped for the final climax of the show though, is the possibility for Hishamaru, the other of Yakou’s familiars, to finally show his face and possibly intervene. This, I base on the quoted “conversation” between master and familiar that’s been cropping up in the after-credits recently. Anyway, I imagine Hishamaru would be more proactive than Kakugyouki and will either appear to aid in the Taizan Fukun ritual out of loyalty for his master reborn or perhaps be summoned by the ritual and give the young’uns a deep, long talk about the nature of souls and sorcery before returning Natsume to them. But whatever the case, I’m sure the finale for Tokyo Ravens will be nothing short of spectacular.

Will the finale see more of the loli-loving senpai?


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9 Responses to “Tokyo Ravens – 23”

  1. skylion says:

    I just watched this not a half hour ago. I feel the same way you do about Tenmanf and Kyouko; but I ‘m willing to let it pass, because it works in the moment. Fridge Logic can be a bitch.

    Even thought it might be a down to the finale power up, I love the idea of Kyouko’s vision of multiple worlds. The idea that Natsume is alive and well on another level of reality, another quantum; another magical level is beautiful and inspiring. But darn it…..magic lies. If they do find that Other Natusme…what will she be like?

  2. zztop says:

    The after credits conversation is nice, but I miss the chibi Kon segments.

  3. Iron Maw says:

    I think you are misunderstanding something a bit here with Kyouko. Her reading ability is the same as her grandmothers and Yamuzumi. It’s not anymore powerful than theirs especially since it’s still undeveloped. What she sees is what they see. If her ability is an asspull for whatever reason then so are theirs. Kyouko only pointing out that Natsume’s soul hadn’t passed on yet which is what Shidou meant by a time limit.

    Also you come underrating her skill, because Kyouko is the second best in her year (only behind Natsume) and she been just as useful if not more so than Touji. She is daughter and one of only 3 students, who can maintain can two High Class Man-made Shikgami after all.

    I don’t really see how what Temna did is an issue either. He contributed in big way, but not so much more then everyone else. If he was really irrelevant he wouldn’t come this far with the cast and would have been home crying arcs ago. His talent in magic may not be great as everyone else, but he can still contribute in some cases no matter how small. What I like about what he did it’s very in character at same it shows he’s growing. He took advantage of how others saw him made difference own way while same time accepting his limits and then challenging them. If his enemies consider him beneath them, then they’re the ones to pay.

    I really think bring up past contributions isn’t all that relevant since honestly it’s not as if say Touji has been much better either. Besides I have yet to see conflict where everyone didn’t pitch in where they could.

  4. Iron Maw says:

    Besides, I’m pretty sure Yakou would agree Kyouko, afterall he is one went on to master soul manipulation and even reincarnate himself. Unlike her father she isn’t making laws against that then breaking them, so I don’t see the problem with her reasoning there.

    • Iron Maw says:

      That said, I like to add that I think main point here with Taizan Fukun Ritual really isn’t about whether it’s right or wrong thing to do rather than it’s that everyone ultimately has own view and beliefs on how sorcery should be used. Kyouko’s opinion isn’t less justified than the opposition.

      I believe Kyouko is right that’s man who decides what limits are place on magic and not magic itself. If weren’t allowed by nature than wouldn’t be possible to begin with. It’s but up to the individual judge it’s risk and accept the consequences for using that magic.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    I like the way Douman said a bunch of schemers were storming the Shaman Bureau. It made it sound like a free for all and that it’s every man for himself.

    Good to see Tenma getting some relevance because for the longest while, he was pretty insignificant. Suzu sure made good use of him and turned his short comings into more of an asset. He should savor the moment while he can since there’s no telling if he’ll get another.

    Kyouko doesn’t seem that useless but what bugs me is finding out just what kind of power she has. Foresight? Or can she communicate with spirits? Can anyone give a solid explanation as to what this astrology ability is?

    • Iron Maw says:

      Astrology is the ability to read the stars to learn about present and future state of person. It allows the practitioner predict future to an extent based on that. Harutora’s father Yasuizumi and Kyouko’s grandmother both have this ability that’s how they often know what’s going to happen before anyone else.

      Incase your interested in further reading:

  6. Iron Maw says:

    Astrology is the ability to read the stars to learn about present and future state of person. It allows the practitioner predict future to an extent based on that. Harutora’s father Yasuizumi and Kyouko’s grandmother both have this ability that’s how they often know what’s going to happen before anyone else.

    Incase your interested in further reading:

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