Oh, I love Akira.
Rin should market his flame therapy for treating all sorts of fungal infections. Got some gnarly toe fungus? My man Rin is here for you. It feels nice and warm too!
Looking this episode on a macro scale, not much happened: Rin defeated the Impure King by setting the entire mountain on fire. That’s the most stone age solution to a problem a hero could ever come up with. I suppose that’s what happens when an ancient being comes up with your strategy for you, although Rin’s plan of wildly slashing at him wasn’t much more sophisticated. As simple as it was, the little touches made everything worthwhile, wrapping this whole arc up in a neatly contained package. It wasn’t about defeating some gargantuan monster, it was about Rin and his friends accepting him for who he is.
…okay, yeah, and some flashy fight scenes against a gargantuan monster, but the underlying message of friendship is there too!
The whole arc started off with Rin at odds with his entire class. They had just found out his secret, and they were on edge as they processed what this revelation meant to them personally. The reasons were slightly different for everyone, but the whole group (sans Kamiki) started to alienate Rin. This made him even more insecure about his unstable flames and how they could hurt people. Although he got pretty far just through sheer determination, he only managed to control himself properly once he believed in himself. Yes, ugh, I know it sounds cheesy, but that’s how it went down. When he realized all his friends were relying on him, he was able to cover an entire mountain in flames without harming any of the people on it. A day or so ago he couldn’t even light candles properly.
The key here is trust. By making Rin feel ashamed of his powers and who he is, he’s forced to live in fear of his own abilities. But when his friends look right at his pointy ears and say “this is who you are, and we love you anyways”, he is able to embrace his own powers and learn to control them. Confronting his fears is better than avoiding them. It’s a nice story of acceptance, and now it makes sense why Rin was only able to draw his sword when he thought about Bon believing in him, as opposed to a dire moment where someone was about to die (which is how it usually goes for unleashing hidden powers in anime).
It’s really satisfying to see everyone congratulate Rin afterwards like a big, happy family. Even the Myoda monks who might be harder to convince are pleased with Rin. The only person who doesn’t greet Rin with a smile is his brother, Yukio. Not surprisingly, Yukio is pissed off that Rin is flaunting his powers again when he’s already so close to being sentenced to death (actually…he kind of already was). He’s also just straight-up shook from his confrontation with Todo, who preyed on his hidden hatred for Rin. It’s like he’s been rubbed raw and his emotions are all pouring out now.
Rin does manage to break through to him though, at least a little. Rin accepts his heritage, his powers, and the risk that comes with it all. All that’s left is for Yukio to share that level of trust. But that’s hard, because Yukio is against demons and resents sacrificing his childhood to protect Rin. When his eyes flash blue and he almost awakens some demonic powers, he immediately turns to denial. Instead of considering the fact that he may be susceptible to possession or could have some sleeping demon abilities inside of him, he dismisses it entirely. It’s the opposite of what Rin is doing now with his powers.
I’d be pretty creeped out too
Next episode looks like a big ‘ol heart-to-heart talk between the two brothers, as they have a looooottttt of stuff to resolve. Mostly on Yukio’s end. He really needs to debrief after all the dark seeds Todo planted in his mind. I’m pretty convinced he’ll come back some day to see how deeply those seeds have taken root.
I don’t think the next episode will be quite as thrilling, but it feels like a necessary part of this arc, so I don’t mind. It’s not just there to kill time. Rin and Yukio haven’t had much time to talk other than yelling at each other a couple of times. I don’t think Yukio will resolve all his negative feelings for Rin in one episode, but at least he can quell some of his doubts for now.