A lot happened this episode, but it’s more or less almost a mirror of events Aoi had to go through when she first arrived to the Hidden Realm.
The ceremony we heard of at the end of the first episode is finally brought into the spotlight, and is the the main reason why everyone is on the edge at Orio-ya, and why Ginji had to return in the first place. I don’t know what it is causing the tension between him and Ranmaru, but the two of them play an role for the Ceremony– whatever that is for. So regardless of what Aoi wanted, Ginji knew he had no choice to come back to Orio-ya, because he has a duty to fulfill.
Unlike her experience at Tenjin-ya, Aoi only has a limited amount of freedom to start of with. They threw her in a ‘fancy prison’, and had her locked up until with Chibi’s help, she was able to get the key and get out. Naturally she wasn’t able to make it far, but aside from Ginji, Hatori and Tokihiko and Taichi, the overall reception from Orio-ya’s Inn is straight up nasty. Hatori wasn’t kidding about how much Ranmaru despises Humans. No thanks to Shiro, he isn’t willing to give them any respect, and was extremely rough with Aoi, grabbing her wrists hard enough to leave a mark. If that wasn’t enough, Aoi is being picked on by the young hostess Nene, who also afflicted physical harm by stomping on her foot, causing her trip and injure her ankle. But Aoi is handling their onslaught better than most people, mainly because she had already gone through this when she first arrived at Tenjin-ya Inn. She is a tough girl, that’s for sure.
I joked about Matsuba smuggling Aoi out, but that’s not going to happen so as long as he remains on the island. In fact, it looks like he is going to be there for a while. Word has it that the fireworks event is not for another month. There is also the fact Aoi refuses to return without Ginji, because she considers him an important part of Moonflower, and if he isn’t there, it wouldn’t be the same.
But regardless what she and Ginji had planned to do, since Matsuba has requested Aoi to cook for him, it has been set into stone that Aoi won’t be able to return to the Tenjin-ya Inn until the ceremony is over. Ranmaru has also taken away her pin (I suspected this was going to happen), and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to destroy it in front of her out of spite at some point… He is such a brute to her, I don’t see him softening up any time soon.
That being said, it looks like the engagement pin will be replaced with a new bracelet that was highlighted in both the OP and ED. It is either a gift from Ginji (but I have my doubts because he takes the fact she is Oodanna’s bride-to-be very seriously), or Oodanna will give it to Aoi as a replacement when they finally reunite. I can’t imagine he will absent for the remaining of the arc. But as each ticking day goes by when he doesn’t show, Ranmaru’s words are something that is going to be on everyone’s mind: ‘If Oodanna loves her, he’ll rescue her.’
But like Aoi, we also know that it would be reckless for Oodanna to charge into Orio-ya inn to save her. The biggest problem is that without Ginji, who held the title as the Tenjin-ya’s ‘Young Master’, should Oodanna leave the Tenjin-ya Inn for a bit, aside from Akatsuki, Byakuya and the elderly woman who oversees the hostess department, they are lacking the necessary authority to run the place. So he needs to sort all of that out and figure out the best way to do it without causing a ruckus. Unless Ginji or Hatori have been able to reach him, I don’t think he knows that Ougon-douji has already departed to do business elsewhere. That being said, I have a feeling Oodanna will find a way to sneak in. I already have headcanons running through my head about it.
It is no surprise to see it is Matsuba who saves Aoi’s skin once again. Asking Ranmaru to have her cook for him not only grants her a place of ease, (since nobody had any intentions of letting her cook, and wanted to keep her confined), but also acts as a security net. Treat her badly, and he will raise havoc. That is also why she couldn’t tell him she was kidnapped, knowing fully well what he is capable of. (Actually now that I think of it, he probably would have destroyed the place). The last thing Aoi needs is another reason for the lot at Orio-ya to be hostile towards her. Poor Hatori though, looks like his reasons for wanting to stay off of Matsuba’s radar were legit. When his old man saw him, he had to run for it.
And as chaotic as this episode was, there were two important pieces of information that were shared:
- Ranmaru says Ginji can’t run from the curse of the land.
- It is said that marrying Humans can raise an ayakashi’s rank (why that is, we weren’t told).
The first one is an unexpected development. I am curious about the nature of the curse, and how Ginji is afflicted to it. But there is too little information about it right now, so we will have to wait a bit longer before we can really start speculating further.
The second point also surprised me: Humans, of all things supposedly can raise an Ayakashi rank. Nene neglected to explain why this is the case. If this turns out to be true, I can see this planting seeds of doubts in regards to whether or not Oodanna truly loves Aoi. Heck, even now – while I ship the two of them together, I am still trying to figure out if he were already in love, or is in the process of falling in love. Aoi on the other-hand, I still think she is unconsciously attracted to Ginji, but being away from Oodanna will certainly put her feelings towards him to the test, varying on how long it takes for him to finally show up again. It will be interesting to see if their seperation will make her a lot more conscious of her feelings towards him.
And finally, we have the glorious Opening!
After hearing the song last week, and seeing the lyrics, I was absolutely psyched when I found that Nano released an extended preview of the song, and I have been listening to it non-stop ever since. It is that good! However the Opening Sequence itself certainly left more to be desired, especially after the first one that blew me away.
Most noticeably was the dramatic change of the art-style. The first OP’s art-style was a lot… softer and higher quality so to speak. This one on the other-hand… was terribly disappointing. The presentation/sequence was awful, especially during the second half. I don’t mind the drastic change of the art-style to make the characters look a lot more rough and badass (and I have no problem with that), but it is apparent the drop of animation quality, inconsistent quality of the fire’s special effect that made it look beautiful in one frame, and cheap in another. But my biggest problem had to be the outrageously poor transitions during the later half. It felt disjointed, choppy, and incomplete. In fact, it looked as though they were trying to cram too many different things in all at once. That’s how big of a mess it was. I am curious to see whether or not they will polish it up in the weeks to come– and I hope they do, because eek… yeah. The song and the show deserves better.
But more importantly, some key pointers:
- They are teasing us more about Ginji = Mystery Ayakashi (‘Is what its light reveals a dream yet undreamt, an eternal illusion’ – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST TELL US WHO IT IS ALREADY! I still think it’s Oodanna… That’s why it’s driving me insane.)
- It looks like Ranmaru and Ginji may both be assuming their original forms at some point, and were close when they were small.
- Someone with tanned skin, yellow hair and eyes has their eye on Aoi (well this is interesting)
- Some aquatic woman is crying
The ED though was an entirely different story:
IT WAS DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!
If you are an Oodanna x Aoi fan like myself, the new ED is to die for. Oh my god, my heart. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted something like this, but the way Oodanna looked at her was just, MY HEART- HE LOOKS SO IN LOVE. And she was gorgeous standing in the sunset. Seriously the ED was just breathtaking. Honestly I was half expecting Ginji to show up right after this frame, but I was so happy to be wrong. Instead they took hands and watch the sunset together– excuse me I need a moment.
Overall, this episode was pretty intense. It turned out Hatori knew this was going to happen from the start, making it all the more important to have that meeting with Oodanna before Ginji were to be retrieved. He will do what he can help them return together, but given the circumstances, he won’t be able to do that anytime soon.
As for Ginji, I hope he properly explains to Aoi what is going on. There is little point to keep her in the dark when she is being dragged into the crossfire of whatever the hell is going on between him and Ranmaru. I hate it when characters keep obvious secrets to themselves for too long. It also didn’t help how Aoi also didn’t get the chance to confront him about possibly being the Mystery Ayakashi again. I didn’t expect her to be able to this week, but I have reached the point where I don’t want them to drag this out for too much longer. Was it him or not? Please give us a straight answer, because it is driving me insane.