At long last Ginji’s and Ranmaru’s backstory has been covered! And boy did it destroy me. MY EMOTIONS! My heart hurts so much for them. Ginji and Ranmaru were so small and precious, I just wanted to protect them from all the evil in the world! But most importantly, I want them to be happy and mend their battered relationship.
Ginji and Ranmaru of them were rescued and raised to be Guardian Beasts by Princess Iso, a noble ayakashi, and the last mermaid. She had miraculous power of foresight, which made her the Shrine Maiden of Guidance. She was the one who died 300 years ago when the ceremony failed. And as it turns out there was more to the story: The Ceremony failed because of a betrayal, making it impossible for them to prevent the disaster from happening. So Princess Iso sacrificed her life, shutting herself and the curse to the ruins to stop the disaster. Not long after that, Ougon-douji (who was still Tenjin-ya’s Mistress at the time), appeared before them, and built Orio-ya. In hopes it may be a new way to help protect the Southern Lands, the two of them decided to work with her.
However this is where Ginji and Ranmaru started to drift apart. Their realtionship had become strained with Ranmaru’s obsession of making the Southern Lands more prosperous by bringing more success to Orio-ya Inn. However his ruthless ways didn’t sit well with Ginji. The saddest thing about this is that Ranmaru is only doing this with good intentions, but he is driving everyone away, and his ungrateful nature isn’t going to get him to where he wants the region to be. So when Oodanna offered Ginji the opportunity to work at Tenjin-ya Inn, he accepted because he couldn’t bear being with Ranmaru anymore. And it’s such an unfortunate thing considering how close the two of them were in the past. But make no mistake, despite Ranmaru’s harsh attitude and how much he was hurt by Ginji leaving them, he still deeply cares about him, and vice versa. It was a beautiful yet terribly sad scene of seeing Ginji supporting Ranmaru who was so weak from the miasma, he couldn’t hold himself up. Truth to be told, I wouldn’t be surprised if what Ranmaru truly fears the most, is losing Ginji for once and for all.
This leads me to Aoi’s determination to bring Ginji back to Tenjin-ya. Although Aoi is a good girl, like everyone else she too has selfish wishes. For her, to return to Moonflower without Ginji is almost meaningless because the place wouldn’t be the same without him. She can’t bear the idea of losing her most trusted business partner, and precious friend. Just the idea of him choosing to remain at Orio-ya Inn even after the ceremony terrifies her. And what is more tragic, is how Moonflower has become an awkward subject between them, because she as much as she wants to press him about his decision and persuade him to return, it is something that can’t be properly discussed yet. It is really a complicated matter, because not only the Southern Lands is still Ginji home, but you could say Ranmaru experienced the same loss.
And we saw how it stung Ranmaru when she made that her condition to fetch the Mermaid Scale from the Ruins of the Dragon Palace by herself. He made a point of what if Ginji were to refuse, and Aoi honestly couldn’t give a good answer. Even though she said she would respect his decision, she doubted her ability to simply let it be without anymore fuss.
Which brings us to Aoi’s next Quest: Retrieve The Mermaid Scale from the Ruins of the Dragon Palace.
Due to the ruins being contaminated by the curse, it makes it incredibly dangerous for ayakashi to explore the the place. Both Ginji and Ranmaru were gravely wounded by the miasma. But because Aoi is Human, it shouldn’t affect her, making her an ideal candidate to get the job done. That being sad, I have no doubt in my mind despite the fact the place is a ruin and filled with miasma, there will surely still dangers lurking about.
And frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when Aoi accepted the mission. For a moment, as reckless as it sounds, I actually believed she was going to do this all alone. Luckily, Oodanna had dropped in and waited for her until the late afternoon, giving her the opportunity to talk to him about it.
But I think what I found to be the most astonishing was how Oodanna was completely chill about this. Seriously, it blew my mind. She was going to do this on her own, and yet he never made that an issue, nor even protested her decision. He is doing exactly as he promised, he will support her ambitions. In fact, the only thing that mattered to him was seeing she was uneasy about it, and tells her she won’t have to go alone, nor does she have to shoulder the hardships on her own.
AKSJDKASHDKAJSDHASD!!!! MY EMOTIONS. I can’t get over Oodanna just being there for her, supporting her like this. It just makes me fall for him even more! Actually now that I think about it, it’s a bit sad that this kind of interaction is such a rarity among fiction. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS GUY?! MORE OF THIS PLEASE!!!!!
With that said, I super excited to see Oodanna and Aoi embark on this quest together. I’d be lying if I said I am not a bit worried about the miasma part, but Oodanna claims he’ll be fine because he is the opposite of Ginji and Ranmaru, who are otherwise “sacred beings” so to speak. Honestly I am not completely sure what he meant by that, but I am going to go with the presumption it’s because he is an Ogre, he won’t be blighted as easily or at all for that matter.
Fluff and tragic backstories aside, there was one very pressing and worrisome matter today. Following up from the end of last week’s episode, we meet the devil himself: The Thunder-Beast Ayayashi Raiju. A powerful noble, ranked among the likes of Ougon-douji. He too knows about the curse and the ceremony, and is described as a cruel and twisted hedonist, and it would be in Aoi’s best interest to steer clear of him. (No Aoi, just because he plays the flute so beautifully doesn’t make him a nice guy).
It looks like my instincts were on point. This dude is going to be loads of trouble. No doubt about it. Based off his awful and cruel reputation, I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Oodanna do not get along, so messing with Aoi would be a great way to entertain himself. With that in mind, it could be Raiju is the villain that has been waiting to debut.
It will be interesting if turns out to be the case, because up until now, we have had a few antagonists here and there, Ougon-douji and Ranmaru and those daruma to name a few. However Kakuriyo has yet to introduce a true villain. A cruel and twisted character who won’t become soft and friendly after eating Aoi’s food. And Raiju fits the bill perfectly. There is an entirely different air about him, and it’s an ominous one. Frankly I am under the impression he is going to betray them. He strikes me as the type to interfere with the process for he own entertainment, especially since Aoi has been like this shining ray of hope who is gathering the treasures faster than Ranmaru and Ginji combined. The first indication to that, is the implied protection of the Tengu’s Secret Liquor. I say “implied” because I don’t know about you, but I am half expecting it to be stolen.
Last but not least, I definitely want to discuss a bit about Aoi’s Powers! This week we were also able to witness more of the extent of the kind of effect her cooking actually has on ayakashi. In fact it is a lot more incredible than I ever imagined. Ginji was blighted with impurities and just one snack she had made was able to heal him faster than the shrine itself. But should anyone, such as the likes of Raiju about Aoi’s powers, it certainly would make her a more prominent target. Which is why I am particularly concerned about Raiju’s interest in her.
I was also delighted to see how Ai is assisting Aoi. Even when she’s not needed to impersonate her, she continues to impersonate Aoi’s form (probably because she lacks a form of her Human form at the moment). Nonetheless, it is so cute and fun to see the two cooking together. It was also quite cool to see Ai doesn’t just stay in the necklace anymore, she will escort her as the ogre fire in the dark, but will hide when necessary. Actually I am a bit surprised she didn’t introduce Ai to Ginji, but I guess it worked out because we don’t exactly what Ranmaru to know about it. He might take it away from her. (Oh and even after Aoi helped him recover, Ranmaru continues to be an ungrateful ass to her!)
Overall this was yet another fantastic episode. Better yet, this was probably the most top notch animated episode to date. My favourite frames had to be the close up of the eyes, and Ginji’s and Ranmaru’s beastly forms. I am definitely hoping we will see more of this, since it will certain make up for the rather lacklustre quality during the first half of the series. Oh and yes, the gift Oodanna was talking about rewarding Aoi for her hard work, I wonder if it’s the blue cup he handed her the water with. It must be similarly made as the glass bowl he had previously gave her.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE! It is going to eat me alive not being able that I won’t be able to watch this as soon as it comes out because I won’t be available at the time to do so. So it’ll come out a bit later in the day then usual!