Ayakashi Ayashi – 06
-It was back when the Spanish and the Texans were at war with each other that a group of armed men had killed Atl’s family. Their goal had been a red tapestry that was hanging on the wall, but Atl had tried to protect it. The tapestry had suddenly started glowing and Atl was able to put her hands up to it.
-Back in the present, Atl reveals to the group that there is no word for akuma in her native language. The Spanish were the ones who called their god Diabloma. Yuki then questions if Kumoshichi is a youi, but Kumoshichi himself doesn’t know.
-Back when Yuki originally killed Shichiji, he had used his Ayagami powers to bring him back. The Shichiji in his arms disappeared and Kumoshichi appeared in front of him. Yuki had put his arm around Kumoshichi and the two continued off as if nothing had happened.
-Atl thinks that Yuki used his power of a different world to create someone that only he could see in order to escape his crime. Oshino then tries to dig where Shichiji’s corpse would be, but Yuki stops her, so she wails at him for the wasted years of her life. Atl suddenly grabs Saizou’s sword in an attempt to attack Kumoshichi again, but Yuki knocks it out of her hands. When he questions why she’s targeting him, Atl reveals that she’s been able to sense Kumoshichi for a long time since she came to Edo. This causes Yuki to vow that if Kumoshichi is a youi, he’ll kill him. Atl doesn’t feel that it’s enough and thinks that Yuki should to die as punishment too.
-Around this time, the southern town magistrate Torii Youzou has Atl’s horse brought in front of him. Torii knows that the horse is a god of a foreign country – the Aztecs from 300 years ago. He has his subordinate Honjou cut off one of his ally Youi’s heads, which causes the horse to go into a rage. It jumps up and starts spinning, turning into a yellow disk that flies off into the air.
-In response to what Atl said, Yuki says that he lives nevertheless. The group then sees the yellow disk which Kumoshichi calls a dragon.
-As Ogasawara and Edo Genbatsu are getting ready for battle at the Ayashi headquarters, the rest of the group is chasing the disk that Atl recognizes is Quetzal. They see a signal firework from Edo Genbatsu and run to the tower where he and Ogasawara are waiting. There, Saizou suits up in her miko outfit while Abi grabs his weapon.
-Atl explains that Quetzal is trying to return to the other world, so it’s desperately looking for an exit. But Atl does not seem to want Quetzalcoatl, the god of Mexico, to go.
-Watching Saizou’s dance from below, Torii suggests that it’s Ama-no-Uzume‘s dance from in front of the Ama-no-Iwato. Saizou is able to use this God’s Dance to attract youi.
-A large beam of light centered on Saizou’s dance forms and draws out Quetzalcoatl. Atl opens her arms to it and asks if it’s become tired while searching for their country, but the youi lunges at her with its mouth open. Yuki gets her out of the way, and the rest of the Ayashi group begin their attack. Quetzalcoatl lands in front of Yuki, so he once again uses his tattoo to bring out a broad ax to fight it with. However, he hesitates when he hears Atl call out to Quetzalcoatl, allowing the youi to grab Yuki’s ax in its teeth and destroy it. Quetzalcoatl then disappears into the sky.
-When Atl gets caught by Torii’s men, Ogasawara realizes that Torii himself is here and bows down to the magistrate. Under Ogasawara’s insistence, the group agrees to be tied up by Torii and taken to his place where they are placed under guard of one of Torii’s subordinates. However, Kumoshichi appears and catches the woman off guard, allowing Abi to knock her out. The group heads to the main house where Atl, who’s been knocked out with medicine, is lying on the ground in front of Torii, his men, and Ogasawara. Torii claims that she’s going to be the sacrifice to calm the snake youi and end the disturbance.
-Torii and Ogasawara explain that a long time ago, there was a group of people living across the ocean called the Aztecs or the Mexicas. But 320 years ago, Cortez and his forces destroyed their country and created Nueva España (New Spain). Atl is actually the descendant of the Mexicas. Opening her eyes, Atl herself tells the story of how her people had been forced in Nueva España to live a life lower than slaves. In order to search for a new place where they could live, the group eventually headed north. They had been attacked during the journey by a group of men on horses, but then had been saved by three different men with swords. Those three men called themselves samurai of a family from Japan. Atl had thus dreamt of Japan as a country where nature is overflowing with beauty and a place where gentleness and justice are protected. In contrast, the Texas that her people had moved to became embroiled in war. It was back then, when the tapestry had started to glow, that Quetzalcoatl had appeared. The horse had transformed into the serpent and slain all the men. Atl got herself incorporated with a show troupe and had come across the ocean by ship, though she had ridden Quetzalcoatl into Japan. However, she found that Japan wasn’t like she envisioned and just mentioning that you were a foreigner could get you killed. Atl knows that Quetzalcoatl now wants to return to the other world, and she wants to help carry that out.
-Yuki blames himself and the Ayashi group for what’s happened with the horse, but Torii thinks otherwise. He asks them if they know the reason why the Spanish destroyed the Aztecs. It seems that the Aztecs had a custom of taking out hearts from chosen people to dedicate to their god. The Spanish viewed this as a devilish act.
-Atl is content with being sacrificed to a god, but Yuki objects because he wants another chance to fight the youi since it’s his duty as Ayashi. He knows that a youi’s appearance is connected to a person’s feelings and questions whether a youi disappears if that person is killed. Social status, poverty, and prejudice are things created by man, but if you kill man, do those things also disappear? Is their job to be murderers? A heart that seeking somewhere not here…as he looks at Kumoshichi, Yuki feels that he cannot judge. The only thing he can do is to defeat the youi.
Alright, there are a few historical notes I have to get out of the way. First, I’m not entirely positive about the history behind this episode. From what my research has shown, the Spanish and the Texans never fought each other in the Tenpou period of time (1830-1844). It’s entirely possible that the Spanish they refer to at the beginning of the episode are actually Mexican. Second of all, Torii describes Saizou’s dance as the one used to bring out Amaterasu from the cave by Ama-no-Uzume. Those Wikipedia articles should shed some more light onto the subject (Japanese mythology). As a side note, the more I see Saizou in her miko outfit and doing that dance, the more I want to find out about her background. And finally, in light of all the Aztec background, I’ve opted to go with the spelling of Atl for the girl.
This episode actually surprised me with how much they explained about Atl and the back-story, and everything really started to make sense even with the large amounts of historical references. I hadn’t realized that the Quetzal that Atl called the horse was really Quetzalcoatl. I hadn’t been paying that close attention to the previous Aztec reference and hadn’t made the connection when it was made last episode. To say the least, I didn’t think that this story about youi would involve this type of foreign mythology at all.
Overall, this week’s episode manages to be a lot more interesting than what we’ve seen so far. I love watching Saizou dance, though I do wish the fights lasted a bit longer. I also liked hearing Yuki’s speech at the very end, which was of course made better by the intro parts of the ending song. Next week’s episode looks like it might be the conclusion of this arc, perhaps for both Quetzalcoatl and Kumoshichi.