Ayakashi Ayashi – 08
-Two men are walking through the ruins of a building after a fire in the theater district when one of them suddenly starts acting strange and gets a mask on his face.
-Arriving on the scene later, Saizou explains to Yuki and Abi that there used to be plenty of places to see plays, but they have all been destroyed because of the current reforms. Yuki wonders why she sounds so happy since he thinks that she should be angry with the reforms because of her own family’s theater background. Saizou, however, feels that these plays are fake and useless – they are a poison that confuses people.
-The group suddenly hears a woman scream and see her running towards them. She is running away from her old maid, who is armed with a pole and has a mask on. Yuki attempts to take the old lady’s mask off, but she instead swats him away. When Abi then succeeds in pulling it off, the woman turns to black smoke and disappears. Abi is then attacked from behind by the original woman, who has now also become masked.
-As Yuki tries to figure out if they’re up against a person or a youi, the group becomes surrounded by a spinning ring of glowing kitsune. Yuki’s tattoo suddenly starts to react and the Ayagami enter Abi’s chest. From it comes out the characters for sacred flame, followed by fire shooting out. This fire makes all of the kitsune stop spinning and run away, though one of them curls itself around the woman with the mask. Saizou proceeds to cut the kitsune, causing the woman to disappear in smoke, leaving behind only the mask and a piece of youi meat.
-Back at base, Abi is unable to crack the mask, so he tries boiling it. Saizou thinks that it’s not a kabuki mask, but a Noh one. She and Yuki then start arguing about what he did to Abi with the flames, but Ogasawara breaks them up and points out that Abi’s name means volcano in the Emishi language. When Edo Genbatsu wonders if Yuki is able draw out Ayagami from other people’s names, Saizou asks if such a filthy thing will be implanted in her too.
-With the mask not able to be cooked or eaten in any way, Yuki figures out that it’s not from a youi. In contrast, Edo Genbatsu interrupts them because of how delicious the kitsune meat is. Yuki concludes that the mask he was gnawing on was actually a person changed by the Youi, which causes him to throw up into the water.
-Saizou wants this job entrusted to her because she doesn’t want to be saved again by Yuki’s Ayagami.
-In town, Saizou runs into an old friend Gorouta. When he asks her which stage group she’s with right now, Saizou admits that she thinks going up on stage as a woman is a crime, and that she was forbidden by her father from doing so after she became 13 years old. What Saizou wants to know from Gorouta is who gave her name, and he tells her that it of course was her father Denemon.
-The pair encounters a group of women, one of whom smiles at Saizou as they pass by. Gorouta wonders if Saizou is acquainted with the Toyokawa troupe, but Saizou is not. He explains that they are do female plays, and since it’s not true kabuki, Saizou could join them. Saizou angrily tells him that those customers are only attracted by curiosity and then walks off.
-As she’s walking along the countryside road, Saizou runs into Atl carrying some water. After they return to the stable where Kumoshichi lives, Atl questions why Saizou doesn’t dress like a woman. Saizou explains that it’s from long ago where anyone other than a male couldn’t stand on the stage. Kumoshichi joins in on the conversation by stating that the rules state only a man could be a kabuki actor. Saizou is taken aback by how the horse can talk, but after she settles down, she says that with kabuki or a play, people cannot be happy if they yearn to dream. It’s just like the youi – a monster that confuses people.
-Returning to the ruins from the fire in the rain, Saizou is approached by a woman from the Toyokawa troupe. This woman invites Saizou to some shelter and Saizou goes along with her.
-Ogasawara is teaching Yuki about some background on the character hari (needle). He explains that in ancient times, if you violated a pledge, a tattoo was placed. A needle is used to implement the tattoo, and is included in the word for sin. The sai in Saizou’s name has the same meaning included in it. The sai is for pricking yourself with a needle and judging yourself. In other words, it was for showing a sinner. Therefore, Saizou doesn’t hate the Ayagami, she hates her own name.
-The Toyokawa women lure Saizou into a glowing theater, though Edo Genbatsu and Abi arrive on the scene at the same time, and all they see is Saizou entering a small hut. They try to go after her, but several magical carriages attack them. Edo Genbatsu destroys one with his gun, but two more combine into a bigger carriage that Abi has to bring down.
-Inside the hut, Saizou is looking at herself in a mirror when the woman appears behind her and touches her face. She asks Saizou to show her famous dance again, but Saizou refuses because thinks of herself as a sinner. Saizou knows that her name has the meaning of sin given to her by her father. She feels that she was a sinner from when she was born and yet she yearned to stand on the stage. The woman asks if yearning is a crime, to which Saizou responds that everything is an illusion that you cannot obtain.
-Saizou runs out and into a seemingly endless hallway until she finds herself on stage in front of a large audience. Saizou remembers that the government decreed that nothing real should be put on-stage, so the trees, the walls, and the roof are all fake. As the woman adds that the actors are fake too, they are surrounded by masked people pretending to be youi, Yuki, Abi, and Ogasawara. As part of the play, they command Saizou to dance, and so Saizou starts with the audience’s approval. However, partway through it, she notices that the audience now is filled with kitsune.
-Abi and Edo Genbatsu have meanwhile been under some spell accompanied by women until Yuki shows up on top of Kumoshichi.
-With Yuki’s appearance, the a sea of masks floats up and faces him. The woman reveals herself to be a kitsune youi, so Saizou draws her sword. The kitsune wonders if the sin covered Saizou can kill her, to which Saizou responds that she became an Ayashi to make up for her sins, to save confused people. The kitsune, however, calls that a lie and claims that Saizou only found a new stage. She thinks that Saizou is still yearning for a dazzling stage covered with lies and asks Saizou if her sins tasted delicious. Saizou dances because she wants to dance and eats because she wants to eat. As she says that there is nothing real on the stage, the kitsune kicks Saizou off.
-Yuki wants to use his Ayagami, but he gets surrounded by masks. Saizou tells him not to come forward because she knows that her father gave her the word sin. She doesn’t resist when a mask attaches itself to her face, leaving Yuki to face their enemy alone.
-I thought they had forgotten or omitted the OP for this episode, but then it showed up at the 10 minute mark, after the first half of the episode.
-Expressions like this really do make Edo Genbatsu look like a woman.
-I had expected something much different from Saizou’s story, not related to kabuki at all. I guess I’m more curious about her specific youi attracting dance. For me, it’s starting to feel like they’re using too much historical stuff and making the show overly complicated at parts. I think the parts about Saizou’s father naming her might have to do with him having wanted a son instead of a daughter who couldn’t perform. I’m still curious though where this goes and if we’ll get to see miko Saizou in the next episode. It seems that a lot of the exposition is now out of the way, so maybe next week will have a good deal of action, including Saizou fighting her own allies.