Ayakashi Ayashi – 09
-Edo Genbatsu and Abi rush into the room after Saizou has gotten the mask attached to her face. Edo draws his pistol at Toyokawa – the kitsune woman – and Abi gets Yuki to activate the sacred flame from within himself. Abi concentrates the flame on his weapon and fires it out by swinging, but it doesn’t hit any of the kitsune.
-Abi then tries to take off Saizou’s bubbling mask, but Yuki tells him not to. When the bubbling stops, the mask turns red and Saizou throws Abi over her shoulder, grabbing his weapon in the process.
-Toyokawa explains that the mask is Saizou’s.
-Saizou attacks Yuki with Abi’s spear, but he’s able to dodge it and make his way to Edo Genbatsu, who throws Yuki his gun. Yuki then points the gun at Saizou’s foot, but she blocks the shot with Abi’s spear. When Abi himself is surprised that Saizou is skilled in such a martial art, Toyokawa says that the mask grants desires of wanting to become something other than yourself. Yuki realizes that Toyokawa is to blame and shoots at her, but she instantly disappears.
-Saizou jumps away and onto the roof of the building. There, the mask turns back to white and then she leaves the scene. Toyokawa appears on the roof where Saizou was just standing and summons a horde of kitsune to surround the Ayashi group. When Abi wonders how many there are, Kumoshichi the horse speaks up and asks them if they know how many shrines to Inari the city of Edo has. In fact, Edo has countless Inari statues and shrines and when a person prays at one, a youi is given shape – the shape of a kitsune. This makes Abi realize that even if they defeated these kitsune, their numbers are endless.
-Toyokawa explains that they originally staged performances like man and committed some mischief. But then the mask came and they wanted to drive it away. Yuki wonders if she’s using Saizou for that, and Abi questions why the kitsune would go that far for a performance. Answering Abi, Toyokawa says that they’re only imitating humans – there is no reason. Edo Genbatsu doesn’t trust what she says, but he does admit that they have a good understanding of human language with a strange wisdom.
-Hearing this, Toyokawa goes into story mode and tells them about a priest who saw his pet cat eying a pigeon. He set the pigeon free, which caused the cat to say that it was a shame. The priest was very surprised at this and tried to get the cat to talk again. The cat explained that any cat that lives for 10 years can talk and a cat that lives for 14 years can do anything, though there are no cats that live that long. The priest concluded that his cat must have lived at least 10 years, but the cat denied it and further explained that a cat crossed with a kitsune can speak from birth. And then, after a while, the cat’s whereabouts became unknown.
-Toyokawa chooses the end of the performance to disappear along with all the other kitsune.
-Across town, a masked Saizou is dancing while leaping across rooftops.
-Yuki reports back to Ogasawara that there is no evidence that the kitsune are connected to the mask. Also, they can’t win against the kitsune because of how they are incarnations of Inari shrines. Abi starts to explain that Kumoshichi said this, but Yuki stops him because he wants to keep that private for a while. After Ogasawara and Edo Genbatsu leave to talk to their superior, Abi points out that Ogasawara already knows about the horse because he consented to giving it and Atl shelter. However, Yuki thinks that this is different from Ogasawara knowing that Kumoshichi’s soul is inside the horse.
-Ogasawara and Edo Genbatsu learn of many mysterious occurrences around town. Honjou and Torii also appear and think that Saizou’s dance is causing youi to react.
-Yuki and Abi visit an Inari shrine at Hibiya, present an offering, and summon Toyokawa. Because she appears instantly, they to comment on how fast it was and she reveals that because she a kitsune, she can appear at any Inari shrine. Yuki thinks that she can also talk to the other shrines and thus help them find Saizou. Toyokawa is reluctant because she finally drove off the mujina – the name of Saizou’s mask – so Yuki promises to defeat it and eat it.
-Agreeing to do it, Toyokawa changes back to her kitsune form and contacts the other shrines. With Yuki’s map, she points out each place Saizou is spotting, revealing a path towards Saruwaka, where the kabuki theaters are located.
-Back at base, Edo Genbatsu thinks that Saizou wants to get on stage, but Yuki feels that it’s just her running away from her crimes. Ogasawara doesn’t care about the reason and tells them to kill her because of the uproar her dancing is causing the youi in the city to go into an uproar. If they can’t deal with Saizou, Torii’s reputation will be crushed and at worst, the Ayashi group will be broken up. Yuki, however, refuses. He feels that they all gathered here without knowing the details of each others past, and all of them couldn’t be anything other than Ayashi. Yuki will figure out a way to save Saizou and rhetorically questions Ogasawara as to who it was who first fed Saizou youi meat.
-Ogasawara remembers that he had indeed been the one who fed Saizou that meat, though he had called it a rare fish at first. He then goes and finds in a box an old carapace with writing on top.
-With Saizou dancing through town, Kumoshichi’s skin suddenly turns into a scale-like form, but he soon changes back. He reveals to Atl that Saizou’s dance causes the youi to remember their past as gods.
-Yuki, Abi, and Edo Genbatsu arrive at a kabuki theater with tons of people milling around outside even though it’s raining. They meet Gorota and ask him if Saizou has a grudge against something around here and if so, what the reason is. Gorota doesn’t know, but thinks that someone else might. He sends them to a man named Shinzaburou who possesses a scar running up his neck and onto his face. Shinza, who used to be an actor, explains how Saizou’s father raised her like a boy and taught her to perform. However, Saizou gradually became a woman, so her father stopped letting her get on stage. He had wanted a son, and had proceeded to direct his love towards Shinza himself. But then there was the fire that scarred Shinza.
-This was the fire that Saizou set – the one that killed her father.
-Yuki seems to be bonding with Edo Genbatsu and Abi pretty well, but he’s still at odds with how Ogasawara is, particularly since Ogasawara wants them to kill Saizou. Ogasawara might follow orders too much and care too much about the political situation for Yuki’s tastes.
-Ogasawara is also like a drug dealer if you consider their semi-addiction to youi meat and how he introduced it to Saizou. But their eating of youi meat has always bothered me – there’s something wrong about eating your enemy.
-The preview makes it look like next week will conclude this Saizou arc. I wonder what’s next – another character focused arc or a big plot arc? My money’s on character arc, but I’m not sure who it’d be.