Ayakashi Ayashi – 10
-On that October day two years ago, Saizou had gone to tell her father about the fire, but found him holding Shinza lovingly in his arms. The fire eventually spread because of the wind and killed Saizou’s father. Shinza recalls that for a long time, Saizou had been the actor that her father had dreamt about.
-Using a flare from his gun, Edo Genbatsu signals Yuki and Abi that Saizou is coming and they quickly move to confront her. Saizou declares that she will destroy everything, with everything referring to all the illusions that are comparably evil to the other world that Yuki is familiar with. She wants all the performances that confuse people and all the stages filled with lies to disappear.
-After flinging away Abi, Saizou approaches Yuki who says that the mask clings onto minds that want to become someone else. In response, Saizou’s mask starts changing forms. Yuki tries to use his powers to see Saizou’s sin, causing her mask to bubble and expose part of her face. However, she resists and expels all the variations of the mask into the air around them.
-Ogasawara pays a visit to a pharmacy and presents them with something they call a dragon bone but he knows is a turtle shell with ancient writing on it. When the shop owner’s boy comments on how the writing looks like a person dancing, Ogasawara realizes something and buys all of the shells that the shop has.
-Outside the shop, Ogasawara runs into Torii’s subordinates Honjou and Matsue who announce they’re going with him towards Saizou. Someone yells out Moheiji behind them, but when Honjou and Matsue turn around, there’s no one there. After they move on, a man appears who believes that Honjou is really Honjou Moheiji and wonders why he’s with Shiroyama.
-Back in the battle against Saizou, Yuki recalls how Ogasawara said that the needle was stuck to the dragon character of his name, so he uses his Ayagami powers to draw out a whip-like tail from his head. He uses this weapon to pierce through all the masks around Saizou and returns them all to her face. Yuki knows that everyone has a lot of faces inside of themselves, and all of these belong to Saizou. The face she must choose is the adult one.
-These words cause the mask to fall off Saizou’s face. She recalls that this mask is her mask and admits that she felt her current self wasn’t real. This makes her wonder if these feelings made the mask into a youi. Saizou thinks that she sees dreams on the stage and can perform as other people – everyone wants someone other than themselves.
-The mask that fell off Saizou’s face disappears and a giant flying youi appears above the Ayashi group. All of them chase after it, but Yuki and Saizou are stopped on the road by Ogasawara, Honjou, and Matsue. Yuki tells them that Saizou has nothing more to do with this, but Ogasawara orders him to draw out Saizou’s Ayagami. Saizou admits that the sai part of her name shows her sin and feels that since she was the one who brought forth the youi, she’s willing to die to fulfill the responsibility. She had yearned to be someone else and was disgusted with herself. Just like the kitsune woman had said, Saizou became an Ayashi because she wanted to stand on a forbidden stage and dance magnificently. In response, Yuki reiterates that people don’t have only one face, so it is not necessary for her to choose between male and female or between yearning for or hating illusions. He believes that she has no sin, and so she allows him to draw out the Ayagami from her chest.
-The sai that appears surprisingly takes the form of a sword. Ogasawara steps in and explains that this is the ritual sword used to assist the king by the karou. Thus, the sai of Saizou does not show the needle of the tattoo, but rather has the meaning of “a trusted friend who supports the king.” This means that her father had expected her to lead a splendid existence supporting someone, even if she couldn’t have the leading part on stage.
-The youi approaches the part of town with all the playhouses and starts crashing into buildings. Although they attack it, Edo Genbatsu and Abi’s weapons have no effect on it. Yuki hands Saizou the sword and then attempts to attack with his own broadax, but that can’t hurt the youi either. Ogasawara yells for Saizou to smile and dance because the written character for smile shows the appearance of a woman dancing with her hands raised. Hearing this, Saizou takes the sword and performs a dance that impresses all the onlookers below. Thinking to herself, Saizou affirms that she is an Ayashi and doesn’t need any other masks. She jumps on the youi and stabs it with the sword, shattering it and destroying it.
-Afterwards, Saizou falls back in exhaustion into Yuki’s arms, but then hears the applause and cheers from everyone who had watched her. Abi suggests that the people all think it was some promotion for a play.
-At an Inari shrine, Toyokawa (the kitsune woman) wonders which of them will eat the next time they meet.
-The news of their impressive actions reaches the ears of Ogasawara’s superiors. They have a new job for Ogasawara, but he doesn’t tell Yuki or Abi much about it and goes off on his own somewhere for an alleged short visit. Abi suspects that Ogasawara is going to his old master’s place. This master studies the star’s movements, but Abi had heard that the guy got expelled.
-Ogasawara heads to the house of his teacher Uchida and goes inside, but is greeted by someone attacking him. The man stops short of slashing him and comments on how Shiroyama’s skills have stayed the same. The Shiroyama he’s referring to is actually another name for Ogasawara. Uchida shows up and calls off this man named Kanou. He wonders why Ogasawara who is the adopted son of a vassal to the shogun and Kanou who is on the path of the law would fight. When Ogasawara remembers that Kanou should be studying under Takashima Shuuhan in Nagasaki, Kanou reveals that his teacher had been arrested on suspicions of rebelling by none other than Honjou Moheiji – in other words, the same man that Kanou saw Ogasawara talking with earlier. Kanou accuses Torii, who hates the west, of ordering Honjou to trap Takashima. He also points out that the person presiding over the Nagasaki Magistrate at that time was Ogasawara’s foster father. Ogasawara tries to defend himself and his father, but then Uchida speaks up and says that Kanou is planning on killing Honjou. He thinks that Ogasawara should assist Kanou, but Kanou himself doesn’t want the weak Ogasawara’s help. However, Kanou does warn that if Ogasawara gets in the way, he’ll die first.
-At the playhouses, reconstruction work has begun on the damages. Shinza feels that Saizou will be bound to her father’s words indefinitely, but she now believes that she is both a man and a woman and can both hate and yearn for illusions.
-At the Ayashi base, Ogasawara explains that on the 13th of next month, the shogun will pay a shrine visit to Nikkou. But because the way there is insecure, they are being sent to destroy the youi. However, only Ogasawara is going along with Honjou, and the rest of the Ayashi are to stay behind to protect Edo.
-When Ogasawara leaves early the next morning, he finds Yuki waiting for him on the path out of town. Yuki had been listening in on the conversation between Ogasawara, Uchida, and Kanou earlier, so he thinks that Ogasawara is going to try to protect Honjou. Ogasawara insists that this has nothing to do with Yuki, but Yuki remembers that Ogasawara didn’t abandon Saizou. Thus, he won’t abandon Ogasawara either.
-Recalling something, Ogasawara draws a character in the dirt as he explains that a dancing girl smiles. When you take the character for woman and write it with the character for smile, it forms the character for Ayashi. The two men see this and have a good laugh about it.
-I’m not sure how much I like them moving into a new arc mid-episode. It seems like it’s taking away too much from Saizou’s arc because the focus has changed to Ogasawara. The fairly abrupt ending to Saizou’s arc makes the episode loses steam as it goes into exposition for Ogasawara’s arc. I do like how they tried to work it back to Saizou’s stuff with Ogasawara showing Yuki that smile + woman = Ayashi.
-I’m also not quite sure what to make of Saizou’s father. He does stuff like this, yet the whole naming Saizou thing makes him sound like not a bad guy.
-Next episode, Yuki and Ogasawara on the road.