Ayakashi Ayashi – 11
-Ogasawara and Yuki sneak into a temple where there is a rokurokubi who happens to be the chief priest. Inside, they find a youi body without a head that’s been tied down with steel wire to the bed. As Ogasawara starts cutting the wire with his sword, Yuki sees the head returning and is forced to wrestle with it. Ogasawara is shocked to hear Yuki suggest attempting to bring out Ogasawara’s Ayagami, but then hurries up cutting the wire and throws the body out of the building. By moving the body, the youi dies because it can’t return to its origin.
-At the hotel bath, Ogasawara is scheduling the youi they have to take care of, causing Yuki to wonder how many of them there are on this road. Referring to his book, Ogasawara starts listing off youi like kappa, unagi and other water mysteries, raijuu, and chagama. Yuki thinks that they’re being too thorough and that there should be youi they can just leave alone without worrying about bad things. Ogasawara, however, reminds him that it’s their duty to sweep through here before the shogun comes through next month.
-They run into Honjou and Hanai who claim to be on the same mission, so they’d all of course be at the same hotel. When Ogasawara makes it clear that the Ayashi are going after youi, not scoundrels and fumin as it’s officially listed, Honjou says that he and Hanai are also trying to refine their youi hunting skills.
-Hanai asks Yuki if he’s heard a rumor about a stone that people get sick if they sit down on.
-Before bed that night, Yuki wonders if Kanou is going after Honjou, but Ogasawara claims that the names are different. Yuki feels that Honjou is planning something under Torii, but Ogasawara reminds him that they are subordinates of the southern magistrate, and that’s not someone Kanou should get involved with.
-Somewhere in a hot springs, Matsue Sote gets in the water where several shells are hatching new youi.
-Saizou comes running to Atl and Kumoshichi with a note and is embarrassed because it was in the form of a love letter. Atl had just wanted to tell Saizou something and had had a prostitute write the letter for a man. Between Saizou, Atl, and Kumoshichi, they figure out that Yuki must have gone with Ogasawara to Nikkou, and the horse senses something bad gathering there. Atl decides to go after Yuki to bring him back, so Saizou decides to come too, though she dresses as a woman because there’s a checkpoint along the way. Normally to travel, they need a note, but they’re acting as traveling performers who don’t need one.
-Kanou spots Honjou and Hanai along the road and follows them into the woods. He loses sight of them, but then encounters a government official with his back turned. This man warns Kanou not to walk alone around here because of monsters, but when the man turns around, Kanou sees that he is the monster with a huge face stretching down his body. Kanou runs in fear all the way until he encounters a house and a woman who also has her back turned to him. In her presence, Kanou tries to laugh off what he just saw as not being possible, though the woman asks what kind of monster it was.
-Right at that moment, Yuki runs in with his broadax and kills the woman with a swing to her back. When Ogasawara comes onto the scene, Kanou demands to know why Yuki just killed an innocent woman. Ogasawara, however, points out that the woman’s face was that of a monster, just like the man Kanou ran away from. Kanou can’t understand how Ogasawara can believe this is a monster given how Ogasawara used to say that everything can be explained with arithmetic and astronomy when they were studying western learning together. Ogasawara, however, wonders how the Dutch would explain this.
-The group hears Honjou and Hanai nearby, but Ogasawara elbows Kanou onto the ground before Kanou can act against them. Ogasawara thinks that as long as Kanou’s teacher Takashima is still alive in prison, Kanou shouldn’t try to avenge him.
-They are approached by Matsue Sote and a contingent of her youi allies – the same ones that hatched in the hot springs. As Kanou slips away, Ogasawara points Matsue in Honjou’s direction. After Matsue and the youi go on their way, Yuki notes how he doesn’t like that the magistrate that’s supposed to take down youi is also using youi. Ogasawara feels that they shouldn’t be concerned about those guys.
-Hanai and Honjou arrive at the rock that Hanai had mentioned to Yuki earlier and chip off a glowing fragment. Matsue catches up with them, but her youi start reacting with loud cries to the fragment, so Hanai tells her not to bring them close.
-Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched by a group of masked men in yellow robes wearing black eboshi caps.
-In town, Yuki asks if Ogasawara has decided to protect Honjou. Ogasawara says that this was his duty as a warrior from the beginning, but if Kanou is after revenge, that’s a warrior’s duty too.
-They then spot Honjou and the others, allowing Ogasawara a chance to ask Honjou about being in Nagasaki a year ago and taking part in the arrest of Takashima Shuuhan. Honjou explains that Takashima’s home had a large quantity of weapons, making them suspicious of a rebellion. Plus, the one who had arrested Takashima was Ogasawara’s foster father.
-Yuki heard Honjou mention something about escaping from the prison of the Bansha thanks to Torii’s kindness and asks Ogasawara about it, but Ogasawara claims that it’s a lie. Yuki then asks if Ogasawara is protecting Honjou because of that kindness, but Ogasawara changes the subject to legend of the eel monster of the nearby river.
-An old man, who had been sitting nearby and listening in on everything, suddenly starts speaking to Yuki. He explains that four years ago, well known scholars and doctors were arrested one after another, though they were only caught by studying Western knowledge. This was the prison of the Bansha. Ogasawara Houzaburou, who was known by Shiroyama Houzaburou back then, was arrested too, but Ogasawara Mitsugu, who was under Torii, decided to adopt him, allowing Ogasawara to escape prison.
-After two bodyguards come looking for the old man, Yuki realizes that he was talking to one of the roujuu, Doi Ooinokami Toshitsura, the same man whose procession they were following earlier.
-A odd looking man approaches Ogasawara and wonders if he’s fishing. The man explains that there is a large unagi called Nushi who protects this river, but Ogasawara figures out who the man is and draws his sword. When a wave of eel comes out of the man’s head, Ogasawara is able to cut them all down. A huge eel suddenly emerges from the river.
-In town, a group of men approach Hanai and take the fragment of what they call the Killing Stone. Matsue sends her youi to deal with them, but the men are able to use their hands to repel the youi. One of them even throws ofuda at the youi, causing them all to scream. Matsue attacks the men with a dagger, but then they change back into their yellow garb.
-Ogasawara unsuccessfully tries to take on the huge eel, and Yuki eventually joins the fight by charging the riverbank and using his Ayagami powers to bring out a the character for flow. It causes the water to surround the youi and squeeze it to death. Afterwards, Ogasawara explains that the character for flow has the meaning of suppressing evil gods at the height of death. During this time, Kanou had come running and is now amazed to see all the youi meat in the river.
-Honjou arrives to help Hanai and Matsue, but he accidentally slashes the pouch that holds the stone fragment. The dust from the fragment causes Matsue’s youi to go wild and run out the room. Before disappearing, the head thief says that youi who remember the taste of other youi will want it even more.
-Matsue’s youi head for the river and start eating the youi meat. When Yuki tries to tell them that it’s his meat, they begin chasing him. By chance, Atl, Saizou, and Kumoshichi are nearby and come to Yuki’s aid. Yuki gets on Kumoshichi and the group rides away.
-Holy crap, they actually made an episode of Ayakashi Ayashi that was exciting almost the entire way through. My expectations have been lowered so much that I was quite impressed by the better pacing. A healthy dose of action sure does a lot for this show.
-Tons of youi this week, pretty much all of them really ugly. But then again, I don’t expect them to be pretty.
-I tend to consider Honjou and company the bad guys, yet these masked men appear and also seem to be bad guys. I almost started rooting for them instead of Honjou.
-From the preview, next week’s episode looks as interesting as this one, which is a good sign.