Mokke – 10
Mizuki reflects one day that living in the peaceful rural town of Kounominechou is far superior to the lifestyle of major cities, especially Tokyo. She finds Shizuru and her friends and proceeds to join them, but stops herself as she hears Fumi and Aki discuss the merits of living in Tokyo; Mizuki looks mortified to hear her sister say that Tokyo itself isn’t that bad, and how it might be a pleasant experience to leave the countryside once in a while.
As Mizuki walks back home, she passes by a group of Jizo statues and she suddenly feels a sensation of getting trapped. Mizuki cautiously analyzes the situation, and regretfully tells herself that she has attracted the unnecessary attention of a thick, blob-like youkai which has stopped Mizuki from moving. She is freed from this predicament, though, as she feels wind around her and the youkai releases her from its grip. It turns out that a kamaitachi, or a sickle weasel, has helped Mizuki – this particular kamaitachi is an old acquaintance of hers. The two had met previously in the summer, and he had promised to visit her again sometime in the winter.
Mizuki is greeted by the weasel again the next day, by an underwhelming display of speed and wind. The weasel’s henchman, another kamaitachi, also shows up in Mizuki’s presence (note that Mizuki can’t actually see either youkai, although she can feel and hear them). Surprised but impressed that he actually has a subordinate, Mizuki requests the “boss” kamaitachi to try cutting down the fruit of a nearby tree with its abilities. The weasel completely fails in its attempt however – the most it can do is form winds around the tree, causing it to sway violently. Irritated, the boss weasel disappears for the day, leaving Mizuki with its underling.
The other kamaitachi explains to Mizuki where they first obtained their abilities; he also tells her that all the sickle weasels are no longer able to create sickles like their name suggests and ride on devastating gusts of wind like before. He discloses to Mizuki that the kamaitachi in general have ceased to live in groups, which may be part of the reason why they are unable to skillfully ride on the wind like they used to (he also mentions how other supernatural creatures such as the fox and raccoon dog are in a similar situation).
That night, a wildfire breaks out in Kounominechou – Shizuru mentions that weasels often serve as an omen to fires. Mizuki tells this bit of information to the two kamaitachi the next day, which appears to be something the weasels have actually done in previous generations, but not anymore. She compares them to a similar spirit, the " target="_blank">izuna, but the rasher weasel of the pair isn’t too fond of this comparison.
While Mizuki’s time with the weasels increases, she unfortunately starts to spend less time with Shizuru. She has offered to bring her big sister to go and visit the kamaitachi, but Shizuru declines – she promised to go out somewhere with Fumi instead. With no other choice, she hangs around the two youkai by herself again. Still saddened by what she perceives to be increasing distance between her and her sister, she compares her situation to the itachis, who no live in communities and cannot fully master their control of the wind. The boss itachi does not appreciate these words of sympathy; he storms off in anger and flies off, with the other weasel hurriedly following suit.
The sickle weasels have stopped appearing before Mizuki, which Shizuru is sad to hear. As a consequence of no longer having the kamaitachi by her side, though, has brought the same blob youkai back again. It’s far more malevolent this time around, and succeeds in physically overwhelming Mizuki with Shizuru being unable to stop it. With no one else to help – along with words of encouragement from his associate – the " target="_blank">kamaitachi leader comes out of hiding. This time he is able to form sharp sickles out its claws and shred the shadowy spirit. Pleased with himself, the weasel appears one last time before Mizuki and also to Shizuru before cackling into the sky. Later on in the evening, the two sisters have a heartfelt discussion on being alone and apart from one another. Mizuki reflects that the experiences in the countryside have helped her from being too dependent on her sister; she feels that she will be able to live by herself in the future despite her affinity with the supernatural.
This episode had potential, although it succumbed to awkward timing and direction near the end that it didn’t quite become as magical as I expected it to be. It would have been nice if the kamaitachis’ final display of their powers before the two sisters weren’t as cheesy, and the inclusion of the OP for that entire sequence didn’t help one bit. As with the fourth episode of Mokke, I really don’t understand why the staff can’t use any of the other BGM’s, especially when so many of it cleverly features the taiko drum and similar instruments that really fits the mood of the show.
What I did like, however, is the idea of the increasing isolation between the sickle weasels and other youkai of the same species (if you can call it species, anyway), and how this affects their overall psyche and ability. It has a lot of connection with Mokke’s primary goal of showing the balance and harmony between the human world and that of the youkai, and it’s always interesting to see the concepts being put to display on an individual level. I also chuckled at the kamaitachi’s contempt for the playful izuna, another spirit Mizuki befriended.
Next time: An episode centered on New Year’s festivities, which both " target="_blank">humans and spirits celebrate with enthusiasm. We also get to see Mizuki develop a green shimmer on her left eye for reasons unknown.