With the appearance of the second youi, Ota runs forward and throws his body out, but Yuki tackles him just in time to prevent him from being decapitated by the youi’s tail. That tail ends up wrapping around the first youi, and the two start fighting. With Yuki’s powers gone, Kumoshichi suggests that he run away. With his memories of the orange world with the fish and the bust, Yuki claims that he knows that scene before he gets up and leaves the battlefield. The two youi meanwhile simply disappear as one sits on top of the other and as both have inflicted damage to the other. By this time, Yuki has made his way back into town and is thinking about the monsters being after him when he suddenly falls through the log bridge and into the water below. Running out of air, Yuki is unable to get back out and wonders if he should rely on that power from that world now. He suddenly sees a light coming from above the logs and is somehow able to get back above water. He comes up right next to a boat with three people, the same group who was watching the battle earlier. After Yuki blacks out, their leader decides to have him, as the fifth Ayashi, taken to the Ogasawara mansion.
It is at the Ogasawara residence that a bound Yuki wakes up to the sound of Ota’s mother Tae calling out to him. She tells him that the monsters disappeared and that some strange people captured them. In the corner of this building, Yuki sees that Ota continues to dig in the dirt. Tae blames herself and Ota for what’s happened and claims that the youi isn’t a monster, but rather a mountain god. She recounts how their village had suffered from an awful famine and how Ota was to be sacrificed to their god. But when Ota started bawling, his father’s resolve wavered and he ran back to his son. The mountain god became angry and has been chasing after the sacrifice Ota. Yuki asks Ota about his father, but Ota just says that his father is scary. Tae then changes the subject and asks what Yuki is running away from. He admits that a long time ago, he saw a scene different from here and it’s been chasing him for a long time to bring him back. At this point, Saizou comes to take Yuki to go see Ogasawara Houzaburou, who wants Yuki to join them as Ayashi in fighting the youi. Yuki is more concerned about himself being a fumin, so Saizou asks if he wants to have his tattoos erased. In response, Yuki asks if she’s a woman. An embarrassed Saizou continues on, saying that if he became an Ayashi, he wouldn’t be a fumin and he wouldn’t have to run away anymore. When Yuki claims that he’s not running from being caught as a fumin, she then wonders if it’s actually from a different scene – the spirit world.
Before Yuki can answer, the group hears a loud rumbling coming from outside. The mountain god is here and has already destroyed much of the place. Yuki finds Tae lying on the ground and Ota standing nearby, determined to go somewhere. After Ota rushes off, Yuki sees that Saizou has already engaged with the youi. Houzaburou tells Yuki to fight with his Ayagami and explains that all things in nature have a name. Each name is represented by a character, and each character has a secret meaning. That is what Ayagami is, and Yuki is the only one who can bring that out. Yuki remembers how in his youth, he had seen those words floating around in his hands in that one trip into the wall scroll. However, he refuses to use it because it’s a power of the spirit world. Fortunately, they are saved when Edo Genbatsu and Abi show up with a portable cannon and land two hits directly on the youi. As the dust clears, they see that the mountain god has disappeared.
The next morning the Ayashi group decides to have the missing Ota be the decoy so that they can take care of the youi. Yukiatsu opposes the idea, so Abi questions if he’ll save the child. For this one time, Yuki decides to become an Ayashi. He joins Saizou in getting some food first and then looking for Ota. Saizou explains that the famine and the mountain god are to blame for this, so it’s not Ota or his parents’ fault. In her investigations, she found out three things. First, Ota had a sister who disappeared three years ago. Second, although the harvest wasn’t good last autumn, that village was able to produce some rice. Third, there was indeed a legend of the mountain god in Ota’s village, but it was only an old custom to take a child to the mountain in times of famine. This causes Yuki to have a revelation and to start running. He’s figured out that Ota returned to the garbage site, but blocking his way on a bridge is Kumoshichi. Yuki thinks that the child is himself, but Kumoshichi claims that it’s not – Ota only saw it by accident. Kumoshichi explains that many people see that scene in the spirit world when they are young, but only Yuki returned. That’s why he can use the Ayagami where the true name of anything is extracted.
Yuki continues on to the garbage field where the boy is digging again and says that he finally understands what Ota is looking for. Ota, in turn, asks why Yuki runs away from that scene since Ota personally wants to go there. Yuki has realized that Ota’s father didn’t sacrifice Ota to the mountain god because Ota’s father didn’t believe that the mountain god was there. It seems that back then, Ota had asked his father about his sister. His father had admitted that that time was useless – he had become queer and so rice and wheat no longer were any good. Ota had figured out that his father intended to eat him, and so he started crying loudly. It was at that point that the mountain god appeared and saved Ota from his father. Ota had seen the other world then and wants to go there because he feels that he doesn’t belong here. Saizou is now confused because this is the same place that Yuki was running away from, so Yuki clarifies that he had been in that scene before and had returned. Since then, no matter where he is or what he sees, Yuki wishes for the other world somewhere in his mind. Because of that, he lost his house and social position, and so he’s been running from this world. Ota thinks that it would be ok to go to the spirit world, but Yuki disagrees. He believes that people should still live in this world no matter how boring or painful it is. Saizou doesn’t trust his words and wonders if Yuki is really just trying to go to the other world. Yuki fervently denies it, but then the conversation gets interrupted by the appearance of the youi.
Rising up in front of the mountain god, Yuki asks why it’s chasing after Ota. Using its powers, the mountain god pulls him closer, causing Yuki much pain. Arriving on the scene, Genbatsu and Abi say that a mountain god who descends from a mountain cannot return to being a god any longer – something dragged the god down from the mountain. Remembering Kumoshichi’s words about him being able to extract true names from anything, Yuki draws on the power of the word chichi (father) because Ota’s father somehow became the youi and has been chasing Ota. From the character for father, Yuki forms a pair of scythe-shaped axes in the same shape, but he immediately takes the full force of a wave attack from the youi. Ota has had enough and now walks towards his youi father. Refusing to give the boy up, Yuki uses his powers to cut off one of the youi’s arms, and then charges the monster as he melds the two silver axes into a single, larger golden one. With all his strength in one leaping attack, Yuki manages to cleave the youi in half, causing it to dissolve into red bubbles. Yuki’s eyes widen as he sees these red bubbles accumulate on the ground into the red stuff that leads to the other world, but this time it’s Ota who tells him that he can’t go. When Ota wonders if it’ll be ok like this, Yuki thinks, with a smile, that it will be.
That was quite a bit more interesting than the first episode, with better pacing, some nice battles, and a few questions being answered. I was surprised that Ota’s father had become something of a cannibal, and had intended to eat his son. That’s why Ota found his father scary and after the father became the youi, that’s why he chased after them. Leading up to this had been Saizou’s three clues which had implied that something had happened to Ota’s sister, there had been food available in that village, and that they didn’t sacrifice children in times of famine. It all turned out to be an interesting little mystery that allows you to connect the dots at the end.
But of course a lot of things remain unanswered, like how exactly Ota’s father became the youi. Actually, the one I wonder most about is Kumoshichi’s identity. It’s clear from that bridge scene that only Yuki sees him, which means that either Kumoshichi is part of Yuki’s mind or that he’s some special being that others can’t see. Of course it’s still very early in this series and I’m sure that we’ll find out later, along with many other things.
This second episode has fortunately made up for some of the disappointment I experienced with the first episode, and I look forward to seeing where the story goes. Though the immediate mini-arc looks over, the preview shows that Ota is going to remain with the Ayashi group at least a little longer.