-In Meiji Period Year 17 (1884), the famous artist Kawanabe Kyousai is painting a dragon when a foreigner named Condell asks him how he can draw it so realistically. Kawanabe’s answer is that to draw a picture of war, you need to go to town every day, find an argument, and observe it. Looking at the hands, the feet, and the head will allow you to draw close to what you see. Condell protests because although you can do this for people and scenery, Kawanabe is actually drawing a dragon, and such a monster can’t possibly be observed. To this, Kawanabe replies that he has indeed seen dragons and monsters; it was forty years ago.
-Going back to Tenpo Year 14, in the Yoshiwara district of Edo, 14-year-old Kawanabe Kyousai – who is still using his childhood name of Shuuzaburou – is drawing a dragon while several women congratulate him. Shuuzaburou explains that the occasion is that Tokugawa Ieyoshi went to Nikkou yesterday and took all of the top men with him. This means that there’s no one left in Edo right now to supervise the prohibition on luxuries.
-With the girls, Shuuzaburou passes by the room where the Ayashi group is staying. Saizou is uncomfortable being showered with attention and wants to leave, but Edo Genbatsu says that they have a vacation since the shogun has gone safely to Nikkou.
-Shuuzaburou encounters Tamahei, who the girls are weary of because he’s supposed on an investigation and gets to enter places for free. When Tamahei claims that he’s really on an investigation into the Ayashi, Shuuzaburou’s intrigued by the name and offers money for a prostitute in exchange for information.
-Tamahei recaps the Bansha Aratamesho group, starting with Ogasawara, then Edo Genbatsu, Abi, Saizou, Yuki, and finally ends with Torii’s group.
-Shuuzaburou asks Tamahei what he thinks the true purpose is of a gathering of such hooligans in the Bansha Aratamesho. Tamahei admits that it’s to get rid of monsters, but then tries to dismiss it as a ridiculous story. However, Shuuzaburou claims that he’s seen monsters. He had been in Nikkou when Yuki and Kumoshichi combined into the Haku and watched as it ripped apart the Baku.
-After paying Tamahei, Shuuzaburou meets with Atl and figures out that she has a blend of foreign blood. He recalls that his first master often said that if everything is not felt, then genuineness cannot be drawn – especially women. However, he’s never seen as a beautiful woman as Atl before, and draws her. Shuuzaburou signs it with the Kawanabe Kyousai name and explains that when he can become independent, this is the name he’d like to use.
ED2: 「愛という言葉」 (Ai Toiu Kotoba) by 紗希 (Saki)
Watch the ED! Mirror 1 Mirror 2 (26.5MB, XviD)
Well, I’ll give them a ton of credit: if I saw just the new OP and ED sequences, I’d think this series would be an awesome show – a worthy successor of Blood+. Even though I didn’t like either the new opening or ending songs all that much, those animations made enough of a good impression.
-It’s just a shame that the new OP and ED got me all excited for the show, yet this episode turned out to be mostly recap.
-Saizou remains the comedic relief. The preview would seem to suggest that she will be next episode too.
-On the plus side, it looks like we’re getting a new permanent character in Kawanabe Kyousai, who is a real person in Japanese art history. The episode and the new OP sequence also seem to imply that Atl will play a large role in the upcoming story. And that’s not even counting the fact that the entire ED is devoted to her and Yukiwa/Kumoshichi.
-Random trivia: the 14 year-old form of Kawanabe (aka. Shuuzaburou) is voiced by Takayama Minami, who is the vocalist for the duo TWO-MIX.