The old traveler starts preparing his meal by roasting potatoes by the campfire he started. He mentions how the trees of this forest around the Kameiwa Shrine were traditionally never cut down, since tengu were believed to have perched on them. Tarou curiously asks if the traveler is human, which he obviously is. He warns Tarou and Masayuki to not remain in their astral form for too long, or they would be unable to return to their physical bodies; the two depart, especially Masayuki who panics at the thought of being in his spiritual form for eternity.
Tarou temporarily wakes up from his OBE, and records his experiences on the tape recorder as he always does. He mentions his interest in talking to the traveler in person, and how he might be able to see his sister in the spirit world, the kakuriyo. He heads downstairs and spies on his mother praying before the family butsudan/altar of his deceased sister, Mizuka. Eyeing her with a reproachful gaze, he tiptoes back to his room and goes to bed.
(mewmew’s note: The white van we see in this episode with the megaphones and posters is a typical campaign strategy used by Japanese politicians, especially for those running for positions in local or prefectural offices.)
Makoto has skipped school once again, and as usual he is cooped up in his room playing the guitar. Satisfied for now, he leaves his room and instead enters the room that belonged to his father. He opens one of the drawers of the desk to pull out a photo from a while back. It shows his father as a young adult (he looks almost identical to Makoto), his mother, and a slightly chubby Yazaki Motoi – the same man now running for local office. Makoto looks considerably agitated, but cools down a bit as he leaves the room with an attendant of the Oogami household, Kabata. They pass by a grateful-looking woman who just visited Himeko. Himeko herself isn’t in top form, however – she is breathing heavily and takes what looks like medicine.
After a day of virtually zero interaction with anyone, Masayuki impulsively decides to try out the phobia exposure therapy on himself – he climbs over the fence of the rooftop of the school building. Masayuki is virtually a step away from falling down, but appears calm enough; that is, until a strong gust blows from below and leaves him clinging to the fence for dear life. Makoto, meanwhile, has chosen to take a walk and comes face to face with the van campaigning for Yazaki Motoi. He stares right into the politician through the van’s windows, although Yazaki does not seem to recognize him and instead mutters, “Who is that brat?”
Keen to meet the traveler in person, Tarou has entered the Kameiwa grounds again. He discovers the campsite the old man had used the night before, although the campfire has been put out and any traces of the man have long disappeared. With no other clue to rely on, Tarou makes his way back to the shrine and comes into contact with Takahito. Takahito shows a remarkable level of interest in Tarou’s conversation with the homeless wanderer; he mutters if Kameiwa could possibly be an ancient site or ruins and leaves Tarou.
Narcolepsy strikes Tarou as he departs from the Kameiwa Shrine, and he slumbers on the steps leading to the shrine. Miyako, who just returned from shopping, coincidentally sees Tarou’s soul leaving. She takes a look at Tarou’s body before continuing to walk up the steps to the shrine. Tarou’s soul quickly returns to its body as he sees Miyako (or rather, forcefully crashes into it), but not before seeing a dimensional rift in the sky.
Still dizzy, Tarou wakes up – he walks forward to talk to Miyako, although he loses his balance and violently slams into the stone steps of the shrine. Miyako and Takahiko immediately contact the ambulance, and Tarou is sent to Kumada General Hospital (Suiten doesn’t have a proper facility for neurology and sophisticated medical equipment).
Tarou has regained consciousness, but the staff of the Kumada Hospital begins a series of tests to ensure that he has not suffered internal bleeding or brain damage. Tarou’s parents, Komori Ryoya and Komori Miki, have entered the hospital while Tarou has his CT scan – Miki appears to be a step away from a panic attack.
The neurologist who treated Tarou, Ootori Reika, greets the Komoris and reassures them that their son is fine and only has minor injuries. This neurologist happens to be Takahito’s auditing student back in college, and the same person Takahito was talking to the previous episode about Miyako’s mental health. Miyako of course knows this (she did eavesdrop after all) and storms off from the building, peeved.
This episode was fairly standard for Ghost Hound. We are introduced to more characters, both of them being adults. I have no idea whatsoever as to how Yazaki Motoi will play a role in future episodes, although his connections to Makoto is undeniable – even if he couldn’t recognize him as the son of his deceased friend. Reika, on the other hand, is more likely than not going to butt into Miyako’s life and as the previews suggest, going to be a rival-of-sorts to Tarou’s psychologist, Hirata.
I also have to comment on Masayuki’s decision to practice phobia exposure on himself. I actually think Masayuki already has a firm grasp of conquering his fear of heights already; climbing over the rooftop fence and standing on the very edge of the school building just screamed suicidal to me, and I can’t comprehend why he will be foolish enough to be literally a step away from accidentally dying. Moving on, I have a feeling that Makoto will be pulled into all sorts of trouble now. Himeko is seriously sick, and Makoto made it clear that he doesn’t mind killing people…and since he despises his grandmother, I have no problems imagining Makoto murdering Himeko and further complicating his situation. It’s completely hypothetical, but with Makoto’s personality, I’d say it’s very possible.
Next time: Psychologist vs. neurologist! Hirata and Reika duke it out (?) for Tarou’s affection. Miyako talks more about Penfield and his Descartes-like claim that the soul is not connected to the brain. And if that isn’t enough, Tarou for some reason emerges inside his own brain (thoughts?), which just might make Ghost Hound a more confusing show from here on out.