「琥珀の瞳のトリックスター」(Kohaku no Hitomi no Torikkusutaa)
“The Trickster with Amber Eyes”
Let me tell you a little about Chinese zombies.
Chinese zombies, or Jiang Shi, will jump around with their arms outstretched, and if they catch you, they will drain your life force, which is why they’re also called ‘Hopping Vampires.’ Those aren’t the types of zombies showcased in this week’s episode, since they bear a closer resemblance to traditional Western zombies with strings attached, but I wanted you to know what you’re missing.
The foreshadowing and attention to detail in this series is truly impressive, a fact which hadn’t truly come to my attention until this point. For one, eagle-eyed viewers would have spotted the news report on the missing school girls in the opening sequence, which came up again this episode when we found out exactly what happened to those missing girls. As it turns out, they were abducted by a demon, a ‘collector of humans,’ who gave the girls to Coyote (Toki Shunichi) so that he could power the kyoshi ritual with Yin energy.
Others may have noticed Sakaki’s book on missing girls cases, which I attributed to him looking for the girls who were made into the altar, but actually he’s looking for another girl, entirely – his sister. This develops his character in the sense that he now has a personal stake in these Another cases. That said, Arata had to be the government worker with the most development this episode. By rejecting Coyote’s train problem out of hand, he showed backbone, and an ability to think on his feet under stress, even without his seniors to guide him.
The train problem, by the way, goes like this: 5 people are tied to one side of the tracks and 1 person is tied to the other. You can’t stop the train, so you have to choose who to save. Arata, however, refused to follow the rules. While most would choose to save the majority by sacrificing one person, he chose to save all six by remembering the name Seimei gave to Coyote instead.
Back to the foreshadowing, Coyotes are often tricksters in Native American folklore, as foxes tend to be in Japanese myths. Kohaku mentioning these names as aliases lead directly into him being revealed as Huehuecoyotl, or Old Coyote, from Aztec beliefs. The references to and mixing of other cultures’ myths and legends and religions, each treated with a certain degree of respect, continue to make Occult a fascinating watching experience. Not even getting into how the onmyouji Seimei was apparently friends with an Aztec God, the allusions to names as a source of power could be alluding to Grimm tales such as Rumplestiltskin. It’s an interesting blend, which will only become more so as the series adds more to the pot. I’m certainly curious to know what they’re doing next, because now that the main threat has seemingly been neutralized, and the missing girls from the opening have been rescued, what else is there to do?
Slow down and take a relaxing tour around Kabukicho, I hope.
I guess trying to find another Tokyo Ravens equivalent sets up a false expectation for me. Looks like this show would be less onmyouji magic and more a regular guy navigating a supernatural world.
Though Tokyo Ravens had a very similar premise, it’s main characters were much younger than our quirky cast of civil servants. Most likely, the target audience for this series is a little older than that of Tokyo Ravens’, which is fine. It’s only been three episodes and Arata hasn’t discovered his full potential just yet, so chances are good it’ll either pick up down the line, kind of like how Tokyo Ravens did, or it’s saving its onmyouji magic for the finale.
This is the problem with Japanese spirits – as immortals, they have a tendency to make friends/enemies of a human in one time period, only to forget about them and return to remembering them several years later, when the “person” is now a descendant of the original, who may or may not have the same powers/relationships with spirits as their ancestor.
That was the core of the plot with Book of Friends, and I’m seeing it echoed with Occult. However, with the govt application test purposefully weeding out people with occult histories and/or beliefs, it seems Arata fell through the cracks. That he had such a powerful spiritual ancestor may be exactly what the govt test was meant to avoid; someone wants only secular approaches to dealing with Anothers. Arata may find himself in trouble in more ways than one if he is disrupting some govt official’s dream of eternal separation between civil servants and Anothers, no matter how beneficial a spiritual person can be to the job.
I’m starting to suspect reincarnation rather than descendant.
wow I did not expect a deity, Aztec mythos one even less…
but playful trickster deity that might wreak havoc just for fun…
a bit too much for civil servants paygrade…
They should absolutely get a raise
i hope it has something to do with the godzilla in kabukicho! or golden gai would be fun too
personally i love this mix: it’s got the american-gods vibe without the bloodthirsty gore, and there’s quite a few ways they could take the story. it also reminds me of s1 of kekkai sensen and might turn out to be the dark horse for this season