「悪魔と喪失感」 (Akuma to Soushitsukan)
“Devil and Sense of Loss”
This time around, Arata fell very much to the wayside as it is Sakaki who took center stage, what with him finally finding a solid lead regarding his older sister’s disappearance. In order to further his progress, he actively put Arata in danger by asking him to convince Kohaku to meet with Sakaki so he could ask Huehuecoytl questions about the Another he’d borrowed the kidnapped girls in Toyama Park from. Thos girls, the ones who were used in Kohaku’s zombie ritual, have started waking up, and none of them have aged at all since they were taken, which means it’s possible that Sakaki’s sister is still alive after having been missing for so many years. Of course, whether that’s for the best is up for debate, since the brooding dark-haired Another with pale skin and black sand has been stealing their abilities in what seems to be an attempt to recreate a lost love…
And did I mention he has a three-headed dog?
What a time it is to be alive when Greek mythological gods and heroes are being reimagined as youkai in a series about civil servants. Seeing Pandora should have been a big enough hint that someone like Hades could be making an appearance – all the myths are real, after all – but I guess I just figured the Lord of the Underworld would have a tough time fitting mucking about in the mortal realm on his busy schedule. Actually, according to the legends, Hades was probably the least likely god to interfere in the affairs of men and by far the most reasonable when it came to making deals. This could mean that he would be open to speaking with Arata, but as this episode established, would that actually be a good thing?
Up until this point, Arata has been a passive protagonist. The difference between a passive protagonist and an active one is that while things happen to the former, the latter makes things happen, propelling the story forward and affecting change in those around them. Although he’s at the center of the narrative, Kohaku’s decision to tell Hades about Arata’s childhood friend was entirely unrelated to Arata himself. It came across as impersonal, Kohaku’s way of paying off the favor he owed Hades for letting him borrow those kidnapped girls. However, while I will admit Arata getting tossed around like a leaf on the wind has run its course, I will applaud this series for sticking to its guns. Usually, by now, Kohaku would have been tamed on some level, or else developed a sense of understandable morality, but he’s still the same amoral, fickle god he was at the beginning, even if he does like to lounge around Arata’s house in loose-fitting clothes and play with the nekomata.
Now all that brings me to one final question – Why does Arata have the Ears of Sand? If Seo is right and negotiating with the Anothers is impossible, then what purpose does Arata being able to speak their language serve? I’d like for this series to give Arata more chances to use his abilities to find solutions, which he’s undoubtedly taken a step in doing, ironically, by ignoring what Seo told him and confronting Kohaku after his friend’s kidnapping. Whether this proves to be more of a blessing or a curse, though, we’ll just have to wait and see. After all, just because Seimei was Kohaku’s friend in a past life, doesn’t mean the Coyote isn’t a trickster.