Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I can’t think of a better way to summarize the episode. Actually, wait. “Keep your friends’ heads close and your enemies closer.” Yes, much better.
In this third episode, Inugami sends the three musketeers to meet with Inari, the woman we see him chatting to on the phone at the end of the previous episode. Something about the whole thing at the time seemed fishy but the purpose of this episode was to explain and unveil the nature of their relationship.
Inari Yoko (Hanazawa Kana) is a ‘superintendent’ at the Shinjuku Metropolitan Police headquarters, a title she most likely received after charming the entire police squad with her ‘residual aroma’. A single whiff of the woman and you’d do anything for her. The dynamic she created for herself within the police headquarters was very reminiscent of Fire Force’s Princess Hibana, smart, strong, crushing, and manipulative. She’s a kitsune like her trusted right hand Kon (Hanamori Yumiri), a young kemono who serves at the pleasure of her master. Positive reinforcement and praise are her only motivators. There’s not much yet in terms of their backstory together but Kon does perceive Inari as a motherly figure.
I’m not convinced that Inugami had to keep his intentions from his team. Whether or not they had known of the potential set up wouldn’t have affected the outcome. Inari was set on stealing the life stone. Aside from Kabane’s brutal and unexpected decapitation, the next best thing about the episode is Kon-chan. I’ve found my winter season crush.
I am curious to find out why there are so many canine references in the show. Inugami, as pointed out by Enzo earlier last week, directly translates to ‘dog spirit’ hence the tail. I was still trying to figure that one out. Kon is a kitsune (fox) lead by Inari, which is the name of a Japanese deity associated with foxes and general prosperity among other things. Both ‘mother and daughter’ are equipped with the ability to summon powerful and destructive illusions. So at the moment, I’m still perplexed as to whether Inari will be friend or foe. It’s no wonder the longstanding relationship between Inari and Inugami is strained. Foxes and dogs typically do not get along but can at times cohabitate and Inugami draws the parallel when he explains to Kabane that this ‘event’ was the two frienemies setting the boundaries of their territory. But hopefully, that will be the last Shiki, Akira, Kabane, and adorable Kon are used as pawns in this game of chess.
I don’t have much to say about this episode because it was pretty straightforward and introduced both Inari and Kon greatly. Hanazawa’s voice acting is screechingly annoying, befitting Inari’s demeanor exactly. And Kon, well, her character just speaks for itself (forever no flaw). However, I do have some unanswered questions. If Kon’s ability is an illusion, why did Shiki’s scar not leave after she was knocked out? Why are we two ‘missions’ in and have not seen Akira’s ability? I probably should rewatch it, but what about having the life stone means that kemono no longer have to live in peace with humans? That remains unclear.
I do feel a little deceived at the moment. The tone and mood from the first episode are what really drew me into the series so I do hope this returns in time after all key characters have been introduced. This isn’t to say that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed the last two episodes. This one especially because it had Kabane and Shiki working closely together to fight off Kon. However, the answer to my plea might have just walked through Monster/s door.