「京都より」 (Kyoto Yori)
“From Kyoto”

“From Kyoto” was an episode that set the tone for what I believe will be this entire arc. Loss, solitude, mysteries and powers beyond our imagination. With the near extinction of a bunch of divisions from the Tokyo Devil Hunters, we’re left with sole survivors: Denji, Power, Aki, Kobeni and Madoka. After the fearsome display of powers by Makima-san we’re left with more questions than answers. Who is she really? What kind of devils does she have contracts with? And what is it that she truly seeks? A part of me thought it was slightly cheating that she gets to sacrifice other people in order to do those long-distance kills. But oh, well. 

Taking everyone in by surprise was our underdog and unexpected hero: Kobeni-chan, who displayed physical prowess beyond what we’ve seen from the humans so far. If she can do that without a devil, just what kind of devil does she have a contract with?! 

As Madoka-san turns in his resignation letter, we’re let in the fact that maybe this entire operation was planned by Makima. None of the deaths and destruction that happened were a surprise. When I said back then that we’re actually going to see just how much Makima doesn’t care, this whole ordeal was the first confirmation. No hesitation, no remorse, no reluctance. Makima is ruthless and strategic: she made her play and everyone dealt with the aftermath of it.

「もっとボロボロ」 (Motto Boroboro)
“Bruised & Battered”

There were 3 things that really stood out to me in “Bruised & Battered.” The first one was the heavy use of apples as a metaphor. Aki wakes up in the hospital to Denji and Power being total gremlins over his basket of get well soon apples. Power wants all the apples for herself, Denji wants to eat them too. As the characters interact, the director makes it a point to emphasize the fruit. The doormats leave with all the apples, but on his way out, as an afterthought, Denji offers to leave Aki one of the apples––to which Aki doesn’t really respond or show any concern for. The following interaction is through our new cast members, Kurose (Kawanishi Kengo) and Tendou (Ueda Hitomi). After walking into Aki’s moment of grief, Kurose nonchalantly asks if he can have the apple sitting next to Aki. 

Now here’s the thing, I’ve noticed that most of the time Fujimoto’s metaphors are pretty much on your face, but there are times when they’re more obscure, delving more into the poetic realm rather than the explicit. And given his background as an artist, that makes sense. My personal impression is that the apple, in this case, is meant to represent compassion, empathy. And the point he’s making in these two scenes is that human compassion, condolence and empathy are very superficial and fleeting. That people only offer those when it’s convenient for them, or as an afterthought to their own lives. Not only that, even while you’re grieving, people will try to take that away from you [your grieving, your condolences, whatever compassion you’ve received]. Just out of their own nearsightedness and selfishness. “Sorry about your loss, by the way you have work to do. Oh, can I have this apple?” 

Another event related to apples and hospitals that makes me think my intuition is right on this one is a call back to when Denji defeated the Bat Devil (and his devil girlfriend, I can’t recall her name). The roles were reversed back then, Denji wakes up at the hospital and Aki’s carving bunnies out of apple slices (he most definitely bought himself). Out of all the characters we’ve seen Aki’s seems to be the most sensitive one. He feels guilt and shame towards his treatment of his brother, alongside his loss. He physically protected Denji when Kobeni tried to stab him in the hotel. And his initial distaste for Power and Denji seems to be transforming into something else. Himeno calls him a crybaby and indeed he breaks down after her death. 

When Denji’s in the hospital, he brings an apple for the boy, not for him. Sure, he plays around with it, saying he’ll only give it to Denji if the youngling starts listening to him, but the compassion was there from the beginning. Power wants all the apples to herself, Denji leaves one as an afterthought, Tendou doesn’t even acknowledge it and Kurose takes the last one. As a side note, I think Aki’s meant to represent this all around great guy. Like, he’s the quintessential hero of a story, but the joke’s in the fact we get Denji as a protagonist instead (no hate, I love that dumbass) but you get the gist. Speaking of, points to him though, because the only real kindness Aki does receive in this episode is when Denji comes back for his manga and hears Aki’s grieving cry and decides to give the older boy his privacy. I’m not here saying he did this intentionally thinking “Aki should have this moment to himself and I respect it.” It was more out of not wanting to deal with it, but it was a good display of restraint because if it were Power she would’ve just barged in. So yes, apples as a metaphor for compassion and empathy.

And on that note of feelings, inner thoughts and existential matters, we have Denji’s reflection about the nature of grief, relationships, the weight they carry and how much they impact us. These thoughts lead him to an internal conflict, which I found very meaningful.

Denji thinks about Pochita, and how he’s replaced his heart and wonders to himself, does he even have a heart at all? Is this indifference he feels towards others a result of what he’s been through or was he just always this way? “Do I not care? What does that mean about me? Am I just a shit person?” In this scene Denji’s trying to grapple what he feels and if there’s anything wrong with him because of the answers he has at this moment. I found this very human of him. 

I personally don’t think there are many stories in fiction that grapple that very well. Dostoevsky is brilliant at it, sharing these kinds of private, shadow aspects of our persona, the ones that feel uncomfortable but are also very honest, relieving in a way. G. R. R. Martin is a contemporary one who does that too. We are presented with a vision into our minds, of thoughts we’d never share with other people. It’s a quality of great writers.

I have to say, this inner experience of thoughts juxtaposed with interpersonal relationship dynamics and unfiltered violence is something I’ve been greatly enjoying about CSM. I’ve decided to pick up the manga as soon as I’m done with this article. Good way to end a Saturday if I say so myself.

Anywho. The last point that stood out to me happened with the delightful interactions featuring a character I’m sure everyone else also simps: Kishibe-san. The moment he said he was going to ask them questions I knew the unhinged doofuses were going to pass. Lo and behold. After all, the man said so himself: a good devil hunter is a crazy one. But Fujimoto’s real commentary was not about that. It was portrayed when Denji and Power decide, after being killed tons of times, that they’ll outwit Kishibe in a battle of intellect. They fail immediately. But not before they dress up “smart,” all adorable in glasses and even a different hairstyle for Power. “I feel smarter already.” Denji says to our amusement. We know these two characters are dumb as fuck, it’s part of their nature. But it’s undeniable that there exists a weird dissonance between when someone’s talking about physical attributes, or the ability to accomplish a physical task. We understand that certain attributes have to be developed over time. You can’t just “try really hard” to be fast and then you just get faster. You have to train at it, dedicate yourself to it. The same is understood about strength, it takes years to truly develop it. With physical attributes we understand that, but with intellect people seem to have this impression that everyone has equal value. And that’s not true. 

Of course, it’s possible to build intelligence as a trait over a long time, at least functional intelligence. But how many times have we not seen this behavior replicated elsewhere? The average person’s view of intelligence––or even some other attribute––is but a mere expression, an affectation, an outward garb. Fujimoto makes a commentary on how people, instead of actually developing a trait, only really want to look the part to feel the part. Mime the gestures, and later on I’ll figure it out. Sure, let’s see where that’ll end. 


Sorry about the delay guys (and any grammatical mistakes, I’m not editing this one, I hope it turned out well hahaha I don’t even want to re-read it) *runs away*. Christmas is a crazy time for hospitality and I’m developing a website and branding project at the same time (not counting my regular clients I do graphic design work for). I only had time to sit down and write today :~

ED9 Sequence

ED9: 「Deep Down」 by Aimer

ED10 Sequence

ED10: 「Dogland」 by People 1


  1. Good luck with your projects
    About the apple, I don’t think that guy took it, it was still there after they left. The future devil is going to want that fruit as a price, haha
    And something I read on reddit, at one point it looked like Aki had a choice between apple and smokes, and he made the unhealthy choice once more, going along with his choice to not quit and cling to revenge. I thought that’s what you were going to say as well when you started talking about apples but I liked your different interpretation (though I am not sure Power wanted them, I think she just wanted to take one from Denji).
    Also it would be cool if the future devil was a cacodemon or something hehe

    1. Hahahaha I think Power just wants everything. And certainly whatever it is that Denji’s having. Hm… even if Kurose didn’t end up taking the apple (I genuinely don’t remember), my personal interpretation remains that it’s a metaphor for compassion.

      As the Redditor pointed out, at this point, Aki chooses the cigarette and to continue on his path rather than eat it/receive the sentiment. (Really cool detail they noticed). I’m glad you enjoyed the interpretation! Since this one was more poetic, there’s no correct answer unless Fujimoto says something (or we collect enough scenes to be able to get a surer sense).

      But when it comes to giving [compassion/empathy], Aki seems to be the only one capable/willing to do so. Denji’s somewhat there, but not fully since he gives it as an afterthought and not as an intentional act.

      I am so curious to see what the Future Devil wants to ask of him!

      And thanks for the well-wishes!

        1. Yes, certainly! I did go back and forth though (with myself), given the new set of information. Working out whether I still had the same impression. So, I ended up using the response as a sounding board––what an ambivert thing to do hehe ☺️

  2. So the entire circus had the goal of obtaining denji’s heart, and just when he is right there helpless and half dead, the two big badies decide to ditch it all and leave because a girl with a knife showed up? Really? Not even a serious attempt, especially after going through all that trouble?

    1. That looked like a pretty serious attempt to me. The Katana Man was already exhausted and then finished by Kobeni, and they were both terrified by Makima since before. We also don’t know for sure the nature of her contract with snake. If it accepts only nails as pay, then she has a limited number of uses before she runs out and it did not even scratch Kobeni when used against her.

      1. Yes, they also seemed pretty taken aback with Makima being alive, their operation seemed to be counting on that. So I think it was a combination of all these factors: them being pretty beat up, Makima’s long distance dial kills and an unknown powerful threat showing up (Kobeni).

      2. First, they saw that running away won’t save them from Makima’s power. Second, she should absolutely use a few more nails, it’s the entire point of the operation to grab Denji. And third, they ran away from a girl with a knife? They had information on the staff, they knew who they were and where they would be, there is no way they didn’t know she wasn’t a high ranking hunter. So after all that trouble they just run because of her?

  3. Well the idea that Makima-san planned it all out could be backed by the fact that she made the prisoners repeat the name of the person they’d kill before sacrificing them. This would imply she knew who the attackers were unless she has another devil contract that gives some form of omniscience or they were identified via off screen CCTV footage.

    As far as the apple metaphor goes is it not to say that Aki has literally given everything (short of 2 years of his lifespan) and at the end of it is left with nearly nothing that is then taken. Even then he’ll have to make an additional sacrifice to the future devil.

    Just a thought but as far as sacrifices to devils go I would assume one theory could be that devils ask what they lack from their contractor. For example Himeno’s devil was a ghost with no body so she asked for body parts. Aki’s curse sword is an object so isn’t alive so it asks for life. Power wants everything so she has everything from taking total possession. It also means the Denji’s sacrifice to Pochita is his dream that Pochita wants. The future devil when it took all the senses of a past contractor it would be cause it’s just an eye and has no mouth, ears etc. Perhaps Makima-san has found a loophole whereby she sacrifices others instead of herself but even then she’ll take mental damage with guilt or a lack of empathy.

    On the whole I consider humans psychologically much more broken than the devils on this show. Since I think devils are trying to complete themselves while humans are destroying themselves. Looking at Aki even if he completes his vengeance against gun devil there literally won’t be anything left of him at the end and it’s entirely possible all these sacrifices have been done in vain…

    1. Well I’ll be damned. I did not consider the possibility that the entire thing might’ve been staged from the start. I speculated that maybe she had a contract with some time of CCTV omniscient devil (given the amount of crows featured in the scenes, that they could be a form of how she could see long-distance). But it doesn’t explain how she had access to the names of the humans in the operation. I did wonder if somehow her ability was impossible to use on humans with devil contracts (long-distance kill). But now it could be that she just chose not to kill those two as a warning.

      I really like your devil sacrifice requirement theory! I wonder if devils can take feelings from people as well? We know they can take intangible things such as life force. Kobeni’s case got me thinking, physically it doesn’t seem like she’s given anything, and it would seem like lazy writing if Fujimoto just said she bargained her life force just like Aki. Could she have given away her courage, for example? Or hope, so the vessel/host is left always hopeless. I wonder how far he’ll go with the personifications of fear.

      Hmhm. He really doesn’t hold back on his commentaries about human behavior.

      1. My interpretation for the long range kill ability is it works on an equivalent exchange principle. So a human (i.e. a prisoner) can be exchanged for a human (an attacker). In the same way a devil contractor (one of the two remaining attackers) would need to be traded for another devil contractor (e.g. a devil hunter). One thing I’ll note is that there were two devil hunters that were blindfolded under the pretext that Makima-san’s contracts were classified. However as the prisoners were also blindfolded it’s possible that Makima-san was saving them as a potential sacrifice depending on how things progressed so if Kobeni had not arrived in time she would have been forced to sacrifice them too. Either way it’s still a bit suspicious that she had just the right number of sacrifices…

        As far as Kobeni’s devil contract goes I’d say it’s quite possible it’s an intangible thing but as her contracted devil hasn’t been confirmed it’s hard to speculate. It’s also hard to tell how the contract affected her since we don’t really see a pre-contract version of Kobeni. Only thing I know is that her parents said she had to become either a sex worker or devil hunter and she reluctantly chose the latter. If she has sacrificed an emotion or personality trait it would be quite hard to tell as she has a messed up background unless you assume it’s her memories that were changed or that she was lying. From a personality viewpoint I think Kobeni has massive trust issues as she has been sold by her parents and her new co-workers don’t seem to value her life much

  4. Nice take on the apple! I also agree on what Aki represents.

    What surprises me is how Denji is on the cusp of being someone like Aki, but that there’s a wall -probably unbreakable- that prevents Denji from crossing to the good guy side of things.

    His upbringing is what shaped him and he confirms it himself in his lack of empathy and attachment for Aki and everyone else. His brief introspection was a great moment.

    1. Thanks 💜 glad you enjoyed it!

      I’m curious to see what kind of person Denji will turn into. Fujimoto is excellent on the slow build, so I think it all rests on how far he intends to take the story. Nothing really feels rushed. If given enough opportunities I think Denji can make real connections, but for sure I believe he won’t ever be too similar to Aki.

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