「揺るる火」 (Yururu hi)
“Flickering Flame”

When will characters learn that if a creature is several orders of magnitude bigger than you are, bullets probably aren’t going to work on it-especially if they’re human-scale bullets? Dead bodies limp on the ground, the fortified trucks smashed to bits-you can feel the panic and terror of the characters fleeing what was supposed to be their protection.

The fire hunter alone appears unphased, it’s got to take guts of steel to stand your ground against a dragon deity-which unfortunately doesn’t end too well for the hunter, Benio, or most of the others for that matter.

What comes next, the placid voice narrating the luxury of boats in the city port serves a jarring contrast to the roaring hell that preceded it. Kira very politely explains to Hinako that when it comes to her father and his ostentatious boat, there’s no accounting for taste. This paints a very different portrait of life from the villages/forest. On the wealthy side of the city (as is always the case), things are a pleasure walk in the park. No need to worry about diseases- they can pay for doctors to alleviate them. No need to worry about poverty, curses, or horrific monsters- they’ve got so much time and money, they can fritter it away on lavish displays.

According to Yusoichi, the Spiders will target the divine palace. What the dragon deity did to the truck caravan left a bad taste, so I’d say let the Spiders have at them. Why should the humans get involved in something so dangerous and against the guys who might even get rid of the problematic deities for them? Are they really that much worse than the ruling clans or is that just what Yusoichi wants Koushi to think? I had already assumed that Japan was isolated from the rest of the world, but Koushi’s tutor confirms it. Convenient for the divine clans, I’d say-isolate Japan so it can’t band up with the rest of the world against the deities.

The problem-solving skills of the city dwellers is none too sharp. After expeditions to the same island reaped no results the first few times, you’d think they’d try and send the ship elsewhere. They don’t know of anywhere else, but that’s precisely when you set sail and explore. It’s what humanity used to do long before them (though unfortunately often to the detriment to the native people who lived there). I wouldn’t be surprised if the deities had something to do with that-convince the villagers they can go no further, trapping them in their clutches. The fancy boat show could be viewed as a strategic ploy. It effectively de-claws humans with this lavish ritual that uses up their time and money that might otherwise be spent on weapons or actually effective expeditions.

As an assistant to the divinely ordained occupation of fire-hunting, Kanata can communicate with the tree-folk-the first non-human beings to be friendly towards humans. According to the tree-folk, Kaho’s village is probably a village no more since the dragon “guardian” left it. Pretty rough news for a girl who was banished to protect it. In the tree folk’s hands, the trio recuperates, safe from the rampaging dragon.

The tree-folk are directly related to the city’s goddess and the guardians are supposedly docile unless someone sets them off. Unsurprisingly, the blame for that is laid at the Spiders’ feet. We have no solid proof yet that the Spiders were the ones who did it and the people know little about the Spiders other than “they’re bad”. The large gaps of knowledge makes me a little suspicious that this might be propaganda to benefit the divine clans of a city whose government is crumbling. In order to maintain a ruling class in turbulent times, you need a threat that the people feel to be greater than the ones in power that can rally the rabble behind them.

Things are going pretty smooth on Koushi’s end-Hinako is well enough to be out of bed and his fire research is going swimmingly. Not to mention a touch of romance on the horizon-Kira gets flirty with him and he isn’t too opposed to her. A flame developing between Kira, Yusoichi’s heir, and a talented firesmith would certainly be convenient for Yusoichi. There is a strong likelihood he planned it-put the two in frequent company, treat Hinako kindly, and let the rest follow suit.

From Koushi’s studies, we learn that the fire corrupted living things, transforming them into fiends that the gods strove to protect humans from. The mythology of Tokohanahime and Tayurahime has interesting similarities to the mythology of Izanami and Izanagi in ancient lore. Both sets are fabled sibling pairs that ruled over Japan (though Izanagi was a male, unlike Tayurahime). Izanami birthed a fire deity, burning herself in the process, much like how Tokohanahime burned herself to birth a fire sickle (the same one used by the fire hunters). Clearly here, the gods are properly serving their role as protectors of the people and might not be all so bad. It’s fascinating how many different angles are presented, but the threads between them are still elusive. It’s this intricate story web that keeps me coming back each week in spite of poor animation and recycled shots (I’m pretty sure I saw that same mansion shot a few episodes back).

The end leaves us with the teaser of a millennial comet, a star made by humans that will bring and end to the fiery reign of terror. The person that obtains it will be “the Lord of the Firehunters”-the only problem is that it’s reputedly not going to come back. I don’t see this as being an insurmountable obstacle for Koushi, having inherited his father’s skill with fire. This is really big news that Koushi keeps to himself (due to his off the books research), though I suspect the tutor already knows something about it, as does another fire-hunter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *