「神々の庭」 (Kamigami no niwa)
“Garden of the Gods”
It was kind of annoying to listen to Koushi and then that tree spirit lady repeat everything we already heard a few episodes ago. What did draw my attention was the image of the “comet”, which looks more like a satellite, though people who didn’t know about the existence of such technology would understandably attribute its appearance as a natural phenomenon. Honestly, 8 episodes in, and it hasn’t really grabbed my attention the way I thought that it would. For characters who are going to be major players in how things go down between the fire, gods, and humans, Touko and Koushi strike me as awfully passive and, well, vanilla.
The characters who get my attention are the peripheral ones-Kira, Yusoichi, the tree people. Speaking of tree people, it is interesting that the “helpful” beings are tree people-perhaps inspired by the Kodama, the guardian tree spirits in Japanese folklore, not to mention how trees are held sacred in the Shinto tradition. Unfortunately, the tree people in the city are victims of the divine clans’ efforts to control the world. Experimenting on tree people then sending the capable ones off to help the villages smells strongly of manipulation-manipulating the villagers into believing in the goodness of the gods and buying into the worship-appeasement system.
These so-called “divine clans” sound a lot like corrupt human institutions-conduct dirty business, then sweep it under the carpet (or should I say, roots). Unlike the image of the happy, beneficent tree people we’ve been fed until now, these guys are acerbic and empty-handed, not that I blame them for being so-most people would be, after becoming rejected test subjects. It becomes clear as day why this is the “Forbidden Quarters”- the divine clans don’t want anyone finding out the shady experiments they’ve been up to.
We learn that this human combustion started as bio-chemical weapons the humans used against each other in genocide attempts. Furthermore, this whole flickering flame satellite/comet thing is actually quite dangerous. From the way the legend initially read in that library book a few episodes back, it sounded like it was a good thing-catch it to bring an end to calamity, as if it would assist in that process rather than being the root of the problem itself (but maybe that was just me misinterpreting it). From what the tree people implied, it’s actually the cause of the historic fire outbreak and is set to go on the warpath again due to the messed-up place the world became.
They leave us with the tantalizing hint that the famed Fire Lord will not just be good at catching fire, but also serve as an intermediary between this flame and humans. This obviously is going to connect full circle back to Koushi and Touko, what with the significance of Koushi’s name as “great fire” and “security” and Touko as the possessor of his father’s fire sickle. Though right now, with the lack of strength or spark of passion in their characters, characters who just seem to unprotestingly go with the flow, it’s hard to imagine either of them as the famed hunter-but maybe future events will change that and they’ll grow as characters.
We finally set eyes on a god for the first time-with his ceremonial robe and hair loops, he looks right out of the ancient times of the Kojiki. He surprisingly let Koushi and everyone off the hook after he sicced his shinobi on them. He’s clearly a powerful guy, instantly healing Akari’s wound (and who did not die, in contrast to my predictions). For the time being, he’s sticking to gathering intel, but I certainly don’t trust him.
Did Akira showed powers of regeneration?
Her wounds did heal on the spot, but it wasn’t her power that did that.