「 狼の棲家」 (Okami no Sumika)
“Where the Wolves Dwell”
As expected, Shizuku was not dead, just passed out. Unexpectedly, she was rescued by a few girls from the local werewolf village. Unfortunately, the old folks in the village don’t extend the same hospitality to strangers, and after an untimely accident, Shizuku is discovered and hauled out to trial, accused as the recently rampaging killer.
As is usually the case with such truth-telling methods, there’s nothing truthful about them (at least on the part of the questioner)- it’s basically whatever the hell the questioner likes to think could be true. Not a terribly good place to be in, if like Shizuku, you’re on the hot seat. The whole bit with the bird cage was rather stylistic, connecting Shizuku in her imprisonment to Aya in hers.
Shizuku does get a juicy piece of information out of this ordeal- Rosa was in the same boat several years ago. Not only that, but there are a series of murders in the werewolf village paralleling those in the human village- occurring at the same times and with the same age of victims. Something strange is certainly afoot here, presenting two different possibilities. Either the same person is committing the murders or two different people, whether independently or in cahoots, are doing the killings (the more likely case, I think).
There seems to be a deeper connection between the girls’ ages and the murders. One of the werewolf girls specifically mentioned that the girls become priestesses and undergo a blood rite once they turn 13- in the ballpark of the victims’ ages. Then, we have the flashback to Rosa, who from Granny Regi’s accusations, was trying to “end the bloodline” and escape from her priestess duties. What are those blood rites exactly? Perhaps some sort of mating ritual? That no-one in the village is partnered, basically a pack-like organization (I mean, it makes sense, they are werewolves), would support that.
Granny Regi seems to put a lot of store in Nora- perhaps a strong hint that she’s no mere girl/werewolf. I can’t remember how far back the whole incident with Rosa was- could there be a connection there too? Granny’s “We were almost there”- whatever that was about was no doubt in connection with the blood rite- something the killer seems pretty keen on stopping. After hearing about the string of murders happening in the village, it was kind of easy to see where this was heading with Nora and sadly enough, she was the next victim.
While most of what Shizuku says is truth, I have to wonder about how coincidental it was that she ended up there. After the initial shock of the moment, for someone who just lost her lover, Aya hasn’t seemed to worry too much about Shizuka, playing it rather cool at the beginning of the episode, which makes me wonder if she planned it. Though whether Shizuku was privy to that plan is another matter.
This whole arc presents a fascinating and sadly true of the human psyche- fear of and prejudice against “the others”. Both the human village and werewolf village act the same way- afraid of each other and frantically accusing the most convenient scapegoat at hand (aka the outsider).
This arc feels a lot slower than the other two arcs, but is doing an excellent job of building up the burning desire to know “why?”. Looks like we’ll have to wait another episode. That ending- what a literal cliffhanger. I was happy to see Tsugaru get into his usual performer act. Frankenstein’s monster’s entrance couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.