Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Unbowed and Unbroken, the 10th episode of Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga, Juzo Shima and Yukio Okumura continue their battle against Saburota Todo, with muddy results. Inside the fire barrier with the miasma eruptions, Rin Okumura, Ryuji Suguro, and Kuro have to fight not only the miasma, but the terrifying true form of the Impure King. Shiemi Moriyama tries to use her familiar Nee to save Izumo Kamiki, but the impurity coating Kamiki is spreading fast — almost as fast as Moriyama’s strength is ebbing. Konekomaru Miwa and Renzo Shima arrive in camp and tell everyone that Ryuji and Rin raised the barrier. Shura Kirigakure enters the barrier in a desparate attempt to help them.
What’s In This Post
The Impure King’s miasma erupts. Rin, Ryuji, and Kuro are right in the middle of it. But the eruption is only the start of their problems: out of the blizzard-like miasma steps an enormous, bloated, leprous millipede. It advances on Ryuji. If his finger looses contact with the ground, the flame barrier he raised will fall, and Kyoto will be blanketed with poisonous miasma. Elsewhere, enveloped by the miasma storm, the Myōō (Myoda) Dharani sect’s monks have to retreat outside the flame barrier.
Juzo, Yukio, and a handful of monks face off against Todo, but his power is proving too great. Worse, since his fire-type powers are greater than theirs, his flame power absorbs theirs. Even their physical attacks are no match for Todo’s regenerative capabilities. Yukio, uncertain how to react to his Satan-like powers briefly emerging last episode, doesn’t give up. He comes up with a plan. They launch their attack, and at first, Todo thought they were simply trying another flame attack. The attack was a feint to give Juzo time for a gigantic flame attack. It was so huge that as Todo begins to absorb it, the flames began to turn his flesh to ash. Still unconcerned, Todo thinks his regenerative skill will save him. Then he realizes that it’s raining, and the rain turns the ash to mud. His body begins falling apart into muddy puddles. However, Yukio realizes they’ve only slowed Todo down; a dissolved body is only harder to regenerate. Yet Todo’s even faster than Yukio feared: as Yukio’s treating the wounded, Todo’s muddy body parts attack the others, leaving Yukio searching for his opponent.
Miwa and Renzo find the monk’s main camp just outside the flame barrier. They tell the astonished monks that Ryuji raised the barrier and Rin was trying to protect him. Miwa begs them to go help. Kirigakure praises the two for bringing the news and leaves to backup Rin and Ryuji. As she enters the barrier, on the other side of the mountain, Moriyama orders Nee to attack the fungus covering Kamiki. One kind of moss slows the fungus; other kinds of plant attack in different ways. They begin making headway, but Moriyama’s tiring too quickly.
Ryuji sees the putrescent millipede coming for him. Unable to wait for Rin to figure out why he can’t draw his sword, Ryuji uses part of his strength to erect another flame barrier around himself. While it’s effective, it doubles the strain on him. The larger barrier will only last another 15 minutes — at most. The Impure King turns its attention on Rin, who still can’t draw his sword. Knowing that their victory depends on Rin’s blue flames, and seeing that Rin’s sword is still sheathed, Ryuji tells Rin to escape and try to get as many people to safety as possible. Rin hesitates, then asks Ryuji to show him the Kyoto Tower tomorrow. Ryuji tries to match his nonchalant tone, saying that there are much more famous places they could visit. In that moment, Ryuji decides to place his trust completely in Rin. He lowers the personal flame barrier so he can devote everything to the main barrier. The Impure King rushes in. Seeing his friend in peril, Rin draws his sword. His blue flame releases, and he attacks their enemy.
What I Liked
The animation this week was, as usual, a treat to watch. The Impure King’s true form was as terrifying as it was disgusting. It’s not that I like feeling disgusted, it’s that I admire a show whose art is good enough to evoke a reaction. The sound and voice acting continue to be top-notch, too.
Yaozo Shima had to drag Kinzo Shima away from the fight. The younger Shima was all fired up and ready to put his life on the line, but the older and wiser Yaozo prevailed. There’s quite a different in temperament between Kinzo and his brother Renzo!
Todo is turning into a much more interesting villain than he seemed to be earlier in the season. He’s using the lore he taught to the Exorcists against them, and he keeps his cool. While he monologues, he doesn’t do it for self-aggrandizement, which is the downfall of other villains. He does it to psychologically attack his foes. I can respect that!
When Yukio started explaining his plan, I inwardly groaned. Was this going to be Yet Another Case Where The Villain Lets the Heroes Plan(tm)? Then, Todo said, “Are they holding a planning session now, of all times?” He redoubled his attack to try to stop them, and several monks had to struggle to keep their shields up. So, instead of being a negative, it turned out to be a positive!
Todo has some serious martial arts moves. And he’s wicked fast. Again, more villainy coolness!
Yukio earned the highest Fremen compliment: his plan worked! Well, it worked as well as could be expected, given the Todo’s power. I enjoyed watching Yukio not give into despair.
Okay, it’s sexist and it’s crude, but I feel compelled to award Quote of the Episode to Renzo. After receiving Kirigakure’s praise for making it back to camp with news of Ryuji and Rin, he lamented, “Come on, I deserve more than a pat on the head. Smother me with your rack!” Like I said, it’s crude, but I laughed.
Even though Rin was terrified, and even though he still doubts himself and can’t draw his sword, he sees when his friend is succumbing to despair. He asks Ryuji to show him the sights of Kyoto in a clear exhortation to hold onto hope and keep fighting. That might be the emotional highlight of the season (so far).
What I Liked Less
The scene was touching, so I should just let it go. But why did the Impure King pause in attack just long enough for Rin and Ryuji to share a moment of camaraderie? That seemed too convenient to me. And yes, I know, that sort of thing happens all the time — and not only in anime!
Friendships seem to be at the heart of Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga. Not the false-sweet, saccharine kind of friendship will everyone keeps complimenting each other. But the results of diverse personalities and backgrounds trying to find common ground and support each other. The gives us examples like Kamiki, who’s not even sure she wants to be friends with anyone, and Moriyama, who’s desparate to form friendships. Both had the opportunity this season to abandon the other, but they didn’t. Kamiki doesn’t even understand why, but it’s because she’s become friends with Moriyama. She could have begged Moriyama to save her from the impurity that had trapped her, but she encouraged Moriyama to leave and save herself — along with the head priest. Not only that, but as Moriyama tried to use Nee to dissolve the impurity, Kamiki worried that Moriyama was pushing herself too hard.
Of course, the friendship central to this episode is the one between Rin and Ryuji. It had been damaged partly by the revelation that Rin was the son of Satan, but even more damaged by Rin concealing his lineage from his friends like Ryuji. In this episode, even as he was fighting to keep his own fear under control, Rin tried to encourage Ryuji by talking about how much he wanted Ryuji to show him the Kyoto Tower. There were two things that struck me about this moment. First, that Rin tried so hard to support his friend; and second, that Ryuji recognized the gesture for what it was and reciprocated. There were both in a terrible situation, but the support they gave each other helped keep them in the fight.
That’s one of the things that attracts me to this show. Not just the friendships, but how the friendships positively change one another. Kamiki could have brushed Moriyama’s gestures aside; Ryuji could have obstinately refused to join in Rin’s attempt to reset the mood. But both were willing not only to make gestures of friendship, but to receive them, too. I’d like to see more of that in In Real Life!
What attracts you to this show? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- The 2016 Holidays Are Gone – Must Be the Winter 2017 Anime Season! Preview Part I
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 1: Small Beginnings
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 2: Strange Bedfellows
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 3: Suspicion Will Raise Bogies
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 4: Act of Treachery
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 5: Mysterious Connections
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 6: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 7: Like a Fire Burning Bright
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 8: From Father to Son
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 9: Through Thick and Thin
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 11: Shine Bright as the Sun
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 12: Candid and Open