Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga’s 8th episode, From Father to Son, Ryuji Suguro leads the other ExWires up the mountain to find his father. Yukio Okumura learns that the Impure King is the least of his problems. Rin Okumura still can’t draw his sword, but he’s really optimistic that he’ll be able to at some point. Most of the Myōō (Myoda) Dharani sect’s teams engage the Impure King, but it’s growing quickly, and they’re running out of energy and tactics.
What’s In This Post
As the Impure King expands, Ryuji leads the ExWires up mountain paths towards the old complex. The Exorcists and members of Myōō (Myoda) Dharani prepare to face their enemy. Before she’s called away to help summon Ucchusma (a fire demon to help fight for them), Shura Kirigakure implores Yukio to be honest with himself. The sect manages to summon the demon, who grants them some of its fire powers. They also summon some fire salamanders.
Ryuji and the others find Tatsuma Suguro, who was kept alive by the healing powers of Karura, the flame spirit. The flame spirit had used its phoenix powers to come back to life after Saburota Todo consumed it. Tatsuma may be healed, but he lost so much blood that he’s very weak. Knowing that he won’t be able to do it himself, he describes how to kill the Impure King. Only with Rin’s sword can they be successful. Unfortunately, Rin reveals that he can’t draw the sword, much to everyone’s surprise. But he’s really confident he’ll be able to again. Some time. He hopes. Tatsuma is determined to cast a defensive spell, but he’s too weak. Karura suggests transferring the pact to Ryuji, who’s more than willing to take it on despite Tatsuma’s objections that he had wanted to keep his son out of it. Tatsuma finally relents, and Ryuji proves his blood kinship and accepts Karura.
After telling Konekomaru Miwa and Renzo Shima to find the others and convey Tatsuma’s story, and after telling Izumo Kamiki and Shiemi Moriyama to guard the now collapsed Tatsuma, Ryuji and Rin leave to take on the Impure King. With the help of super-sized Kuro, they get within striking distance.
Yukio helps in the fight against the Impure King, but he feels distant from the action. Seeing a strange light in the forest, he goes off to investigate. He finds a younger-looking Todo in flames as the betrayer tries to gain control of his new powers. Todo immediately launches a two-pronged attack: an overt assault with his flame powers and a psychological assault that chips away at Rin’s insecurities and feelings of injustice. Yukio tries to fight back, but it soon becomes completely clear that Todo’s in another league on both fronts. Even Yukio’s best efforts — switching to water-based bullets — is at best slightly effective. The demon continues to hammer away at Yukio’s psyche, even trying to convince Yukio that his goal of following in his father’s footsteps was ridiculous now that his father was dead — and all because of Rin.
He finally asks Yukio if he actually despises his brother. Yukio has no answer.
What I Liked
I just noticed that when Yukio is trying to sound gruff and manly, he turns his head and his glasses reflect the light so you can’t see his eyes. It makes him look more distant. Cool effect to underscore the emotional distance between him and others, especially Shura Kirigakure.
The Impure King looked a lot like a fungus as it expanded; the effect was both natural and realistic. Because of that, it was all the more horrifying.
While still Tatsuma’s familiar, Karura was so tiny! It was adorable! Fortunately, it wasn’t too small to keep him alive.
I loved everyone’s reaction to Rin’s confession that he couldn’t draw the sword. Their collective “huh?” was hilarious.
The flashback where little Ryuji wanted nothing more than to listen to his father perform his chants was beautiful. It cemented the drama of the scene and drove home the idea that Ryuji always wanted to follow his father, even though circumstance made sure that neither he nor his father could admit it.
I had to laugh at the ExWires’ extreme shock when Rin said he’s protect Ryuji. Rin didn’t make things better when he said he could kind of control his flames now, adding, “Plus, I’m super strong!” But in the end, even Miwa voiced confidence in Rin.
Todo’s attack on Yukio is devastatingly effective. The show’s prepared us for this. Kirigakure has tried more than once to warn Yukio. But he continued to deny his own feelings and perspective, and now he’s in combat with a demon who’s an expert at taking advantage of that kind of emotional discontinuity. I’m really afraid Yukio might turn to the dark side, so to speak.
What I Liked Less
I’m not sure I would have sent Miwa to warn the troops while leaving Kamiki with Tatsuma. I think Tatsuma might have some more powerful fighting skills, so she might have been a better choice to send with Renzo. Though it does seem that Moriyama’s confidence still needs support, and Kamiki seems more adept at that than Miwa…
What is it about human emotions?
As a child, Yukio sits at his desk working on his homework. Looking outside, he sees Rin playing with their father. Yukio feels jealous. In that moment, he could have either acted on that emotion in a healthy or an unhealthy way, or he could have tried to suppress it. Suppression, of course, is always dangerous, because it begins to build emotional pressures that will likely have to be released, one way or another — and the release is usually harmful to whomever is around during the outburst.
That’s the strange thing!
What is it about human emotions that gives them a kind of compounding effect if we try to suppress them? If Yukio had acted out in a negative way, he and his father could have talked it out, and it might have ended with Yukio having a better idea of his own humanity. If he had acted out in a positive way — maybe reaching out to Rin and his father to talk about his feelings and find a way to direct them — Yukio might have gotten closer to both his father and Rin.
But he did neither. He suppressed his feelings, which built emotional pressures that made Yukio susceptible to Todo’s emotional attack. How’s that work? Is it the emotional equivalent of intestinal gas — only potentially more explosive?
We see this kind of thing all the time IRL, too. Folks suppress their emotions, and before long, they don’t even really know what they’re feeling. The pressure creates a wall between them and their own emotions. In other words, they lose touch with themselves — not only with their true feelings, but sometimes even with their hopes and dreams.
I wonder if that describes our current political situation? Man, that’s kind of depressing…
In any event, I’m worried that Yukio’s going to follow in Todo’s footsteps. He hasn’t owned up to his feelings about Rin (and remember, feelings are, by definition, irrational), much less to the guilt he feels about those feelings. That’s why it’s best to talk about them! Kirigakure tried to warn him multiple times, but it seems like Rin and the other ExWires will pay the price. Along with a lot of other people, I’m afraid.
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 9: Through Thick and Thin
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 10: Unbowed and Unbroken
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 11: Shine Bright as the Sun
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 12: Candid and Open