Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Act of Treachery, the fourth episode of Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga, Ryuji Suguro struggles to deal with the temple’s suspicions about his father, Tatsuma Suguro. Juzo Shima finds the Deep Keep’s guards incapacitated; he’s shocked to learn the identity of the traitor. Rin Okumura learns some control over his blue flames, only to almost lose that control in front of everyone later in the temple. Was Shura Kirigakure’s quick thinking enough to quiet their collective fear?
What’s In This Post
Ryuji, still upset about the level of suspicion his dad triggered by not attending the meeting, comes across Juzo heading down to the Deep Keep. The ExWire follows him down the elevator and is aghast to find the monks who were guarding the Right Eye of the Impure King scattered and unconscious. He sees Juzo confronting Mamushi Hojo, who had apparently launched the attack. Her defense? She did everything to help Saburota Todo unmask the real traitors, Tatsuma and Mephisto Pheles (according to Todo). Above ground, Yaozo Shima, Tatsuma, and Uwabami Hojo watch the scene unfold on the surveillance cameras. Just as they’re about to send in reinforcements to apprehend Mamushi, the ground begins to shake. Tatsuma orders the Exorcists to charge into the Deep Keep.
Rin, frustrated at his inability to stop destroying candles, realizes his mistake: he was targeting the whole candle instead of just the tip of the wick! Taking that and Kirigakure’s “poof” advice from the last episode into account, Rin was able to light the right and left candle while leaving the middle candle unlit! Not only that, but he was able to leave all three candles undamaged. Before he can celebrate for too long, he and Kirigakure feel the ground shaking and head into the Deep Keep to investigate.
A portion of the roof collapses and Todo descends into the Deep Keep. Under Todo’s influence, Mamushi unseals the Right Eye. She and Todo disappear, leaving Ryuji, Tatsuma, Juzo, and the rest of the Exorcists standing in silent disbelief. When Rin arrives, he finds Ryuji confronting his father, who says it’s a secret he can’t tell anyone — even his son. He’s anxious to go after Mamushi, but Ryuji’s temper boils over. Saying that if Tatsuma is going to leave without explaining himself, Ryuji disowns him as a father. That’s too much for Rin, who remembers doing the same thing to his father, only to see him dead moments later. Rin intervenes so quickly that Kirigakure didn’t seem him leave her side. Rin, ever emotional, slugs Ryuji to get his attention, and the argument escalates until Rin’s glowing with blue flames. Ryuji seems about to capitulate when Juzo, in fear of the blue flames, throws Rin back. The situation is about to go out of control when Kirigakure knocks Rin painfully unconscious. Yaozo, still weakened from the earlier battle, arrives and demands that Kirigakure explain what just happened. She cheerfully agrees.
What I Liked
It took Rin long enough, but he finally figured out how to light just the candles’ wicks. He’s never been a subtle man, and his realization of the right approach was in character. I enjoyed seeing Kuro celebrate with him. Though I get that Kirigakure was trying to keep him alive (i.e., not a target of the Exorcists for losing control of his flames), I thought she could have been a little more encouraging.
I actually felt bad for Mamushi. She was a diligent student who tried to do the right thing, but she was naive. Todo played on her sense of responsibility and the martyr complex common to so many like her. She seemed to honestly believe she was doing the right thing. And yet her choices betrayed them all.
In the flashback scene, many of the Exorcists seemed to hate Mephisto simply because of his heritage. Yet of all the Exorcists, Mephisto is among the most consistently anti-Satan and pro Order of any of them. As much as it pains me to say, there’s a lot of parallels between how he’s treated and today’s political environment. I wonder how long it’ll be before we humans learn that character matters more than circumstance?
I certainly hope the time period’s not measured in eons.
The situation with Mamushi had to be emotionally crushing to Uwabami, her father. Their family had served the temple for generations, so it could not have been easy for him to watch his daughter betray them, even if her good intentions had been hijacked. I hope we get to see some kind of reconciliation between the two of them. I think she’s going to need it.
On one hand, it’s frustrating to see Rin let his temper get the best of him. Again. On the other hand, I found the flashbacks to the mistakes to Rin making the same mistakes Ryuji was making with his dad were emotionally satisfying. Rin lost his composure, but not his control. His memories seared him, and he wanted to spare Ryuji a similar pain. He didn’t take into account how the others in the temple would see him.
Kirigakure’s usually laid back and carefree, but after Rin revealed his blue flames to everyone in the temple, it seemed to me that she was gravely concerned for his life. She acted quickly and with unusual cruelty, though it seemed that she saw her actions as necessary to keep Rin alive.
What I Liked Less
Okay, I fully admit that Kirigakure is wildly sexy, so I have no problem with her getting a lot of screen time. That being said, there were a couple of shots that I thought were excessive. The first was early in the episode. While Rin was trying to light candles without destroying them, Kirigakure’s posterior figured prominently in the background. I preferred the approach in previous episodes when we could see her lounging on the roof watching him. She was still attractive, but the presentation wasn’t so salacious. Then, near the end as Juzo is close to attacking Rin, Kirigakure begins a chant. But the camera angle’s low and behind her. Okay, it’s very low, and very behind her. I really prefer let her attractiveness speak for it self.
After watching any given episode on Crunchyroll, I like to read the comments. This week, I was a little disappointed to read a lot of negative comments about how “slow” this episode was. I can’t say that I agree. I love character-driven drama. I don’t want to take anything away from other anime sub-genres, because I enjoy them, too, but I really enjoyed this episode.
Mamushi was the traitor. If the show had tried to convince me that she was evil and took action to further her own goals, I would have had a hard time accepting it. She’s too diligent and is too focused on protecting the temple for me to accept that. That’s why I thought Todo using focused xenophobia and innuendo to subvert her was so believable. Tragic, too. Her father seemed heartbroken. I’m guessing her sisters will have a similar reaction. Like I said earlier, I hope we get to see them reconcile later in the season.
Rin has got to get a handle on his emotions. I say that just before reminding myself that he’s still a high school student who’s the son of Satan. I can’t expect the maturity of a full adult, when even some of them are incapable of controlling themselves. He’s trying to keep himself together, but he’s worried about the Order of the True Cross putting a hit out on him, and he’s still trying to deal with the pain of his own memories and guilt over his foster father’s death. So I think it’s reasonable to cut him some slack when he sees one of his friends about to make the same mistake. Rin literally risked his life to convince Ryuji to make amends with his father. I think that’s commendable.
Did you think the episode was too slow? Or are you also enjoying the characters as the drama unfolds? 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 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 10: Unbowed and Unbroken
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 11: Shine Bright as the Sun
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 12: Candid and Open