Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Like a Fire Burning Bright, the 7th episode of Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga, Mephisto Pheles interrupts Yukio Okumura as he reads Tatsuma Suguro’s letter to Rin Okumura and Shura Kirigakure. It’s bad news: The Vatican has ordered Rin imprisoned pending his execution. The presents Mephisto leaves help Ryuji Suguro and the other ExWires mount Rin’s rescue. Meanwhile, the temple prepares to battle the ever-growing Impure King.
What’s In This Post
Yukio finishes reading Tatsuma’s letter. Rin, with Kirigakure, is willing to honor Tatsuma’s request to take on the Impure King, but his self-confidence is so shaken that he can’t even draw Kurikara. As Kirigakure and Yukio are discussing why, Mephisto shows up and locks Rin in a magical prison. The reason: The Grigori Court has ordered Rin’s death. Pretending to have an allergy attack, Mephisto hands the sword to Kirigakure along with some camouflage hoodies. He then wishes them good luck and vanishes. In an emotionless voice, Yukio says they have to get ready for deployment.
As he carries Mamushi Hojo back to the temple, Juzo Shima telephones ahead and asks them to prepare to battle the Impure King. When they arrive, Mamushi, kneeling on the floor, confesses to being the traitor and begs everyone to help Tatsuma battle the enemy that she (inadvertently) helped reawaken. Some of those in the temple thought the Impure King had been destroyed; others wanted to force Mamushi to fight on her own. But Yaozo Shima orders everyone to prepare to engage the enemy. Before taking Mamushi to the infirmary, Juzo orders the ExWires to get back to the inn — and orders Ryuji’s friends to keep him safe.
Kirigakure finds the ExWires as they try to figure out what’s happening. She informs them that Rin has been condemned to death. She hands them the camouflage outfits, Tatsuma’s letter, and the sword, telling them that Rin’s only hope is to do something so heroic (like defeat the Impure King) that the court has to rescind their order. She point blank asks them to break Rin out of prison. Then she’s called away to help prepare for battle. Shiemi Moriyama is the first to pick up a cloak, and she begs everyone to help her. At first, there’s hesitancy; then Ryuji grabs a cloak and leads everyone to the cell block where Rin’s being held. When they arrive at the Mephisto’s magical prison, it freezes all of them to prevent them from helping Rin. All except Moriyama, who it judges to be no threat. It allows her to enter the prison; but it says it doesn’t intend to let her out.
Inside the prison, Rin’s succumbing to his own doubts. He doesn’t want to let the reason his foster father saved him go to waste; but he’s too conscious of the danger he represents to his friends. Moriyama finds him in a state of despair. He warns her to stay away because he’s too dangerous. When she refuses to leave, he flames up in frustration, but even though he’s not consciously aware of it, he’s gained enough control that the flames don’t hurt her. They’re only warm, not deadly. Consumed by his despair, he doesn’t see Moriyama come up and hug him. Her show of support revives him. His confidence restored, Rin escorts Moriyama out of the supposedly impenetrable prison. The ExWires are waiting for them. Ryuji acknowledges that Rin was right about Tatsuma; and that he was angry with Rin not because he’s the son of Satan, but because he hadn’t trusted Ryuji enough to tell him the truth before it became public. Ryuji leads them towards the battle. High above the city, Mephisto waits for the spectacle of the coming battle.
What I Liked
I’d forgotten that Kirigakure keeps the sword in her chest. She nonchalantly pulls it out, and Yukio didn’t even bat an eye! I suspect there’s a joke in there somewhere…
Kirigakure is the first one of the three to understand why Rin can’t draw the sword — he has too much self-doubt and his self-confidence is shot! Rin only puts up a weak defense because he knows she’s right. She’s always been one of my favorite characters. She’s smart, she’s confident, she makes her own decisions, and she understands people.
Yukio, as Kirigakure pointed out in a previous episode, needs to get in touch with his emotions. He’s bottling everything up — his own self-doubt, his frustration with Rin, and his uncertainty about his role in the world, among others. If he doesn’t get a handle on himself, Kirigakure’s right: he’s going to end up like Saburota Todo.
The scene with Mephisto was packed with dramatic goodness: his imprisoning Rin, pretending to have an allergy attack so he could hand the sword to Kirigakure, Yukio lacking of any kind of emotional reaction at Rin’s imprisonment, his giving the hint that the guard will be less during the battle, and his handing the camouflage ponchos to Kirigakure all set the scene for what’s coming. A whole lot of character development paid off in that one short scene. This is one of the reasons I love this show.
Mamushi is a proud woman. She’s done her part to faithfully protect the temple and its interests all her life. It’s no wonder that she can’t forgive herself for what she’s done. In her eyes, she’s really a traitor. In spite of that it seems like Juzo understands why she did what she did, and he doesn’t judge her. I’m really interested to see where their relationship goes after this.
Speaking of which, should I consider Juzo a chauvinist because he was angry that Todo would “hurt a girl?” Or was he chivalrous? Is that even a thing anymore? It’s clear he respects Mamushi’s combat capabilities. After all, we’ve seen him tussle with her in previous episodes! I think I’ll take a different approach and just see it as Juzo giving voice to his anger that Mamushi’s hurt. Is she his friend? Comrade? Colleague? This is another thing I love about this show: the relationships are simply what they are. Some defy easy categorization, just as they do in real life.
I almost felt sorry for Renzo Shima in this episode. He was one of the first of the ExWires to warm back up to Rin, but when Moriyama asks for help, he hesitates because he doesn’t want to get on the Vatican’s bad side. The whole situation seems to confound him. He wants to do the right thing, but he can’t tell what that might be. He seems to be playing the role of Everyman in this episode.
When the prison told her that she could still move because she was too weak to be considered a threat, Moriyama could have stood there stewing in her feelings of helplessness. Instead, she decided to enter the prison, knowing that she might not be able to get back out. I think she’s gotten a bad rap this season. She’s a complex character, and she proved herself in this episode. Bravery’s cool!
The magic prison’s laugh is hilarious.
There’s something touching in how Rin’s flames felt merely warm to Moriyama. He didn’t even realized it, but he had gained enough control through his constant practicing that he was no longer a clear danger to his friends. It took Moriyama’s insistence to make him realize that. That might be my favorite moment in this episode.
That’s saying alot, because the scene that followed was also emotionally satisfying. Rin thinks everyone’s mad at him because he’s the son of Satan. Ryuji makes it clear that’s not the case. At the very least, he’s mad because Rin hadn’t trusted him enough to share the burden of that knowledge. It wasn’t who he was that they found objectionable; it was a decision he made to conceal it from them, even though realistically, it’s hard to see how Rin could have done anything else.
What I Liked Less
It seems that Tatsuma died alone. I know it’s anime and that anything can happen, but I just don’t see him coming back from that kind of cervical spinal cord injury. This really isn’t something that I don’t like in the sense I think it’s a dramatic failure; quite the contrary. But I thought it needed said. It didn’t feel right to put “Hey, he died alone!” in the “What I Liked” section.
I know Moriyama takes a lot of heat for seeming useless, but I think this episode makes the case that she’s inherently not more or less useless than anyone else. Her skills may not be the best for front-line combat, but when it comes to offering emotional support, no one’s better than she is. Granted, Izumo Kamiki sat beside Rin on the train in a beautiful show of support. But if it weren’t for Moriyama’s lack of offensive power, the prison would have frozen her, too, and then what would have happened?
Rin would likely have been executed.
So good for Moriyama!
That one example of good characterization. Another in this episode is Ryuji. All this season, he’s been angry with Rin. His friends, along with us viewers, assumed that he was mad at Rin because he was the son of Satan. As we found out in this episode, that wasn’t it at all. Ryuji is a proud young man. He doesn’t like to talk about emotions. He revels in fulfilling his responsibilities. He even came to Mamushi’s aid when he heard she’d been injured, despite what she’d said about his dad. So it makes perfect sense to me (albeit in retrospect) that he was angry that Rin hadn’t trusted him enough to confide in him. Of course, given how apparently Tatsuma hadn’t confided in his son , Ryuji would be a little sensitive about this topic. The son didn’t know the father couldn’t speak, given the terms of the contract with Karura. So, from Ryuji’s perspective, not only had his father not had faith in him. Rin didn’t, either.
Rational? No. Realistic? Yes — affecting, too. Just another in a long list of reasons I like this show!
What do you think? Was Ryuji’s reaction something that resonated with you? Or do you think he wasn’t being realistic? 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 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