Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga’s 12th and final episode, Candid and Open, Rin awakens to find he hadn’t been sleeping alone. Shura Kirigakure flirts with Mephisto Pheles — using ninja darts. Wedding bells may be in the air, but Juzo Shima should have asked the bride to be first — and in private! Rin Okumura gets his wish to visit Kyoto Tower, though he’s chagrined at the new found power his friends claims he has over them. Finally, Rin asks his brother Yukio Okumura to meet him by a river for a brother to brother talk.
What’s In This Post
Medics wheel Tatsuma Suguro home on a stretcher, where his wife Torako and son Ryuji are waiting for him. As soon as she sees that he’s fine, she yells at him for not telling her what he had been doing. Mamushi Hojo, still recovering from her wounds, hears her sisters Nishiki and Ao run by. They’re still frightened and don’t know how the battle ended. She forces herself to the door where collapses against Juzo. He tells her that they were victorious and that the Master was fine. Overcome by both grief and guilt, she bursts into tears.
Rin awakens and is astonished to see Shiemi Moriyama waking up beside him. She says he did great, and he confesses that recalling her kind words gave him the strength to overcome. She’s elated and asks him to be her friend — for ever and ever. She collapses in embarrassment, and Rin wonders if he’s been permanently friend-zoned. It’s only then that Rin realizes he and Moriyama weren’t alone. Renzo Shima, just a few feet away, can’t contain his laughter over what just happened. Nemu Takara watches events unfold, and Izumo Kamiki, behind her shoji screen, pretends not to care. To reduce the tension, Renzo tells them that they have tomorrow off.
Mephisto apologizes to Director Yaozo Shima for not arriving there more quickly; he also praises the Director for his hard work. Yaozo, honest man that he is, admits that Rin brought down the Impure King. He promises to testify to the Vatican to that effect and leaves to attend to other business. Pretending at first to flirt with Mephisto, Kirigakure pulls a ninja dart and demands to know what he’s really up to. He pierces her composure when he observes that she must really care about Rin to get so worked up. She leaves, saying that she’ll be watching him. As she closes the door, she becomes aware that Yukio had been listening. She tells him Rin’s not only safe, but under Mephisto’s protection. An exhausted Yukio tries to get back to his room to write his report, but he falls asleep instead in the break room. Rin finds him and urges him to take better care of himself. And that he has something to tell Yukio later.
Ryuji is on his way to demand his father step up and unite the sect. He’s astonished to see his father sweeping the inn, protesting that he’s just another employee working for Torako. Ryuji doesn’t have time to respond because Konekomaru Miwa tells them there’s trouble. The trouble? Juzo is kneeling beside Mamushi, and they’re facing Yaozo and Uwabami Hojo, their respective parents. Juzo announces that he’s decided to take Mamushi as his wife. Her reaction confirms he hadn’t consulted her. Her sisters are aghast that such a “monkey” would even dare to speak to their sister. Seeing her father seething, Yaozo suggests that maybe the two of them should talk it over a little more. So Juzo does what Juzo does: he just proposes to her, in front of everyone. She tries to protest by saying that her upcoming punishment will probably exclude her ever marrying. He suggests she consider their marriage all the punishment she’ll ever need, and she admits that she wouldn’t see it that way. Her father asks once more if Juzo would accept her, even if she were cast out of the order, and even if her eye never fully heals. Mamushi’s surprised when he readily agrees and formally asks for her hand. Uwabami’s control slips, and he asks Juzo to “please take care of my little girl.”
Tatsuma declares it a happy day and tells Ryuji to just let things be. People, he says, are going to follow their own plans no matter what he does, so why not let them? Ryuji, still hurting from the memory of everything his father withheld from him, asks why Tatsuma hadn’t just let things be. The answer? Because Ryuji was important.
The ExWires finally get their day off. They decide to go sightseeing. As everyone’s listing the temples and other attractions they want to visit, Rin begs to see the Kyoto Tower. Ryuji kicks off the first use of the new running gag by saying, “It’s the earnest request of the son of Satan.” Miwa joins in, saying, “As the son of Satan wishes, so shall it be done.” Rin’s embarrassed but eventually realizes they’ve teasing him because they’ve accepted him as their friend again. After stopping at several temples, they finally ascend the tower, where they take in the city view. As they leave, Rin asks a favor: would they all pose with in front of the city’s mascot. After another round of “as the son of Satan wishes,” they get in position. Behind Rin, they’ve used their bodies to spell “SATAN.”
Near sunset, Rin asks Yukio to meet him by a river. Rin says that he intends to use his powers as an Exorcist. Yukio’s still against it; he feels that it’s his fault Rin got pushed into using his powers. He laments that he can’t relax because he promised their father he’d keep Rin safe. So Rin says fine; they’ll be Exorcists together so they can watch out for each other. Yukio reflects on how the one he hated was really himself. He admits that he’s always wanted to be more like their father. And like Rin.
What I Liked
Maybe it’s cliche, but I enjoyed how Mamushi and Juzo’s relationship developed. They’re both strong and willful characters, and seeing them come together without compromising those traits gave the narrative opportunity for both poignancy and humor. Even in the depth of her despair, her pride forced her to call him a “monkey” as she fell into his arms. But he could see that eyes pleaded for news of her Master and of the effort against the Impure King.
I’m not convinced Moriyama friend-zoned Rin; I’m not sure she’s really aware of the implications of what she said! She seems pretty naive about those kinds of things. On the other hand, I laughed along with Renzo at the whole affair. Not only did Rin receive a confusing confession of friendship, but it happened in front of most of his friends. That had to be embarrassing!
The scene between Mephisto and Kirigakure was a very grown-up scene. I don’t mean in the obvious way (like Mephisto saying, “What a splendid view”). I mean in how it portrayed Kirigakure using her strengths to apparently corner Mephisto, only to find out that he had emotionally cornered her. The scene was so rich in undertones of distrust and even hope that I found it almost as dramatic as the events of last episode, though with less urgency.
I want to call out the skills of Rina Satou, the voice actor for Kirigakure. She did a fantastic job in that scene. Her range from playful and sexy to utterly deadly made the scene authentic.
Last week, in one of the captions, I wondered if Kinzo Shima was brave, stupid, or both to stand up to the blue flame the way he did. The jury’s still out on the charge of bravery, but this week, I got confirmation on his the other question. Yep, he’s stupid. He criticized Mamushi’s looks in front of her two sisters (and her father). Why didn’t he just push his face into a blender? It’d be over quicker and be less painful… Seriously, he deserved being called a “…horny Shima monkey.” With apologies to our primate brothers and sisters, of course.
Looking back at all 12 episodes this season, there were some amazing scenes. Some dramatic, some emotional, some hilarious. I think of all of those scenes, Juzo asking to marry Mamushi (without asking her first!) was my favorite. That one scene fulfilled and washed away all of the overtones of distrust and betrayal that packed the first half of the season. In that way, it wasn’t only dramatic and humorous, it was a profound statement of hope.
This show has a deft hand dealing with father/son relationships. The overriding arc was between Rin and Shiro Fujimoto. But the series handled Tatsuma and Ryuji’s relationship with no less skill and sensitivity. Through the whole series, even when he seemed to hate his father, Ryuji fondly recalled the sutras his father used to chant. Finally understanding that his father fully intended to step down as high priest and work in the inn, Ryuji asked if the man really intended to stop reciting his sutras. Tatsuma’s response? “You don’t need me to sing you lullabies anymore.” That’s beautiful stuff!
The scene at the end perfectly articulated the different viewpoints Rin and Yukio bring to life. Rin tries to understand what he needs to do and leaps into it; Yukio analyzes every motive and move until he’s almost paralyzed. Yet they both care deeply about each other. Rin’s the first to offer an olive branch by staying they should become Exorcists together so they can protect each other. Then he admits that he’s a little jealous of Yukio, who had been able to fight alongside their father. The difference between the two characters is nowhere so perfectly shown as when Rin asks Yukio to share the stories. Rin doesn’t bottle up the feeling of jealousy. He doesn’t brood on it until he’s an emotional bomb. He just asks to hear the stories.
I’m really going to miss how well this series dramatizes these relationships!
What I Liked Less
I absolutely hate that this is the last episode of Kyoto Saga. It’s going to be hard to find another series that I’ll enjoy as much as I enjoyed this.
Near the beginning of the episode, Mamushi was beside herself. She hated herself for betraying the order. She was terrified for Tatsuma’s safety, not to mention guilt-ridden for having so doubted him. She likely felt humiliated for having had to accept Juzo’s kindness when he carried her down the mountain. It’s no wonder she was on the verge of despair.
I think she judged herself way too harshly. She didn’t know it at the time, but Saburota Todo, as a demon, was a masterful liar. He had earned her trust as a teacher, and she had no reason to doubt him. Plus, she didn’t know that Karura fed off distrust and lies, thus ensnaring all of them in a web of distrust and deceit. Without having all the facts, and without knowing that she didn’t have all the facts, she condemned herself.
Juzo steps in and not only accepts her, but asks to marry her. Now, I could look on this as, “Oh, great, another story where the guy has to save the girl.” Personally, I’m not adverse to those kinds of stories when they’re done well and in a non-patronizing way, but I don’t think that’s what we really have here. First, there was an emotional attachment between the two of them even under Karura’s shadow of distrust. They just expressed it through bickering. Second, they were both accomplished fighters and were well-regarded by their peers. Finally, when the Impure King broke free, they learned they could depend on each other. She could depend on him to protect her and get her off the mountain; he could trust her to deliver the message to rally the troops. I’m glad to see they will likely get together. they make a good couple.
Did Moriyama really friend-zone Rin? I’m not sure. Renzo certainly thinks so, but I’m not convinced. Why? Moriyama said, “… but I nodded off as I was looking at your face.” That doesn’t sound like a simple friend thing to me. Kamiki almost seemed like she agreed with me. Her reaction was a little too sullen. She might have feelings for Rin, and she might not. I don’t think she’s sure. But it did seem sure that Moriyama’s confession was a little beyond simple friendship. And what about Moriyama’s reaction? Last episode, she easily confessed her friendship to Kamiki. Yet, she was embarrassed to the point of collapse after saying so to Rin. Seems a little too intense for a simple friendship!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it once more: I’m sad to see this series end.
Do you think Rin got friend-zoned? What do you think of Juzo and Mamushi as a couple? 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 10: Unbowed and Unbroken
- Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Episode 11: Shine Bright as the Sun