The battle has been joined on another front. In addition to the kiddie brigade and the Ozaki/Seishin alliance, crazy old shaman lady Ikumi has figured out the truth and taken it on herself to save the village. Alas, her warnings go largely unheeded as she’s apparently developed a reputation as the village crackpot.
Further compounding the problem is that Dr. Ozaki is back in idiot mode again. His persistent stupidity is the biggest irritant in this series for me, but at least he’s consistent. Apparently he’s decided to hide the truth from his staff and the rest of the village. His brilliant plan? To wait for Setsuko to rise and drag her back to the clinic as proof and a kind of okiaguinea pig for his experiments. So he refuses to acknowledge Ikumi’s suspicions – though he does follow her and her band of disgruntled villagers to the Kamesama mansion, where thje Gackt-voiced Mr. Kirishki answers the door. Here’s a mystery – why is he able to go outside in the sun? Are he and Tatsumi “daywalkers”, or are they two distinct and different type of creature? Mr. Kirishiki apparently has a pulse, breathes and has dilating pupils too, making him “alive” by Ozaki’s definition. Ikumi returns home in disgrace, but she’s called out into the night when a girl pleads for her help, as okiagiri are attacking her family. Big death flags here as this is obviously a trap – but another mystery, too, as the girl appears to be very much alive.
No, we didn’t get any answers at all to the Natsume cliffhanger – not that I expected to. It’s three more torturous weeks at least before they get that, but at least we did get another truly wonderful Seishin-Sunako conversation. Those scenes feel like something out of a different series, yet they totally fit. The twist this time is that Sunako appears ready to feed on Seishin at last – but as the “Cain & Abel” conversation leads to his airing his suspicion that she is shiki, she changes her mind. Which again highlights by far the most interesting mystery of the series for me. I haven’t figured out yet if Sunako is merely playing with Seishin, as a cat with a mouse – enjoying the banter and slowly torturing him as she savors her hunger – or whether she truly has a conscience and feels something genuine for his plight. That’s the central question upon which the entire seems to hang.
Now the wait begins – at the halfway point, we must now wait until October 14th for another episode. Perhaps I’ll re-watch some of the earlier eps for foreshadowing I might have missed…