Isuca

August 22, 2015

Every name there is a meaning behind it. It is not just something plucked out from the air and meaningless. Even the generic and ‘boring’ once common first name of John had a meaning to it. It means at the mercy of God. Hah. Credit that to my lazy Google search. But you get the idea. So names aren’t just for fun and not just something that belongs to you that others use often as identification. It gives us character and is supposed to reflect truly who we are what our parents wished for. Well, that is the basic idea for it and before I start going off topic about names, well, it seems names do play a role in Isuca although not by a very significant manner. At first I thought of wanting to give this supernatural series the skip. You know, I’m not really keen about spirits and all that stuffs. Not even if it’s about a seemingly generic ‘boring’ plot of a normal kid who has been hired as a housekeeper of a girl of an exorcist family. He has a hidden latent power and they go hunting and sealing spectres. Yeah, nothing special, right? Then this last line in the synopsis: A story of comedic creature hunting begins! Holy cow! Is this going to be a funny show?! Must watch…

Episode 1
If a woman decides to show you her naked body in the middle of the night, you better run! Shinichirou Asano is having bad luck to experience this as that woman soon turns into a centipede spectre trying to devour his life force. But he is saved when a mysterious blonde archer destroys it. If it is not bad enough that Shinichirou is fired from his part time job, his parents left him to live alone so they can tour Europe, he had to bump into this cutie, Sakuya Shimazu. Hey, that’s not so bad, you say? That’s only the beginning… Shinichirou tries to find a job to pay his rent and his teacher, Nadeshiko Souma sends him to clean the chemistry lab that she made a mess out. Yeah, she even cheekily asks him to marry her! After doing a good cleaning job, he heard a blood curling scream. A couple of girls are shivering in fear because there is another girl with deep cuts across her body and lying in her own pool of blood. He tries to find if there is anybody else around (to prevent such tragedy), he sees a busty girl with an arrow securing her hand to a tree. He tries to pull it out as he feels some magic in it. Sakuya isn’t happy what he has done. She had finally caught her and now he released her. The girl claims she has been mistaken but Sakuya will not believe it. Shinichirou tries to protect her but to his shock, her true form is a nekomata (giant cat spectre). She runs away and Shinichirou gets beaten up by the blonde. First he got her way earlier this morning and now this. Better help her out to repay make up for it. Sakuya explains about spectres that are from the land of the dead trying to attack people and steal their life force to remain here. Sakuya’s family has been capturing and sealing such spectres since ancient history.

As they go around looking for the spectre in the hallways of the school (don’t worry, nobody is around at this time of the night), Sakuya shoots and strikes the spectre. She chases it down and meets that cat girl again. She insists that wasn’t her. Shinichirou points out there are claw marks on her arm. The true culprit is the raijuu spectre that controls lightning. All I understand is this spectre is super powerful and you better end this quick or get zapped. Yeah well, it’s becoming bigger by absorbing electricity in the vicinity. I have a feeling that each time Sakuya fails in her attempt, her clothes get shredded and now she is only in her panties. I can’t see what is being done to her because of that DAMN LIGHT CENSOR BLOCKING HER ENTIRE BODY! From what cat girl says, she is being given ultimate pleasure in exchange for her life force. Holy sh*t! You feel pleasure when you die?! Shinichirou tries to save her by whacking it with a broom. Hardly did any damage. Cat girl comes to his aid to repay the debt. During the commotion, Shinichirou lands on top of Sakuya and their lips met. He sees part of her memories and despite she is not happy her first kiss is taken away, nevertheless she feels life force flowing through her body. She uses some final bow technique to rid of the raijuu. However she didn’t finish it off and just sealed it temporary so it can’t move. To send something this powerful back, you need to know its true name. Cat girl thought everything is cleared up but Sakuya won’t let her go and points her bow at her.

Episode 2
Sakuya wants to seal cat girl. Just because she is cute, Shinichirou won’t let her do it. Now that cat girl has taken him hostage, Sakuya doesn’t care if he dies because it’s his fault for getting into this predicament. However Sakuya decides to back down because if he dies, she can’t repay his debt. But she is frustrated that only if she knew her true name. Cat girl is so grateful that she pecks him on his cheek. In that instant, Shinichirou sees some vision and wonders if her real name is Tama. Cat girl starts panicking and Sakuya gets the hint. She is pleading to be spared and once again Sakuya shows her ‘merciful’ side to spare her. Since she knows her true name, she can seal her any time. Feels like a weak excuse. Tama follows him everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. Back at Sakuya’s house, it is like a pigsty! How can she live here?! Nadeshiko is her guardian and as explained, Sakuya lives here alone despite her main family is just in the nearby Kamakura town. She hires Shinichirou as the housekeeper. He is more than qualified. And I think he is dedicated too because he starts cleaning up right now as he can’t stand the pigsty. Next day at school, Sakuya takes Shinichirou to go look for a gate that has been detected somewhere in the school. It is a gate that connects the Netherworld to Earth. Sakuya doesn’t want Tama around but cat girl will only listen to Shinichirou who is her only master. As explained, everyone has a given name and a true name. For spectres, the first person who mentions the true name will gain the ability as its master. Therefore Shinichirou is rightfully Tama’s master. But how he knows her name, he is still wondering about that. So while we have more flirty time with Tama and Shinichirou (irking Sakuya of course), seems we have another sort of fanservice nearby. Girls in their undies changing are being attacked by rats! The screams attract Shinichirou and co as they see the girls under the illusion of being eaten by the rats (their life force are being drained). Ironically, Sakuya who lives in a pigsty is afraid of such pests. They stopped a girl being dragged down a hole in the locker and come face to face with a kodama nezumi. It escapes outside.

Tama tries to fend off the unlimited rat army but she grows weak. This proves that she has never taken any life force before. Sure, she can drain Shinichirou’s life force now but how long can he keep this up till he dies? Sakuya thinks of letting Tama die. Are you serious?! Or she can drain the life force of another spectre. You know which one, right? They are plunged deep into the underground where the kodama nezumi’s base is. Rat attack! Enough for Sakuya to pass out. Tama tries to help out but she is weakened and gets owned. This is when Shinichirou had no choice but to order Tama to suck his life force. Why does Sakuya have to wake up at this time and see the ambiguous kissing scene and freak out? Shinichirou’s life force must taste so good that it powers up Tama to destroy the rat monster and save the day in a single blow. Back home, Nadeshiko runs some tests on him and is surprised to see his life force replenished back to normal when it should have taken months. Noting that Sakuya also got stronger by his kiss (the tsundere claims it was accident), Nadeshiko deduces he has this uncanny power to share it with others. He has an immense spiritual power and this makes him an invaluable asset to exorcists. Also, this means he can continue feeding Tama his life force. Yeah, time for cat girl to flirt. Sakuya doesn’t like this a bit and orders her housekeeper to go clean up and cook. Later, Sakuya explains Nadeshiko has taken care of the girls affected by calling someone from her family to heal them and they will probably think no more of this as a dream. Tama has a request for him to give her another name to hide her true name. How about Tamako? Can’t say much about his naming sense but Tamako likes it and will treasure it. Nadeshiko is just off the phone with Suseri about Shinichirou’s uncanny abilities. There is more to him than meets the eyes.

Episode 3
Shinichirou can be proud he cleaned Sakuya’s house spick and span! And of course this is what you literally call a cat fight when Sakuya and Tamako start bickering and hitting each other with girly punches. More surprise in store because Nadeshiko has arranged for Shinichirou’s stuffs to move in to this place. You don’t want to make him come all the way here just to clean your house, right? This is a reason why men don’t understand women. On one hand Sakuya is worried this guy will rape her and when he says he won’t, she felt insulted she is not attractive enough! WTF?! Sakuya is fighting against a jibokko tree spectre taking a girl hostage while sucking her blood. Suddenly Suseri destroys the spectre but in turn also hurts the girl. Fortunately her attendant, Matsuri Souma heals her. Suseri is Sakuya’s younger cousin and you can tell they both hate each other. Sakuya doesn’t like Suseri’s methods of killing spectres when they’re supposed to seal them away. However Suseri believes it is she who has changed. She is keeping a nekomata around, right? Or maybe it is a certain guy. Suseri wants to take Shinichirou back with her and of course Sakuya won’t. She hired him. Lame excuse. Suseri won’t acknowledge her as the head despite her claiming so. Shinichirou doesn’t understand this family feud so Nadeshiko explains although Sakuya is the temporary head, the official decision will only be made once they become of age and thus they are locked in that kind of battle. Nadeshiko wonders who he will choose. Typical, he ‘runs away’ by giving excuse that he needs to go bath. He didn’t count on Suseri to come in and wash his back with her boobs! STUPID STEAM BLOCKING MY FANSERVICE ENJOYMENT!!! She wants to wash his front too but he puts up resistance and knocks himself out. Yeah, time to sneak him out. I wonder how she put his clothes back on. It is about time Sakuya and the rest wonder why Shinichirou is taking too damn long in the bath but too late. He is gone. So is Suseri.

In the limo, Suseri mentions she needs him. She needs his power. As he summons use up a lot of spiritual power, teaming up with her and restoring that power would prove vital. This way she can also beat Sakuya. Shinichirou feels like a tool but Suseri will compensate him. She will do anything he asks. Anything. ANYTHING! Why is he looking at her boobs?! Unfortunately the conversation is cut short when they suddenly drive into another world. A ghost town literally because they’re in a ghost world, right? Another unfortunate driver got eaten by his own car (just because he decided to pick up a lone pretty chick without knowing her background) and they merge to become some oboroguruma. Too bad their driver got eaten too. Suseri wants Shinichirou to kiss and power her up. No need for that because here comes Sakuya to the rescue. Did she interrupt something? Everybody tries to escape in the limo but they forgot the car key was with the driver. Damn. Now the oboroguruma is trying to crush them. It’s getting cramped in here. Shinichirou and Sakuya are face to face and are forced to kiss or else they’ll be flattened. No time to think about your stupid pride. When they do so, Sakuya powers to easily defeat the spectre. And at the end of it all, Sakuya continues to blame Shinichirou for kissing her twice without permission. But still, she won’t hand him over to Suseri. If that is the case, Suseri will back down now because this means even if she takes him, he will return to her. Finally, she tells her straight that she hates her just like the rest for being selfish and leaving the mansion. The feeling is mutual too. Sakuya did so, so as to prove her strength. This is the same reason why Suseri won’t let her become their head. Damn family politics…

Episode 4
Night at the museum… Must be too real and unfortunate for this guard because he gets killed by some samurai spectre, bourei musha just so a hidden cursed sword in a Buddha statue could be retrieved. If you think you’ve seen the end of Suseri, think again. She and Matsuri are now new transfer students in Shinichirou’s school. While the guys dig her boobs, the girls do not think highly of her since she doesn’t mix around (I think it’s partly because of her boobs). As usual, the cousin trade insults and Sakuya thinks she came all the way here just to chase after a guy. Suseri also mentions that there have been many gates opening up in the school area. Has she failed to notice them or did she not report to the family and kept it a secret? She crosses the line and earns Sakuya’s slap when she says only a western mage can summon magic circles that are believed to open those gates. I know Shinichirou wants the cousins to get along but does he have to go so far as to suggest Suseri live with them?! He doesn’t understand… After a group of agents get slaughtered by bourei musha, Sakuya is not happy she is not informed about this and believes Suseri hid this information from her. I suppose she wants to play hero and defeat the samurai on her own but looks like it can resurrect and reconnect severed limbs. Hey, it’s just armour, right? Sakuya doesn’t approve of Suseri’s ways since people died thanks to this. Now that more samurai minions are summoned and the same trick on it won’t work, Suseri suggests Shinichirou kiss her. Why is she always resorting to this? Of course the other concerned girls disagree and Sakuya is pretty confident they can beat this without doing stuffs like that. Fine. Have it your way. The plan is for Shinichirou to be the bait and at the right moment, Sakuya shoots off its helmet. Too bad it didn’t work. Time for a tactical retreat to think their next step.

Sakuya realizes the reason they can’t defeat it. Bourei musha is not a spectre but a golem. She saw the words ‘emeth’ which means truth in Hebrew inside its helmet. This means this manmade creation is not from the other world and somebody is controlling it purposely to attack them. Summoning golems is a western style magic. The only way to defeat it is to erase the first alphabet to turn it into ‘meth’ which means death (no, not drugs, mind you – but still, meth kills, right?). Because long range attacks won’t work, the best way is to steal the helmet and erase the word itself. Sakuya lets Shinichirou do the honours in doing that. Oh sure, you pay him enough for that? So once all the diversion and whatever tactics are in place, Sakuya shoots off the helmet and Shinichirou just sticks the dagger onto the alphabet. That’s it? I thought he was going to tear it off or something. Of course they know it is not over till they find that mage. Sakuya picks up the cursed sword and gets mind controlled. The mage who has been watching them from the shadows makes her appearance. Seems she has a grudge against the family and relishes see them kill each other. With Sakuya under bloodthirsty mode swinging the sword, Suseri has no qualms in killing her (why is she using her wind power to rip her clothes?). Oh, she sounds so noble saying she is doing so, so that he won’t get his hands dirty. Yeah right. But Shinichirou won’t allow it and protects Sakuya. There has to be a better way to save her. Yeah, think fast or she’ll cut you down. You think his talk of trying to snap her out would work. Almost. You can see tears welling up in her eyes although her body continues to go berserk. When he touches the sword, he sees the samurai’s memories and calls his true name, Yashaou. Immediately Sakuya is snapped out and returns fire at the mage. But that is not enough to bring her down. Since she has had her fill for today, she’ll take a leave but promises hell for them the next time.

Episode 5
Priority now is to capture that mage but can they do it? Nadeshiko says they have Shinichirou as their ace. He has the Eye of Truth that allows him to see one’s true name but only via oral contact. That means a kiss, right? She has Suseri demonstrate on him. Don’t worry. She isn’t going to kiss him. Rather, he kissed her fox familiar. Instantly he knew its true name. Sakuya refuses to believe so because he did kiss her once but nothing happened. Actually, something did. Just that Shinichirou chose to keep silent about it. Because of that, Sakuya now forbids him to eat or touch the same plates, bowls and cups to prevent him from knowing her true name. Before you know it, exorcist agents are disguising themselves as transfer students in their school to look for the source. Aren’t there an awful lot of them? And how come they look young enough too? Sakuya of course is against this but as grandma tells he over the phone, her aunt Sagiri has already taken action ever since finding out the mage is targeting their family. She is one of those supporting Suseri as the next head and this is the perfect opportunity. The only way is to capture the enemy before Sagiri’s people do. Yeah well, with tensions between Sakuya and Shinichirou running so high (more perverted accidents, that is), how can they work well? They better because some of those agents snooping around are starting to get pulled into walls. And when their comrades try to pull them out, they accidentally rip off their limbs!!!!!!!!!!! So with the entire school under the mercy of the mage, Sakuya faces off with her and doesn’t seem to care about saving those agents who are being squeezed by the nurikabe spectre. And when she decides to help and uses her special technique to destroy the spectre, the entire team gets killed because, well, they are being crushed by the walls. Sad end. Sakuya goes into shock as the mage accuses her of killing them. But Sakuya can’t let this get to her. Because more people are going to die if she doesn’t take action. More importantly, if she doesn’t perform her duties as the head, Suseri will. Can’t let that happen, right?

But right after stepping into the gym, everyone gets caught in a simple web thread. Yeah, can’t blame the mage for being disappointed. Then she unleashes this spider jorougumo spectre to suck Sakuya’s life force. I don’t get it. How come her clothes vanish while so? But not her panties? WTF?! Now, if you’re wondering why the mage hasn’t just killed them yet, it is because she wants to see Sakuya suffer. She wants to make her pay. She wants her to weep blood from her heart! She wants to hear her voice scream out with regret! Quite the sadists, is she? The only way to get themselves out of this sticky situation is for Shinichirou and Sakuya to kiss (since they’re nicely wrapped together). But Sakuya is against this because she doesn’t want him to know her true name and ruin her chance to become the next head. That’s it? She’d rather be in pain and die instead of that?! WTF?! Just shut up and kiss him! Shinichirou has no choice but to force his lips over hers. He sees her past. Seems certain family members are badmouthing Sakuya for having a weak body and her father whom her mom married who brought tainted blood into the clan. It is a reason why they believe she can never become the next head. A man comes to give Sakuya a good luck bird toy to help her recover. Its name is Isuca. Once Shinichirou mentions that, jorougumo starts melting and everyone free from the sticky web. Sakuya then powers up enough to burn the spider away. But she doesn’t look so happy. Maybe it’s because she’s in her panties again… :p.

Episode 6
Sakuya. Gloomy. Remember about knowing one’s true name and becoming obedient to that first person who says it? Yeah… No wonder she is scared. But I thought it only works on spectres? Further explanations from Nadeshiko lets Shinichirou know that it isn’t a good thing when you intend to be a family head. I mean, it won’t look food if the leader obeys somebody else, right? Because of that, there is a family law that will banish such person. Yes Shinichirou, it is YOUR FAULT! She hopes he will take care of Sakuya when the time comes because she is all alone. Gee, he never thought about why she was alone all this while or why she lives by herself? Suseri tries to persuade Shinichirou to give up on Sakuya and choose her but he believes Sakuya won’t give up because of this. If that is the case, Suseri backs down and feels this isn’t the right way to become the family head. Shinichirou finds Sakuya to apologize for everything. He tells her the vision he saw. That man who gave her the bird toy was her father. She isn’t living with him because her parents disappeared 8 years ago while fighting a spectre. Nadeshiko and grandma were with them but came back heavily injured and will not tell her what happened. Shortly, it became taboo to speak about her parents in the household. You see, her father is a foreigner and a western mage. Because a clan’s strength and power will become stronger via inheritance, marrying within the clan is the only way to go to maintain supremacy. Despite her father was being hated, it was her mom who chose to marry him. Of course Sakuya was also ostracized as a child. That is why she wants to become the next head to find out if her parents are still alive or not.

Back home, Sakuya opens a package containing a mirror. But she got careless as she and Shinichirou get absorbed into it. She thought she is happy to see her parents but sees another of her self coming in between them. The rest can only wait outside because as explained, this ungaikyo spectre draws out the negative emotions of people and tries to use it against them. Don’t break the mirror or they can never get out. The only way is to conquer their inner darkness yourself. Sakuya fights her clone as the latter tries to play guilty mind games with her. Then the illusion changes as Sakuya sees her young self weeping. She then becomes hateful and wants to seek revenge by killing the rest of the family once she becomes the head. The mage realizes this is her true goal and continues to taunt her for being the black sheep, etc. Sakuya continues fighting her clone while Shinichirou tries to understand why the mage hates the family. Because they killed her! Since their goals coincide, why not make a pact to destroy the family? Before Sakuya is about to agree, Shinichirou steps in. He may not understand what happened in her past but he knows Sakuya is selfish, arrogant and strong willed. She will not be so weak to be ruled by hatred. She is fighting to find her parents and he will help her in that. Shinichirou grabs the clone and kisses her. He tells Sakuya her true name, Kousuisen. Eh, shouldn’t Shinichirou be the master then? Sakuya successfully destroys the spectre and although the mirror breaks, they return to some park in the real world. Despite the mage getting away, Sakuya is happier and friendlier now. Though, her tsundere bits are still visible. She wants him to call her by her first name now since he already knows her true name.

Episode 7
Wow. Sakuya in full tsundere mode when Shinichirou is around! Anyway, we’re distracted with Tamako trying out some lingerie all because Shinichirou told her to wear some clothes instead of running around naked. Yeah, but those lingerie belong to Sakuya! Shinichirou tells her off not to steal and that Sakuya’s size won’t fit her. Oops! She tries to slap him but as expected, they trip and he falls on top of her. Doki doki! More tsundere from Sakuya as she tries to blame him but without trying to be specific. He has had enough of this so he gets serious. Right before he can confess, Nadeshiko had to come in and give him Yashaou (the sword). He might not know how to use the katana but he feels it is time not to depend on the girls in fighting. So he peeps at the kendo club girls practising and surprisingly Sakuya understands what he is doing. The gang are called when a spectre attacks the subway. They examine the train in which everyone is fine but just passed out. Then they realize they are up against a smoke spectre, enraenra. Sakuya tries to shoot some of her arrows at it. Not working. Say, how do you hit smoke anyway? Tamako tries to be a hero by jumping in but gets trapped. Hold your breath! Thank Suseri’s familiar for busting her out. I guess it took them long enough that enraenra’s target is them and thus the subway attack was just a trap to lure them. Wait. Aren’t all such attacks are? They keep running but I hope the next station won’t be far. Say, how do you outrun smoke anyway?

Shinichirou has an idea to rid of it from the subway and that is to press some ventilation button used for fire emergencies. Time for him to be a hero. He uses Yashaou to slice through it to buy him some time. But just inches away from the button, enraenra envelopes him. I guess he really stretched it to press the button. The ventilation sucks enraenra out. But now he is unconscious. Guess who is the most worried girl? Uh huh. Sakuya tries to kiss him to wake up! Sorry, this method only works in fairytales and from prince to princess only. I guess this heartbreaking scene means Suseri will go deal with enraenra herself. Yeah, the rest can just stand there and watch Sakuya kiss do CPR on him. Outside, Suseri easily defeats with enraenra her familiar that slices through air. Now, why didn’t she use this in the tunnel? Restricted space? I think she is confident to think that she can take on the mage herself. How wrong she is. She gets easily owned by her. Boring. No wonder she’s so disappointed. Finally when Shinichirou does wake up, guess who is the most emotional girl that come hugging him? Once everything is normal, everybody can now be bothered to find Suseri. Too late, she’s been ‘crucified’ by the mage with her big boobs being bared. I guess she’s so bored that she just throws Suseri back to them. So bored that they keep calling her in second person that she tells them she has a name: Isuca! Oh dear. Can it be true? It is the name her father gave to her. Sakuya gets mad and releases her bow’s seal to fire at her. I can’t blame Isuca for standing there and taking the hit because, well, their attacks were never really that strong, right? Well, there’s a first time for everything. So powerful this arrow shot that it rips off her arm!!!!!!!!!! Surprised?

Episode 8
Sakuya is now in coma because that special move requires lots of spiritual energy. Well, only one way to kiss her. If you didn’t get the hint yet, Shinichirou boy, YOU HAVE TO KISS HER! Don’t go all shy on us now! You want to save her, right?! I suppose he did when nobody is looking… Meanwhile the Shimazu family is in a meeting and it seems grandma will not banish Sakuya whose real name has been known or breaking the bow’s divine seal, much to Sagiri’s dismay. Even shocking is how Suseri agrees with grandma, threatening to undo all the hard work. However Suseri seeks grandma’s permission for some exorcism ritual. Suseri bumps into Shinichirou on her way back and follows this guy to do errands buying food for Sakuya. In a way she is impressed because she was never taught to voice out her opinion. Then this mind boggling scene whereby a guy accidentally bumps ice cream onto her shirt. Shinichirou’s answer? Let’s go buy you new clothes!!!! WTF???!!! Hey, I wonder if my dad will buy me a new car if I accidentally scratch the current one. Sakuya’s friends spot them and thought they’re on a date. They really want to ‘report’ to her but decide to just leave them alone. Even Shinichirou’s annoying buddy is surprised to see them. Shinichirou’s answer? Run away!!! I think that’s for the best. Oh, Suseri’s best question of the day: What is a date? Oh God… But Shinichirou is worried if Sakuya finds out about this. You mean you’re going to regret this? Don’t worry. Suseri promises to not tell. Once her date is over, she goes back to perform the exorcism ritual. She faces off with the raijuu but gets injured. Of course Shinichirou is concerned but not to make Sakuya sound like a meanie by saying that it is her problem, the purpose of this ritual is to subdue the spectre and making it your shikigami by yourself. Guess what? Shinichirou doesn’t care about all the rules and sh*t. He just wants to help her. Uh huh. So I guess he gets to be her assistant the next time she returns for round two.

Shinichirou is wondering why she is pushing herself so hard. She wants to surpass Sakuya who was always free and having fun in her younger days. I’m sure Suseri too would like to be like that if not for her strict ‘tiger mom’ who keeps telling her to focus, work hard and not fool around like that blondie. Uh huh. She gets whacked if she gets wrong. She must not lose to Sakuya, blah, blah, blah. Sagiri won’t allow her to use the bow since she sucked (despite Suseri wanted to try so much) and even put has her undergo that waterfall meditation. Cold… Mommy’s soul, that is. No wonder Suseri hates and envies her. Nadeshiko contacts Sakuya’s grandma about this ritual. Despite Shinichirou was brought in to help, Suseri will still not be able to tame it if he figures out its real name. Suseri must get the raijuu to recognize her on her own. This ritual is to calm a wild soul and communicate with it and the spectre isn’t the only one with a closed mind. Suseri’s attacks do not have any effect and Shinichirou continues his useless streak by trying to attack with Yashaou but gets owned. Yeah, he admits he is pretty useless. Before he passes out, he tells her that everyone is with her. She is not alone. Nothing like a little motivation, eh? She realizes the true importance of this guy. At first she and Sakuya only wanted to use him but now it is different. She kisses him to power up and use her powerful technique on the raijuu. Although technically the spectre is still standing, Suseri hears his voice, impressed that he never expected to be wounded the slightest. He asks why she wants his power and how would he benefit from being her slave. All she wants is just his help for 3 years. By that time, the family would have chosen a new head. She won’t be a person who does what mother says or a person who envies her sister. Raijuu agrees to it since a senseless reason beats a stupid reason any time. Say what? Here is to 3 years of showing him a good time. I hope that isn’t misconstrued. Shinichirou has the honour of naming the raijuu: Shiro. Nice name?

Episode 9
Isuca is in a chamber and her arm being healed by her father. But that is not what hurt her most. It is her heart that aches. She won’t stand for this humiliation and vows revenge. Several religious sites are reported to be destroyed. At this rate, Yokohama will be spiritually defenceless. At first they think Isuca is behind this but report says a male did this. Sakuya is obviously worked up with Isuca, especially that name of hers. Nadeshiko tells everyone they are going to put up a defence at some church because if this one falls, Yokohama is doomed. But Sakuya doesn’t like the fact that she is being put as backup (because her powers aren’t back at full strength yet) while Shinichirou is at the front lines. She tries to make him understand why she is against this. This battle is serious and he will die. When he collapsed at the subway, she thought he was done for. She was really worried. She doesn’t want to feel that again. You know what? He assures her he won’t leave her side and that he’ll be fine. Oh sure, talk so easy… Before you realize it, all the agents are taken out and the church is this close from falling. It’s time for everyone to have their rematch with Isuca but she takes Shinichirou hostage. Way to go, buddy. By the time Sakuya saves him, Isuca escapes and the church is destroyed. There goes Yokohama… It is done for. Next morning, there is this young girl, Nami at Shinichirou’s doorstep looking for Sakuya. Who is she? THIS GIRL IS SAKUYA’S GRANDMA!!!! HOLY SH*T!!!! I know animes where mothers are young enough to look like your sister or daughter but this goes overboard!!! However, this is a good lesson never to judge a book by its cover! She is here to help reseal her bow’s divine power. She is warned never to do that again because she might die. MIGHT. This is crucial since they are up against the Asahina family. Who? The clan of Sakuya’s father and Shimazu’s eternal enemy. Like cats and dogs, huh? The Asahina family are western mages and Isuca is most probably a homunculi (artificial human) created by them. This pretty much explains why her arm grew back. Sakuya badly wants to know the truth and wants grandma to let her handle this no matter the cost. Very well. But when asked about Isuca, Sakuya feigns it doesn’t ring a bell.

Later when Nami talks to Shinichirou alone, she knows Sakuya is lying because she broke the seal after hearing that Isuca name. Since she lost herself after that and since only Shinichirou knows her true name, it makes sense. She knows what is going on. Nami warns Shinichirou about the conflicts he is about to get himself into. If he wants to lead a normal life, he should never involve himself with Sakuya again. You think he’ll give up just like that? You know the answer. Nami views him very much like Tokiharu, Sakuya’s dad. She entrusted her dreams to him. When Sakuya wanted to leave the house, they reacted as though they wanted to get rid of her. Nami was at a lost on what to do but now knows it was the best decision to let her leave Kamakura than let her stay on. Suddenly Isuca appears out from Shinichirou’s guts to stab Nami! Man, she sounds so happy to get her revenge. Now that the biggest obstacle is gone, she summons some serpent spectre, uwabami to wreak havoc. This is the reason she destroyed Yokohama’s spiritual defences to summon it. The rest face off with it while Sakuya defies the warning and breaks the seal to fight Isuca. Nami’s body is actually just a doll (I guess this answers your question why she looks so young). She speaks to Shinichirou to protect Sakuya. He is the only one who can do it. Sakuya has powered up enough to rip a hole in Isuca’s dress and reveal a boob (I don’t know if this is supposed to be funny fanservice). But enough to make Isuca mad that killing her won’t be enough. Time to power up.

Episode 10
Sometimes it is a good thing to lose power. This is what happened to Sakuya and this allowed her to escape from Isuca’s power attack. But she’s clinging on the edge with a hand. Care to drop the bow? Meanwhile, everybody knows Shinichirou is freaking worried about Sakuya and gives him permission to go to her side while they take care of the uwabami. One big kiss to Tamako for the road. Isuca is about to torture Sakuya but she rather drop down and die. Thankfully she landed on Shinichirou. Nice timing or just coincidence? I’m sure there are lots to argue but let’s handle Isuca first, shall we? Isuca too has complaints. She is complaining that father told her to let uwabami take care of Sakuya but she wants revenge on her so bad that she’s about to be a bad girl and disobey him. She really wants her to suffer. Shinichirou protects Sakuya from her blast and gets knocked out. Way to go. While she badmouths Sakuya, this looks like a WTF scene because Shinichirou bumps Isuca away (didn’t she see him coming?) and because he hesitates to kill her, she mocks him about that and is going to kill him too (another order to disobey because father said to leave him alone). This time Sakuya comes to protect him but they get blasted into the burning house. Meanwhile, our ladies are having it tough facing the uwabami. Heck, it powers up by shedding its skin and turning psychedelic. Their attacks don’t work, its blood is made of acid (Tamako lost her clothes just to prove that) and it shoots dangerous scales. They’re really screwed. But they notice its scales need time to generate and maybe they should use this chance to attack. Suseri then pleads for everyone to lend their help as she can’t win this alone (wasn’t everybody fighting together?). She learnt this from Shinichirou. Ah, that name. The ultimate testimonial to get others to help you.

Sakuya is telling Shinichirou to get away from this. She doesn’t want him to get involved because she is not sure she can win or not. Then here comes his long speech of why he won’t leave her. First, he tells her all her bad points as the worst employer. Then he realized with her house so big, he thought she needed somebody to look after her. Strong on the outside, kind on the inside. In short, he is staying because he wants to. Whatever. And that my friend was good enough to make Sakuya jump and give him a kiss! SHE IS THE ONE WHO KISSES HIM!!! With Sakuya now powered up, they return to face Isuca who is now starting to sweat in her pants (or long skirt) because Sakuya is more powerful than her. With the uwabami destroyed from the combined might of the girls, she gets desperate. Their blasts collide and I’m not sure because I can’t see whether her boobs are fully exposed or there’s a big hole in her chest. DAMN YOU CENSORS! Isuca has gone crazy enough to rip off her own right arm (because it has been itching and giving he pain ever since it was attached back). Sakuya thought all is lost when her ultimate technique didn’t work o her. Remember, Shinichirou is here to help her. So with him assisting her in powering up her bow, this final blast final puts Isuca down for good. They killed her again, she says? Who is keeping the record? She then turns into a lifeless puppet. Her father then swoops down to retrieve her and disappears without saying a word. Sakuya is shocked to see him because she recognized his ring. Could it be really her father behind that mask? In the aftermath, life returns to normal for them (for now). Sakuya fails Shinichirou in making the Irish stew she wanted so much because it was what her father used to make her. Don’t worry, he’ll master it even if it takes years! Doesn’t this mean he sucks at cooking? Anyway, Sakuya is determined to find out if that masked guy is really her father and she need not worry again because Shinichirou is by her side. Yeah… THEY’RE HOLDING HANDS NOW!!! Lastly, Isuca is seen recovering in a chamber. Holy sh*t! Lots of chambers with Isucas!!!

Thy True Name, Thy True Nature
And so… Does it feel lacklustre? Does it feel mediocre? Well, if your thoughts are that then it is because some parts of the series were rewritten and deviated from the manga it is based on. No, I didn’t read the manga but I read comments here and there over the internet something about this. Many felt the original manga was better and if you somehow like the anime adaptation, there is a very good chance you will like the manga even better. Me? What if I am just so-so? Does that mean I don’t have to go read the manga because I am really not that interested? Hah. Excuses, excuses… Overall, with episodes equalling the number of fingers on your hands, there is hardly any much development in every aspect and many parts that leave a lot to be desired. Not even the cliff-hanger ending of Isuca still living (technically) could save the day because at the end of it all, it actually does not matter if you think about it.

Heck, now that I remember, I think I’ve been misled to think this is really a story of comedic creature hunting. Where the heck is that? Oh sure, seeing the unlikely pair of a normal boy with hidden powers and a tsundere ostracized exorcist family head together going on hunt is already funny because they’re so different day and night that it is sticking out like a sore thumb. Hunting down spectres is nothing funny or comedic in nature. They’re just plain scary and could bring death if you make the wrong move. So, was I really misled into believing it was so? Maybe. Partly myself to blame. Partly they want to draw audience to watch this adaptation with such a ‘witty’ motto.

Character development is nothing to shout about. Seeing the interaction between Shinichirou and Sakuya sometimes feel annoying because the latter keeps acting like a tsundere but doesn’t really want to go into full force as one. Like a true woman that men would never understand, sometimes you just don’t know what Sakuya wants. I mean, remember that one time where she greatly voiced out she doesn’t want him living with her because of fear of being raped (something like that) and when he denies he would ever do such a thing, she becomes mad because this means she is not attractive enough for him to activate his horny libido. WTF???!!! So which is it do you want girl? Maybe she is just being confused and alone for the entire time so having a guy by her side feels awkward and thus all that crap about her being cold to him, blah, blah, blah. Lots of accusation and blaming about him being a pervert, blah, blah, blah. Eventually she comes to accept him because if you want to keep sealing spectres and be the next family head, this guy is your best and safest bet. Besides, he even gives his assurance he will not leave her. He is doing it on his own volition. He says everything that would warm up cold girls and make her believe in him. All that but just short of saying the 3 magical words of “I love you” to make it official. His Eye of Truth via kissing feels like a sleazy excuse for kissing scenes because even if this show does not turn out obviously to be a harem one, you can see Sakuya, Tamako and Suseri ‘fighting’ for his attention. And they all kiss or being kissed by him, right? And if you’re hoping for romance, don’t hold your breath since Shinichirou and Sakuya drop lots of lame excuses and hints (is there a reason why Shinichirou wants to be with a girl who hasn’t even paid him once?!) but nothing solid to admit that they want to further their relationship as master-housekeeper to something else.

The rest of the other characters are just so-so too. Nothing much that really happens to make a great impact whatsoever. Like Suseri who once envied and hated Sakuya (despite her permanently emotionless face doesn’t show it), learns to accept that you don’t grow stronger by despising people. You have to accept yourself for who you are and maybe for her case, ask a little help from others when you very well know you can’t do things all by yourself. And from various hints, does Suseri resigned to be the second fiddle to Shinichirou? Looks like it. Then there is Tamako who is the show’s mascot and somebody bold enough to flirt with Shinichirou so as to keep Sakuya on her toes. Matsuri is just awful in her secondary supporting role. If she wasn’t featured, we won’t lose much either. But I guess this is to enhance the fact that Sakuya is alone has nobody. Nadeshiko who is supposed to be the guide but takes on the watching role more often for the Shimazu family who is just feeling like insignificant in this series. Because their past background and deeper connection with Sakuya are not thoroughly explored, it feels just for the convenience of this adaptation. Who cares about Sagiri’s plot to put her daughter as the next head, right? So, what about that toy bird that shares the same name? Oh, I almost forgot about Nami. I don’t believe she is dead but from what Sakuya says, it is like she believes she has been killed. There is more than meets the eye to this granny who likes to look like a middle school girl. And what was her role in this anime besides as a stepping stone for Isuca’s revenge? It was unbelievable that the most powerful family head didn’t see it coming and got easily owned. I thought it was part of her plan. Then you’ll never hear of her again.

Finally there is Isuca who is overwhelming with hate to make the Shimazu family suffer but we never know what it is and instead we just hear her keep reminding us how much she wants to torment them. Something must have happened in the past, right? Well, not explored here. We can’t make head or tail if she is the real big boss villain or just the antagonist of the season of just someone who is misled because storylines like these tend to make a u-turn somewhere that it is not and something more vicious lurks behind it all. Okay, so this season isn’t enough to make it that complicate. But when you have a series named after you, especially this homunculi antagonist, there must be something more to it, right? Or am I just thinking too much? Also teasing is Isuca’s ‘father’. I suppose the mask is to keep us guessing if he is really Sakuya’s missing dad because nobody ever said her parents were dead. Or it could be his brother or something. It’s the ring. They never obviously said it is his or belongs to the clan. You know, hints that tend to led you astray and make you go paranoia just thinking about it. Good news. I don’t care!

Now, when you have such an adaptation, how do you attract more viewers to watch it other than what is said above? You add fanservice! I am not sure if the original works contain such elements but this show certainly does have its fair share. I’m not saying that they spam you with fanservice every 5 seconds but there are enough to make you believe that fanservice is one of this show’s genres. But the very annoying thing as you have seen the TV version is the blinding light or black hole censors. However not every fanservice bit got this treatment. For those that are ‘worthy and long enough’, those censors will be prevalent and it really annoys the heck out of you like as though it is a sign to say to just go buy the DVDs. I have not seen them but saw comparative screenshots and they are really uncensored. Because the first few episodes with Sakuya getting close to naked somehow and he reputation in danger of becoming the fanservice poster girl of the series are already enough to give you hints on what to do if you want to see clearly and in detail of her delicious plain white pantsu. Really.

The fanservice censoring woes get even more annoying with the final battle with Isuca because as she is having one of her boobs exposed for the entire duration of the fight, it is as though that some sort of black hole is following her all around and it really gets to you whether or not you want to see her tits or not. Irritating enough because it distracts you from everything else and as you try your best to focus on the background or other scenes, the attraction of the black hole is just too great to divert your eyes to look at it despite knowing it is fully censored. Yeah, just buy the DVDs already and maybe if they get enough, they’ll make another season and add more fanservice to that. Adding your two cents worth of fanservice is Tamako who loves to move about naked and even if she puts on some skimpy clothes, she doesn’t wear anything beneath it. I can think all sorts of reasons for this and her character but let’s just stick to simply fanservice reasons, okay? For fanservice bits that do not require the censors, they are short and teasing in the sense that if you blink, you might miss it. Like when the girls are in a certain position and angle that flash their panties (Sakuya is the main offender). It’s one of those scenes that make you look again and rewind to replay the part if you were focusing on somewhere else. Maybe they are really trying too hard on this fanservice area because I feel some of the scenes are just WTF just to force a fanservice (like how sucking out the life force tears your clothes but leave only the panties) it just feels ridiculous. More fanservice bits for you in the ending credits animation and it is all about Sakuya and Tamako in the nude and of course the necessary parts are ‘cleverly’ blocked. Hey, why is Sakuya as an angel?

Also attracting you to watch this series is the blood and gore. I won’t say there are excessive amounts of it but there certainly are enough and also to warrant certain scenes with those censors. Action bits also feel okay, nothing spectacular but nothing that bad. Each of the characters have a move or two of their own although I can’t really see the difference like Sakuya who keeps shooting her arrow but when she shouts out a different name of her move, I don’t really see how this arrow shot is different from the previous one. Suseri also have a few familiars she can summon and throw at her enemies and acquiring Shiro makes her power up a lot although it seems she needs to learn a lot more in how to use him effectively. Then there is Tamako who is just clawing her way in action but I guess it is better than Shinichirou who makes me wonder if he has mastered using Yashaou or not. Because I think just by watching kendo practice of others isn’t really enough to make you being skilled with the sword.

Drawing and art feels okay but at times I feel that there is a drop in quality in parts that the producers think it won’t matter. Well, it does. So buy the DVDs again for better quality? Whatever. Not me. Special effects using magic seems okay but nothing that flashy either. As for the design of the spectres, I guess they are okay and not too scary for a horror-adverse guy like me. Because almost every episode we have the monster-of-the-week feature but I am guessing that they are spectres of Japanese folklore since their name (or the category of their spectre type to be more specific) is mentioned in Japanese.

Voice acting feels okay and I thought there was this familiarity in hearing Sakuya as a tsundere. Learning that Ayumi Fujimura had a role in it, I assumed she was the one voicing Sakuya since she had also voiced various tsundere characters before like Mafuyu in Seikon No Qwaser, Ayano in Kaze no Stigma and more famously as Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama. Unfortunately for me, Ayumi Fujimura was behind Isuca’s voice whom I thought was devilishly revelling in seeing her enemies suffer. She really sounds so different from her tsundere type. So instead, Sakuya is voiced by Ibuki Kido who also voiced a couple of tsundere roles herself like Nanami from Kanojo Ga Flag Wo Oraretara and Claire from Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance. I initially thought Jun Fukuyama was behind Shinichirou’s voice although there was something a little off about it. Turns out to be Keisuke Koumoto instead of Raul from Yuushibu fame. The rest of the casts include Kaori Sadohara as Tamako (Chocolat in Noukome), MAO as Suseri (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Saeko Zougou as Nadeshiko (Bohdan in Hitsugi No Chaika) and Akane Kohinata making her debut as Matsuri. The generic anime rock pop opening theme is Never Say never by Afilia Saga and the rock outfit ending theme is Somebody To Love by Two-Formula.

Fanservice bits, bloody action scenes and under-developed plot and characters are the elements that won’t look good to leave a lasting impression for years to come. Isuca isn’t a bad anime per se but definitely it could have been better (even better if you just buy and watch its DVDs for the fanservice – just saying). So it makes me wonder if this series had another name, another true name in which if I say it out, everything about it will improve. Or not. I guess there are many reasons why we tend to have many other names from nicknames to even aliases. Because in some cases when people find out about your real name, it can really damage your reputation or leave a very damaging effect in your real life that you do not wish to. Now you know why porn stars go by a different stage name, right?

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