Touko and company are briefly attacked by a Spider clan member, but he is driven off by Akira, a roaming fire hunter, before making it to safety in the village she works for. She agrees to accompany Touko and the other train wreck survivors to the capital in exchange for payment in Touko’s muku paper. Along the way they pick up a Spider clan child left behind because he is immune to the bite of an insect that grants the Spiders protection against dying of natural fire. They come across the site of a massacre, where the Spider clan has used natural fire and apparent control of fire fiends to wipe out a large group of fire hunters. As a large group of fiends appears, the team flees onto a boat, but not before Shouzou is badly wounded. Touko wields the fire hunter’s sickle and kills a fire fiend before it can harm Kaho. Meanwhile in the capital, at a party on the estate, Koushi is met by an experienced fire hunter who wants to talk about skyfire.
I know it sounds like there’s a lot going on in this episode, and there is, but what if I told you that the secret name of this episode was The Dogs of Fire Hunter? Because for as much plot happens, there is a lot of time devoted to Fire Hunter’s best friend. Which is lovely, especially with Akira’s tiny, aggressive little lapdog.
In the capital, during the party, we’re introduced to many more dogs, showing that seemingly every fire hunter has a completely different breed of dog, and as Akira explains, many are inherited or traded among fire hunters.
I suppose we do learn plenty of new information aside from dogs, though, especially from young Tenchi Muyo here.
So let’s get this straight – the Spider clan is immune to sudden death from natural fire AND can control fire fiends (or at least whip them into a frenzy and have them attack a specific location, which is just as good)? The ordinary humans of the capital don’t stand a chance! The Divine Clans must have something really special up their sleeve. I’ll be interested to see where this brewing conflict is going.
Separate from the arc of the plot, I do have some concerns about the show’s internal consistency. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but it seems like a lot of the things we’ve been told thus far are not meshing together. For example, Akira is going to escort the team to the capital. We had learned back in Touko’s village that the armored trucks were going to take the better part of a year to get back to the capital. Yet Akira says it will take only 3 days, on foot in the middle of the deadly forest walking at a child’s pace, to get there. Granted, the trucks were making a bunch of stops at other villages, but if the capital is so close by that you could reasonably walk to it, why wouldn’t the trucks stop in more often? At the very least to drop off whatever precious items and tributes they collected to lower the risk of, I don’t know, having a fiend destroy the truck and losing potentially a year’s worth of stuff.
Koushi is approached by a fire hunter looking to sell him skyfire, which he needs for his research.
Yet Koushi’s adoptive father has already said he would provide Koushi with anything he requires, including skyfire, so why would Koushi even consider this offer? Yet he practically leaps at the chance. Or at the bay, where the massacre happened and the team must flee onto a boat. When they arrive, all of the boats are in bad shape, and the sails are tattered well beyond use.
Yet a few moments later they’re sailing across the ocean with a perfectly intact sail.
Last episode we heard about the Flickering Flame, a man-made comet that will never return – Koushi had to learn about it with a special pass to the central archive, where the information was in a super-special small room where the most esoteric and precious knowledge is gathered. This episode Akira casually mentions the Flickering Flame like every fire hunter knows about it.
I’m worried that whoever is writing this show doesn’t have a plan to make the whole thing cohesive. Either way, it’s going to be an interesting ride.
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