Hate is an easy thing to take lightly, isn’t it?
People love their hate. They defend it with every ounce of strength they have. Not just their hate, but their right to express it. Yet, it’s funny to me, how in that defense, they are always hiding. They know hate is bad, that it’s wrong, so much so that even as they defend their right to hate, the try to hide from those who would see them doing it.
White supremacists hide behind their white sheets. Homophobes hide behind their religion. Theses days, we even have people hate watching movies and television, hiding behind the internet to defend to their actions. All for the sake of getting to revel in our hate, as if it is a virtue. A freedom. A privilege. A right.
Hate leads to nothing but more hate. It is a black emotion that drags us down, makes us less. It destroys us from the inside, and makes us weaker, lesser. Defending hate eats at the seams of our society, for hate is the opposite of love, and in hate, there is nothing to be found but cruelty, maliciousness, and ultimately, unhappiness for those who hate, and everyone around them.
No good comes of hate. It never has. It never will. Hate is the path of the selfish heart, and knows only how to destroy. It cannot build anything, only take. Even when those who defend their hate claim they feel happy when they hate, it is a false joy, and in the end, will leave them shallow, hallow, and empty.
So we come to the moment that Yomi, a hero of virtue, kindness, compassion and mercy, falls to hate. Not because she wishes to, but because it is all she has left. It is all anyone has left her with.
We open on Yomi being rushed into emergency surgery after her run in with Mitogawa last episode. The rest of the Disposal Team is there, with Kagura arriving a moment later, distraught over Yomi’s condition. The others try to assure that everything will be fine, what with Yomi being tough as nails, but it’s clear they are also worried about her. Which only makes sense, as she is seriously messed up.
After the credits, we jump back in time a bit, as the Disposal Team watched the SPCDH try to battle the Kasha that appeared in the last episode. Turns out, due to a botched exorcism, some higher ups took some heat, and decided to find new ways to deal with specters. However, in this instance, the Kasha overheats the air, and the rain, causing an explosion that wipes itself out, meaning nobody got to call it a win.
Kouji gets a call from Kiri, informing him of the singularity, which we know was Mei, leading them all to Yomi. Now that we know how they found her and got her to the hospital, we jump back to the present, as a doctor explains to Kagura and Kouji that Yomi is lucky to be alive, having suffered 108 puncture wounds all over her body.
This is actually pretty significant. Though I am not clear on what the meaning of the number 108 is in Japanese folklore, I know I’ve heard the number carry significance before, in another anime. In Shikabane Hime, 108 was the number of Shikabane the Shikabane Hime needed to destroy in order to be forgiven and enter Heaven. So, even without the specific knowledge, I can get that Mitogawa was being somewhat ironic here.
He’s such a dick.
Anyway, while no vital organs were hit, a huge amount of tendons were severed, she has lost sight in her right eye, and had her pharynx crushed. Kouji asks how long it’ll be before she can return to work, prompting the doctor to reply, in a bit of shock that his delivery of the information on her state didn’t make it obvious, that Yomi will never return to a normal life. In fact, she’ll never leave a bed again.
Back at the SDCD headquarters, Ayame is given the lowdown on the situation. Despite the wounds on Yomi, no weapons were found, the spikes Mitogawa used turning into those damn blue butterflies. Mei was carved into pieces, leading them to believe Yomi confronted her, killed her, then fled. Kiri asks the obvious question of why, leading the investigators to admit that they believe it was a struggle over leadership of the Isayama family.
Ayame asks if a third party could have been involved, and while the investigators admit that it is possible, and not something they are ruling out, the evidence points to Yomi murdering Mei in cold blood, with her own injuries being self inflicted. Ayame is obviously displeased by this, but more importantly, she is reluctant to believe it, something that will matter going forward.
Meanwhile, Nori confronts his father, having learned that his engagement to Yomi has been rescinded. Nori’s obviously not happy about having such a decision made behind his back, but his dad just points out that the arrangement was for him to marry the head of the Isayama family, which just happened to be Yomi. With her no longer taking that place, there’s no point in the engagement. More importantly, he won’t allow Nori to marry someone suspected of murdering their own kin.
This just makes Nori even more pissed, insisting Yomi is innocent. His father, unmoved by this, points out that Yomi’s new condition is another issue. She’ll never be able to be a wife, much less a mother. He insists he’s only doing his duty as a father, making sure Nori doesn’t saddle himself with such a heavy burden. It would be better, he claims, if Nori just considered her dead.
All of this goes through Nori’s mind as he goes to the hospital, but can’t bring himself to step into Yomi’s room. Instead, he leaves, determined to prove her innocence, and find the one who did this to her.
Kazuki, proving he’s still an idiot, tries to get Nori to go play darts with him. After all, if he doesn’t blow off some steam, he’s gonna explode. Nori ignores him, too focused on his investigation, prompting Kazuki to tell him to pull it together, which just pisses Nori off even more.
Meanwhile, Kagura goes by the hospital to visit Yomi, and sees the flowers Nori left outside the door. Inside the room, Yomi dreams of her conflict with Mei, and how it ended, as well as her encounter with Mitogawa. Suddenly, she wakes up, to find herself in the hospital, as a nurse hurries to get a doctor, and Yomi discovers she can no longer speak.
Soon after, Ayame and Kiri come to see her, letting her know she’s been in a coma for two months. Now that she’s finally awake, however, they encourage her to look towards surgery and rehabilitation, which is meant to be comforting, but for Yomi, would have to be a massive amount of information to digest. Kagura arrives, overjoyed that Yomi is finally awake. Despite now being both mute, and unable to move at all, Yomi seems relieved as well that Kagura is there.
Later, Kagura tries to call Nori to no avail, while Ayame and Kiri decide to try and find out what happened to Yomi. Instructing her to tap her finger, the only thing she can still move, once for yes and twice for no, they begin their interrogation. Make no mistake, either, that this is anything else. Since Yomi is the only person who really knows what happened, Ayame and Kiri have no choice but to do it, though neither seems to care for this.
Yomi confirms that Mei called her, but not for an exorcism, or a personal or private matter. She admits to having killed Mei, confirming it was in self defense, though she lies a bit hen she says it was not personal. Ayame seems satisfied by that, but Yuu the Foul decides to barge in and threaten Yomi with the Shishio for having killed his daughter. He feels Yomi murdered her to claim control of the family, but is prevented from getting too carried away when Kagura arrives and grabs the Shishio. Put off by the glare Kagura gives him, Yuu the Dipshit leaves, taking the Shishio with him.
Ayame apologizes to Yomi for the interruption, then assures her not to worry about anything. To take her time, resting, healing, and preparing to return to her duties as a Vanquisher. She tells Yomi that Kagura has been invaluable for the last two months, and credits Yomi with having done an excellent job preparing Kagura. Much of this is a deliberate lie on Ayame’s part, as she knows Yomi will never return to work as Vanquisher. She’ll likely never walk again, and even if she does, it won’t be enough to allow her to battle specters. It is a kind lie, however, meant to give hope. Ultimately, it will prove to be a fatal mistake on Ayame’s part. Not just because it inadvertently confirms Yomi’s fears that Kagura doesn’t need her anymore, either.
In a flashback, Yomi recalls talking to Mitogawa about Banestones, which she now realizes are the source of the recurring singularities. It turns out that Banestones are the fragments of Nine Tailed Foxes, so powerful they will eat away at the body of anyone who possess one, turning them into a specter before long. Kagura’s family has long used sealed Banestones to control their spirit beasts, to which Mitogawa confesses his own, the one in his eye, has never been sealed, making it absurdly powerful.
As it happens, the Banestone in his eye was found in the Vatican three years ago, and was suppose to go to Japan to be sealed, under his father’s supervision. However, something happened that lead to the loss of Mitogawa’s family, and the Banestone being placed in his eye. What, he doesn’t say, only that the Japanese government is aware that the Banestone he possess has been activated. They have been strengthening their anti-specter forces every since, with the creation of the SPCDH, Mobile Team One, and Section Four, all in preparation to stop Mitogawa, and cover up the mishap that lead to him possessing the Banestone.
Yomi angrily accuses him of knowing how destructive an unsealed Banestone is, and despite that, he gave one to Mei. He blows that off, refusing to take responsibility for her inability to handle the power the Banestone carried. Personally, he’s disappointed Mei couldn’t hack it, but at least, his search for someone who is compatible with the Banestone lead him to Yomi. She has a significant enough reserve of the two things the Banestone requires. Spiritual energy, and hate.
Back in the present, at the hospital, Kagura is feeding Yomi, who can’t feed herself. With that done, she promises to make something that tastes better when she stops by that evening, though she might be late, as she has work. It’s a total role reversal from when they first met, something not lost on Yomi, who struggles to talk to Kagura, but is still unable to make even so much as a single sound.
This leads Kagura to the bright idea of having Yomi type out what she wants to say on a cellphone, since she can still use one or two fingers on her right hand. Yomi does so, asking Kagura about Nori. She breezes over a response, not wanting to tell Yomi he’s become consumed with finding who attacked her, and clearing her name.
Soon after she leaves, Nori’s dad shows up, and after a bit of pleasantry, drops the bomb on her. That he has broken off her engagement to Nori, and encouraged him to never see her again. As he talks about this, Yomi remembers arguing with Mitogawa that she didn’t feel hatred for anyone, which he doesn’t buy, what with the way she slaughtered Mei.
Remembering this as she cries, and tries to beg Nori’s dad not to take him from her, she hears Mitogawa telling her again that it’s okay to feel hatred. Her family, for the second time, was taken from her, through no fault of her own. She did everything right, the way she was suppose to, and still lost everything she held dear. It’s only natural to feel hate because of that. In fact, he argues, it’s a perfectly normal, right, and proper response.
The way the two things are layered here is flawless. Yomi arguing against these claims, even as she has another piece of her life taken from her, through no fault of her own, adds weight and depth to Mitogawa’s claim. It’s hard, in fact, to really dispute his point, as at every turn, everyone and everything seems to confirm that he is right.
Left with nothing, all Yomi can do is cry. Nori’s father tries to comfort her, but she refuses it. In a display of his awareness that he has made her life even worse than it already is, he tells her not to blame Nori. This was his decision, and he will carry the blame, and her rightful anger. With that, he leaves, as Yomi struggles to make any noise, any sound, that will change her fate. Sadly, nothing comes.
That evening, Kagura is feeding Yomi again, but Yomi seems distant. Kagura realizes it’s because Nori hasn’t been by. As Kagura brushes Yomi’s teeth, bathes her, and cares for her in every way, she admits she knows that Yomi is thinking Kagura should leave her, live her life, and not worry over her. She can’t, though. She never could. Yomi is her family, her sister, and more precious to her than any one.
Still, Kagura can’t help but collapse into tears at how unfair everything is. Funny how that keeps coming up today, isn’t it? It isn’t fair that they aren’t really sisters. That they didn’t grow up in a normal family. It isn’t fair that they had to worry about specters, being Vanquishers, and fighting all the time, instead of arguing over boys, and being family, the way Kagura always wished. Nothing about any of this is fair, and Kagura rails against it in tears and fury.
Until Yomi, moving her hand all she can, brushes it against her head. Stilling her tears, Kagura says she wants to always be with her, and in that, Yomi finds a measure of peace. No matter what happens next, she knows, Kagura will always be there for her. The one person she can always count on, no matter what. Her sister. Her family.
At least, until Kagura says one fateful thing. Ayame called a meeting at work that day, telling everyone what happened with Mei. It seems there is a lot of suspicion around the SDCD over Yomi’s role in Mei’s death, but Kagura tells her, she doesn’t suspect her at all. She knows Yomi. She knows she would never kill anyone in anger. She isn’t the kind of person who could ever do anything that in her heart, she knew was wrong.
Yomi did kill Mei in anger. She knew it was wrong. She did it anyway. Never mind how justified she was, or that Mei was a real threat. In that moment, before she delivered the killing blow, she didn’t care about any of that. She just wanted to punish Mei for killing her father. In her rage, in her hate, she did not strike out of duty, but vengeance. What’s more, she knows it.
Just as she knows, sooner or later, Kagura will learn the truth. One day, it will all come out. When it does, Kagura too will abandon her. Just as everyone else has. They have all abandoned her now, her friends and coworkers, Nori, everyone. Even Kagura will one day abandon her, unable to stand the sight of a murderer.
As Kagura leaves to use the bathroom, Yomi collapses into despair at this realization. Over and over on the cellphone, she types that she is sorry as she weeps at the horrific realization. Everyone will abandon her, everyone will turn against her, everyone will hate her. Mitogawa’s words return, that she has done nothing wrong. That it’s natural, normal, to feel the way she does. His promise that a Banestone can grant all her dreams echo in her ears as she drowns in hopelessness. Doomed, through no fault of her own, to be bedridden, forgotten, her only contact the nurse that cares for her. Left behind by the people she loves most, who think of her in disgust.
Blue butterflies flood her hospital room as Mitoagawa arrives, offering to save her, to rid her of her pain and suffering. He uses a Banestone to heal her injuries, little by little, urging her to accept what he offers. As he drags the Banestone over her body, her wounds heal, her nerves reconnect, and her scars vanish. He asks her, as he heals her pharynx, what her wish is. What the source of her unhappiness is. What, he asks, is the source of her hate.
Broken, body, mind and soul, Yomi smiles.
Outside the hospital, getting some air, Kagura chastises herself for not having more faith in Yomi. As she looks up at towards Yomi’s room, a bright light appears in the window. Kagura rushes back, as Mitoagawa grants Yomi the Banestone, placing it her forehead. Fully regenerated, Yomi glares at the world, as Kagura races to reach her.
Yomi has been consumed by her hate, as I said at the top, not because she wishes it, but because it is all she has been left with. Mei murdered her father, yet it is Yomi who is suspected of wrong doing by the people who should know her best. It was Yomi who had her whole life ripped away from her, yet she is the one who must endure accusations of wrong doing. It was Yomi who had even her ability to care for herself stolen away, yet she is the one who continues to have people coming by, taking even more things she holds dear.
Her family. Her future. Her independence. Her love. All of these things have been taken away, and as the people she trusted to defend her instead circle, looking for one more thing to take away, some way to lay the blame for all her loss and suffering at her own feet, she finally gives in to her rage, and her hate.
She does so, because she has nothing left. Yet, even in doing so, she takes her own hatred lightly. She doesn’t think on the consequences. She assumes she can control it, direct it, and be in charge of what will happen next. Like all those who let hate be their guide, she will be proven wrong, for hate leads to nothing but sadness, pain, and suffering.
It is tragic that Yomi feels she has nothing left but her hate, even more so that she thinks it will free her of her suffering. Hate cannot do that. It cannot give, only take. Don’t get me wrong, I understand Yomi’s decision. I can’t say, as much as I’d like to, that in her position I’d do any different.
I’d like to. I really would. That’s the thing about hate, though. It’s seductive. It makes promises it can’t keep, lures us down the path of sorrow, then abandons us at the end of that pain filled journey, with nothing. Not even our hate.
Next week, Episode Ten: The Other Side Of The Tragedy.