Ai’s companions always seem to have some oddly tragic backstory attached to them. Hone-Onna, the spurned courtesan. Wanyuudou, the driver whose decisions cost a noblewoman her life. Ichimoku Ren, a bloodied sword given human form.
However, there are two more of Ai’s compatriots that work for the Jigoku Tsuushin. Kikuri, seemingly the right hand of Hell itself. And then there is Yamawaro…and I guess this is his story.
(By the way, I know I’m insanely behind on this series, but I’ll get it done. I’m balancing blogging it with actually translating it amongst other things, so bear with me.)
Yuzuki sees an elderly woman in a remote mansion receive one of Ai’s straw dolls, prompting her to go looking for the next Jigoku Tsuushin user. Meanwhile, the Jigoku Tsuushin team is already in town, asking others about a certain Professor Ashiya, a well-known biologist. They soon find that the Ashiyas own the mansion on the outskirts of town, and they had lost a son some years ago.
Yuzuki makes a house call, but is greeted by a young woman. Confused, Yuzuki asks if there is an elder woman living in the mansion, but the professor himself states that he and his wife live there with their son, and shoos her away. As Yuzuki walks away, Kikuri somehow appears in the mansion. With Dr. Ashiya’s wife thinking that she is there to play with her son Hikaru, they both go to the child’s room. In the bed lies a yellow straw doll: Yamawaro. Kikuri is bemused by Yamawaro’s actions, and he goes through his life’s story.
Yamawaro originally roamed the mountains alone, as his form (usually overgrown with mushrooms and flora) was usually enough to drive humans away. At the time, Enma Ai had approached him, inviting him to become a follower. One day he stumbled upon the Ashiya mansion, where he observed but did not understand the relationship between family members. His observations were cut short, however, by the loss of Hikaru Ashiya, the only son of the family. As the years passed, Dr. Ashiya grew more and more obsessed with finding the answer to immortality, and had his wife drink all sorts of concoctions made from his plant worms. None, however, worked.
Shortly before the old woman passed away, Yamawaro appeared before her, and she took him to be Hikaru. Dr. Ashiya, however, understood that he was not human, and pressed him into service as a test subject for his plant worms. With the sample made of non-scientific being and plant worm, Dr. Ashiya was capable of creating an amazing medicine capable of reversing aging effects, with spectacular results. Kikuri is not amused by Yamawaro’s story, but opening the straw doll reveals that even in doll-like form, Yamawaro is still infected with plant worms.
Eventually the biologist’s wife realized what her husband has done to their “son”, and begged him to run away, and eventually leading him to Enma Ai’s service. His return is bittersweet, knowing that she will use him to send her husband to Hell. Kikuri is still not amused by the family antics, and demands return of her favorite winder-upper. However, the ending is clear as they all head to Professor Ashiya’s lab. Refusing to drink no more of the elixir, the string around Yamawaro is untied, and the fabled biologist is sent to Hell.
Returned to his ‘normal’ form, Yamawaro makes a dash for the house, but finds it sinking in its own dead foundation. In the last, dimly lit room, he sees the shadow of an older woman hugging her son. As they sink beneath the waves, Yamawaro reflects on his experiences.
- So Yamawaro is actually something from folklore. Now, the animators, etc. have decided to shave years off of him and make him all pretty-boy and such to get some ratings going, but eh. It’s sort of nice to see that they put SOME thought into creating him. And by some thought, I mean throwing darts at a chart of legendary Japanese demons and picking one out of the results.
- Someone in editing needs to be shot. Flashback-ing over and over only serves to spin heads around like there’s no tomorrow. When I first wrote this, I had some tenses wrong because I couldn’t get the story straight in my head. Pretty awful, but meh.
- Out of all of the characters, Hone-Onna’s backstory is still the most fleshed out. Wanyuudou comes in second, and Ichimoku Ren? Meh, whatever. Yamawaro…you go somewhere in between Wanyuudou and Ren. Now where’s my Kikuri story? I want my Kikuri backstory!
- Poor, poor Yuzuki. Try as she might, she’s totally helpless against Jigoku Tsuushin. This one wasn’t even her fault. She got the location and everything right, but that potion really messed with her.
- Speaking of which, is that stuff like…24-hr Tylenol or something? It seems like if a dose is missed, she goes back to being an old, dying woman. If she keeps on it, viola, 1960s beauty pageant winner. Go figure
- I’m sleepwalking this series right now…they need to pick up the pace a little in my opinion. Next episode, however, does NOT look like a good candidate to pique my interest again.
Video killed the radio star…or insane high school girl kills friend over radio star…or something ?