"Night of the Mountain Hunt" (山狩りの夜 Yamagari no Yoru?) is the fifth episode of the Toji no Miko anime series, released on February 2, 2018. The episode was written by Takashi Aoshima and directed by Akinori Fudesaka who also did the storyboards, with animation direction by Naoko Shoukin, Hiroshi Mimata and Hiroshi Kosuga.
The Origami Family Elite Guard, represented by Maki Shidou, Suzuka Konohana, and Yomi Satsuki, steps into the battlefield in Ebisu as Kanami Etou and Hiyori Juujou remain at large. This time, Ellen Kohagura and Kaoru Mashiko of Osafune Girls' Academy step in to help their newest allies.
As the rain subsided at Ebisu, Kanami and Hiyori prepared to head to their next destination in Irozaki when Ellen and Kaoru found their location. As the two fugitives prepared for another clash, Ellen and Kaoru revealed that they passed the "Mokusa test", a test named after an organization that opposes the Origami Family; thus, Ellen and Kaoru would permit the two to join the organization. Hiyori, however, remained dubious of Ellen's claims, especially with Kaoru taking care of what's considered an Aradama. Ellen later clarified that while Nene is considered an Aradama (more specifically a youkai), the creature is also the guardian of the Mashiko family and is passed down along with the okatana Nenekirimaru. For this reason, Nene is a permitted exception to the rule on Aradama, and both the archaic and modern spectrum meters reflect this.
Suddenly, both Nene and Hiyori's analog spectrum meter detected the presence of Aradama (something that wasn't picked up by Ellen's spectrum sensor), which rushed towards them as a massive swarm of butterflies. With the four Toji separated by the Aradama swarm, Ellen began wondering about the precise movements of the swarm as well as the fact that the spectrum sensors were unable to pick up such a massive number of Aradama. Meanwhile, Kanami and Hiyori were drove out into the riverside, only to discover that the swarm had stopped chasing them. As Kanami tried to dispel Hiyori's lack of trust towards the girls from Osafune, they were joined by Maki Shidou and Suzuka Konohana of the Origami Family Elite Guard, who immediately went on an offensive. Elsewhere, Kaoru struggled to fend off the Aradama swarm on her own.
At the control room of the Special Sword Administration Bureau headquarters, Yukina Takatsu continued monitoring the situation, and was displeased that Yomi Satsuki, the third of the Elite Guards dispatched in the area, was contributing well to the operation. Elsewhere in the headquarters, Mai Yanase talked with Sayaka Itomi, who was ordered by President Takatsu to not leave her holding room. After finding out that Kanami is safe, Mai noticed that she was wounded, so she used a bandage strip on Sayaka's cheek and gave her some cookies, after which she hurriedly left to avoid any further suspicions. At her office, Yukari Origami was visited by Yume Tsubakuro, who tried to entertain herself by trying to attack Yukari, only to fail. Yukari assured her that she would have her time soon, to which Yume positively responds.
Kaoru barely survived a fall with the help of Nene, who ended up injured after shielding her from the Aradama swarm. After remembering how Nene stayed by her side despite being ridiculed for being an Aradama, Kaoru decided to fight more seriously.
Both Kanami and Hiyori struggled to keep up with Maki and Suzuka. Kanami, forced into a defensive, noticed how Suzuka could match her speed in Jin'i, while Hiyori had to use Utsushi multiple times to survive Maki's strikes. Hiyori was displeased to see Kanami worry about her, but she soon thought about Kanami's tendency to examine the situation, and decided to trust her actions. As Hiyori rushed head-on towards Maki, Kanami let herself be knocked towards Hiyori, allowing her to throw her okatana towards Maki and give Hiyori the distraction she needs to strike down Maki. With Maki downed and devastated by the attack, Kanami and Hiyori proceeded to escape.
As Yomi received news of Maki's defeat, she prepared to summon more of the Aradama swarm from within her body. Kaoru, who saw the feat first-hand, prepared to defeat the Elite Guard who injured her guardian pet. After cleaving away the swarms with each slash, Kaoru felled Yomi in a single hill-splitting strike, breaking Yomi's Utsushi and forcing her to retreat with a warning that the other Elite Guard won't be as easy to defeat.
At the command center of the Special Ritual Riot Squad in Ebisu, Ellen made her presence known.
- Kanami Etou
- Hiyori Juujou
- Ellen Kohagura
- Kaoru Mashiko
- Maki Shidou
- Suzuka Konohana
- Yomi Satsuki
- Yukina Takatsu
- Mai Yanase
- Sayaka Itomi
- Yume Tsubakuro
- Yukari Origami
- The episode introduces several new concepts, including the existence of non-hostile Aradama and the possibility of Aradama living within a human body.
- In the episode, Ellen ambiguously "confirms" that she is FineMan, the one who contacted Hiyori and Kanami in Episode 03.
Insights by Hisane Kannazuki
This time, as Kanami and Hiyori tried to escape from the three Elite Guards, Kanami threw her okatana to create an opening. This method of throwing one's sword is not only limited to the Shinkage-ryu school; traditional schools have a technique called "shuriken strike" (shuriken no utsu). Kanami's okatana Chidori is a bit short at a bit under two shaku, and it's possible that its length is traded off for ease of use in combat.
Later on, Hiyori, whose left arm was cut down by Maki while pitted off against her, was shown somehow challenging the latter. Hiyori used the "shigi no hagaeshi" technique here like she did against Ellen in Episode 01, where she diverts an incoming strike by moving one hand in front of an opponent, but Maki already saw through the attempt and cut down Hiyori regardless.
And, this time, the scream performed by Kaoru's scream while attacking seriously, called "monkey's shout", is a unique kiai from the Yakumaru Jigen-ryu school. This scream, in combination with the "dragonfly" stance, makes this swordsmanship style famous. She already performed the scream last time, but this is the first time Kaoru has truly demonstrated this technique.
To begin with, Maki, during the fight with Hiyori, spun around to face Hiyori and delivered a strike with her hand supporting the ridge of her blade. This is the koryu technique of nakadori. Hiyori decided to pull back to parry, which brings back the ma'ai (interval) to normal, but if she decided to further shorten the ma'ai between them and turn the fight into an up-close one, the attack would have been more effective.
If Hiyori instead moved closer and attacked, Maki can deflect the attack, shorten their ma'ai, pierce her side, and even strike from under Hiyori's fist, ending with a splitting slash. At that point, Hiyori would have already dropped her sword, deciding the outcome of the entire fight.
Incidentally, the reversal attack that Hiyori used is based on a Shinto-ryu technique called "Enzan" (distant mountain). The technique essentially involves forcing a stalemate by using a tsubazeriai (locking swords at the hilt or tsuba) then quickly crouching down and closing the gap by leaping upwards, thrusting on the opponent's throat, but since Kanami has made an opening, Hiyori can just focus on the thrust.
Moving on, Suzuka studied from the Kurama-ryu school, where "Henka" (lit., "transformation"; "sidestepping" in sumo terms), a technique that twists and divests an opponent's sword, is famous, and since okatana can boost one's ability in battle, "Henka" can be said to be an effective technique. Now clearly the technique hasn't been shown, but I wonder if will eventually be demonstrated.
Lastly, regarding Yomi, her Aradama powers stood out more, and missed the opportunity to use a sword in fighting, but I hope next time she would start fighting with her sword more...