Blinded-folded Dragon – 目隠しの龍
This has got to be my favourite episode so far and I can predict that it’s staying that way for the rest of the season. Because it’s just such a great episode.
Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that the Seiryuu happens to be my favourite dragon. At the end of the previous episode, Yun finally figured out the location at which they might find the elusive Seiryuu. When they entered the mountain village, they were met with hostility from the villagers as expected. However, these villagers didn’t react at all upon seeing Yona’s red hair and they appeared to not know anything about a Seiryuu. The entire atmosphere was rather creepy and unfriendly; while the creepiness came about by virtue of the cave environment, the villagers’ masks and their suspicious attitudes made it worse. Undeterred, Yona and Hak (lol at the fan-service) managed to get themselves a room in the mountain for the night. After the village elder led them to their room, he issued an ominous-sounding warning that they won’t be held responsible for anything which happens to Yona and gang if they got lost in the maze of caves. Sounds downright fishy to me.
Immediately after they were left alone, Yona and gang decided to use that chance to explore the caves and find Seiryuu. I love how Yun suddenly becomes the ringleader of the treasure-hunting squad here, and the game effects which were used during their exploration. As they kept hitting dead-ends, everyone was getting rather disheartened, especially Kija who couldn’t understand why Seiryuu was hiding himself away from Yona. Just as they decided to return to their room after feeling rather creeped out by the feeling that they were being watched by someone, Yona got distracted by a cute little squirrel and wandered off by herself. I wonder if they got that feeling from Seiryuu (who has the power to see great distances) or from some other ill-meaning villager.
Yona followed the cute little critter and suddenly found herself alone in the darkness when the candles around her extinguished all at once. Again, you could feel how deep the bond between Yona and Hak was as Yona called out for Hak immediately. Alas, her Hak was nowhere to be found and a villager appeared right on cue to offer to bring Yona back to her group. However, Yona sensed that something was wrong when she was brought deeper into the system of caves, but when she tried to pull her arm away, the helpful-turned-creepy village wouldn’t let go. At the crucial moment, a mysterious masked man appears (it actually sounds very cliche when I put it this way) and scared the villager away. Without uttering a word, he took Yona’s hand and led her back to the rest of her group, who were already panicking over her disappearance. Again, I was very amused by Yun’s reaction when he saw Yona – how he pushed Hak aside to berate Yona for not following the group and how he looked ready to burst into tears after that. Minagawa Junko is doing really well here and I think the anime is making me like Yun a lot.
Kija tried to call out to the masked man aka Seiryuu, but Seiryuu ran off. Although it appears to be rather confusing as to why Seiryuu is acting so differently from Kija, we got to see what happened in Seiryuu’s past which made him who he is today. The best part is here.
Unlike in Hakuryuu’s village, the people born with Seiryuu’s power were feared and shunned by all the villagers from young because of a rumour that anyone would turn to stone upon making eye contact with Seiryuu. With the destructive powers of such untrue rumours, Seiryuus have always been terribly misunderstood and forced to live in solitude. Young Seiryuu was hungry for companionship and some friends, but he soon learned from his guardian Ao that all that is impossible. While Ao appeared to be a rather uncouth and fierce mentor towards Seiryuu at first, you could feel his anger, frustrations and helplessness towards the situation he is in and the fate that awaits Seiryuu. But having survived a few decades in that sort of environment, he has learned to accept it because, as he kept repeating, he learned that change is impossible.
Ao was all that young Seiryuu had and Seiryuu really looked up to Ao a lot, tiny actions or careless words from Ao made Seiryuu smile so brightly and just seeing that made my heart ache for these pair. Although Ao wasn’t treated very well by the villagers, he never ceased to protect the villagers from the numerous threats and one day, when his powers faded totally, Ao had to be saved by Seiryuu from a bandit. Realising that he was finally freed from the curse of Seiryuu, Ao laughed maniacally before cooling down and apologising to Seiryuu for leaving him alone. After his initial euphoria, he must have remembered the previous Seiryuu’s death when he was left to fend for himself all alone and started to feel sorry for Seiryuu. The scene when Ao passed on was rather short, but very impactful; he had collapsed and left this world before Seiryuu even realised it. After that, Seiryuu was left all alone to defend the village. One day when he saw an army approaching the small village, he made the decision to use his powers to save everyone. Although we didn’t see what happened next, I’m sure you can guess that he became even more misunderstood. That probably resulted in the moving of the entire village, as well as the slight change in village rules, as everyone started to wear masks after that.
With a Seiryuu who views his power as a curse and villagers who aren’t the least bit friendly towards Yona’s group, how will they manage to get Seiryuu to leave with them? We’ll probably find out soon, and also get to see Seiryuu’s face maybe.
Seiryuu is voiced by Okamoto Nobuhiko (Mikorin from Gekkan Shoujo if you watched it) and I’m loving how he uses his voice here. He sounds rather timid and soooo gentle that it fits Seiryuu’s image perfectly. It’s such a pity that he didn’t speak as much as I would have liked to hear, and the idea of quality over quantity somehow just doesn’t apply when it comes to voice-actors so please, Seiryuu, speak more in future!