We start this week off only to find Susukihotaru, Riken, Ganryu, Hozuki and Bonbori away on missions while Zakuro is left home alone with Amegaki.  The maids (at least, I’m assuming that’s what they are) begin teasing Zakuro that she’s the only one left at home which causes Zakuro to go to Kushimatsu, begging for an assignment.  Kushimatsu refuses, telling Zakuro that before she can help others she needs to work on her relationship with Amegaki.  Visibly ruffled by this, Zakuro storms off in search of Amegaki.  She finds him playing with Sakura and Kiri, two of the spirit children that live with Zakuro and Co.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that Amegaki seems to be getting over his fear of spirits seeing as he’s willingly playing with the children and isn’t rendered speechless or motionless by their pleas.  After some scolding by Zakuro, the two see an elderly man being escorted to Kushimatsu’s office.  Excited by the prospect of an assignment, Zakuro drags Amegaki with her to eavesdrop on their conversation.

After hearing that the elderly man, who happens to be the mayor of a relatively isolated farming village, is worried about the disappearances of young girls and that he believes they may be spirited away, Zakuro charges into the room demanding that she be given the assignment.  Kushimatsu relents and once the elderly man is escorted out of her office, she motions for Amegaki to come speak to her.  She mentions that she didn’t want to give Zakuro the assignment at all because she has been acting strangely.  Once Amegaki agrees with her and admits that he’s worried about her, Kushimatsu informs him of how half-spirits are born.  Apparently when young women that are pregnant are spirited away, they return bearing half-spirit children who are then banished from the village soon after birth because the villagers fear that the child may be possessed by a fox spirit.  Amegaki is understandably shocked by this and his attitude towards Zakuro softens, which is most noticeable while they’re on the train towards the village.

Once they arrived at the mayor’s house, he shows Zakuro and Amegaki to their room.  Yes, room.  They’re sharing a room, which created quite the comedic reaction on Zakuro’s part.  After screeching that a man should never undress in front of a lady, she proceeds to put stones between their futons while informing him that if he ever crossed that line she’d kill him (she then drew a blade and pointed it at his throat to prove her point, which made me lol.)  Later that night, Amegaki can’t sleep, so he starts talking to Zakuro.  She reveals that her mother was spirited away twice; once before she was born and once a few years after Zakuro’s birth.  Bitterly, Zakuro admits that her mother still hasn’t returned and that’s why she always gets worked up whenever she hears of girls being spirited away.  Amegaki makes an effort to comfort her, which made me go “D’AWWW” real loudly because it was such an endearing moment between them.

The next day as the two set out to uncover hints about where the girls may have disappeared to, Zakuro stumbles upon a couple of village children who are following them.  They soon become friends of sorts and Amegaki sits on a hill watching Zakuro play with the children.  Becoming flustered under his gaze, Zakuro stomps up the hill to sit beside him, disregarding the fact that she actually was having fun for a change.  Soon, the happy air about the two disappears as Zakuro hears a strange voice that causes her to begin walking away until Amegaki calls out to her, snapping her out of whatever trance she was in.  She comments on the strange voice that she heard, but disregards it as the two head back towards the mayor’s house.

That night, Zakuro has another strange dream about her mother, once again centered around a persimmon tree.  She wakes up in a daze and silently makes her way out of the bedroom and down the hall.  Amegaki wakes up to find her missing and takes off after her, worried about where she’s headed.  Once he catches up to her, she snaps out of her daze and they find themselves in front of a large cave.  Amegaki mentions that he saw a fox spirit – who I’m pretty sure is Kushimatsu – but Zakuro ignores him before heading into the cave.  Amegaki follows her, saber in hand.  The further they travel into the cave, the worse the stench gets and the two quickly find themselves face-to-face with some sort of gooey frog monster-thing.  I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it was pretty gross looking, whatever it is.  Either way, it turns out that this frog-thing has been eating the women and children that were believed to be spirited away.  Amegaki gets pretty pissed off once he hears about this and charges at the monster, only to be captured.  So Zakuro, once again, saves him.

What really intrigues me is the fact that as Zakuro and Amegaki are venturing into the cave, we find two cloaked figures standing on a cliff overlooking the cave.  They remark that they’ve finally caught them, but are quickly scared off by the large fox spirit circling the skies.  Whoever they are, I’m sure we’ll see more of them soon.  Anywho, Zakuro and Amegaki return home unscathed.  For the most part at least.  Susukihotaru, Bonbori and Hozuki as well as several other spirits from the house begin teasing Zakuro about the fact that she had to sleep in the same room as Amegaki.  As always, it was fun and extremely funny to see Zakuro become all flustered under everyone’s poking and prodding into her relationship with Amegaki.

Opinions: Once again, this was an amazing episode and we delved even deeper into Zakuro’s past.  We find out why she’s a half-spirit, which in turn reveals a bit about her relationship with her mother.  The comedic relief when Zakuro and Amegaki find out that they’re sharing a room as well as towards the end of the episode once they return home kept it from getting too dark and angsty too quickly.  Although I won’t lie; Zakuro and Amegaki seem like they’re getting to be pretty darn close and I couldn’t be happier. :3c  Plus, with the introduction of these bad guys(?) things can only get even better in the coming episodes!

Rating: A/A+

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As a 22-year old gamer chick, anime/manga addict and all around geek, Nagi is one of the prized members of the Anime Evo family! She likes any sort of genre so long as the artwork is shiny and the plot good (it also doesn’t hurt to have some fan-service and gore either!) and will give any anime or manga at shot.

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