I was mildly surprised to find that this episode actually didn’t focus on Zakuro, but I didn’t mind in the least.  It’s nice to know that they’ve gone to the trouble to go into depth on the other characters, especially the other girls.  So yay!  More Susukihotaru in this episode! 😀

This week we start off with an image I won’t soon forget; Amegaki and Riken practicing their kendo.  Shirtless.  Hallelujah for small favors.  We then see Zakuro sitting on the balcony, watching Amegaki and Riken, no doubt inwardly drooling over the shirtless hunks below.  Susukihotaru appears, startling Zakuro and causing her to stomp off when Amegaki waves to her (she seems to do that a lot, doesn’t she?)  Riken glances at Susukihotaru and she flees, visibly flustered by him.  Kushimatsu summons the group to her office and gives Susukihotaru, Bonbori, Hozuki, Ganryuu and Riken a mission while informing Zakuro and Amegaki that they should stay home and rest since they had just returned from their previous assignment.  Somehow I’m getting the feeling that she’s trying to shelter Zakuro from something…

Now that we’ve ditched Zakuro and Amegaki, we join Suskihotaru and company in a small town.  Ganryuu scolds Bonbori and Hozuki for acting so childishly in public before gesturing at Susukihotaru and Riken, saying they should act more like them.  Riken notices that Susukihotaru tends to stare at the ground while outside the Ministry and when he asks her why, she says it’s because she’s afraid of looking humans in the eye in case she scares them.  Riken then steps in front of her, saying she can walk behind him so that she’s not nervous anymore, which is just so sweet of him.

Upon arriving at the small shop that their client is at, the girls are greeted by an adorable little spirit named Mugi.  Gawd, I just wanted to pinch her little cheeks!  Anyhow, she brings them to her caretaker/master, Oritaka Aya, who informs them of this strange object she acquired.  It turns out to be a katana that was sold to her, but she had a strange feeling about the object so instead of re-selling it, she called the Ministry of Spirit Affairs to find out more about the object.  Riken goes to touch the sword, but Susukihotaru screams at him not to touch it.  It seems as if the sword is affecting her somehow…

While Susukihotaru recovers from her ordeal, Bonbori, Hozuki and Ganryuu take it upon themselves to go investigate a nearby building, hoping to gain some answers about the sword.  Mugi and Riken find Susukihotaru sitting on a small ledge in a hallway, Mugi offering her some medicine while Riken merely watches her to make sure she’s okay.  Noticing the small comb in Mugi’s obi, Susukihotaru asks about it.  Stating that it was her mother’s, Mugi hands it to Susukihotaru who then gets a horrible vision of Mugi and her mother, who was killed by a rogue swordsman (or spirit hunter, one of the two.)  Handing her back the comb, Susukihotaru asks Mugi if she remembers her mother at all.  When Mugi says no because they were separated a long time ago, Susukihotaru smiles bitterly and tells her that if she’s a good girl, she’ll find her mother.

Revisiting Bonbori, Hozuki and Ganryuu, they managed to find the building in question.  As they wander around investigating, we see the cloaked figures from the previous episode! D:  They remark that Zakuro isn’t with them and they vanish as quickly as they appeared.  Going back to our favorite duo, Riken and Susukihotaru are talking quietly before hearing a large clamor in the room behind them.  They find Mugi rubbing her head and saying that she was trying to help, but couldn’t reach the sword.  As the sword falls, both Riken and Susukihotaru go to catch the sword.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, whatever your take on it is) Susukihotaru catches the sword and we see her vision of swordsmen becoming murderers as soon as they touch the cursed object.  She then draws her sword and displays some badass moves as she fights with Riken.  Desperate to stop her, Riken grabs the cloth the sword was previously encased in and blocks the sword with his hand.  His poor hand! D:  Susukihotaru snaps out of her trance and collapses as Aya and Mugi quickly exit the room.

Bonbori, Hozuki and Ganryuu return (with no information from the building they investigated, I might add) only to find Aya and Mugi sitting quietly in the corner.  When they asked her where Susukihotaru and Riken were, she gestured to the back room but didn’t say anything else.  Bonbori and Hozuki grab Ganryuu as he’s about to march back there, telling him to be quiet and leave the two alone.  We then find Susukihotaru bandaging Riken’s wound and apologizing like there’s no tomorrow.  She then reveals that her power is the sense the feelings of people; sometimes she needs to touch them, but sometimes she just needs to be within a certain distance of them.  Riken takes her hand and asks her if she can hear his thoughts before saying that he’d like it if she could continue to read his thoughts since he’s a man of few words.  Moved to tears by his gesture, Susukihotaru allows him to pull her into a hug while saying that she hopes he can understand how she feels too.  It was such a sweet, tender moment between the two and I couldn’t have been happier. =)

The girls and their partners return home, Susukihotaru and Riken displaying an obvious closeness to each other.  However, in the same town that the girls just left, we find a woman walking about saying that she’ll find Zakuro soon enough.  Definitely interesting…

Opinions: Another amazing episode!  I’m really glad that we’re starting to get a look at the other girls, their powers and their relationships with their partners.  Plus, we’re already starting to see the bad guys!  Well, kind of.  Because in typical bad guy fashion, their faces are obscured with shadows and/or cloaks.  I hope that we start seeing more of what they want and how they’ll be interacting with the girls.

Score: 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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