by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Kemono Jihen ?
The mosquito women had a pretty good thing going with Bugbite, and they would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids and their vampire. But once the kids and Mihai got involved, it was all over for them, not the least because one of the children, Shiki, is a spider kemono, and we all know how insects fare in an arachnid's web. So we really could have seen at least part of this week's resolution coming but for one specific detail: that Shiki was scared out of his mind by the kanonba ladies in all their hideous glory.
Honestly, this show is making me rethink my previous stance on insects, because previously I would have said that only ticks and millipedes actively gross me out. But after the mosquito women, I'm finding that I prefer my bugs tiny and lacking in all supernatural powers, because no matter what form they're taking – and we see this time that they have several in varying stages of bugginess – the kanonba are truly upsetting to look at. Watching Shiki snap out of his fear in order to wrap two in his webs and Kabane just dragging another along by her hair (while she complained vociferously) was definitely the sort of putting them in their place that we needed after watching them suck people's brains out through their ears last week.
But in some ways the defeat of the kanonba was the least important thing that happened in this episode, if only because it was a somewhat predictable resolution. The more important pieces of the overall puzzle come in the form of Mihai instructing Kabane and the entrance of the “other kitsune” that Kon mentioned before. The latter in some ways feels the most crucial, because Nobimaru is very, very different from Kon. While Kon is more feral than not, Nobimaru has a very clear idea of what his role is in a world that's largely torn between Inari and Inugami in terms of how things are handled. Nobimaru admits to Kabane that he doesn't much like Inari, but the question is whether or not we can trust him on that. He says several times that he's a bake-gitsune, a term specifically for kitsune who transform and take on a more trickster-like role as opposed to the kitsune who serve as messengers of the gods, which could, and perhaps should, tell us that there's much more going on with him than he's letting on. He's flat-out telling Kabane that he and Inari can't be trusted, especially since Inari has in no way given up on getting Kabane's lifestone. Since that stone is the reason why Kabane can control his kemono powers (per Mihai's instruction), it's fairly obvious why Inari would covet it. The question is how far Nobimaru, and possibly Kon, will go to take it for her.
Mythologically, it's very interesting that Nobimaru specifies his type of kitsune, not just because it's a type more in line with Inugami's bake-danuki, but rather because Inari is, in fact, a god: the god of rice. In myth, Inari is associated with foxes because they (Inari's gender is fairly fluid and changes depending on the region) descended from the heavens riding a white fox. Foxes, therefore, are often seen specifically as Inari's messengers, so to separate Nobimaru from those kitsune (holy foxes) implies that Inari's business may not be entirely official. If he and Kon are the other variety (wild foxes), they, and Inari, have a lot more wiggle room when it comes to what they do and why. While we don't yet know if this Inari is in fact the god, it's still a major hint when it comes to her motivation in terms of the show, and Kabane would probably do well to remember what he says.
Whether he will or not is very up in the air, because Kabane's innocence in terms of human interaction is very nearly on Kon's level. He's getting better – he did eventually remember her and is settling in well at Inugami's – but the subtleties of Nobimaru's warnings may not quite hit home at this point. Shiki's the best-placed to figure it out of the three kids, but he's not quite in a place to yet, having finally confronted some of his fears and decided that he's ready to hear about his parents. It's probably not a pretty story, but that he's ready to learn it says that something good may have come out of Mihai's recklessness after all.
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