Watch Saiyuki

  • TV-14
  • 2000
  • 3 Seasons
  • 7.4  (224)

The story of Saiyuki takes place in a time where both humans and demons lived in peace. Unfortunately, that time was short lived and the demons began to attack and plot against the humans by unleashed an ancient evil demon called Gyumao. A man named Genjo Sanzo, who is rogue priest is forced to work with three demons called Sha Gojyo, Son Hoku and Cho Hakkai and go on a journey to put an end to these evil demons plans while restoring peace between the humans and demons of this planet.

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Don't Cry ~ close your eyes ~
26. Don't Cry ~ close your eyes ~
September 23, 2004
After the flashback: Monster Arm Hazel piles into the SI, who fight back but take a pounding from the huge arm's power. Hazel completely loses it, morphing into his cat-demon form, roaring and snarling as he lashes out at the ikkou. He throws off Gojyo and Hakkai's attacks and charges at Sanzo, who aims but finds he's out of ammo; HG&G stare stunned as MA Hazel barrels toward their unarmed leader-- and a huge firebolt comes from nowhere to plow MA Hazel into a mesa, which collapses into dust. Who do we know that can throw huge firebolts? Might it be that tall redhead on the flying dragon? Yup: Lirin-sama has kept her promise, and the Kou-tachi is here to help the Sanzo-ikkou dust Hazel. =) Sanzo, reloading, demands to know what Kou & Co. are doing here. The prince retorts that they shouldn't think he's become their ally; that man is an enemy to all demons, and he'll gladly finish him off if the SI is just going to stand there. ==Hazel picks him/itself up and steps out of the dust cloud; Doku and Yaone decide they oughtn't get involved, while Lirin cheerily yells back that Sanzo ought to let her brother handle it. Sanzo cocks his pistol and says "screw that." Lirin's surprised, but the ikkou strides forward, Gojyo calling up to the 'tachi "sorry guys, but we'll settle this" and Goku adding that they have a promise to keep. Kougaiji gravely surveys the scene, including the heap of dust and clothing that's all that remains of the late Gatti Nenehawk [[may he rest in peace]], and intuits what's happened here. Lirin asks what's going on, but her brother tells her to let them be. --The grim, battered ikkou line up to face the advancing Hazel--who, as he becomes visible, has his human face and form back, and looks dazed and exhausted. I remembered everything, he says. The Kou-tachi watches over the scene; there's such calm sympathy in the prince's face. Hazel looks as if he's walked through hell barefoot. I killed my master, he says; I became a monster and killed him. [[I can hardly imagine what it costs him to say these words; even Sanzo looks moved.]] Master, he chokes, falling to his knees; suddenly he clutches his head in pain, we see the glowing sphere of the Seirei wink out, and Hazel gasps that the Spirit is dead. The ikkou draws back in alarm. Hazel's pendant begins to glow-- --and for miles around, every person that Hazel 'saved' by raising them with youkai souls suddenly gasps, collapses and crumbles into grey dust like the shikigami they are, their souls speeding away from them in streaks of blue light, groaning and sobbing as they fly. Hakuryu, on a mesa above the scene, sees the shower of blue spheres pouring toward them and cheeps in alarm. Hakkai and Goku look up and react as the stream bears down, and then the torrent of souls pours into Hazel. The souls of the people Hazel resurrected, says Sanzo darkly, as Hazel sobs in anguish, saying the monster is stealing the souls to increase its power. I don't want this, I don't want it! not after--he cries. Tears are streaming down his face. The lives I saved-- His voice devolves into grunts and snarls, and the ikkou arms up, ready to fight a new monster manifestation: white-feathered wings burst from Hazel's back, glowing and beautiful, as if he were about to become a blue-eyed angel in truth: but his red cat eyes return, and he fires his feathers like darts into the ikkou. The Kou-tachi reacts with shock and anger, and Yaone appeals to Kou, but he says, "Not yet." [[man, what perception and understanding he shows. Gods, he's so great.]] --Hazel stands grinning, gloating over the fallen ikkou. Sanzo yanks one feather-dart from his chest, sees the blue stain it leaves. Poison? he wonders. He raises his gun-- Sanzo is the only one standing, the ikkou pierced with a dozen feathers each; but when they see him standing, facing Hazel alone, Goku grips his staff and they struggle to rise. Sanzo starts to pull the trigger, and Hazel grins, sure of winning; but Goku yells "extend, nyoi-bo!" and the staff punches into Neko-Hazel's chest so hard he chokes up blood-- then there's a shrill "Kyuuu!" and a small dragon flying overhead becomes a half-ton Jeep that drops onto Hazel without warning. Feathers fly as the demon-angel bellows in rage and pain. Sanzo fires, cutting away half of one white wing, and it looks as if Hazel is on the ropes: but then, unbelievably, Neko-Hazel begins to chant the same prayer he always used to resurrect a human, and the amulet glows== and Sanzo's had enough. He matches the demon bishop's prayer with the sacred syllables of the sutra chant, and the kyoumon billows forth and envelops Hazel. Youkai souls pour out of the gold pendant; Neko-Hazel's face turns back into the innocent face of the blue-eyed angel, and he falls into the dust. Gojyo and Goku look on in exhaustion and grief; the Kou-tachi witness. Yaone, says Kou, give them some antidote; we can repay our debt to them. Hai, she says gladly. Hazel draws himself up and faces the muzzle of Sanzo's shoreijuu; shoot me, Sanzo-han, he says. We see his memories: people crying out that his 'saved' humans were monsters, helpless youkai begging for their lives. I thought I was doin' the right thing, he says, purifyin' the world of demons. Purifyin'...his memories overwhelm him, and he begs Sanzo to shoot him. [[OK, I take it back: I don't hate him. He's just another poor, messed-up, twisted little thing like so many in this series. I tell ya, no series will teach you simple Buddhist compassion like Saiyuki.]]== Kill me, Sanzo-han, begs Hazel, tears streaming down his face; everything I did was pointless. Sanzo says, "Nothing in this world is pointless. Everyone is needed." Is that true? asks Hazel, and Sanzo says it is. And again Hazel begs Sanzo to kill him, still on his knees in the dust; and this time Sanzo says, "All right." Much obliged, says the blue-eyed angel. Sunset. The Sanzo-ikkou and the Kou-tachi stand over two burial mounds, one decorated with Gato's headband and pistols, one with Hazel's hat and pendant. So in the end, who was he? asks Kougaiji; and Lirin unexpectedly answers, "He was someone who wasn't wanted," as tears streak her face. Doku and Yaone are surprised; she wipes her eyes, and says yes, he was unforgivable, but he was so alone that I felt sorry for him. [Goku notes this.] Yaone gently tells her that his soul is free from torment now, and is probably laughing with Gato'san's. The Kou-tachi mount their dragons and take their leave. Still on his mesa, Doctor Ni shrugs that it didn't work, but then killing demons to bring back humans was a totally pointless idea anyway. And Gojyo says, "so, he wasn't a demon or a human?" Hakkai positively says he was human, even if only because he tried so hard to be; but Sanzo says--with the air of one settling this once and for all--"There isn't much difference between youkai and humans." They all turn to look at him, and he exhales smoke and smiles. (Yes, really smiles.) "A man is a man," he says, "and that's all there is to it. --Let's go." And as they walk off toward their patiently waiting jeep, we go back to the Merciful Goddess and Jiroushin, watching the lotus pool in the Heavens. Yare yare, they're finally past that detour, s/he says. What will happen to them now? he asks, and s/he laughs and says, why even ask? what makes them interesting is this: no one can alter their fate as long as they're together. Amd we see them, headed into the sunset, headed West.
Something We Must Protect ~ truth ~
25. Something We Must Protect ~ truth ~
September 16, 2004
Gojyo and Goku leap clear of the rockslide; Gato is buried, but pushes free, and is healed (with much unnerving crunching and popping of mended bone) for the nteenth time by Hazel. H,G&G admit to each other that this is just a bit daunting, but they defiantly gather their strength and prepare to charge Gato. Hazel calls down to Gat that they're running low on souls, so Gat had better finish the ikkou off this time--that should be easy, he mockingly adds, just see how beat-up they are. The big native draws and charges, but the indomitable four pour it on and give him a fierce fight. Hazel, who'd thought them on the verge of death, watches in wide-eyed amazement--and then looks up to see Goku descending on his mesa from midair, nyoi-bo swung back and aimed at his skull! Gato leaps up to tackle Hazel clear of the blow [[it really is cool that they found this lunar-gravity valley to fight in, isn't it?]] intercepting Goku's shattering blow himself and requiring another healing--which drains Hazel's pendant. He's in complete disbelief: how can the ikkou just shrug off the battering and rounds of gunshots they've taken? These people might be invincible, says Gat quietly. That's absurd, snaps the bishop; we'll just retreat and replenish our soul supply-- --but Gato says "No, I won't do that." Hazel is so stunned that his mouth literally drops open. His faithful Gato, disobeying him? --My journey ends here, the big man says calmly. What are you saying? Hazel protests, I'm out of souls! if you disobey me you'll die! But Gat smiles and says, "I'm already dead." And he leaps down from the mesa [[yeah, just like that]] and cocks both pistols for another run at the ikkou. Hakkai says he's got a bad feeling about this; Gojyo says "let's finish him fast and get outta here." Goku charges, and the battle is again joined, while Hazel looks on in bewildered anger: why is Gat disobeying him, why? Battered on all sides by the ikkou, Gato is on the ropes--and a huge echoing voice suddenly calls Hazel's name. It's the Spirit, Gat says; I've finally fulfilled my promise. Goku's staff punches into his chest; his arm shatters, and he collapses into the sand. Hazel runs to him, nearly in tears, saying that this only happened because he disobeyed. Why did he do it? The big native smiles wearily, and says that this desert reminds him of his home; it'll be a good final resting place. This is the end of our journey, Hazel, he says gently. The Spirit's voice calls his name, and a light descends, brilliant as a miniature sun. (Is this that sembei thing? asks Goku, and Gojyo snaps back, 'quit thinking of food for once!') As the light comes closer, Gato explains that the Spirit made him promise to protect Hazel. Flashback: Gato says that the Spirit had brought him to Hazel to kill him, and we see him watching as child-Hazel drops a pack of random youkai. Small Hazel calmly explains that he killed them just because they're monsters, which have no right to live. I'm goin' to exterminate them, says the baby bishop, and as Gat steps forward he coldly adds that he'll kill Gat too if he interferes--anyone who gets in my way is my enemy. [[Hate to say it, but he and Sanzo do have a thing or two in common.]]--Little Hazel starts to walk away, but his face suddenly takes on a wild glare, he gasps and chokes, his hands turn into youkai talons [[what?!]] and as he claws at his head in agony, his eyes turn slit-pupiled... It was a monster's curse, dying Gato tells Hazel, back in the present. I'm a monster?! gasps Hazel; he begins to laugh wildly, and accuses Gato of trying to fool him, saying he remembers that moment plainly, and that Gato had looked so stunned when his guns failed to fire. But Gat tells him that's a fabricated memory; the Seirei replaced your memories, he says. The Seirei told him it was his destiny to kill the child, he explains; he hesitated, but when chibi-demon Hazel lunged for him, all cat eyes and sawblade teeth, he shot it down. I shot you after you turned into a monster, he tells Hazel, who shouts that it's a lie. Gat tells him to look at his chest, and sure enough there's the scar of a bullet wound [[which, um, Hazel had never noticed before?...'what's going on?' asks Goku. Beats me, replies Hakkai. Me too, 'Kai.]] Flashback: Gat emotionally says that when he closed the eyes of the dead Hazel, he suddenly saw all the child's past suffering and loneliness. We see baby Hazel crying in the midst of a strew of corpses as youkai snarl around him, see him rescued by Bishop Filbert, wearing the same gold pendant. And we see again the scene we've glimpsed before, Filbert shielding child Hazel from a huge wolf-youkai, only now we hear the whole story: the youkai (it's the wounded one that Filbert was allowing to convalesce in the church) bitterly says that Hazel, who hates all monsters, should bear the curse of a monster. Hazel, to Filbert's horror, laughs, and dares the creature to do its worst, saying it hasn't even the strength of a fly. All monsters should die, he yells defiantly. The huge beast dematerializes itself into a spiral of red vapor/light which strikes into Hazel; as Filbert looks on in horror, the boy turns into the same catlike demon Gat saw--and kills his own master with his own claws. As Filbert lies dying, he gently tells the snarling child that he must put aside his anger and hate before they destroy him, and prays that someone can save him. At that moment, Gato tells the in-shock Hazel back in the present, I knew why you and I were there...both of us, who were alone and had lost everything. I gave you my soul. Hazel denies it, but the Spirit says that it's true; that at Gat's own request, his spirit was transferred to the child he had just shot down. I entered your body to control the monster inside you, and you gained my powers, says the glowing Seirei. Gato says that he promised to protect Hazel until he was freed from the curse, and the Seirei agrees, but adds that its own life is drawing to a close. Its glow fades away, and Gato says that without its power Hazel will turn into a monster soon; he was supposed to kill Hazel when they happened, but he doubts he has the strength anymore, and he lookes hopefully at the ikkou. With his last effort he tells the bishop that monsters and humans are the same, and that he must discard his hatred...and his hands crumble into sand. His last moments have come. Hazel, sobbing, turns and begs one of the ikkou to die so that he can save Gato. They gaze back stonily. Gato manages to tell him that everyone's time to die must come; he smiles, and says he enjoyed their journey together, before completely dissolving into dust. Hazel howls his name, the echoes resounding off the cliffs. Tears stream down his face as he scoops up a handful of white dust and lets it sift through his fingers. Goku quietly notes that Gat was smiling at the last. Something we must protect, says Gojyo.==as Hazel gazes on the now empty heap of clothing, his sobs turn into hysterical laughter, and he says that Gato was right, that it happened just that way--he IS a monster. He begins to choke and gasp as he changes shape, of turning into the cat-demon, he develops one huge, lumpy arm with claws on it...? No, really, that's what happens...
Fight to the Death ~ sunny day ~
24. Fight to the Death ~ sunny day ~
September 9, 2004
After the flashback: the horrified Goku calls out to Sanzo, and the ikkou (apparently making the many-story drop to the ground with ease) charges toward its fallen leader; but Hazel commands "stop right there, demons", and puts a bullet into Sanzo's shoulder. The trio skids to a halt, and Hazel, those pretty blue eyes now Arctic slits, says, "Gato." The big guy, already taken aback by Hazel's appropriation of his gun, hesitates. Hazel's eyes get even scarier: Gato! he hisses, and Gat fires on the ikkou. They dive for cover, and Hakkai observes that "unlike Sanzo", Gato is quite a good shot. [--Unfair of Hakkai, who knows full well that Sanzo is a dead-eye shot; but probably justified by the monk's numerous snipes at his absent crew.] Gojyo says they needn't be anxious, as Gato's gun only holds six rounds. They count shots and charge when they hear him eject his 6th round, only to be fired upon by Hazel, who's had time to reload the other pistol! HG&G hightail it back to the rocks, where Goku and Hakkai give Gojyo grief for not thinking of that. (Hakuryu, also hiding, listens to their quarreling and kyuu's ruefully.) The guys do the math: if Hazel and Gat have both reloaded, that's a total of twelve rounds. Four for each of us, says Goku. Gojyo teases that saru-chan's math skills are top-notch and he retorts that sheesh, of course he can count; Hakkai chides that this is no time to bicker, and G&G settle, agree and arm up. Make sure you draw your share, calls Gojyo as they break cover. At once their plan is clear--force the HT to expend so much fire on them all at once that neither has time to reload--and with all three on full offensive and using their signature attacks that's just what happens. When Goku lands a huge nyoi-bo bash on Gato, Hakkai is able to slam him into the cliffside with a ki sphere. Hazel calls to him in alarm, but before blue-eyes can move he hears a pistol being cocked behind him; a deadly-eyed Sanzo has used the distraction to pull himself to his feet, gun drawn. [But no, they don't ever rescue him, of course. >=) ] --That hurt, growls the priest, and he shoots Hazel through the shoulder. The bishop chokes and falls to his knees, clutching the wound, as Gato peels himself out of the crater Hakkai pasted him into. Hazel draws his gloved hand away from the wound and stares at the blood, shaking, his eyeballs vibrating in that distinctive anime way that always signals incipient meltdown; he lets out an anguished howl-- and the ikkou steps in to rag on Sanzo's awful marksmanship, wondering where on Hazel he intended to hit! Sanzo snarls and is about to fire on them when another shot sounds--and he falls again. HG&G's amusement vanishes at the sight of Gato's furious glare. (MAN, do they look mad.) But face-down Sanzo gives a pissed-off grunt, his fist clenching in the sand, and Gojyo grins in real admiration: he just won't die, will he? he says. =) =) [--Aww.] --Goku's had enough of these potshots at his sun, and barrels at the motionless Hazel full-tilt with nyoi-bo raised, but Gato intervenes, swatting away the staff and knocking Goku sprawling with a punch. Hakkai and Gojyo are startled, but Goku just spits blood and glares murderously, muttering "I got so close." --Hazel, breathing raggedly, gasps that he can never forgive this, and orders Gato to get goin'. Battle is rejoined, with H&G going all-out on Gato while Goku plants himself between Hazel and his bodyguard, grimly announcing "your ass is mine". Gato can't get a chance to reload; Hakkai, looking like green death incarnate, aims to plow him back into the cliff with another ki bolt, but he gets past the furious youkai, forces Gojyo to back down and reaches Hazel just as a howling Goku is descending from the sky to split his skull. Again he throws the nyoi-bo aside; Goku, mad as hell, comes at him barehanded, but he hurls the saru into the cliffside. "Good work," Hazel-rah smiles, and raises the pendant to heal his injuries. Damn, they never quit, mutters Gojyo, and Hakkai agrees that's true. Then they all realize that Sanzo has raised himself to his knees behind them, and remember their original intent was to kick his butt; and Goku, in an unforgettable moment, lands a sock to the monk's jaw! Sanzo lashes back, hitting Gojyo instead of Goku; the kappa complains bitterly, Hakkai laughs that there's a huge weight off their shoulders, and Sanzo yells "who asked you bastards to come back anyway? such a nuisance--" "That's right," they chorus firmly as they turn their backs on him =)=) and face Hazel and Gato, grinning ferociously. Nuisance or not, we're still us, says Goku. We live how we want to, chimes in Gojyo. We don't care who thinks we're reckless or insolent, says Hakkai, and Goku levels his forefinger at Hazel: And now we're gonna kick your ass, he finishes. The blue-eyed angel laughs. 'Prepare to die, Sanzo-han,' he says, adding that once he's dead they'll kill his demon friends and raise his body using their souls. After all, he smiles--once a demon lover always a demon lover. [ gods.] Bastard, growls Sanzo, low and deadly. Gojyo chuckles: now it's getting interesting, huh, Hakkai? Hakkai is likewise amused: honto desu ne, it surely is, he agrees. And Goku grins so darkly you can almost see the Seiten Taisei in his eyes: bring it on if you can, he taunts. Hazel laughs. I'll kill all of you, he says. Hazel-san, asks Hakkai (polite as always), why not fight us yourself instead of having Gato do it for you? Although I'm a 'mere youkai' (you can just hear the icicles dripping off his gracious voice), I'll be your opponent. Hazel smiles, and says that Gato knows his duty, and that unlike them, he's loyal. Oh, he gives new meaning to the world 'loyal', retorts Gojyo angrily, and asks the big native just why he goes so far to protect this guy. It's all I can do, replies Gato, cocking his pistols. Sanzo at once draws on him, and the guys tense for battle. He's just another corpse, mutters Gojyo, but Hakkai reminds him that unlike the others, he can be healed and revived countless times. How is he different from the others? --and Sanzo, remembering their chat, replies, "He's a spirit (seirei)." Goku hears sembei, rice crackers =); Gojyo asks the monk how he got hold of this bit of info, and Sanzo replies that Gato told him, though he can't be sure how much of what he said was true. Hazel, displeased, asks Gato what he told Sanzo. The big guy tells him "there really is a spirit", and Hazel replies that Gato may have a spirit but he, Hazel, has God--a special, God-given power to eradicate demons. The ikkou grit their teeth, and Hazel shrugs and says it'd be a sin to waste that gift. He sics Gato on the ikkou, who go into battle mode. Dr. Ni, still on his mesa, pours something out of a thermos (coffee? Jack Daniels?) and gulps it down, saying they're all so stubborn, and he can't tell which will live and which die--though for them all to die would be no problem.-- Hazel, watching the battle, uneasily notes that the SI are seasoned fighters, and have already sussed Gato's attack patterns. He looks over at the body of Zakuro, lying undisturbed where he died, and decides to use another technique. He raises his gold pendant and begins to pray-- --and Goku, toe-to-toe with Gato, feels a hand grip his ankle. You?--yup, it's Zakuro, now a yellow-eyed zomb. Kill, it rasps. The atrocity catches Gojyo and Goku so off-guard that Gato is able to drop them both; Hakkai at once throws up a ki shield to protect himself and Sanzo, but zomb-Zakuro claws at the edge of it. Kill the demons, it giggles. --Even Sanzo is sickened, and drops the wretched thing with one shot. He turns to Hazel as the wounded Gojyo and Goku get to their feet: I never thought you were able to resurrect youkai, he says. Well, it's only meant to be used on humans, qualifies Hazel. Gojyo is stone-cold furious. You damn fraud, he snarls; you said your God gave you this power so you could kill demons, but that was just your own decision, wasn't it?! Oh my, I've been found out, says Hazel; what a shame, after I went through such trouble to hide it. The pissed-off and disgusted ikkou launch into the HT yet again, and Sanzo puts two bullets directly into Gato without slowing him down. Try hitting him for a change! says Gojyo; I did hit him! retorts Sanzo, and they can plainly see the bullets stuck harmlessly in his chest. Well, this isn't good; Gat's too fast for a ki attack to work, and mere blade damage doesn't even register. But Goku is so mad that he just doesn't care if he's shot. He barrels straight into Gato and manages to hurl him into the cliffside yet again (The landscape damage in this ep! yi!). Gojyo catches up and asks Goku how many shots Gat has left; Gat ejects his empty shells, and Gojyo reckons this is their chance, rushing at him. But the huge native slams his arm into the mesa with tremendous force; Sanzo yells that it's a trap, but too late, as tons of stone cascade down on Gato, Goku and Gojyo...
Breakthrough ~battle royal~
23. Breakthrough ~battle royal~
September 2, 2004
After the flashback: Hazel tells Sanzo that this will all end if he just says 'Hazel, I'll travel with you'. You've got to be kidding, growls Sanzo, and Gato's next bullet grazes his cheek, drawing blood. Gato will punish you if you say anything besides what I want to hear, the 'angel' admonishes. Zakuro finds this uproariously funny, and calls out to Sanzo that since he can't move he'd better start begging for his life. Hazel snaps for him to shut up [hee, "Urasai!" --the nerve of him, stealing Sanzo's lines!=)], saying he'll keep his mouth shut until he's told otherwise; he, Hazel, is talking to Sanzo right now. Sanzo retorts that he doesn't want to talk to either of them, takes another bullet that staggers him backward, and tries to fire back--but his gun is still 'turned to stone'. Hazel laughs: trying to prove you're tough? he taunts. Or are you waiting for your demon friends to come save you? Sanzo says he can't remember them ever doing that [oh, really now...]. Hazel replies that it's fine if he wants to see it that way, but no matter how long he waits, those youkai won't be coming to his rescue. Sanzo doesn't like his I-know-somethin'-you-don't tone, and rasps, "What?" but the bishop just laughs. Meanwhile, the I-3 are sitting in a forest clearing with defeated youkai scattered everywhere, complaining that they seem to be getting attacked even more without Sanzo than they did with him. (One of the battered youkai raises his head long enough to gasp "we'll get the sutra next time, Sanzo-ikkou!" and gets a fast faceful of dragon foot--even Hakuryu is getting annoyed, smiles Hakkai. =) Gojyo grumbles that Sanzo is the cause of all their troubles, but this is followed by an uncomfortable silence, and he suggests, "Maybe there is one thing we have to do before we head west." It's just gonna get worse if we don't, agrees Goku, and Hakkai finally says it: "Shall we go back where Sanzo is?" --And beat him up! adds Goku. Hakkai concurs. We'll never shake off this rotten mood otherwise, confirms Gojyo, and the three bump fists, saying Sanzo had better brace himself. =) [The same resolution that they reached when Gojyo left the group during the Kami-sama Arc, of course, and with the same ostensible intent. Heh.] ==But Hakuryu trills an alarm: out of nowhere the forest has filled with an army of yellow-eyed zombies, all droning 'kill the youkai' as they shuffle forward. Damn, I never can sense these guys coming, complains Goku [what, don't they even make any noise?], and Hakkai just has time to remind him 'that's because they're corpses' before the mob overwhelms them. Back in the illusion cave, Hazel laughs and tells Sanzo that they're most likely all dead by now. Sanzo gives a contemptuous snort; those three will never die, he says. [I love this: Sanzo can belittle H G & G himself all he likes, but let someone else dismiss them and he always tells them to bite it.] ==Wrong again, smiles Hazel. Another gunshot; it cuts Sanzo's leg, and he goes to his knees. Sanzo-han, says Hazel very patiently, I want you to stop believin' in demons over what I say. He gets to his feet, glaring, and retorts that he doesn't 'believe in' them. You think too highly of them, Hazel lectures; demons are insignificant, and easily killed. And who's the one who's joined forces with those 'insignificant' demons? asks the monk; Gato's next bullet cuts through his shoulder, and he goes down, pulls himself back to his feet, gripping the shoulder and fighting for breath. Gato is still holding Zakuro at gunpoint with the hand he's not shooting Sanzo with, and the purple-haired youkai grits his teeth, thinking how it ticks him off to hear that arrogant brat call him insignificant. But, whatever; it's not as if he'll be with them much longer... Flashback: Dr. Ni presenting him to the Hazel-tachi, saying it seems Hazel has shown all his cards. The bishop looks with obvious distaste at the youkai, and says sharply that they don't really give a damn about the sutra. I thought you'd say that, blue-eyed-angel-san, replies Ni smoothly, but how would you like to trade Genjyo Sanzo for the Maten Sutra? That's a good trade, isn't it? Hazel asks what he means, and the bad doc replies that they'll lend him strength by using the demons he so despises. No one seems to care for the idea except Ni, but after a moment Hazel asks "so what can this demon do?"...and we're back in the present, where Zakuro is thinking that he'll play nice until he gets his hands on the kyoumon. Aloud he jeers that Hazel is too slow; why doesn't he just kill the damn monk? But Hazel is still trying to reason with Sanzo, though his patience is clearly wearing thin. Why do you keep makin' these pointless gestures? he asks Sanzo; it's obvious that you'll come with us, it's your fate. Fate? snarls Sanzo; what's pointless is your believing in that crap. Another bullet; blood runs down his arm and drips through his fingers, and Hazel snaps back, really mad now, 'shut up and listen!' --Long story short, he says, you're travelin' west to stop the demons from goin' berserk. Such a roundabout way of doin' it; surely you can see it's faster to just kill them all. And knowin' that, why do you choose another path? When you don't know its outcome, it's just a waste of time. Whether or not it's a waste of time is something I'll decide, says Sanzo. Hazel calls him a shame to the title of Sanzo Monk [seriously, the gall of this punk]; he can't escape his destiny. Once more he makes his pitch: they both lost their beloved masters to demon attack, they both need closure, so the best thing for them both and for Tougenkyo is to join forces and exterminate all demonkind - isn't that right? Huh, snorts Sanzo, and the most delectably malicious grin you can imagine comes over his face. 'Put Tougenkyo at peace by exterminating all demons', he quotes mockingly, ch; and then, to Hazel's complete shock, he rears back and yells to Zakuro. Did you hear that? he challenges, why are you helping someone who says that?! That's none of your business, retorts the youkai, but Sanzo knows his buttons: are you running from your own weakness? he needles. Hazel repeats his order to Zakuro to shush until given leave to speak, and Sanzo grabs onto that-- "So, Zakuro, you're Hazel's bitch now?" Zakuro lashes back, and Hazel, not at all liking this turn of events, orders Gato to silence Sanzo. Four more bullets cut into the monk [they've stopped showing the spreading bloodstains on his robe, but trust me, it ought to be solid red by now]; blood is dripping onto the skulls at his feet, but he somehow stays standing, calling out to Zakuro that they're just using him and will kill him when they're through. Not at all, I'm lending them my strength, replies the illusionist. Will you hush? Hazel rails at the youkai, and Zakuro's had it: don't tell me what to do, he retorts. "Do you want to die?" asks Hazel coldly. Sanzo, gasping for breath, watches him narrowly, hoping he's destabilized the situation enough for something to happen. Hazel tells Zakuro that Gato holds not only Sanzo's life, but the youkai's too, in his hands. But Zakuro's got an answer for that; he says that Hazel will be the one in trouble if Zakuro dies, since the illusion world will vanish as well. Are you threatenin' me? asks the bishop, looking more than a shade apprehensive, and Zakuro says that if Hazel bosses him around once more his bodyguard will be in the cavern with him; imagine the fix that puts you in! Hazel sweatdrops, but defiantly tells Zakuro to do it if he can--and yup, his bells have no effect on the undead giant. Hazel laughs in relief and gloatingly orders the youkai to "be a good boy now and follow my orders", since no little plans by an insignificant youkai could make any difference. --That's how it is, Zakuro, puts in Sanzo, not giving up his edge; and Zakuro pulls his trump card. Do you think I'll just sit back and take your insults? he asks, and he draws a bizarre, sci-fi-looking pistol (it actually looks like a lime-green paintball gun) from inside his vest and takes two shots at Gato. A red, glowing stain begins to spread over the big guy's body from the impact points, and where it soaks in, his body turns to grey stone and starts to crumble, shikigami-like. (Watching with binoculars from atop a mesa, Dr. Ni sighs that he's quite the impatient demon, to be using that so soon.) --Hazel, gasps Gato in alarm; Hazel calls to him, but of course can't see what's happening. Zakuro chortles in glee and says that it's an anti-undead drug, and that the more Gato forces himself to move the faster he'll crumble. Hazel now looks genuinely alarmed, and Zakuro spills the beans. You were the one being used all along, he tells the bishop; right from the start, my order s were to get the Maten Scripture and kill you. And once I take out the big guy I can do whatever I want to you. Shut up! you're only a demon! snaps Hazel, but Zakuro says he may not yap so loudly when he's engulfed in flames--and he jingles his bells. And uh-huh, Hazel sees a roaring blaze whoosh up from nowhere to surround him. --You too, Priest Genjyo Sanzo, he adds, and the flames spread. Hazel, as furious as he's scared, tries to convince himself it's all in his head and demands to see Zakuro. You'll never find me, taunts the youkai, and Sanzo sees his chance. Cowards like you always stay hidden, he jabs at Zak; you're just lurking in the shadows, watching us burn in agony, right? [And he is still grinning. Not just a smirk, outright evilly grinning. It is some, weird, sight - and again points out how the presence of the ikkou grounds and balances him, and the absence does the opposite.] Zak's ego takes the bait: I'll let you see Zakuro-sama's majestic form! he cries, and with a *ting* of the bells he materializes in the cavern. He makes a grand gesture: Kneel at my feet or become charcoal, he proclaims, laughing. But Sanzo snaps "Idiot," and--shoots him. The astonished youkai stares at the bloody hole in his chest and sinks to his knees, as the cavern vanishes and they're all back in the desert. Impossible! I sealed your gun! gasps Zak, but Sanzo chuckles and says "it's because I was shot with a gun." Oh, I see--that restored the image of your gun, says Zakuro. ....[um...yeah, right.] Sanzo mockingly thanks Gato, and Zakuro cusses the stupid humans. You're the stupid one, for letting me goad you into showing yourself, says Sanzo, drawing a bead on him; abayo. ( = Adios, 'bye, farewell.) But Zakuro falls to his knees and pleads for his life, begging forgiveness, and though Sanzo glares ferociously he draws down and gestures for Zakuro to get lost, saying he never wants to see him again. [I suspect this show of mercy arises more from refusal to do what Hazel would do, than from pity or contempt for the abject foe.] As he walks away, the youkai snickers and draws the Paintball Gun o'Doom out of his vest, wondering how its bullets would work on a human. He aims and cocks the trigger. A shot rings out, but when Sanzo turns he sees the kneeling Zakuro with weapon drawn and a stunned look on his face; he pitches forward into the dust. Gato has shot him. Well, that was close, says Hazel (who was presumably healing Gato while Sanzo spared the youkai, since he looks entirely himself)--now we've seen the full extent of Sanzo-han's naivete'. Do you finally believe, he asks, that demons will kill you unless you're with us? Nope, says Sanzo. Do you still not understand--begins the bishop, but Sanzo's had it with him. Shut up, he snaps, gun leveled (Hazel bars Gato from drawing his own) and stop concerning yourself with me. I said I have no intention of traveling with you; if you want to kill off demons, fine, knock yourself out, but it's not my problem. Hazel smiles. You truly are a stubborn man, he says-- And a familiar voice calls down from the mesa, "That's what makes him cool." Hazel whirls, and hooray, there they are, all three with big smiles. =)=) Goku adds that if you took Sanzo's stubbornness away there'd be nothing left; Hakkai chimes in that in a stubbornness contest he'd definitely win first prize; Gojyo grins that too much praise will make him conceited. But Hazel is finding none of this amusing: he's staring up at them absolutely stricken, unable to imagine how they survived his zombies. You three...are still alive? he manages. Oh, we're not the type to cash in that easily, replies Hakkai airily. But all those dead guys were a pain in the ass, adds Gojyo. Sanzo's not amused either, and cusses them out for returning; they yell back that they're here to kick his ass, that they got sick of PoRY yelling "Sanzo this and Sanzo that" at them, and my, he looks as if he's had a rough time as well. Yeah, maybe they'll forgive him...we'll take good care of you, adds Hakkai sweetly. Sanzo, obviously filled with joy at this warm reception, snarls that he'll kill them and aims his pistol in their general direction, just, y'know, by way of getting back to normal-- but the shot that's heard isn't his. Sanzo chokes and falls. GG&H stare down stunned as he thuds into the sand. And we see Hazel, his eyes pits of black shadow, holding Gato's gun; he's had all he can take. That's enough, he says, ice cold; all of you will die. Sanzo struggles desperately to breathe...
Strategy ~checkmate~
22. Strategy ~checkmate~
August 26, 2004
After the flashback: the I-3 are attacked by another PoRY calling them "Sanzo-ikkou" and demanding the sutra, and G&G are royally ticked off by it, bashing the hapless youkai with a lot more force than is usually called for. We're not his group! ("Sanzo-ikkou ja nai!") snarls Goku, and he and Gojyo--having KO'd all the youkai--go into a stamping and yelling tantrum, while Hakkai mildly asks if they really ought to blame everything on Sanzo. We have to get there before him no matter what! insists Goku. Let's go!--but then yet another PoRY pops up from nowhere, also yelling "Sanzo" and "sutra"! G&G literally see red, roaring "We're not in his goddamn group!" as they rip into the demons, and Hakkai rolls his eyes and wonders just what Sanzo's doing right now... their angry racket is so deafening that in the Heavens it even disrupts Kanzeon and Jiroushin's shogi game, and the Merciful One Hirself snaps "Urasai!" --Meanwhile, Sanzo is sitting in a desert canyon, having a smoke, when he hears a chiming of bells. Hm? -he pauses, and the jingle comes again, echoing off the Monument Valley-like stone pillars...and then, ta-da! the foe appears. I've found you! calls down Zakuro; long time no see, Genjyo-Sanzo-houshi. He leaps down to face the monk. You should feel honored, he says, cackling with glee; I've been summoned from hell just to defeat you. --Sanzo, who we thought had killed this creep in their last meeting, takes the sight of him with admirable calm. Zakuro cackles again and holds up his string of bells. Who are you?--asks the monk. You can't have forgotten me, retorts Zakuro, and after a second Sanzo growls, "Oh, it's you, bastard." (Then a flashback to make sure we too remember the illusionist youkai--like we could forget the one who put Gojyo through such torment.) Zakuro, wasn't it? he asks. That's right: the Master of Illusions, Lord Zakuro! No man is more beautiful or elegant than I, there's no way you could forget me! crows the youkai, and Sanzo snorts that that's only because he's never met a bigger show-off. =) He reminds Zakuro that he was beaten last time, but His Lordship replies that the bullet only grazed him, and that this time he's sure to send Sanzo to the depths of hell. The priest chuckles, and--how does Seki do this?--it has that unmistakable slightly-mad note we only hear when Sanzo is parted from his companions. Seems everyone's looking for ways to make me die these days, he says; bring it on. Zakuro laughs eerily and jingles his bells; but Sanzo draws on him without looking at him, snarling that idiots just love to run their mouths, and drills him straight through the heart. The youkai chokes and falls. Sanzo scoffs that he shouldn't've thought the same trick would work twice--he knows his illusions don't work if you don't meet his eyes. But Zakuro laughs and says 'who's the fool here?' and vanishes before Sanzo's eyes--and the desert landscape turns to a torchlit cavern piled with skulls. I've got you, Genjyo-Sanzo-houshi, gloats the youkai; pretty naive to think you were safe if you didn't look me in the eye. The bells ring again, and Sanzo gets it; the spell was in their sound all along. You'll never escape! the mighty Priest Sanzo, nothing but a bird in a cage! taunts Zakuro. Sanzo fires off random shots, but no use. And what do you think you can do with a gun like that, anyway? adds the illusionist; Sanzo looks, and sees his banishing gun has apparently turned to stone. He cusses in helpless frustration. I can see your ugly form [!] so clearly, jeers the youkai, who's standing right in front of Sanzo but is invisible to him. Prepare to die, little bird--he raises his bells-- and a white-gloved hand grabs his wrist. Zakuro snarls, but Hazel just smiles, and a very large pistol jabs into the youkai's back. That's far enough, says the bishop, it'll be troublesome if you do somethin' stupid now. Zakuro freezes; Hazel sweetly tells him he should keep his promise, and Z agrees. (Sanzo, still seeing only the cavern illusion, is unaware of any of this.)--On a cliff above the valley, Dr. Ni and his bunny oversee the scene, and Ni decides Hazel can take it from here; give it your best shot, aoi-me no tenshi, he smirks. In the illusion cave, Sanzo stands tensely, waiting for something to happen. What are you waiting for? why don't you kill me? he challenges the empty space. But when someone does appear, it's not Zakuro but Hazel, who the priest greets in outright surprise. What are you doing here, he demands; had a change of heart? are you working with demons now? Hazel touches his hatbrim and gently chides him that it couldn't be helped, since Sanzo always draws the attention of demons yet refuses to heed Hazel's warnings about dealing with same. Sanzo snorts; you've joined forces with the demons you hate so much, just to teach me a lesson? I'm just usin' him, Hazel replies; he's the one who can make Sanzo-han stop and listen. ==Outside, still at gunpoint, Zakuro thinks to himself 'that Hazel is one arrogant little bastard, but I [he uses 'ore-sama'=)] will have the last laugh yet'. Sanzo-han, asks Hazel, that close friend of yours who was slain by demons--he was your master, wasn't he? [the word he uses is 'oshou' which means a senior monk or priest.] --Taking his glowering silence for assent, Hazel smiles that he'd thought so, and that it must have been fate that drew them together. Don't jump to conclusions, rasps Sanzo, but Hazel replies that if he doesn't listen to Hazel this time, he really will be killed by youkai. --The Violet Death Glare is the monk's only reply. Hazel observes that in a way Sanzo reminds him of his own master, and that if he'd just listened to Hazel from the start, he wouldn't have been the demons' victim.==Hazel flashback: himself as a small boy, pleading with the elder Bishop to stop helping the monsters. You can't trust them, he urged, if you keep doin' this they'll kill both you and me. He wanted his master to kick out the wounded youkai he was sheltering in the church, but the older man gently told him that all are equal in God's eyes, and that there's no difference between monster and man when a fellow-creature is in need. We see small Hazel walking home, bitterly thinking that Master was wrong to trust those heartless creatures; then a huge, red-eyed youkai loomed over him in the street, and he raced back to the church, only to be shielded--in a pose exactly like the one Koumyou used to protect little Kouryou--by the Bishop. And, of course, he woke to find the man's lifeless body. ---I don't want to have those memories anymore, he tells Sanzo; I don't want that to happen to you. Impervious to the continued Violet DG, he goes on: You hate demons, don't you, Sanzo-han? so much that it torments you. Wouldn't you like to travel with us? We're so much alike, we'd be a great help to each other. [This sequence, I do believe, contains the most reused animation of anything in Gunlock so far; it's literally been the same five or six arcs and stills ever since the conversation began. Sheesh.] Hazel does tire of people ignoring his warnings--he can only count on them doing as he says after they've been resurrected, he sighs--but he's sure Sanzo is different, and will understand that Hazel needs his strength. Sanzo, however, only replies testily that Hazel never shuts up. The little bishop lowers his head in dismay, then says it can't be helped; we do have other means of persuasion, he says, and raises his hand. Sanzo looks up in quick suspicion--there's a gunshot, and from nowhere a bullet wound appears in his shoulder. As he clutches it, gasping in pain, Hazel reminds him that this illusion world isn't the only place he's vulnerable. Gato can attack your real body, he says, and since you can't dodge, he'll take your life. --Sanzo snarls that he's a bastard for the nth time this ep, but the little bishop is unfazed. He delivers an ultimatum: will Sanzo join the Hazel-tachi of his own will, and have his life spared; or will he die here, and join them as a yellow-eyed zombie? Hazel doesn't truly care which, so if Sanzo-han will kindly make up his mind... [Whew.] Silence. Don't look down on me like that, Sanzo grits through clenched teeth, breathing harshly with pain. Decide or I'll shoot, replies unmoved Hazel. Silence...
Reanimated Man ~desperado~
21. Reanimated Man ~desperado~
August 19, 2004
After the flashback: we see the ikkou-minus-3 (I-3) driving along. Goku gripes that he'd never thought Sanzo would be such an asshole; Hakkai diplomatically says "well, he's very stubborn" and Gojyo snaps that Hakkai shouldn't let the "self-centered, bald SoB" off so easy. It'll be great not having him around, says Gojyo, and angry Goku agrees. The saru wonders how the KT is. Flashback to their dropping Lirin off: the princess thanked them, and angrily swore to kill Hazel next time she saw him, for tricking her and hurting her brother and friends. Hakkai advised her to return home at once, as her brother must be worried; Lirin promised to help the SI defeat Hazel ("and afterward we'll beat you guys too!" --yeah right, bring it on, snorts Gojyo) and took off on dragonback.==Goku is still pensive; Gojyo remarks that he has too few brain cells to waste them on worrying, and Goku suddenly stands up in the back seat and lets out a howl that nearly startles Hakuryu into a wheelie. Gojyo upbraids Goku; the saru gripes that "just thinking of that baldy Sanzo makes me so mad!" (yeah, right.) --Hakkai laughs, and Gojyo tells him to pick up speed, so they can reach the West before Sanzo does. We're counting on you, Hakuryu! Goku tells the jeep, which kyuus in enthused response. Hakkai adds that there's no chance he'll get there ahead of them, as he's traveling on foot, and G&G break out in fresh chortles; he's so slow! and those sandals are hard to walk in! [Um, Goku ought to have noticed that he gave up wearing his temple sandals 2 series ago...] And he smokes too much, puts in Hakkai. Yet more chortles from the back seat. On the trail: Sanzo trips on a rock, stumbles and goes splat; he cusses, dusts off and walks on. Hazel observes that at this pace they'll be campin' out for the night, and Gato has been patiently gathering up Sanzo's chain-smoked cigarettes as he drops them--he has most of a can full. Hazel catches up as the monk lights yet another and asks if he doesn't think he smokes too much; Sanzo hmphs indignantly and walks on. They come to an open field, and Sanzo sits down to finish his cig in peace, looking pensive. Hazel walks up and addresses him, but Sanzo at once rises in silence and begins to leave, only to find the very large form of Gato standing immovably in his way. Don't be rude, Gat, chides Hazel, and the big guy stands aside. Don't worry, he adds as Sanzo strides off; Sanzo-han will need our help sooner or later. The IM3 has stopped to do some grocery shopping, and all happily comment on how much faster and cheaper shopping is without Mr. Annoying. Goku wonders what he's eating now, and he and Gojyo agree that besides being a chain smoker, Sanzo has unhealthy eating habits as well. [They're trying just a little too hard to be fine with this, ne?]==Suddenly a PoRY bursts in, recognizing them as the Sanzo-ikkou and demanding the sutra. You picked the wrong day to pick a fight with us, says Gojyo, and they arm up and dust the youkai in jig time. Goku gripes that they shouldn't still have to fight off sutra-hunters now that they've split with Sanzo... ...but another PoRY (that's Pack of Random Youkai, in case you forgot) has caught up with the man in question. They call down from the cliff above that they've been waiting for him--and where are his followers? Shut up, snaps Sanzo; don't talk about them unless you're trying to piss me off. Having fewer to fight makes it easier for us, grin the youkai, but Sanzo picks one off with his first shot and challenges the rest to bring it. Would you like some help, Sanzo-han? calls Hazel-rah, but he snarls that Hazel needs to shut up too, and that he'll kill them both if they don't quit talking to him. He drills two more youkai, reloads [just bullets, apparently...] and goes on shooting them down as more pour in. Sanzo-han is so adorable when he's angry, purrs the bishop; get goin', Gato. The big guy joins the gunfight. Sanzo is ticked off until a gut kick sends him and the banishing gun flying in opposite directions. Sanzo is slammed hard into the stone wall and goes down. Gato barrels in just in time to get between him and the horde, and Sanzo has no choice but to accept the assist. When Gato runs out of ammo, he turns and slams a punch into the cliffside; a huge boulder is jarred free and takes out the rest of the demons. Hazel snickers. Sanzo comes to and grimaces in pain. Gat notes that he's awake and says it's probably best if he stays still. Where is this, Sanzo manages, and Gat --who's cooking in a pot over a campfire--tells him they're in a mountain cave. [whether he (a) punched his way into it or (b) actually formed it with his blow isn't clear, but I'm guessing (a)--though either is pretty incredible.] Sanzo tries to straighten up, flinches and groans in pain, and subsides with a look of exhausted worry. [aww..] It seems that Gat hauled himself and Sanzo out from under the rockslide he caused, and that the priest just had breath enough to bitch that he hasn't asked for the HT's help before blacking out. Now he and Gat are resting in the cave, and the big native hands him a plate of the (soup? stew?) he's cooked. Sanzo grudgingly takes the plate, tries it, makes an awful face and coughs. Gat apologetically says that, being dead, he can no longer tell what food tastes like, but that Sanzo will heal faster if he eats it. Sanzo steels himself and drains the plate, then reaches for a cigarette. Lighting up, he comments on Gat's loyalty and self-sacrificing service, and asks his exact relation to the bishop. He's taken aback when Gat replies that back before he died, he'd tried to kill Hazel. Flashback: once upon a time, Gato [who looked exactly as he does now, clothes and all] and his clan lived in tepees in Monument Valley and hunted deerlike things with tomahawks, killed only what they needed, and lived in harmony with nature. All was good until a dozen guys who all looked exactly like Wyatt Earp rode into the valley, butchered whole herds of deer-beasties and left them to rot, then gunned down and burned Gat's village. He and his hunting party returned home to find a smoking ruin. They charged the Earps, but were no match for their guns. I felt myself dying, he tells Sanzo; I felt helpless anger that I couldn't protect what I loved...and then, he says, a spirit arrived. We see a glowing light, a voice that says it will give him strength to support his rage. Revitalized, he got to his feet, threw aside the nearest Wyatt, took his gun and blazed away. Having dropped all the Earps, he asked the one still breathing where he came from and if there were more on the way. The spirit, he tells Sanzo, told me to touch the man. When I did, I suddenly knew what he knew--I saw the things that were happening in his country ...and then, suddenly, a green swirly tunnel swallowed him down, and when he woke, he was in the same European city we see in Hazel's flashbacks. It was Hazel's village, he says. Skeptical Sanzo [and who can blame him!] says that's quite a tall tale, and Gat agrees that he doubted his own senses as well, but soon learned why he was there. Hazel was only a child then, but he was already destroying monsters with his uncanny power, killing indiscriminately. I knew, says Gat angrily, that I was there to stop his meaningless slaughter. But when he drew his guns, they failed to fire; and the blue-eyed boy dropped him with a simple "Leave this life." Hazel brought him back to life with a monster's soul, he says (like Hazel, he uses the English word "monster", not bakemono or youkai), and told him that from now on he must defend and protect Hazel, who in turn promised to restore him, no matter how often he was harmed. He believes that the reason his own soul is still with him is because the Great Spirit is also still with him, even after all this time. But Hazel, who I had tried to kill, became my master, he finishes; and the spirit no longer speaks to me. Pause. Sanzo glances sidelong at him. And you're okay with that? he asks. Gato replies that Hazel put it most clearly: He can't ever betray Hazel, since without his reviving power he'd be long dead. That's the only reason I protect him, and I will until the end. Sanzo looks thoughtful (and a bit dubious); Hazel reappears, carrying a large grocery sack (which seems to contain mostly French bread). I'm back, he announces cheerily, let's eat together! but the moment he sits down, Sanzo rises, says he's imposed on them enough and walks out into the sunset. H&G step to the cave mouth to watch him go, and are surprised by a sly chuckle from behind them: Dr. Ni, of all people, and a shadowy figure at his side (does it have youkai ears?) . Looks as if you've shown your cards, blue-eyed angel; he says; do you need some help? The two look distrustful; Ni chortles in unpleasant glee... (and agh! the preview says that the shadowy youkai with Ni is Zakuro!)
Fissure ~misunderstanding~
20. Fissure ~misunderstanding~
August 12, 2004
After the flashback: Hazel is still standing in the courtyard when Gat walks out, asking him if Sanzo has gone. Instead of replying, Hazel asks Gat "you always follow my orders, don't you?" == At the breakfast table: Gojyo and Goku quarrel over who stole whose manjuu, and Hakkai attempts to make peace by giving Goku some of his. Gojyo says Hakkai (who's yet again feeding a tidbit to Hakuryu on his shoulder) will regret it if he makes a habit of always feeding Goku when he complains; the saru is outraged...but Sanzo, smoking, is lost in thought. Shut up, he abruptly growls; he stubs out his cigarette and heads for the door. Are you finished? asks Hakkai in surprise; yeah, replies Sanzo curtly, and he leaves. --Silence falls over the table, all three faces full of trouble and distress; plainly, everyone is remembering that overheard conversation from last night. Gojyo offers the plate of meat buns to Goku, wearily saying he can have them, but Goku doesn't want any. In their room: Hazel tells Lirin that he's planning to play a fun game with Sanzo-han today, would she like to tag along? Is it really fun? she asks uncertainly, and he reminds her that she'd said she was after the Maten Sutra; well, if she'll help them out, he'll help her get the sutra. Yay!--She's all for it, and charges out the door. Hazel smiles; Gat watches impassively. Hazel puts his hat on and heads for the door, pausing to ask Gat if he's ready. Hazel, the big native begins, do you really-- and Hazel cuts him off, ordering him not to say another word. We hear Hakkai sweetly thanking the inn staff for their hospitality as the ikkou heads out. Gojyo glances back, sees that the HT aren't on their heels and urges Hakkai to pick up speed --"let's not lose a chance to put some distance between us". Hakkai agrees. Goku worries about Lirin, and Gojyo assures him she probably just chowed down, had a nap and went on her way. Sanzo is still looking deep in thought...Goku grumbles that that idea makes him hungry and Gojyo advises him "You'll get fat" =) We see the HT and Lirin walking along, playing shiritori [game in which each person must say a word beginning with the last character of the word used by the player before]. Suddenly two barcoded Houtou Castle guards leap in, saying that they've been looking everywhere for Lirin-sama. She says 'Oh, hi', but Gat cocks his pistol, and the guards uneasily ask why she's with these people. Miss, asks Hazel, didn't you want to see what this pendant can do? I'll show you right now. [Oh, hell no.] The guards ask Lirin if she knows who H&G are: they attacked Lord Kougaiji, and Dokugakuji-sama and Yaone-sama were badly hurt! Please, they urge, get behind us now!--They were? startles Lirin.--- Hazel is all innocent malice: oh, that man we beat before, was his name Kou-something? I had no idea he was your brother. --OK, deal is off: the princess is pissed. What did you do to my brother?! she demands of Hazel-rah; you tricked me!--He chuckles drily. It's not ladylike to talk about people that way, he says; and then he looks at her, and his pretty blue eyes are ice. I've hated youkai from the very beginning, he says. Her eyes go wide, and she cusses him out and runs to join the castle guards. We won't let you harm Lady Lirin, they say. Hazel smiles thinly and says "Gato, get goin'". They fall in two seconds, right before their lady's shocked eyes. I promised to show you what this pendant does, says Hazel. She sees it begin to glow as he prays, realizes what must be happening [as half-sister of a sorceror-prince, I can't imagine she's not sensitive to such processes] and is horrified. Stop! she cries; she charges him and is dropped by Gato (a karate-type chop to the back of her neck). This game is just gettin' started, smiles the little bishop. [==the KT kills a harmless human farmer, and Hazel says "I've strayed from my path."]] The SI, driving along, approaches a tree in which they're startled to see Lirin, hanging in bonds; as they come closer, Hazel and Gat step out from behind it. It's them, Gojyo says. Hazel chuckles; we've been waitin' for you, he says. The ikkou runs up to the tree. Goku calls to Lirin, but she's unconscious, and Hakkai asks what's happened. Hazel smiles [always smiles, ne?]. Sanzo-han, he says, it seems that you really can't trust demons [Sanzo's face is impassive]; I'd never have imagined that this sweet little girl could do this.--and the camera pans back to show the dead castle guards *AND* the dead human farmer that Gato throttled earlier. The ikkou is horrorstruck by the implications. [OK, so that's why Gato didn't shoot the man; a bullet hole would've been the giveaway.] The ikkou run forward. Hakkai examines the bodies and tells Sanzo all three are dead, and Gojyo demands, "you're telling us Lirin did this?" Yes, that's right. --Goku and Hakkai openly doubt it; Sanzo regards him with silent, deep suspicion. Are you sayin' we did it then? asks Hazel, adding that, as he's said before, you never know when demons will go berserk. Lirin...went berserk?--asks Goku, utterly horrified. I don't know exactly what happened, replies Hazel, but she killed this person and then came after us. --You have GOT to be lying, whispers Gojyo.--Are you callin' me a liar? what proof do you have? challenges the bishop, and Goku angrily retorts, screw proof! No way Lirin could've done this! [ROCK it, saru.]--My, you're stubborn, smiles Hazel, enjoying this far too much. So who did do this foul deed, hm? ---Goku charges, and is brought up short by Gat's pistol to his brow. GH&S freeze. --What do you think you're doing? demands Hazel. She's not dead yet, grits Goku; I'm gonna wake her and ask her if it's true. Move and I'll shoot you, retorts Gat.== You never know what demons will do, smiles Hazel; Gato! --The big guy doesn't stir.--Gato! more sharply: this time he draws his other pistol & aims at hanging Lirin, holding Goku at bay with the other. Goku is furious, but can't move, and Hazel says, the execution will proceed: that's fine with you, isn't it, Sanzo-han? --Why ask me? grates Sanzo. If she's really gone berserk and attacked a human, you should just shoot her; why wait until you could ask me? I thought, Hazel replies smoothly, that it would be best to have you decide. [[OK, this is official. I hate him.]] Sanzo gives him his coldest stare; Hazel is rather amused.--A human travelin' with demons is somethin' I've never heard of, the little bishop says; I'm sure you take great pride in your strength, but outsiders like myself do tend to get anxious. So I want you to realize one thing here today: demons are the enemy. [GG&H glare in helpless fury.]--We talked about demons last night, didn't we? and you did say that if a demon killed a human, you'd slay it. That's only natural: a famous Sanzo Monk can't keep company with human-killing youkai, especially since someone close to Sanzo-han was killed by demons.--No one dares move. [[what would he say if he knew that Sanzo sits right next to just such a youkai most hours of any given day...?]] If you don't say anything, I'll shoot her, says Hazel; and Gat cocks the trigger. Goku yells, stop it! but Hazel's eyes don't leave Sanzo: whatever shall we do? he asks sweetly. Sanzo!--implores Goku. He's thoroughly pissed off, but he has to do something. Don't you ever shut up? the monk rasps, this is none of my business.--With a single shot --which takes Hazel's hat off on the way--he cuts the rope and looses Lirin. Goku runs to her side and scoops her up. Hazel smirks. You're annoying, Sanzo tells him, voice low and deadly; do you just get a kick out of framing innocent brats? He heads for the jeep, ikkou in tow and Goku carrying the princess. Hazel can't let this go, of course, and calls after Sanzo: your demon friends must be more important to you than you admit, aren't I right? even if you hate them, you refuse to see it in black-&-white when a demon kills a human. It's so you can continue traveling with your demon pals, right? Sanzo turns on him, outright furious: what are you trying to say? he snarls. Hazel retrieves his hat. That when these demons turn on you, you'll be left alone to die, he replies. I just don't get why you lie to yourself this way, Sanzo-han, you hate the demons but you're still friends with them. --Don't put words in my mouth, snaps back Sanzo; who says they're my friends? that's disgusting. [Goku looks stricken.] Then what are they? prods Hazel. Goku can't bear this, and cries right back: I'm sorry we're disgusting, but we're not people, right?--Goku, says Hakkai warningly, but Goku has had it: no matter what, we're still only demons, right, Sanzo? But --pleading, now-- what's so bad about that? --Sanzo closes his eyes, silent. Goku begs Sanzo to say something; Gojyo (trying to stave off what everyone can see coming) tells him to calm down, but Goku emotionally says that even if Sanzo won't believe in youkai, he'll believe in Lirin and save her from Hazel. Do what you like, rasps Sanzo, his face turned away; and off goes the saru. Gojyo asks if he's not going to call Goku back. Why would I, replies Sanzo; I don't remember asking any of you to come with me. Gojyo is outraged. Oh, so that's how it is, he snarls, and he walks off after Goku. Hakkai calls to him, alarmed, but Gojyo shoots back that he's not putting up with this shit anymore. He waves as they walk away, calling to Sanzo that he hopes a youkai beats him and he dies an awful death. Sanzo turns his back; Hakkai asks him 'why?'--Why what? retorts the monk. --Why are you acting this way? (Poor Hakuryu has never looked so distressed.) Through clenched teeth, Sanzo retorts that if he doesn't like it he can get lost too. --Hakkai is stunned by this slap; 'Sanzo--', he begins, almost pleading, and the monk snaps, shut up! Hakkai's expression is heartbreaking. 'Sanzo...' he says again, and then, quietly, 'very well.' He turns and walks away. Hakuryu sniffs anxiously at his face and then looks back at Sanzo with a long 'kyuuu' of dismay, but neither man turns. Sanzo walks away, straight past Hazel and Gato. A break-up, huh? taunts Hazel, but the priest doesn't pause. Hazel allows himself time for a cute little smirk of triumph, then says he and Gat ought to get movin' too. We see GG&H driving west, silent, Gojyo in the front seat with Hakkai, Lirin in the back asleep or still out cold, slumped against Goku. And we see Sanzo, too, walking west, Hazel and Gato following him a few lengths behind, just as silent, three long shadows thrown behind them by the setting sun.
Reminiscence ~deprivation~
19. Reminiscence ~deprivation~
August 5, 2004
After the flashback: we catch up with the ikkou eating at an inn, Goku cramming down the stir-fry so fast that Gojyo chides him, saying he can't possibly be able to taste the food that way. He gripes that Goku forces him to eat too fast as well, to make sure he even gets any; but Hakkai, with Hakuryu perched on his shoulder, feeds the dragon a nibble and says there's no reason for Gojyo to make such a fuss. Just as Sanzo is about to add a grumble, Hazel and Gat walk in. Hazel asks permission to sit at their table, and, taking their collective silence for agreement, lets Gato fetch him a chair--but as soon as he sits down, Hakkai, Hakuryu, Gojyo and Goku, as one, rise and very pointedly move to the next table. [Go, Team Youkai.] Hazel, in his sweetly nasty way, allows as how he's much obliged that they moved to make room for him. He settles his chair directly across from Sanzo's, remarking that it's amazing he can even eat at the same table as those demons. Sanzo snorts and focuses on his cigarette.== A little kid arriving with his mom trips and falls; Gato helps him to his feet, but the boy's terrified of the huge stranger and runs to mommy. Hazel chuckles, commenting that children do favor their mothers; and then quietly adds that he's an orphan, and never knew his parents. I have no memories of bein' cared for that way, he says. There's a shade of sympathy in Sanzo's eyes, as you can imagine. We see him remembering a day in the past: Kouryuu standing in the rain with a begging-bowl, rain dripping off his hat, softly chanting as he waited for passers-by to give coin offerings for the temple. He watched a small boy ride past on his dad's shoulders, and then the sun broke through the rainclouds, and Koumyou arrived, calling for him.== He's pulled from his reverie by the smash of a plate on the floor and a woman's scream--the restaurant is being attacked by youkai, and they've spotted Sanzo. Hazel wryly remarks that he envies Sanzo-han's popularity. The ikkou meets the PoRY head on and sets about wiping the floor with them, but Hazel turns Gat loose, and youkai drop like flies. The threat is over before the disgruntled SI even has a chance to loosen up, and they stand there seething (Hakkai actually folds his arms in a flat-out sulk!). Hazel chuckles, saying there's something about them he just can't put his finger on; why do they fight demons when they're demons themselves? Goku angrily retorts that they don't fight demons just for being demons, and Gojyo adds that they fight youkai because they attack the ikkou--they don't seek them out for no reason as Hazel does. If you attacked us, adds Hakkai coldly, we'd defeat you too. (Hakuryu agrees.) Well, now, that's a tall order; you think you could beat us? smiles Hazel, but they're not kidding. Want to try? asks Gojyo, shakujou at the ready. But before it can go any further, Sanzo snaps for them to stop. We're in the way here, let's go, he says, and strides for the door. The ikkou climbs into the hills on foot, and Goku glances back tp see the Hazel-tachi following. They never quit, groans Gojyo, and Hakkai wonders for at least the third time how long they plan to follow the SI. Sanzo's just ordered it forgotten when --who should plunge out of the sky but Lirin! Ohisashiburi desu ne, Sanzo-ikkou! --"Long time no see!"-- she calls cheerfully. Sanzo mutters that yet another pest has arrived. =) Goku tries frantically to tell her to get out before she's spotted, but too late; Hazel's caught up with them. Who's the guy in the weird outfit? asks the puzzled princess, is he a new member of your party? Hazel turns on the Southern charm, complimenting her cleverness and producing a loaf of melon bread seemingly from under his hat (seriously, where did he have that?) as a a gift. Amusin' little lady, isn't she? smiles the bishop as Lirin happily chows down; the ikkou watches all this with bafflement and deep suspicion. And next thing you know, there's Lirin sitting in Hazel and Gat's inn room, all sharing a game of cards! WTF?! The princess has told them she's after the Maten Sutra, but that she just wants it for her brother, which Hazel allows is right nice of her.--when she takes a bathroom break, Gat asks what his boss is planning, and Hazel smiles coolly: what should we do? We want the Scripture's power, but that's just the beginning. He sits back, and says that nothing went right for them in this country until they met Sanzo. We need him, he says; we've been having too many nightmares lately. Lirin returns, and asks about his gold pendant, which she spotted at their meeting. Hazel holds it out for her to see, saying it's his most treasured possession. Lirin says it's pretty, and he says he'll show her what it does the next time he uses it. ==Meanwhile, G,G&H are crammed into one inn room, and Goku is going stir-crazy; there were only two single rooms available, and of course Sanzo claimed one for himself and left the other three to fend. And to make matters worse, isn't the Hazel-tachi (henceforth the HT) staying here too? Hakkai confirms they are: this is the only inn in town, and Hazel checked in before we did. Goku is going ballistic with exasperation, and Gojyo is close behind; he decides ice cream is their best option.==So, we next see them jammed onto one bench in the lobby, eating popsicles (or whatever's the Chinese/Japanese for 'ice cream on a stick'--Hakkai lets Hakuryu nibble his). Goku wonders what Hazel wants with Lirin. Gojyo snidely suggests that he might have a thing for little girls; they snicker over the wrongness of the notion, but Hakkai grimly adds that despite his hatred of youkai, Hazel appeared to take to Lirin right away. There's something strange about that, no matter how you look at it. Maybe he hasn't noticed she's a youkai? wonders Goku, and Gojyo doubles over in laughter, saying there's no way. In the inn room: Lirin is asleep on the bed, dreaming about food; she slides onto the floor, and is moved back into the bed by patient Gato. In Sanzo's room: He has his death-of-Koumyou nightmare again, this time with Kinzan in flames plus more and fangier youkai, and goes outside for a smoke. The moon is full, the hotel courtyard flooded with light. HG&G are restless; Hakkai smells the cigarette smoke from outside, takes note and closes his eyes. Gojyo shifts position; Goku's stomach growls, and he quietly grumbles that he's hungry. And Hazel, in his nightshirt, comes walking toward Sanzo. Looking at the moon, Sanzo-han? he asks, and with his voice all three of the ikkou are at attention, eyes open wide. ==Sanzo retorts that he couldn't care less about the moon. He gets up to leave, but within two strides Hazel's voice stops him: "My master was murdered by monsters." [As before, he says "monsters" in English--neither "youkai" nor "bakemono".] Sanzo turns to face him. --That night as well, the moon was lovely, says Hazel; Hakkai and Goku are wide-eyed as they follow the story. In my country, Hazel tells him, we call youkai 'monsters'. It's common knowledge that you oughtn't open your heart to a monster, but my master was a different sort of man.--We see Hazel's memory: the same kindly-looking older man in clerical robes we've seen before [I'll save us all some time and say now that he's Bishop Filbert] hears a sound, sees glowing eyes by the door of his church, but gently says that all are safe under God's eye here, and that if the stranger is wounded, it may rest here and recover. We see small Hazel in the background, overhearing his master's words...and then we see him running, Filbert lying dead, the church in flames. Hazel-chan looked up to the moon and angrily swore he'd never forgive the youkai. ==Sanzo stares impassively. Master was murdered by monsters, Hazel repeats, and all three of the ikkou's youkai are listening. ==You've seen me bring the dead back to life? It's an ability I discovered I had soon after my master died, and I'm sure it was born from my hatred of monsters. Saving people from monsters with this power has become my life's mission. ==Sanzo snorts. A pretty far-fetched story, he says; you're wasting your time. He's walking away, but: But aren't you the same, Sanzo-han? asks Hazel. Wasn't your master killed by demons as well? That grabs him: he stops, cusses, asks who told Hazel that. Just a shot in the dark, smiles the little bishop, but sure looks like it hit home. ==I understand you on some level, he goes on; I'm sure you hate youkai, don't you? After all, you can't trust them; even if you're traveling with them, you never know when they'll show their true faces, and they'll kill without a second thought. [The camera pans over the now-seemingly-sleeping, quiet ikkou; we know this is a question that has gnawed at Sanzo since the moment the Three Aspects ordered him to bring these three along.]--So you kill them before they have a chance? snaps back Sanzo, and Hazel smiles: do you understand me now? he asks. I don't, retorts Sanzo, and again he tries to walk away, and again Hazel's next line freezes him in his tracks: Sanzo-han, what will you do if your demon friends go berserk and start attackin' humans? Would you kill them? Or-- The wind rises, blowing Sanzo's hair and the leaves of the trees. I'd slaughter them, he growls, and again turns to walk away. The curtains flap, and Hakkai sits up in bed: 'the wind has really picked up', he says, and closes the window. Hazel smiles at the sound, knowing the conversation must have been overheard. And at Houtou Castle, Dr. Ni and 01 are playing chess as usual; the old youkai comments on the brightness of the moon, and Ni wonders what's on the other side of the face she shows us. Legend says there's a frightening demon living there, he says,and grins, saying he finds just considering that thought exciting. 01 thinks he's cheating... ...meanwhile, Kougaiji watches over Doku and Yaone, lying in their beds in the infirmary... ---and Hazel says he has one more question: like me, weren't you orphaned in childhood? Sanzo says nothing, but Hazel takes that as assent, and says the monk's reaction when he discussed his past this morning had given it away. What's your point? cuts Sanzo, and Hazel-rah finally makes his pitch: as we're so much the same, why don't you come along with us to kill off the demons? There's no need for you to keep company with the likes of them. ---You have a point, says Sanzo [Hazel thinks he has him], but I have no intention of coming with you, or of being killed by anyone. And with that, he strides firmly away, leaving a stunned and angry Hazel standing in the courtyard, speechless.
Misgivings ~hesitation~
18. Misgivings ~hesitation~
July 29, 2004
After the flashback: everyone is frozen with shock as Dokugaku thuds to the ground. Gato reloads one gun. Yaone calls Doku's name; Goku runs forward and leaps into the air. Gat aims at him, but the saru lands at Doku's side, glaring daggers at the big native, and loads the fallen youkai onto his shoulders. His look positively dares Gat to do anything about it, and Gat chooses not to, reloading his other pistol instead as Goku carries Dokugaku to safety. The big guy groans in pain; Yaone runs to his side to assess the wound, saying it looks bad. Kougaiji is furious with Goku, saying that this is their fight and the SI was told not to interfere. ==Kou watches as Hazel heals Gato's sword slash (and his clothes along with it, whoa!)--Hazel sees them watching and smiles knowingly. Goku tells Kou it's impossible to stop Gato by just wounding him, as Hazel will keep healing him with youkai souls, but Kou grates that that doesn't matter: "I'll vaporize him." Seriously pissed-off-mad (and he's gorgeous that way =), the prince tells Goku that the ikkou is in his way and needs to clear the hell out now. Goku grins and says he gets it; grateful Yaone gives him the thanks the prince is too angry to give, Goku replies with a thumbs-up and bounds back to his crew. Hazel chuckles and, in his acid-sweet way, remarks how nice it is to see demons gettin' along so well together. But the next thing Hazel hears is Kou beginning the chant that raises Engokuki (yaay!! we've missed him/that/it! =) , and he stares in dismay-becoming-alarm as a storm of power roils around the youkai prince and his huge fire-demon familiar boils forth. Gat stands between Hazel and the monster, but his eyes are (justifiably!) terrified as it looms toward them, and Hazel, realizing they're no match for this, drags him along as they leap clear. The Hazel-tachi runs for it as the SI watches--then they belatedly realize they're parked directly in Engokuki's path (yike!), and barely pile into Hakuryuu in time to escape. The shock wave of the huge beastie's passing hurls them into a stone wall and fills the back seat with rubble, but somehow no harm is done. Kougaiji stands in the dust and ruins of the fire-demon's attack, and sees that Hazel and Gat are still standing. Hazel admits he's surprised, and says "no amount of souls" would have helped if that had hit him. Gat admits this is a tough opponent, and Hazel says they shouldn't have taken him lightly, seein' as he's an acquaintance of Sanzo-han's. What should we do, asks Gat, and Hazel smiles tightly: what indeed? Yaone, apparently caught without her healing kit, can only encourage Doku to "stay with us" as he suffers (I'm assuming the only reason his brother isn't over here with her is backseat full of rubble/etc.). Kou grimly promises he'll "finish them off" shortly and tells them to hold on a bit longer; Yaone gazes up adoringly and says they will. Gato walks steadily toward Kou; the prince holds immobile until he's close, then drops into his summoning crouch and begins the chant. Gat breaks into a run and charges Kou, firing. Kou throws some fireballs, but hasn't completed the chant, and as a bullet grazes his shoulder it's clear Gat's intent is to make sure he doesn't. Kougaiji leaps away, still praying, as Gat reloads, but the bullet barrage continues and he cusses, saying he can't finish the spell under such assault. ==In a quick flashback, we see Hazel discerning that the weakness of Kou's summoning attack is the amount of time it takes, and advising Gato to do just what he's doing. K'so, cusses Kou as he huddles behind a bullet-scarred boulder, pinned down by gunfire.==Yaone watches in distress as two of her three dearest ones face dire danger. The ikkou watch in dismay as well, Goku--bless him--worrying that Doku is in bad shape, Gojyo grimly saying that Kougaiji is taking too long and Hakkai observing that Kou can't mount an attack from such a position. But a second later, a fireball shatters the boulder he's hiding behind, and Kou springs forward to nail Gat with an old-fashioned sock to the jaw. =) Yaone, seeing the advantage, throws a handful of her smoke bombs, probably hoping Kou can get clear under their cover. But the one who comes flying at her is Hazel, who calls a friendly 'Howdy!' before landing a wicked kick to her head. Yaone shrieks as she's thrown tumbling into the dust; Kou howls her name (whoa!) and Gat, taking instant advantage of his distraction, puts a quick bullet into the prince. Kou falls backward, blood arcing from his chest, as both Yaone and Goku cry out his name in anguish. (...damn.) At Houtou Castle, Lirin wakes from her nap and is surprised to find herself alone except for two barcoded youkai guards; she easily gives them the slip. Back at the battle: Hazel and Gat walk toward the fallen Kougaiji. Yaone rushes them and takes a bullet; she hurls more spheres but Hazel heals Gat from their effect, chiding him to be more careful. He walks up to her as she huddles on the ground, asking if "little miss demon" is in pain, and assuring her that she and her friends will reach the end of their suffering real soon. Yaone grabs the hem of his robe; she's shaking from head to foot but she still gasps that she won't let him harm Lord Kougaiji. Hazel pulls free and walks away, saying "Gato," almost as an afterthought. Gat doesn't move. Hazel repeats his name twice more, more sharply each time, before the big native finally steps forward.(and oo, does Hazel not like that.) Gato levels his pistol at the shivering woman at his feet, but doesn't pull the trigger..and still doesn't...and must be relieved when a gold-ended staff smacks the gun out of his hand. Teme'e-- you bastard-- snarls Goku, and Hazel smiles unpleasantly; you, he says. Behind him are Gojyo and Hakkai; Gojyo informs Hazel that he's a real asshole and Hakkai coldly adds "that's true." --As I thought, Hazel says, demons will help their own kind-- "Not even close," snaps the voice that brings up the rear. Hazel stares. Demon or human, says Sanzo, we're not going to stand by and watch a woman be treated this way--especially not this smut-for-brains kappa. [Gojyo gripes, but the point is made. =)=)] The ikkou stares down Hazel as one, and the little bishop sighs, saying that Sanzo-han is becoming quite a nuisance. [I'd bet you the next round that Hazel reckons Sanzo's unexpected gallantry is just a smokescreen for his pro-youkai sympathies.] But while all the attention was elsewhere, Kougaiji-sama has managed to drag himself to his feet and continue with the chant, which is suddenly noticed by all of the -tachi and -ikkou members. He can't be, says Gojyo, but Yaone knows he damn well can be, and tells everyone to get out of the way right now. --As the firestorm rushes toward them, Gat orders Hazel to get behind him: Hazel activates the medallion, and as the fire pours around them Gat is literally burned to death and regenerated over and over --or that's my best guess, at least--while the SI and Yaone hide behind boulders to escape the blast. But when the smoke clears, there's Gato, smoke-blackened but still with us, and Hazel behind him, unmarred. Hazel says 'don't push yourself'; Gat counters that he's fine but Hazel firmly tells him that he's not, and that without souls in stock Gat's life will end with another hit. He's not worth your life, Hazel says; and he walks off, Gat reluctantly following. Kou is outraged: wait! he shouts, but his way is blocked by Doku, somehow on his feet. Stop, Kou, I won't let you die here, says the big guy, holding his shoulders; please listen to me. He sinks to his knees, and Kou scoops him up and prepares to leave, Yaone running to his side.==Hazel, as he walks past the ikkou, remarks that Sanzo-han really ought to get around to gettin' rid of these demons soon. GG&H, as usual, glare, while Sanzo hides behind cigarette smoke; don't waste my time, the monk retorts. Hazel says "till next time" and departs. And we see the Kou-tachi's riding-dragons arriving to take them home, as Kou and Yaone walk away with Doku in tow. Are you OK? asks Goku, running after them. Don't touch me, I don't want your help, snaps the prince. And they're gone. We see the jeep back on the road: and Gojyo and Goku have turned their backs on the front seats, gazing out backways as they ride. [This has never, ever, happened before.] --I wonder if they're OK? worries Goku. Don't worry, that much damage wouldn't kill them, says Gojyo. Stop worrying about the enemy, says Sanzo, but Hakkai reassures the backseat that "they'll show up again as if nothing had happened", and Goku agrees.
Onslaught ~intruder~
17. Onslaught ~intruder~
July 22, 2004
After the last-episode flashback: As they drive across the desert, Hakkai is amused to realize that his companions are having the same argument fast asleep that they usually have awake ("Hungry... *snore*" "Shaddap, bakazaru...*snore*" "Both of you shut up ..zzz")--but then has to wake them with a stomp on the brakes as a pack of demon assassins appear. Double-checking that these are bonafide youkai and not human zombies, Gojyo and Goku arm up and prepare with glee to kick ass, but are beaten to the kick by those spoilsports the Hazel-tachi. Gojyo shrugs that they're making his life easier and flops back in the seat, calling to "Hazel-chan" to keep up the good work; but Goku outright hates him, and Hakkai wonders just what his intentions are. Who cares, growls Sanzo; let's go. At Houtou Castle: Kougaiji is looking on with big-brotherly tenderness at a curled-up-sleeping Lirin (aww =) when Doku and Yaone arrive with news. (Man, is it good to see the Kou-tachi again or what? =)=) Something strange is going on, says Yaone; we're getting reports of our people being wiped out in large numbers. What? do we know what's happening? asks the shocked prince, but a silky voice cuts in; my my, sounds bad, says Dr. Ni. I told you never to come in here again, snarls Kou-sama, but the doctor replies that he overheard something about our dear prince's friends being killed...could someone have a grudge against demons? Kou storms up to him with fists clenched--what are you suggesting, bastard?!--but Ni just smirks and says, make sure you don't die too, ojii-sama. And goes on his way while all three glare undying hatred at his back. --Lirin-chan, undisturbed, sleeps peacefully on. In a windswept desert town, the SI has stopped at a restaurant. Gojyo and Goku's squabble over the last meat bun is interrupted when the waiter delivers a basketed bottle of wine to their table, saying "that gentleman" asked him to deliver it. --Guess who. --Hazel waves amiably, and Hakkai wonders aloud how long they plan to follow the ikkou. But Gojyo rubs his hands together in anticipation--that's a fine, expensive wine!-- even Goku seems excited, and Hakkai agrees that as it's here they may as well enjoy it. He lifts it out of its basket, and a note drops out: "Death to demons." He sets the bottle silently back, unopened; there are no objections. Elsewhere in the desert, a sprawl of youkai bodies: Hazel remarks on what foul things demons are, having attacked this peaceful town. The last youkai alive begs abjectly to be spared, but his pleas are only met by Hazel's trigger phrase--"Get goin'"/"Go on now"--and Gato cuts him down. All demons should end this way, says Hazel, and is about to walk away when a blast of fire comes roaring down from the sky, and they're barely able to leap clear. Directly behind the blast comes Dokugakuji in a rage, sword drawn; he spars a round with Gat, blocking each bullet with his blade, as Prince Kou and Yaone join the fray. ==It's you two, isn't it? asks Kougaiji. Hazel asks who he is, but Kou just demands to know why they're slaughtering youkai. I'll massacre every last one of 'em, smiles Hazel, and as Gat finishes reloading, orders him to get goin'. The big guy charges the KT... Once again driving across the desert: Gojyo and Goku are quarreling when Hakkai again abruptly hits the brakes. They demand to know what gives, but he shushes them: 'Ssh, can't you hear it?' They don't, but first Hakkai, then Sanzo, listens intently, and it becomes clear. Juuhi desu, it's gunfire, Hakkai says; steady, repeated gunfire. Doku and Yaone double-team Gato while Kougaiji takes on Hazel solo, but it's not enough: the big native is still on his feet when Kou throws a fire attack at Hazel. Gat throws himself in front of it to block the blast. Doku, furious, charges him unarmed and gets pistolwhipped, falling dazed to the ground. Seems you can't set a finger on us, chuckles Hazel. Kou demands his name; the bishop retorts that he wouldn't give his name to a mere demon; the prince is incredulous. [You can almost hear him thinking: "A mere demon? I?!"] But the awkwardness is settled inadvertently when Hakuryu pulls up alongside the battlesite and Goku, surprised, calls them both by name. So that's your name, the combatants remark to each other.[Actually, what they say is closer to "so you're him"; suggesting that Some Person might have casually mentioned them to each other. Gee, I wonder who.] ==Hey, Gojyo calls to his brother, need a hand? but Doku snorts that he should just have a seat and watch. =) Hazel of course notices: Sanzo-han, he asks, are these demons friends of yours as well? Kou likewise wants to know if these bastards are associates of the Sanzo-ikkou, but Sanzo, of course, denies being friends with either side. =) Kou firmly tells the ikkou that this is their fight and he wants no interference, but Sanzo says he had no intention of joining in. --The battle resumes; Goku gets a good vantage point and settles down to watch, Gojyo and Hakkai likewise expressing interest in seeing the fray. Sanzo grumbles "suit yourselves" and takes a smoke break. Yaone unveils a new attack device, a grenade-looking thingie that fragments into smaller explosives; the combined concussion and light throw Gat enough off guard to not see Doku charging, and with a roar the big swordsman swipes Gat's arm clean off at the elbow. He did it! cheers Goku, and Gojyo proudly comments "He's good"; =); but Hakkai has misgivings... The KT is taken aback to see that Gat's not bleeding from such a wound, and more so when he stoically stands and jams the severed arm against the stump with his other hand ("It seems he's not your average human," deadpans Kou). They got you pretty bad, Gato, but this won't take long, consoles Hazel, and before Team Kou's startled eyes Hazel unreels his bag of tricks: first healing Gat with a soul from his pendant, then gathering the souls of the dead youkai who had attacked the village, and finally doling out said souls to the dead human villagers. Who, of course, stagger to their feet with a brand new yen for causing youkai death. ==Kou blasts a fire attack and is surprised to see the corpses crumble into clay and dirt (they're shikigami, remember?). That's all Doku and Yaone need to see, and they pile into the fray.==The zombies harass the audience as well, to their dismay, though Sanzo can't be bothered to do more than note which direction the attackers are coming from =) ==The KT are still standing when all the resurrected are dispatched, and Hazel admits they delivered a nice whuppin', but...and again Gato charges. Doku meets him head on, bullets clanging off his swordblade, and it looks as if Gat has come up empty; Doku prepares to dispatch him with his blade, but amazingly, the huge native is able to hold Doku off with one hand while reloading with the other. He zings one shot off at Kou just as he has Hazel cornered, but then stares Doku straight in the eye--and fires point blank. Before the assembled horrified eyes of everyone who cares about him, the big youkai falls back in slow motion, blood spreading over the front of his white coat...
Return To Life ~sympathy~
16. Return To Life ~sympathy~
July 15, 2004
After the catch-up flashback: we see the guys pelting into the forest. They come to a halt, and Hakkai observes that the forest is full of youki (youkai's ki=demon energy); Gojyo reckons that'll make it harder to track the thief. Hakkai asks the blackly angry Sanzo "who would take your gun?"; he looks as if he's got a good idea who... And there's Fumika, still holding the shoreijuu trained on the scar-faced youkai; he and his cronies are much amused. She cries that she'd still be with Taisho if not for the demons, and they're even more amused, jeering that her man had cried like a baby and begged for his life; his last word was her name. Not too manly, huh? the scarred one taunts her. Fumika says they're unforgivable, but still doesn't pull the damn trigger because she has to make her speech. Taisho only begged for his life because he knew she was pregnant, she says; the baby died, so I've lost everything, but you demons wouldn't understand how that feels--The scarred youkai, as sick of her as we are, says "then why don't you die too?" and delivers a wicked slash with his claws. She drops the gun and falls. The demons are guffawing heartily when-- who should come walking through the woods but a grim-looking Hazel and Gat. Hazel unleashes the big guy, who fires at will. The gunfire draws the attention of the SI, who head for it at a run. Gat drops the last youkai, and Hazel spots Fumika's body lying among the fallen... When the ikkou comes running up, they find the clearing full of youkai corpses (I count 27) but no one else. (Specifically: though they of course don't realize it, Fumika's body is gone.) They were shot, but it can't have been with Sanzo's gun, as the shoreijuu only holds five rounds. It must have been them then, says Gojyo darkly [literally: "Hazel-tachi da"], and Hakkai agrees. --Goku finds the banishing gun lying on the ground, and returns it to its owner, who's not much appeased. Next morning: the ikkou heads down to the inn's dining room for breakfast. Hazel and Gato are seated already, Hazel waving a cheerful "Mornin', boys" as they sit. Goku calls happily to Fumika, who walks in with a serving tray, smiling demurely as usual. Her father remarks approvingly that she's full of energy this morning--but the ikkou sees that Fumika's eyes are now yellow, and realizes in horror that the smiling girl is one of Hazel's zombies. Gojyo cusses; Hazel chuckles. This is too much for the hanyou, who leaps to his feet and demands to know if Hazel killed the girl. Don't be ridiculous, we don't kill humans, replies the little bishop--only demons. [Glares all around.] Miss Fumika, he explains, snuck off to face the demons alone with a gun she'd taken from somewhere (GG&H react to this while Sanzo sits in fierce silence) but they were too much for her, and she was killed. And, of course, revivin' the unfortunate human dead is his purpose on this earth. Thanks to Bishop Hazel, I'm no longer confused, adds undead-Fumika sweetly (Hakkai looks utterly appalled); I'll kill every last youkai. Hazel goes back into his usual spiel about how exterminatin' all demons will create a world for humankind alone, while the guys look as if they don't know whether to smash something or vomit. --Hazel addresses the monk directly: Sanzo-han, he says, we only gave Fumika what she truly wanted; we surely didn't order her to hate all demons. But wouldn't all the chaos in Shangri-La disappear if the demons were wiped out? [Sanzo expressionlessly takes a fresh cigarette.] Or rather, presses the bishop, wouldn't it be troublesome if your friends died? Your precious demon friends? ==Sanzo, eyes closed, lights the cig and takes a drag, then addresses Hazel: I could care less, he says; they're not my friends, and I don't give a rat's ass if they live or die. ==Hakkai smiles brightly; Goku looks uneasy; Gojyo gets loudly into Sanzo's face. The monk adds to Hazel that this gokiburi kappa is just following him of his own accord, not because he was asked to. Hazel laughs; as all four of the ikkou glare downright murderously at him (it is quite a sight) he says once again that this kind of chaos is just why they came West. Shut the hell up! snaps back Gojyo, does your God have a screw loose or something? --God? Hazel smiles. God doesn't do a thing, just watches from on high, he says. Even if there's someone you desperately want Him to save (his expression darkens; we see his flashback world once more, a man in clerical robes with glasses, lying on the floor)--He won't do anything. Again he addresses Sanzo directly: what do you think? --Why ask me? the monk retorts, but adds that of course you can't rely on God or on anyone else, only on yourself. Hazel is pleased with this answer. Upstairs in their room, Gojyo flings himself onto the bed, kicking in frustration as he gripes about how that bastard Hazel annoys him. But Goku says quietly and in plain distress, "I just don't get it," and the group falls silent. [I love how they always take it seriously when the usually cheery saru feels such angst.]--Youkai and humans, says the saru, chin on his folded arms: do they have to fight each other just because it's their nature? That's not right! The others gaze at him in troubled silence and Hakuryu, nibbling at a tidbit Hakkai has brought him, gives a sympathetic little "kyu". ==There's a knock on the door: it's the proprietor with a tea tray. Hakkai smiles awkwardly and lets him in. As he sets out the cups, he goes on happily about how good it is to see Fumika smile again and about how pleased he is. He bustles out, leaving the ikkou in their grim mood, the tea untouched. Goku looks after the man, wondering if it's really all right not to tell him that Fumika is a corpse. Idiot, we can't say that, mutters Gojyo. In Hazel's room, Gat asks what he plans to do about the Scripture. He recalls how Dr. Ni asked them to get the sutra and bring it to Mount Ansan. [This is so, so, SO off course from the manga that it gives me a headache just looking at the words. AUGH.] He warned them to treat it with great care, because the Maten Sutra has tremendous power--the power to destroy all demons--though only a Sanzo Priest can use it. Will you fix it so we can use it? [?!] Hazel had asked, and Ni said he couldn't promise but would try. Gat reminds Hazel that Sanzo's master was also murdered (maybe we're to infer that Hazel's master was murdered as well?) and Hazel recalls Ni saying that outside of the scripture, all he knows about Sanzo is that he was born somewhere unknown and rescued from the river, and that his master was killed by demons. Maybe that's why we're so interested in him, chuckles Hazel. In the morning, the guys load into the jeep as usual. Goku enthuses that they need to stop and eat before hitting the road, and Sanzo, as usual, fwaps him with the harisen and tells him to shush--but this time Gojyo says in a cool low voice, "So youkai should shut up and obey the human, huh?" [...whoa.] Sanzo snaps back that if he doesn't like it he can get out and walk; but what should have been a genuinely tense moment collapses into a shove-and-shout match between Gojyo and Sanzo which is only broken up by Hakkai firmly announcing that they'd better get moving, as a huge demonic aura is headed their way. [--Writers, for shame. But they make up for it later.] And a youkai raiding party is charging down the street chasing humans, led by--you guessed it--that scarfaced redhead again. He yells out that they're here to pay back "that bastard with the funny hat" for his work yesterday, but his path is blocked by the newly demon-powered Fumika. The redhead smirks and says he'll do a better job of killing her this time, but Fumika, grinning savagely, utters the battle cry of "kill all demons!" and tears into him. As the ikkou watches in stunned silence, she runs him down and beats the crap out of him. He begs for mercy and says he'll never enter this town again, but she grabs him by the throat and squeezes the life from him one-handed, then drops him callously in the street, still grinning. All four of the SI, even Sanzo, look horrorstruck and sickened. That's not Fumika at all, says Goku. The hatred from losing her beloved, says Hakkai painfully, and Gojyo asks, isn't there anything we can do? I can't do anything, says Hakkai, lowering his head; I understand too well how someone can become like this after losing a loved one. I can't stop her.[Heart-wrenching delivery of this line by Akira Ishida.]===A youkai attacks Fumika; and Goku charges to her rescue, but she goes for his throat next, still grinning monstrously and repeating "kill youkai". Poor Goku easily fights her off, his face full of pain as he realizes that she no longer even recognizes him. Stop it, Hazel! he howls. Gojyo lassoes her with his shakujou chain, yells for the saru to run, and he beats it back to the jeep, nearly in tears. But as Fumika leads a mob of demonified townsfolk in pursuit, another mob blocks the road ahead, and they're all yellow-eyed and chanting "korosu-korosu-youkai wa korosu". Doesn't really put me in a fighting mood, mutters Gojyo. Hakkai leaps out calling to Fumika, but she doesn't respond and Gojyo calls back 'they can't hear our voices'. Poor Goku reaches the breaking point, and tells Sanzo that he can't take any more of this; when Fumika comes barreling into him, knocks him sprawling and gets her hands around his throat, Goku doesn't even resist.==Sanzo folds his hands to begin the sutra prayer, but Gojyo holds out an arm to bar his way, watching Fumika. Sanzo shoots him a sharp glance, but holds his fire.[Wow.]==The inn proprietor, Fumi's father-in-law, also begins to rush out to stop her; he's barred by Hakkai, also in silence. They watch her; they want to see her regain her senses. She doesn't. She giggles wildly as she throttles Goku, who chokes out in despair that he doesn't want to fight anymore, and passes out.==Gojyo lowers his arm, clearing Sanzo's way. He pronounces the prayer, and the street fills with a blaze of light, vaporizing every demon-possessed human in the mob. When the glare clears, all that's left of Fumika is her silver wedding ring. Her father-in-law takes it up, sobbing. Hazel and Gat, watching from the roof, say "so that's the sutra's power." Gat asks "shall we steal it?" but Hazel says 'no, not yet'. If it can defeat our minions [??!!] that easily, it might be too dangerous even for you. On the road: Goku is huddled in sideways, and is silent even when asked if he's hungry. Say something, says the kappa, and Goku bursts out that he doesn't like what Hazel is doing at all. Hakkai says gently that Fumika-san is probably smiling right now, happy to be reunited with her beloved. [, 'Kai.] --Gojyo pounces on this: yeah! the sutra purified the evil that had hold of her, right? even Sanzo does something useful now and then! but the desolate saru can't be jollied out of his distress, and Gojyo snaps back 'fine then, say nothing if you want to', himself looking heartsick and close to angry tears. You're not the only one who's upset, he mutters, and Goku only breaks the mood by finally yelling that he's hungry after all.
To The Limits Of Mourning ~death wish~
15. To The Limits Of Mourning ~death wish~
July 8, 2004
A typical scene: guys driving along, Goku hungry, Hakkai says "next village soon", and sure enough it looks like a thriving town. Goku's happy at the prospect of restaurants but unnerved by the passing-by of a hoe-carrying villager; Hakkai observes that this is unlike him and Goku admits that having had to fight resurrected humans has rattled him. Enemies are enemies, whether demon or human, says Sanzo. Yeah, but...we're youkai, so being told to kill other youkai or really anyone... --Doesn't feel right, does it? agrees Gojyo. [This translation has got to be messed up somehow, since the SI has been dusting youkai for thousands of miles and Goku has had no such issues, but I'm not bilingual enough to repair so leave as is. Perhaps he means "this talk of killing all youkai"? ]--As they've been talking, a woman has come walking over the hill; she now snarls 'youkai, prepare to die!'and charges them with drawn blade. She's not an experienced swordfighter, and Goku easily disarms her and is ready to kick butt when he realizes the woman's eyes aren't yellow. You're not a corpse?--he startles... In a restaurant, we see the guys sitting at a table with their assailant and an older man. Please excuse my daughter-in-law's actions, he says, and she apologizes, saying she'd had no idea they were the famed Sanzo Party. Hakkai says it's fine and Goku happily chows down, but Sanzo = major misgivings; sure enough, the woman (her name's Fumika) then asks if Sanzo-sama will grant them the favor of killing a particular demon. In return, they can stay at the inn as long as they wish for free, she adds. Sanzo replies with a flat "Kotowaru" ('I refuse'), saying that they need to keep to their mission, which is not just to kill youkai. The guys think this harsh, and Hakkai asks the man to explain the request. Youkai killed my son, he says bitterly, and Fumika adds that it was on the very day she came here to be married. Flashback: youkai raiding the wedding ceremony, the groom (Taisho) bidding his father take care of Fumika as he held off the attackers. [But not before the little bride had grabbed the be-ribboned sword intended to cut the wedding cake and slashed a youkai's eye with it!] I hate the demons who took him from me, she cries; I'll make them pay, with my own two hands! Someone, give me the strength-- she flees the room in tears, her father-in-law running after. The ikkou sits for a moment in unhappy silence. She was a bride for only one day, says Gojyo softly, and Hakkai quietly observes that it's not easy to get over the death of someone you loved, getting a sympathetic glance from Goku and a keen, sidelong look from Gojyo. --then there's a crash outside, and the street's full of rampaging youkai, led by the same redheaded dude --scarred across the eye from Fumika's blade--who headed the attack on the wedding party. He yells that he knows Sanzo's in there and he'd better bring out the sutra. The SI, definitely in a mood to kick some demon butt, arms up and charges into the fray. The demons, taken aback by their ferocity, retreat. --What are you waiting for? If you want this, come and get it, challenges Sanzo. ("Sanzo-sama sure is creepy when he's pissed off," approves Gojyo. =) The redheaded youkai bids all his followers charge the ikkou at once and runs off, pursued by Fumika, who throws the wedding blade into its path and then draws her dueling sword. I will avenge him!--she cries. The youkai jeers that she's trembling, grabs up a stick and tells her to bring it on. Back at the street brawl, we see Hazel and Gato on a rooftop watching the SI in action. Sanzo-han surely does a fair share of the killin', observes Hazel; right impressive, don't you think, Gat? Gat asks what they should do, but Hazel says they're just observin' this round.--The last youkai falls. Goku proudly says his tally was 32, Gojyo counters that his is 33, and Hakkai regrets not having kept count as well. Sanzo, reloading, scoffs that there's no point in counting, as he's surely the winner; he fired forty bullets and didn't miss a single shot. Gojyo doubts this, but before they can quarrel, Fumika and the red-haired youkai run out of an alley. The redhead sees the carnage and beats a fast retreat before Goku can give chase, while Gojyo hurries to scoop up the girl, natch. =) Fumika angrily tells the hanyou "that was him!" Gojyo counsels her to forget her revenge, and is echoed by her father-in-law, who scolds her for taking such a foolish risk and says he couldn't live if anything happened to her. Give up this idea of fighting youkai and move on with your life, he says; that's the only path we humans can take. But then, what--she sobs. Hakkai tells her--very, very gently-- that he knows it's hard to bear, but her loved one will never return, and taking revenge on his killers won't bring him back. [If only she knew what very hard-earned expert advice this is.] And we see Hazel calmly gathering the souls of the fallen youkai, to the SI's extreme distaste; and, of course, he proceeds to raise all the humans killed in the youkai rampage. One by one they get to their feet, yellow-eyed, and return to their cheering families. The ikkou squares off for a battle, but Fumika asks Hazel what just happened, and he explains that his life's work is reviving those murdered by demons. She tells him her sad tale, and Hazel asks what became of the young man's remains, only to learn that he was cremated. That's beyond my powers, he tells her regretfully; he's most sorry, but it's not possible to raise those whose forms have changed. Poor Fumika, her hope dashed, vows yet again to kill the murderer. Back to the ikkou, now relaxing in an onsen [Gojyo in a little towel, yum =): Goku asks if Fumika is going to ask Hazel for help, and when Gojyo mutters that there's something wrong about that, Hakkai smilingly asks if he's jealous. [Oo, and mightn't we ask you that too, 'Kai-san? =)] --What?! sputters the redhead. Goku teases that the erogappa never changes, but as he rails at this, Fumika tiptoes in and searches through the heaps of their clothing, plainly not finding what she hoped for. --Sanzo arrives (preferring, no doubt, to bathe in privacy after the others) and she ducks around the corner, waiting until the now-dressed guys call to Sanzo that they're leaving (cold beer and ice cream are on the after-bath menu =). Minutes later, we see her running off down the road, having gotten what she came for: Sanzo's banishing gun. Hazel, having a glass of wine in their inn room, recalls his first meeting with Gat (it's said to be about six years ago, but the Hazel who raises Gat from death in his flashback looks no older than 12 or so).==In the woods, Fumika confronts the scarred youkai; and the guys are happily enjoying their beer and treats when Sanzo charges in, furious, telling them the shoreijuu is gone. A gunshot rings out. --The forest! shouts Sanzo; Gojyo yanks on his jacket and the ikkou runs out the door.
The Whereabouts of the Miracle ~pilgrim~
14. The Whereabouts of the Miracle ~pilgrim~
July 1, 2004
After a quick recap of the previous episode: the ikkou opine that Hazel's stated intention is rather a tall order, and Hakkai says "there's more to you than meets the eye". Same for you gents, says the Bishop, it was fascinatin' to watch you take out those demons. They're not sure they're flattered, but as Goku is trying to reckon out how Gat is still standing after all the damage he took in the battle, Hazel suggests they all go to breakfast, which of course grabs the saru's attention at once. Goku and Gojyo have never seen anyone say grace before a meal before, but they wait in polite puzzlement until Hazel is through and then pitch in, amusing him with their typical squabbling. So, you're from a land to the West? asks Sanzo, and Hazel explains that they heard of demon trouble here that seemed to necessitate his help. Gojyo wisecracks that he ought to have his own TV series.==Goku asks why Gat isn't eating, and Hazel replies that he doesn't need to. Hakkai adds that Gato took some severe wounds in the battle, but Hazel replies easily, "but you saw me heal him, didn't you?" He explains that he has a unique power to raise the dead by transferring new souls into them. Then Gato is dead? asks Hakkai. Not at all, says Hazel; didn't I say I brought him back to life? he's not a dead man, merely a livin' man who has died once. "Then the innkeeper--" says Hakkai, and Hazel confirms that he too was raised by the gift of a replaced soul. --The soul of a defeated youkai, adds Sanzo pointedly. There's a moment's silence as this sinks in, and then Goku laughs and says that's so cool, and asks if Hazel could resurrect this grilled shrimp. Gojyo brags that their leader has a cool power too, but Sanzo grates that he wouldn't waste his time demonstrating it, and draws down on Gojyo to underline it. Hazel, gazing out the window, says that whether or not Sanzo shoots Gojyo, all demons will be wiped out eventually, and that by his lights, even a hundred demons aren't worth one human life. [In the manga, Sanzo had asked if Hazel could revive youkai with humans' souls, and the bishop --who had just noted that Sanzo was his colleague in holy orders, of a sort-- had replied 'why would I?']==Isn't that kinda harsh? asks Gojyo, and Hakkai points out that before the Minus Wave, youkai and humans here lived in harmony. But Hazel retorts that on his continent youkai are called "monsters" [he uses the English word] and that the idea of them living in peace with humankind is unimaginable. What do you think, Sanzo-han?--he asks.["han" = "san" in Kansai (Western) accent.] Sanzo takes a sip of tea and replies 'why ask me?" The young bishop chuckles, and says that "we demon hunters" need to stay on our toes, or they'll cut off your head the moment your back is turned--isn't that right? and departs, still chuckling. Could he tell we're youkai? asks Hakkai. Can't say, he's hard to read, grumbles Gojyo. Sanzo?--asks Hakkai anxiously, but their leader sits with closed eyes, unreachable. [The first, but way far from the last, time in this arc that they'll look to their human colleague for some sort of reassurance and not get it.] The ikkou interview the innkeeper's daughter, who's deeply grateful for the restoration of her dad's life, and says that the only apparent difference in him is that his eyes are now yellow. Hakkai observes that Gato, too, has yellow eyes. The townsfolk implore Hazel to stay with them longer, but he says that many more towns need his help, and tells that instead of feeling indebted to him, they should double their watchfulness for youkai--no matter how friendly a face they show you, demons are demons, he says. As the SI prepare to leave the next morning, they're attacked by the resurrected innkeeper and a horde of locals, repeating "kill-all-demons-kill-kill" like the first pack. They fight back--except Sanzo, who coolly notes they're 'only after you three'-- and find that the zombies shatter on impact like shikigami, as before. As rubble flies in all directions, HG&G confirm that all their attackers have yellow eyes and pursue only youkai; and Sanzo, leaning on the wall smoking and completely unharrassed, sums it up: " 'Exterminate all demons and create a world for humanity alone'? Tch." Drinking at a stream, Hazel asks Gato if he agrees that all demons deserve to die. He does. Hazel asks whether he's not weary of fighting, and Gat replies "no matter what, I will protect you; you saved my life." Not at all touched by this, Hazel replies that Gat can be replaced, and that he'd better keep remembering his debt to Hazel if he wants to live on. Gat agrees; then Hazel narrows his eyes and calls "come out in the open", and Dr. Ni steps out of the trees. Who might you be? demands the Bishop. [==whoa! A major diversion from the manga, in which the two know each other from way back--and Ni appears as Ukoku Sanzo, not as the Bad Doctor.] --A messenger, says Ni... Back in the village, Sanzo protests the time it's taking HG&G to finish off the zombies, to which they reply in ticked-off unison, "quit griping and give us some help, asshole!" =) Goku prepares to club in the last one's skull but freezes when he sees it's the innkeeper, and his daughter rushes out pleading for his life. Goku can't bear to land his blow, and the inhumanly strong man lifts him by the throat, grating 'killkillkill'. Sanzo draws a bead, quietly warns Goku not to move and drops the zombie with one clean shot. He shatters; as dark clouds gather, the sobbing girl pelts the ikkou with the chunks of rubble, demanding her father back, but they can only stand with closed eyes. The SI drives out of town in the pouring rain. Gojyo and Hakkai gently counsel Goku not to take the incident to heart, and even Sanzo looks concerned; the poor saru is plainly taking it hard. How far to the next village? asks Gojyo. I don't know, but...let's just stay in the rain awhile, replies Hakkai; Gojyo gives a soft chuckle and says "sounds good to me".
The Man Who Came From The West ~open your eyes~
13. The Man Who Came From The West ~open your eyes~
June 24, 2004
In a church: organ music plays as people pray and mourn a dead child who lies on the altar, blank blue eyes staring into nothingness. Such a sweet little girl, so young, they say... Behind her, a young clergyman stands up and opens his arms wide; lights spiral around the gold pendant he wears, his hands glow, and he touches the girl and quietly tells her, "open your eyes." [Um...they were open...yet now they aren't.] The girl's eyes obediently open--they've turned golden--and she sits up and walks away from the altar. A miracle! cry the people. The Bishop--a slight, handsome fellow with clear blue eyes, prematurely silver hair, and a satisfied smile--stands back and basks in the praise and acclaim of the congregation. [He won't be introduced for awhile yet, but I'll tell you now that his name is Hazel Grosse.] He glances back and smiles at a tall, American-Indian looking man who stands farther back from the altar, but the man doesn't return the smile. His eyes are golden-amber. [Digression: this awkward business of the open/shut/open eyes was apparently invented just to make the point of the color-change. In the manga, which are in black-and-white, the girl's eyes are closed the entire time, and Hazel simply says "Now, child...rise." (--presumably "Talitha cumi".) [Digression II: Hazel's pendant in the manga is a six-pointed star--a Star of David--but I guess they didn't want any accusations of Jewish references, as the pendant in the anime has been redesigned to a four-pointed floral design.] --and here's the SI, driving along. Goku complains that he's hungry, Gojyo scolds him, Hakkai says they'll reach a town soon and Sanzo is silent and thoughtful. A typical morning in the Jeep...and then the road is blocked by a gang of implement-wielding, grim-looking townspeople. Do we look suspicious? asks Gojyo--but the lead villager says "Kill the youkai!" and, charging the jeep, tries to throttle Goku! He's shoved back, but the zombie-like humans, all droning "Kill youkai, kill youkai" and all with the same yellow eyes, storm Hakuryu and battle is joined. The SI fight back without deadly force, sure that their opponents are human; but they're too strong and near-invulnerable to be mere mortals. Goku says they remind him of Chin Yisou, that he can't sense the presence of life in any of them. Sanzo's eyes narrow; he takes his shot, and the man Goku's fighting falls to the ground--and shatters like a shikigami. As I thought, says Sanzo. Shikigami? more assassins? asks Gojyo, and Hakkai--who's understandably a bit pale--says he might have thought so, if not for what they were saying. But Goku's gleeful to learn that the attackers aren't human: he can cut loose on them now! and cut loose he does, but the men still get back up when knocked down. Enough is enough; as Gojyo vaults into the back seat, Hakkai calls for Goku to get in too, and they make a run for it. Sanzo--who's been troubled and watchful from the moment we saw him first--is still watching the fallen men, turned back in his seat as they drive away. What the hell was that? demands Gojyo, and Sanzo, folding his hands into his sleeves, says quietly that a storm is coming. (Dark clouds are indeed gathering, but I bet you dinner that's not what he means.) In Houtou Castle, Lady Gyakomen tells Dr. Ni that what he's just said had better be true, and he replies in mock-injury that he's never lied to her. A heretical power, she muses; if we had control of that, we could finally resurrect my beloved. He's already arrived in Tougenkyo, adds Ni, after voyaging far over the sea from the lands in the West... he smirks. Aoi me no tenshi, a blue-eyed angel, he says. As the ikkou walks into town, Hakkai asks Goku to wait for food until they locate lodgings. The hungry saru decides that finding an inn that has a restaurant will settle both issues at once, and charges on ahead--only to gallop past the silver-haired bishop and his silent companion. A gust of wind whips the man's three-cornered hat into the air; Goku easily leaps up to catch it and hands it back with a grin. Much obliged, young'un, Hazel replies in a soft Western accent. [As is typical in anime, the distinctive accident of Kansai, Japan's West, stands in for an American Western drawl.] Goku's still puzzling over what the heck he said when Sanzo wallops him with the harisen, griping that he shouldn't've gone off by himself--and then the storm breaks. Caught in a downpour, the SI rushes off to find an inn ("with a restaurant!" insists Goku), but Hazel and Gato --the big guy--just stand in the rain watching them. [NOTE: in the manga, his name is usually given as Gat. However, in the anime, his name is both subtitled and audibly prounced Gato, 'cat'. I'll probably call him both. His full given name is Gatti Nenehawk.] Those people... says Gato, and Hazel says they'll bear watching. Hakkai brings a stack of towels to the ikkou's room, and they dry off, G&G quarreling about dinner as Sanzo remains lost in thought. Hakkai asks if he's concerned about the shikigami earlier. Sanzo asks if he's sure they were shikigami, and Hakkai admits that no, he's not, as he didn't notice any mediums. He clarifies to Goku that shikigami need a medium, like Chin Yisou's majong tiles and paper charms, to bind them to their controller and transmit the controller's power to them. --Gojyo's sure Goku didn't understand a word of that, and the resulting quarrel is shushed by gunfire and Sanzo roaring at them to cut the retarded bickering and get to sleep NOW-- with which they agree in panicky chorus! Hakkai pronounces lights-out, and all is quiet. [Not that I imagine Sanzo is going to get a second's sleep with this much weirdness in the air and a night of pouring rain to boot, but at least he can worry in peace.] Dream flashback: bells tolling in a large, European-looking city, a silver-haired boy--young Hazel--running through the street. Master, he gasps (in English); a shadow falls across his face, there's a terrible roar, and the boy screams.--Hazel wakes, gasping for breath; Gat, standing motionless and watchful by the window, says he was having a nightmare. Hazel sits up in bed. Master, he says, I've finally arrived in this accursed land. A PoRY breaks into the ikkou's room and plunges swords into their beds, chortling that they'd let their guard down; but Gojyo kicks the door open, and there are the guys outside, Hakkai adding sweetly that they must have thought the storm would mask their youkai energy. They kick butt with their usual efficiency, but when a hole is knocked in the wall they see to their shock that youkai are rampaging through the street killing at random. You thought we were only after you? taunts one. Goku rushes out to save a man, but is too late, and charges the responsible youkai only to find someone there ahead of him--Bishop Hazel, who kicks the demon's ass with unexpected skill, and then unleashes Gato (it's the first time they've seen the huge native, and they're impressed --he towers over Hazel) on the rest. The big man draws two six-guns and rushes the remaining youkai, picking them off at speed with startlingly fast and accurate shots and reloading on the run. The ikkou, accomplished demon-demolishers though they be, have nothing to do but stand in the street and watch the performance. --Hazel raises his gold pendant overhead and begins chanting a prayer, and as he does, green lights like those we saw in the first scene rise in streams from the fallen youkai and flood into the medallion. The youkai's souls?--gasps Hakkai. The demons still standing see this and charge Hazel, but Gat blocks their way and shoots them down despite blades plunged into his chest and arms (in the manga he loses one arm at the elbow). He pulls out the blades and drops them one by one, while the shocked ikkou wonder if he's immortal. Hazel raises the pendant; its glow heals Gato's wounds, and he expressionlessly returns to shooting down youkai as Hazel harvests their souls. The rain has ended and dawn has come by the time the last youkai falls, and the street is heaped with bodies. A girl runs out and gathers up her father's body, crying; Hazel smiles reassuringly and holds his hand over the man, and as the fingers glow with green light--and light from above streams through the breaking clouds, nice special effects there-- the man's eyes, now golden, open again. The ikkou can't make any sense of what they see, and Goku finally asks, who are you? The blue-eyed man introduces himself and his companion. -- Hazel-san, Gato-san, desu ka?--it would seem you come from another country, says Hakkai. That's true, Hazel-san amiably replies; we come from a faraway western land, on a mission to exterminate all demons and create a world just for human beings. --The ikkou are quite (understandably!) taken aback by this: Goku stares wide-eyed, and Gojyo and Hakkai repeat his sentence, stunned, while Sanzo's glare is arctic.
Mansion of Marionettes ~two faces~
12. Mansion of Marionettes ~two faces~
June 17, 2004
The SI drives into a dusty town, so run-down it doesn't even have an inn. Goku can't wait till they reach the next village to eat, so Hakkai and Gojyo go off with him to locate snacks and pick up some cigarettes for Sanzo. The monk waits for them, leaning on Hakuryu and puffing one of his last remaining smokes. A lot of crows are about...the wind rises ominously... someone is sneaking closer and closer to the jeep--someone who looks oddly small--and then approaches Sanzo, whose eyes widen in alarm. When H, G&G return, both priest and jeep are gone, but Hakuryu's frantic kyuu-ing from above points the way...And we see a creepy Gothic-looking mansion on a hill, with rooms full of jointed dolls, mostly unfinished [the BJD Workshop from Hell!]. A blank-eyed Sanzo is sitting in a room gazing at a TV monitor which clicks through shots from a battery of surveillance cameras outside [huh? since when did the Saiyukiverse have this sort of technology?]. Behind him a finished doll appears--a silver-haired boy in traditional dress--, saying that Sanzo's face is beautiful, and he's sure many people loved him. [--Well, he's half right.] The doll's annoyed to hear the screech of brakes as Hakuryu and the trio pull up outside. Gojyo complains about Sanzo being the only one invited to the mansion. The gate creaks open by itself: Hakkai says grimly "looks as if they want us to come in", while Gojyo grumbles that this is no way to treat guests ("Self-service?" he complains in English. =) . --inside the gate they're greeted by rows and rows of Chinese mandarin dolls who stand silently watching them pass. If this has been written by someone who knew the series both Hakkai and Gojyo would have Chin Yisou flashbacks and be deeply creeped out, but *sigh* this is Tomonaga-san's first Saiyuki script, so Hakkai just chuckles and reassures Goku that they're only dolls. G&G are really uneasy, which isn't helped by Hakkai adding spookily "the dolls are laughing at you" [--evil 'Kai. =)], and they completely freak out when Sanzo's captor doll appears in the doorway and says they won't be allowed to enter. Karakuri ningyo?--a mechanical doll? wonders Hakkai astutely. [Karakuri are intricate clockwork automatons, created in Japan since the 17th century.] Goku demands to know if he's the one who took Sanzo; he begins to laugh, and the Mandarin dolls echo his laughter as they rise into the air. Hakkai looks really ticked off now (maybe he is having those flashbacks)' as G&G arm up; the dolls sprout rings of blades. Hakkai calls up a ki sphere, and the battle is joined, with resulting showers of doll parts. A violet-haired girl doll, resembling the first one but less finished, beckons them inside, and they follow (as the now gruesomely shattered Mandarins take flight again). She tells them her name is Junfa and she was born in this room, created with great love and care by her master. (All dolls have souls, she adds.--She stands on the table to address them; she's about the size of a Super Dollfie 17.) Junfa explains that after her master's death a demon took over this mansion--Shudo, the one we saw with Sanzo. He possesses a human soul, and is obsessed with beauty, killing men with beautiful faces one after another and tearing off their faces to wear them. You must save your friend before it's too late, she pleads; you're the only ones who've been able to enter, you may have a chance of defeating him.--suddenly she covers her face with her hands and cries out; Hakkai steps forward, but Junfa cries that they mustn't come any closer, leaps to the floor and runs from the room, Goku gives chase, but when he reaches the door she's vanished. In Sanzo's room, he stares without emotion as the surveillance camera shows Goku looking down the hall. I thought they'd leave, but it seems they plan to rescue you, says Shudo. It must be wonderful, being so beautiful and so loved...He faces the door angrily. Before I take your face, he says, I'm going to teach them a lesson about the pain of being betrayed by a loved one. As the ikkou-minus-3 run across the front lawn of the mansion, Sanzo appears on the balcony above the front door, accompanied by Shudo. Goku calls to him, but he faces them without expression (they realize something's wrong here) and then draws a bead on Goku and fires. Shudo laughs and says "that's his way of telling you three to leave." Hakkai deduces he's been hypnotized, and Gojyo snides "that dumbass actually fell for something like that?" --Give Sanzo back! yells Goku, and Shudo taunts, how does it feel to have someone you love point a gun at you?--they all react: Goku says "that's pretty cold," Hakkai remarks that he doesn't even know where to put the punchline, and Gojyo retorts "that stupid monk points his gun at us all the time, and we sure as hell don't love him!" Lies, says the doll. Its eyes glow; Sanzo's eyes glow as well and he aims at them again. Hakkai arms up with a ki sphere, and tells G&G to attack Sanzo as well, saying resolutely that they'll snap him out of this.--Gojyo and Goku grin evilly and agree that it would be major fun to kick Sanzo's ass. =)=) Hakkai smiles, says "here we go!" and go they do. Gojyo and Goku gang up on the monk, Gojyo griping that there's nothing that great about Sanzo's face; I'm much better-looking! he says, and Goku agrees that Sanzo's always scowling and has such droopy eyes. Shudo is horrified, yelling for them to stop attacking before they ruin his face. But the guys are having too much fun to quit, and keep on throwing attacks until Sanzo's eyes clear--and then he shoots at them again for attacking him! As the trio try to explain that they were trying to rescue him, more gunfire follows ("He's scarier when he's normal!" wails Goku, and Hakkai wonders if they weren't better off leaving him hypnotized) until Shudo, glowing red with rage, demands to know how they dare interfere with his plan. What's this thing? asks Sanzo, and Gojyo smartasses that he's the one who wanted to take Sanzo's pretty face, which the monk finds disturbing. Shudo insists that face is now his, and gets a bullet for it. You're dead if you don't get the hell away from me, snarls Sanzo. --Shudo howls, and the flying Mandarin army reappears, wheeling around the ikkou... Shudo yowls in pain and turns into Junfa; Hakkai says "so they're the same doll" and guesses that the demon's spirit possessed not the mansion but the doll's body. Junfa says that she gained the power of speech when Shudo possessed her form, but he never listens to her. She argues with Shudo, changing form back and forth. Shudo finally confesses that his father's obsession with dollmaking robbed him of love and attention, and that he hanged himself in despair, saying he could only regain his father's love by placing his spirit inside a doll body. But his father, realizing that his fixation on his dolls had caused his son's death, destroyed all his creations one by one, and when he was about to smash Junfa--who was now Shudo--Shudo killed him in self-defense. It's his punishment for never loving me! he cries. [Is this script weird or what?] Junfa disputes this, saying that the master only wanted to make Shudo happy, and that all his dolls, including her, were made in Shudo's image. It's a lie! he says, but she replies "if you remove all the faces you've taken on, you'd see." She holds up a photo of father and son together, saying that the master cherished it. ==Shudo says he's forgotten his real face and doesn't want to remember; all he wants is revenge on all dolls, and on people whose faces are as beautiful as dolls' faces. [Isn't it interesting that only Gojyo has disputed Sanzo's right to be called beautiful--and Gojyo only by saying 'but I'm prettier"? =)] Sanzo puts two shots through Shudo; as he falls, the Mandarins fall too. Junfa is still saying that Shudo's father loved him and Shudo is still insisting that's not true. "How long are you going to keep this up?" says Sanzo; and he walks over to Shudo and pries off his layers of faces. Sure enough, his original face matches the boy in the photo. He made the doll look like his son, but in the process forgot something much more important, says Sanzo. [Wow, Sanzo gets that?] Hakkai reads the back of the photo, on which his father has written a plea for Shudo's forgiveness. Shudo finally understands; 'Father,' he says with his last breath, and departs. Gojyo quietly says that he's sure Shudo's father is awaiting him in heaven. As the ikkou drives off, Gojyo teases that he can't believe the doll wanted Sanzo-sama's face--its prettiness is just ruined when he loses his temper! and then has to dodge a bullet as he yells indignantly that it was a joke =)
Runaway Hakkai!? ~reflection~
11. Runaway Hakkai!? ~reflection~
June 10, 2004
Early morning; Hakkai strides out of an inn alone. Glances back, says firmly "Someone ought to teach them a lesson", gets into Hakuryu and drives off. --Goku and Gojyo at breakfast: Goku eating while Gojyo ogles pinups. Do you know what's wrong with Hakkai, asks the saru; I saw him this morning and he looked pretty ticked off. Kappa=clueless. You're seeing things, he grumbles; but we see how the room is filling up with food wrappers, donut boxes, Pepsi cans, beer cans, tied bagfuls of trash, AND stacked plates full of cig butts. [EEEw. Go, Hakkai; I'd leave too.] Sanzo can't even get out of bed without kicking over a fruit soda can, which spills into his set-aside-for-the-night ivory robe. He tosses the robe into Gojyo's face with a curt "wash that", adding that the can must have been his and brandishing his gun for emphasis. Right away, Your Highness, says the redhead resignedly. As we see Hakuryu parked beside a lake and Hakkai gazing off over the water, Goku and Gojyo approach their leader about The Hakkai Problem. Sanzo growls "what's he got to be angry about?" but Gojyo reports that 'Kai's room is cleaned out and Hakuryu is nowhere to be found. You idiots, doing as you please, snaps Sanzo; it's his fault we've been here for three days. But he had a cold, protests Goku. ==Flashback: bedridden Hakkai, coughing and apologizing for being ill. [He would.] Gojyo told him not to sweat it, a few days' setback wouldn't matter; Sanzo conceded that it would be worse if he caused an accident; and Hakkai gratefully replied that he'd just rest--but would they please not make a huge mess in the room? it would just cause trouble for others. It's the inn's job to clean up, said Gojyo, but Hakkai persisted that the ikkou goes far overboard,and last time they almost lost Sanzo's sutra in a mountain of trash--what if it got thrown away? OK, OK, we'll clean it up, grumbled the kappa; you just get some sleep. Hakkai wearily pressed him to remember this promise and Gojyo said he would. --So, Goku and Gojyo survey the heaps of trash in the room and concede that, wellyeah, Hakkai just might be a little bit mad at them. A little. Maybe. We see Hakkai on the balcony of an inn, enjoying the mountain view. A waiter brings him hot tea and a slice of tiramisu [can I sit at his table, please?], and as he takes the first sip, eyes closed in contentment, it's plain he's savoring the peace and quiet as much as the taste. Delicious, he sighs happily. ...back at the ikkou's inn, Gojyo is maintaining that they're still not sure Hakkai's angry at them; but in very short order, they discover that their tea container now holds nothing but dried seaweed, and that all the cigarettes they had left have been replaced with chocolate ones. As the depth of 'Kai's revenge sinks in, even Gojyo has to admit that that've seriously pissed the guy off. Pretty childish of him, the hanyou growls. --there's a tap at the window, and it's Hakuryu bearing a message: "I'm not coming back until you've learned your lesson. Hakkai." I guess we have to apologize or he won't come back, says Goku. Gojyo huffs that he's always apologizing; Goku shoots back "But you don't mean it." Gojyo has no answer=) and Goku appeals to Sanzo for confirmation, but the monk, not looking up from his newspaper, says "never mind that; find my sutra." ==Yes, it really is missing. G&G gulp. We see Hakkai still relaxing at the mountain inn; then, Goku beaming proudly as the room gleams with cleanliness and Sanzo studies the retrieved sutra. Pretty amazing, huh? grins the saru--but he's holding back the mountain of garbage with both arms, having just shoved it into the corner, and one little nudge brings it all down. Goku sighs that he's hungry, and Gojyo stews up a pot of his infamously horrid "Everything in the Fridge Curry" (in this case whole fish, frankfurters, and tentacles, among other things). He presents the pot with smug pride, saying they'll be just fine without Hakkai, but the stuff gives off such a reek that S&G, holding their noses, run off to puke--followed by Gojyo himself. The stressed and hungry ikkou-minus-8 finally sits down to drown its day's sorrows in a huge meal at the inn, with much sake' to wash it down. At least without Hakkai we can eat all we like, says Gojyo. But (you see this coming already, right?) when the very large bill arrives, Sanzo reaches for his gold card... yup, you guessed it. And as S, G&G sweat, Hakkai presents the Sanbutsushin's AmEx Gold to the waiter at the mountain inn, adding with a satisfied smile that the food was wonderful. =)=) [And yes, the name on the card really is San Butusin, and its expiration date is 'no time limit'] The guys, of course, have to work off their bill in the kitchen. Gojyo has some fun waiting tables and charming schoolgirls with a wink as he serves their desserts; but Goku can only wash dishes, Sanzo (in a lavender ruffled apron!) of course refuses to lift a finger, and the kitchen manager is close to having a coronary when a jeep pulls up outside and a single customer walks in. Gojyo sweats like crazy, but can't refuse to wait on his table. He hides his face and disguises his voice, but can barely muffle his indignation as Hakkai orders a luxurious meal (shark-fin soup, roast pig--agh! cannibalism!--and Peking duck), and rushes back to tell S&G in the kitchen what's going on. He must have the card, let's just go--begins Goku, but he's shut down by G&S, who both insist Hakkai mustn't be allowed to discover the depths to which he's forced them (or see Sanzo in his apron!). ==Gojyo serves the food, but inadvertently loses his disguise-- and is still totally ignored by Hakkai! --Back in the kitchen, Goku thinks this depth of vengeance doesn't sound like Hakkai, but Gojyo--who knows him best--grits that no, this is right up his alley. =) This'll go on until we apologize, he concludes, and turns to Sanzo: what do you want to do? --A battle of wills commences. Goku tries addressing him directly, but only gets a drink order in reply. Sanzo delivers the drink himself, along with a haughty glare, but Hakkai just glares back and neither gives an inch. Gojyo returns to the table, and is given Hakkai's dessert and after-dinner sake' order, still without a flicker of recognition from the steely youkai. Hakkai, cut it out, pleads Gojyo, but the response is a chilly "nani desu ka, waiter-san?" ("--What's that, Waiter?") ==In the kitchen, a furious Gojyo says "he's got to stop screwing with us" and Sanzo is in a full folded-arms snit; but Goku asks plaintively, why don't we just apologize? after all, it is our fault. --We can't admit defeat now! roars Gojyo. If you dare give him the satisfaction of beating us... Sanzo fires off a shot to shush them, and he and Gojyo get into a shouting match about whose fault it really is that they're in this fix, with poor Goku desperately trying to restore peace. As they continue to bellow at each other, Goku's had enough; he barrels into the dining room, grabs Hakkai's hand--"Goku?" asks surprised Hakkai--and blurts, I'm really sorry! would you please come with me? They step into the kitchen, where Sanzo and Gojyo are still going at it hammer and tongs, and Goku yells, shut the hell up! The startled pair hush, turn, register who's behind Goku, and both faces set in stubborn resolve--neither of them wants to be the one to say it. Go on, pleads Goku, but they're just damned if they'll give ground, and the silence stretches. [Really, they are SO much alike.] Goku lowers his head and sighs--well, they're hopeless--and he turns to Hakkai himself, bows formally, and says "Hakkai, gomen."--Goku, says Hakkai gently, and the saru pours out his heart: I'm really sorry! We've got no idea how to clean, and we're always piling up trash, and you must be fed up with us by now, but if you aren't with us, we -- He runs out of steam, and appeals to Gojyo. Gojyo grudgingly says he's sorry, but Hakkai's heard that before, and replies implacably, "think how I feel, having to repeat my warnings day after day." Gojyo chuckles, grins at him, and says ruefully, "I'm really sorry, sensei." --well, two down; Goku asks hopefully, "Sanzo?" The priest raises his head, fixes Hakkai with a look that would crack glass (its edge slightly blunted by those cute lilac ruffles), and finally says it's all right; Hakkai can go ahead and forgive him. --What?! yells the redhead. Why don't you apologize? asks Goku, and Sanzo accuses both of them of Crimes Against Hakkai so heinous that the healer's jaw drops, while they retort with misdeeds of Sanzo's even more awful, etc., etc.--until Hakkai actually bursts out laughing. Laughing! whoa!--and doesn't stop until they're all staring at him. I guess it can't be helped; I'll forgive you all, he says. Goku promptly announces that he's starving, and Hakkai cordially suggests they all have a nice dinner together, and reaches for the card--but doesn't have it. And we see a black cat carrying the card in its mouth, walking off across the street (past Hakuryu, who kyu's uneasily and sweatdrops even in jeep form!) as a ruckus plus gunfire breaks out in the inn behind it.
Buried Dream ~snow drop~
10. Buried Dream ~snow drop~
June 3, 2004
Wrapped in long cloaks, the ikkou trudges through a snowy mountain pass. Goku and Gojyo gripe about the cold, and Hakkai reminds them that this wasn't his idea: a villager told them the only way west was over this mountain. Gojyo hopefully asks if there might be a village or an inn on the way. Hakkai doubts anyone lives up here-- but then a flight of arrows zings into the snow at their feet. Go home! get off this mountain! yells a young, angry voice, and we see the archers are a gang of little kids. People from the village aren't supposed to come up here, they say, and Gojyo's attempt to explain that they aren't villagers is just met with more arrows. Ignore them, growls Sanzo, and the ikkou takes off at a gallop through the blinding snow--and runs right off the path, landing in a heap (not too far) below. A tall figure, dressed for the weather and muffled up in scarf and goggles, finds the unconscious foursome... We see a pot of soup bubbling over the fire. Sanzo's eyes slowly open; he sees a youkai bending over him and in a flash has the demon by the collar, pistol at his head--but we can see that this youkai is the one who rescued them. Wow, you're fast, says the stranger mildly, and then Hakkai and Gojyo chime in to assure their leader that the demon, whose camp they're in, is their benefactor. Quite a greeting, says the big guy, amused; you're pretty violent for a monk. [He has a nice smile, dark hair and grey eyes; a deep voice and a steady, calm presence.] Sanzo snorts; so, a youkai not affected by the Minus Wave, he says. --Something like that. --The youkai passes Sanzo a bowl of soup. Gojyo adds with tipsy happiness that there's sake' in it, and Goku is already sound asleep by the fire =). Sanzo accepts the bowl with poor grace and irritatedly asks why the group is so relaxed. Hakkai replies that there's not much more they can do right now, as the snowstorm has turned into a blizzard. The big youkai [I'll go ahead and say that his name is Yakumo] adds that it'll likely snow all night, so they should make themselves comfortable, and he's sorry his kids attacked them earlier. The troop of archer children enters the tarpaulin-sealed cave, and Gojyo splutters, you're saying all these are your kids?! The youkai chuckles that he's a respectable bachelor, and tells the kids to apologize, whereupon they bow and offer an in-unison "gomen nasai". Sanzo and Hakkai both note that all the kids are youkai. Yakumo explains that when the area's demons went berserk, a few adults and most children (as the ikkou has noted elsewhere) kept their sanity--maybe just because they weren't yet mature. All of these youngsters have lost their parents to the Minus Wave, and he's the only remaining adult youkai in the area, so he's taken them in to raise them himself. So that's why you live up here in the mountains, says Hakkai. (Gojyo, always a pushover for little ones, is already making friends, though Goku objects to being clambered on.=)==Learning of the ikkou's mission, Yakumo says thoughtfully that finding the source of the Minus Wave might help to reverse its effects, but whether or not that would solve everything... (we see an ominous-looking party of men hiking up into the pass, armed with farm tools.) What do you mean? asks Hakkai, and the big demon somberly replies, do you think they'll forgive the youkai for everything they've done? The humans feel so much fear and distrust; I don't think it'll be resolved that easily.--Sanzo, smoking, watches him narrowly as he speaks.== The kids continue to bounce on and torment Goku, and even braid Gojyo's hair (he retorts to Goku's teasing that he's fine with taking care of 'future hot ladies'=), until Sanzo deals out some ferocious fan wallops, yelling for them all to shush. Gojyo dryly remarks that Sanzo's the loudest one there, and Hakkai apologizes to Yakumo for his rowdy friends. He chuckles, but then adds, cautiously, that it's unusual to see humans and demons traveling together these days. Hakkai's face turns so cold that it's startling; "Yakumo-san," he says in sharp reproof-- and then Sanzo and Gojyo snap alert at the crunch of footsteps in the snow outside. ==Yakumo picks up his gun and orders the kids back into the cave, but before anyone can move the tarp is ripped open, and there are the intruders, three human men. We've finally found you, one says; to think that you're hiding all these demon children up here, Yakumo. --the ikkou get to their feet; tiny, scared youkai cling to Gojyo and Goku. Humans? asks Gojyo. They're humans from the village below, Yakumo tells his guests; they're after us youkai. Of course we are, you're demons, retorts the ringleader. --Leave us alone, demands Yakumo, we've done nothing to harm you, especially these children. That may be so, they say, but we still can't rest easy knowing there are demons living so close by. Who knows when you'll go berserk like the others did, and attack our village? Even you can't guarantee that won't happen! Yakumo looks stricken--clearly that's his worst nightmare--and Gojyo and Goku likewise react in shock at a touch to this very raw nerve. Hey, protests Goku, you should listen to their side too! But the humans growl that outsiders have no say in this, and raise their tools menacingly, saying that if Yakumo won't leave they'll kill him. The big youkai aims his rifle, and the kids cower in fear-- But Sanzo lays his hand on the rifle and stares down the intruders. You're human? why is a human monk traveling with demons? they ask in surprise. You're right, replies Sanzo (over Goku's protest); considering your future safety, this is the wisest course of action. But even so: besides Yakumo, all the youkai here are children, not so different from the human children in your village. And if knowing that, you're still able to kill these children [his voice is a fierce rasp of utter authority and judgment, the voice of the Law; a tremendous performance by Hoshi-san]--then you bastards are neither demon nor human. There's nearly ten seconds of stunned silence before one of the men replies 'but co-existing with demons isn't possible!' [--If these guys knew Hakkai, they'd take one look at him right now and shut the hell up.] We're not backing down until you leave our land, they say defiantly; we'll keep coming back until you do. And they walk off into the snow. Yakumo hugs Ryo, the little one who's hiding behind Gojyo, and promises to protect them all, wondering bitterly why they can't be left alone. The next day: blue skies over fresh snow. Yakumo teaches Goku how to chop wood for kindling, saying that no one can eat who doesn't work. As G&G squabble, Sanzo sits smoking, grumbling at the noise (--Hakkai scoops up an armload of firewood, saying sweetly that they're still better than someone who isn't helping at all. Go, 'Kai. =).== Yakumo apologizes to Sanzo for last night's episode. What you said was true, says the monk; even if we find the source of the Minus Wave, it's probably too late for things to return to the way they were. Their host admits that he has no idea when he might lose himself; and isn't it the same for Sanzo's friends? And Sanzo--for the first time ever--doesn't auto-reply that they aren't his friends; he watches their snowball fight for a moment, then says quietly, "Yeah." [Wow.] The big youkai adds--almost lightly--that maybe he went crazy a long time ago. Sanzo gives him a keen glance. ==The kids are pestering Yakumo to join their snowball battle, but across the snowfield, Goku has found something. A row of heavy stones, set as markers in the snow, each one with a flower lying by it. These are-- --Graves, supplies Yakumo, of all the children who've come here and died. He manages a smile; it's because these are here that I truly don't want to leave this land. ==Died? asks Goku? Did they get sick? No; they were killed.==Sanzo's gaze hasn't shifted.==Killed by who? the humans? asks Goku.==A look of pain and regret crosses the youkai's face. The piercing purple eye does not miss it. It's so silent, except for the happy squeals of the kids playing in the snow, and Yakumo smiles. It's snowing again. Hakkai observes that mountain weather changes quickly, and Yakumo says that it'll be sunny in the morning; they should be able to reach the next village west of here if they leave early. Sanzo is watching him like a hawk. One of the children enters in tears, telling Yakumo that Ryo is missing. In this blizzard?--exclaims Gojyo. The little girl says that Ryo'd begun acting weird as soon as the humans left, all zoned out and scary. Yakumo, looking pale, picks up his rifle and puts on his scarf. I'll go and look for him, he says. Goku at once volunteers the ikkou's help, but Yakumo says he'll go alone, and when Goku presses, he orders them all to stay. But as soon as he leaves Hakkai asks for Sanzo's decision, and he says, we'll go; something's bothering me. Besides Ryo? asks Goku.--Yes. We hear Yakumo thinking, this is just a dream; we see the cloaked ikkou trudging through the snow. Goku asks Sanzo why they're following Yakumo instead of searching for Ryo, but he ignores the saru's voice, his face set and dark. They hear gunshots, and run toward the sound. Yakumo is standing over Ryo and two of the intruder humans, all lying dead in the snow. He remembers Goku asking how the children died, and thinks: I killed them. Aloud he says that maybe he's the one who's dreaming, though he has no right to. We see the single neat bullet hole in Ryo's back; as Yakumo lifts his body from the snow, we see that the child's hands are bloody youkai claws. He went berserk?--asks Hakkai, aghast. [In the manga, the men have been gruesomely dismembered, making it all too clear how they died.] Goku can't understand, but Sanzo's face shows he'd already guessed the awful truth. ==I killed them, says Yakumo--his voice is quiet, and full of pain--before they could attack humans. The children who went berserk...I've killed them, again and again. He walks off, carrying the little body, and Gojyo asks where he's going. Back there, he says; one of the humans got away, and they'll never let a thing like this go. The ikkou stands in the snow, watching him leave. I know it's a contradiction, he thinks as he walks: taking them in, yet killing them when they go mad. I know, but...what else could I do? I only-- he steps into the cave-- --and finds the third man, standing over the bodies of the remaining youkai children. All of them. We see the ikkou, silent as they walk back toward the cave. Why'd he have that look on his face, says Goku; he said he was dreaming, but why? that's how things ought to be! Why-- That's reality, replies Gojyo bitterly. They hear a blood-curdling howl from the cave, and then the human's voice pleading: we didn't want to do this, but we had no choice! you were the only reason we couldn't live a peaceful-- then a scream, and awful noises. Goku stands stunned; Hakkai's eyes narrow; Gojyo recoils in grief and horror, eyes shut tight; Sanzo's face shows terrible resolve. The sounds cease, and Yakumo steps out into the snow. There's blood on his mouth, and he grins at them. WHY?!--howls Goku. We can see his fangs, his bloody talons. He throws Goku and Gojyo aside like toys, and heads for Sanzo, who cusses, draws and shoots, but only wounds his shoulder. Yakumo, why? pleads Goku. Hakkai and Gojyo arm up and face the youkai. Hakkai says they should avoid a close-quarters battle; Gojyo agrees, but as they step forward Goku catches them both by the hoods of their cloaks. I know, says the saru, in anguish; I know, but-- I wonder how he felt, says Hakkai quietly; digging the graves for those children, one after another... And Gojyo, just as quietly, in deep pity: Who's going to dig his grave? Goku lets them go. Yakumo lets out a roar and charges. We see his smile; we hear the kids calling him to join the snowball fight... --Sun on snow. The ikkou standing in the little graveyard, around a large, fresh stone. Sanzo turns and walks off; H&G follow, but Goku remains, looking at the grave. -- Let's go, the monk says, less sharply than usual. Goku hesitates. Sanzo, he says; if I were to... --Sanzo turns back. Hakkai and Gojyo look on, knowing his question, knowing either of them might ask the same. --Nothing, forget it, says the saru; but Sanzo says, "I'd kill you." [Koroshite aru yo: 'Kill you...I'd do it.'] He says it almost tenderly, and with complete understanding. "I would." Okay, Goku says. And as they walk off, Gojyo complains that his feet itch, and Goku suggests it's frostbite, and when Sanzo grumbles that that's contagious Hakkai says he's thinking of athlete's foot--all, so obviously, just to be talking about something, anything, else. ==A great, great, heart-wrenching episode, dealing with something that must haunt all four of them night and day, and doing it so well.
Showdown ~muzzle~
9. Showdown ~muzzle~
May 27, 2004
The guys are waiting on the top of a mountain for Sanzo, but there's no sign of him. We see that as it was too steep for Hakuryu, Sanzo decreed they'd climb it on foot, and Goku promptly suggested a bet on who'd reach the top first: loser to buy barbecue for the ikkou. He'd thought that would be Gojyo, but the hanyou comes in third; so where is Sanzo?... Below, the footsore monk has stopped for a break, and has just lit a smoke when Lirin careens out of nowhere. Sanzo gets off two shots [and realizes that's all he had; he wasted too much ammo shutting up a quarrel] before the demon princess lands such a blow to the rock he's on that the whole cliff-edge avalanches into the valley below. (Hakkai hears the noise, but Gojyo says he's just imagining things. Though it did seem that they all heard the gunfire...)==UH-oh; there's the Maten Sutra caught on a tree branch, lost in Sanzo's fall! Sanzo reaches the bottom a second before Lirin and instantly aims at her; she grins wryly and says she's failed. So shoot, baldy, she dares him. Brat, he retorts, aren't your guardians around? She begins to say she's tough enough alone, but her stomach growls so loudly that she halts in embarrassment. I'm all out of meat buns, he says with his dry evil grin; just go on home. But she snaps back that she can't give up and go home this time; and we see again the Kou-tachi rescuing her from Dr. Ni's experiment in ep. 6. Afterward, her brother had warned her to stay away from "all of them" from now on, even her mother, and promised to protect her no matter what. She said she would, and Dokugaku and Yaone looked on, smiling, as prince and princess sealed the promise with a pinky-swear. [Awwww. =)] --Now Lirin grits her teeth; big brother did his best for me, she thinks, so I have to do my best for his sake!--Baldy Sanzo, she yells, give me the scripture! Kyoumon?--he glances at his shoulder, registers that the priceless sutra is gone, and reacts with admirable composure. Stop calling me that, he says, and anyway I don't have it. Don't lie to me, take it out! she demands, and they trade retorts. He's definitely hoping she'll give up and get lost before he has to prove he's out of bullets [sigh, this is so counter to the 'concentrated will' theory...]...and then Lirin spots the spreading bloodstain staining his robes. [Hurt falling down the mountainside, we assume.]-- Hey, you're bleeding, she says, but he snaps "don't move!", pistol still trained on her. His face is resolute but his hand shakes visibly, and she grins. Na, hage-Sanzo, why don't you shoot? she asks; does that thing have bullets? --He says nothing, and her grin gets crafty; she licks her lips. Blood runs down the side of his boot. Shoot me already, she taunts, and gathers herself to pounce. He raises the gun and grins coldly. Honestly, I'm not even sure it's loaded, he says; I had to waste quite a few bullets on those idiots. That's a lie! Lirin says. Sanzo replies that whether or not she believes him is up to her, but at this distance there's no way he could miss. [--ooh. Nice psyche, houshi.]==Want to try me? rasps the priest. (Lirin holds her place, glaring.) If you're gonna come at me, be prepared to die: I only need one shot. --The princess clenches her fist, but doesn't move. Sanzo chuckles, sensing she's lost her nerve, and--switching gun hands--rips his black tunic-shirt-whatsit with his teeth [a thousand fangirls swoon] to bind up his wound. And there they sit, still in their Mexican standoff, as a cabbage butterfly alights on Sanzo's gun (nice touch) and his breathing gets harsher and harsher. How much longer can you stand that? Lirin taunts; Sanzo growls "Damare." When you lose enough blood you'll be tired out, she replies, and then it's the end. She grins carnivorously; Sanzo snaps "I told you to shut up", and there they sit. On the top of the mountain, H, H, G & G are still waiting; Hakkai, Hakuryu and Goku are starting to worry, but Gojyo insists Sanzo is fine and will show up if they wait. Goku's had enough, though, and sets off to look for him. ==[Now, watch this maneuver.]== Is it OK to leave them? worries Hakkai. It's fine, says Gojyo, about to light another cig--but his lighter's out. He asks Hakkai for a light. I don't smoke, says Hakkai, but I know of another person who probably has one. How annoying, grouses the redhead... Back to Sanzo and Lirin; he's now sitting in a puddle of blood. Give up and take out the sutra already, she says. Have you not been listening to me? I don't have it, he retorts. Come and get it then--and he tries to light another smoke, but his cheap lighter is also out of fuel. [At least Gojyo can refill his when he gets a chance; Sanzo buys the cheap disposable type...]--In the windy silence of the riverbank all we hear is the repeated clicking of the empty lighter; then Sanzo cusses. Do you want me to light it for you? asks amused Lirin; Sanzo shushes her, and Lirin says 'they sure are taking a long time'. They?--asks Sanzo. Omae no nakama, your friends, she says; aren't they coming to help you? ==[Note her use of 'omae', the least respectful form of 'you'. She's a youkai princess; she sees no reason to defer to a human monk, even a monk of the highest degree.]== Sanzo snorts, and Lirin says, they're pretty cold, aren't they? not like my brother. ==Sanzo finally manages to coax a light out of his cheap lighter. Lirin says "that's what's been irritating you, isn't it?" [We mustn't underestimate this demon girl; she's quite evidently got her brother's gift of reading character at a glance.]==Sanzo snarls that they have nothing to do with this... Goku passes by overhead, calling for Sanzo, while the monk adds to his pile of cig butts. Hearing his cough, Lirin asks why he doesn't quit smoking. They trade some more barbed retorts, but she can see he's still losing blood at an alarming rate, and when the cigarette falls from his teeth she gets to her feet. He draws down, but she grins and says "if you don't hit me with one shot you're through". Sanzo is gasping for breath; his vision blurs and doubles... Hakuryu, cruising overhead, spots the sutra flapping from its branch. He kyuu's in surprise, while at the same moment Goku smells tobacco--must be Sanzo!--and charges off. Gojyo, descending the cliff with Hakkai, announces that from now on he's always going to carry two lighters; and then Hakkai hears Hakuryu's chirp from above. Goku is galloping to Sanzo's rescue, yelling his name, and Sanzo thinks he's too damn loud even as he holds off Lirin, who's saying she'll give him one more chance. Stop making me lose my concentration! shut up! inwardly snarls Sanzo, who of course, of course, hears Goku more clearly than anything else, and he fires his (apparently) last bullet at Lirin just as she leaps. She easily dodges it, but he's in the air to bring her down, and stands over her as she lies on the rivershore out cold, ejecting the empty cartridges from his gun. We can hear all three of the ikkou calling his name as he stands there, and he thinks, shut up already; are Sanzos on sale or something?--and he falls back to lie full-length by Lirin. And at the barbecue house, as Sanzo pays off his loss of the bet [he's wearing the sutra, so Hakuryu must have retrieved it, good dragon! AND his black top is intact as well; wonder how many of them he has...], there's the usual whose-food squabble between Goku and Gojyo, settled by the usual barrage of gunfire. (Bad habits are hard to break. =)
The Red-Haired Woman ~stupid woman~
8. The Red-Haired Woman ~stupid woman~
May 20, 2004
At the ikkou's inn of the evening, Gojyo flirts with the waitress, inviting her to drop by their hotel after her shift; but all he gets for his trouble is a smack from Sanzo's harisen. As she hurries off to bring Goku a refill, Gojyo gripes that he can't possibly pick up girls when he's surrounded by these three, and they retort that it's hardly their fault. The guys get downright catty, even Goku, who suggests that he's not nearly as popular with the ladies as he thinks (Hakkai: "Now, now, Goku, let's not tell him the truth."). Gojyo won't hear of it; I'm hot, and that's a fact, he purrs. Sanzo snipes that it'd be interesting to get proof of that 'fact' someday. [ watch out what you wish for, blondie...] ==Gojyo shrugs them off, drops into his seat and tries to light a smoke, but his lighter's not working...and then a hand reaches in with a match to give him a light. He tracks up the arm and his jaw drops: it's a beautiful redhead in white, a stunner by any standards. [I'd put her at just a little older than Gojyo; early 30s, maybe.] --What, she smiles, you don't like matches? ==The hanyou's literally speechless; even Goku stops eating to stare. And at second look we can all see that both her red hair and her wine-red eyes match Gojyo's. They have a drink at the bar, Gojyo looking as smug as the proverbial pussycat; she suggests they go somewhere quieter, and off they go, the beauty wrapped around his arm. ==They really left, comments Goku in surprise. 'That woman's hair...' says Hakkai, and Sanzo confirms that, yes, she too is a Taboo Child. As they walk, we see a youkai duck out of sight. Gojyo remarks that quiet is fine and all, but they're almost to the outskirts of town. She says she prefers places without many people, but Gojyo smells trouble, and scoops the babe over his shoulder. We're surrounded, he tells her, and calls up the shakujou as --you guessed it--armed demons leap in from all directions. Even one-handed, he makes short work of them, and we see the lady's stunned expression as the survivors scatter. Sorry, did that startle you? asks Gojyo, but she runs off without another word. The hanyou heaves a deep sigh and wryly says 'that's why I hate being attacked when there are chicks around.' We see the youkai gang in their burned-out building hideout, the survivors reporting to their leader that even alone the hanyou is too strong to take in a fair fight. What are they gonna do?-- The red-haired lady bursts in, calling to the scarfaced leader, Bakura. Ah, Kougyoku [it means 'ruby'; a great name for a Taboo daughter], he says, I'm glad you're safe. She's shaken up, but he reassures her, saying she should have no trouble getting close to him again-- and he holds out a sheathed knife. Wait, she protests, I never agreed to that. But he says that she's proven Sha Gojyo's weakness is women, just as they'd heard, and there'll be an amazing reward when they collect Sanzo's sutra. Kougyoku is torn. Bakura smiles persuasively, saying they'll leave this way of life behind and have a great life together; it'll be easy, if they can just take the ikkou out one by one... She reluctantly agrees; he tucks the knife under her arm and says 'now get going'. As she heads for the door he adds a sharper shot: I've looked after you all this time, he says, it's about time you did something in return. Back at the inn, Hakkai pours coffee and asks, doesn't Gojyo think it might have been a trap? He vehemently disagrees, saying she must have just panicked and run off. But when Hakkai glances out the window, there's the lady in white, standing in the street below. Gojyo goes down to see her, and she tells him she was just scared, and invites him out for another drink-- which he accepts without hesitation. Goku and Hakkai register several degrees of disbelief and dismay as the taboo pair saunter off together. Sanzo snorts and says 'let him go'; but Hakkai hopes there won't be trouble, as Gojyo's soft heart often gets the better of him. [--and no matter what Sanzo says, look at him--he's worried.] At the bar, Kougyoku is so visibly tense and drinking so much that Gojyo gently asks 'am I that scary?' She denies it, saying with determined cheer 'let's drink to our hearts' content!' What are you going to do when you get me drunk? --teases Gojyo, and she laughs and says that's the woman's line. They banter a little, and she says she always likes the wrong sort of guys-- amd the worse they are, the more they usually say they're nice guys, as he just did. But what's really bad is probably my life, ahe adds sadly. He says that isn't so; they smile at each other; the moment is just right for a kiss, and as he leans toward her you know she's thinking of what she's agreed to do. She suddenly bolts for the bathroom, and Gojyo drops sulkily back onto his seat. He tosses back his drink and orders another, while in the ladies' room, she stares at her reflection in the blade of the dagger. Back in the bar, very drunk, she urges Gojyo to go on drinking, saying he needs to be so smashed that 'he has no idea what's going on'. The hanyou tosses back another shot, but Kougyoku has hit her limit and passes out--and as he scoops her up, the sheathed knife falls to the floor. Gojyo stares in shock. We see her waking up on a bed, fully dressed. Across the room is Gojyo, seemingly sound asleep on the sofa. She sees her chance. She draws the knife and walks over to him, swallows hard, raises the blade--and his hand shoots out to grab her wrist. So it was something like this, he says, quiet and resigned. She can't believe it: You knew? Then why-- He smiles. Because you're a beautiful woman, he says. It's all she can bear: she drops the knife, falls to the floor in tears. Don't make fun of me! she sobs, you're still just a kid! But he crouches down and lifts her chin to meet his eyes, and smiles. We should be quieter, he says softly, everyone's probably asleep by now. [I know I have praised Hirata-san's vocal work as Gojyo before, but my god, wow, I can barely describe the silk-velvet tone of that line. You just want to curl up in it and stay for years.] She stares at him, touched and amazed; they draw closer, and finally kiss. Fade to black. Morning: Goku and Hakkai head to breakfast, Goku wondering if Gojyo ever came back. In their hotel room, Gojyo and Kougyoku are talking; presumably she's told him about Bakura. He wonders why she doesn't break up with a guy like that, but says she should do what she really wants to do. She sits pensively on the bed as he leaves. We see him at a table with the ikkou; no one's surprised to learn that she was an assassin, and Goku asks why he let her go. Adults have their reasons, he says. So, you promised her a ride to the next town? asks Hakkai, and Gojyo says 'if that's what she decides she wants.' And we see her thoughtful, troubled face as she recalls their night together. We see them sitting together in the bed, naked [discreetly, but definitely]; she rests against his back with her arms around his chest as they talk. He should understand, she says, how it is for ones like us, neither demon nor human. There's nowhere a taboo child can go. Even if Bakura's a rotten guy--and, gods love her, her voice is the voice of every woman who's ever settled for what she could get--he's the only one who was ever nice to me. ==You're just telling yourself that, he says. Most people don't know that those with red hair and eyes are taboo; you could do just fine, living in another town. She says she's afraid of being alone, but he gently teases her that that wouldn't last long, with all the guys who'd pay attention to a pretty girl like her. ==We see her standing, overlooking the town. Pretty girl, huh? she thinks, and walks quickly away. When Gojyo, Hakkai and Goku reach her hotel room to see if she wants that lift out of town, she's gone, and Gojyo briskly says OK then, he's meddled in her affairs enough. (His face does not match his tone.) ==At the gang's hideout, we hear a sharp slap: Bakura's standing over her, furious. Not only did you fail to kill Sha Gojyo, he rails, but now you're telling me not to pursue the Sanzo party? Because we have no chance of beating them! she protests. He yells that all she needs to do is what he tells her to do, and hauls her up by the hair in a jealous rage. I look after you for years, and this is how you repay me? Just what happened on your night alone with Sha Gojyo?! =='Bakura--' she sobs, and he snaps out his youkai claws like switchblades; since you understand, he snarls, be of some use to me. At the ikkou's hotel, a rock smashes through Gojyo's window. As the rest come running, he's unwrapping the attached note; out of it falls a long tress of ruby-red hair. That bastard, he says quietly as he reads the note; he tells them it says for him to come alone. Sanzo says they don't have time to deal with such petty matters, but Gojyo's already headed for the door, saying he's going to the bathroom and they can surely wait that long. Hakkai asks if he's all right, and he grimly says he's got a bad stomachache--it might take awhile. (Are you sure it's OK to let him go alone? worries Goku as the hanyou strides down the street. Didn't he say he was going to the bathroom?--retorts Sanzo.) The youkai gang is waiting for Gojyo on a windy hill outside of town, perched on the heads of a cluster of giant, ruined Buddhas from who knows what long-gone temple. Kougyoku angrily tells Bakura that he won't come, and he snaps that if she doesn't shut up he'll make sure she never speaks again. And sure enough, here he comes over the hill. You really are with a worthless bastard, he snarls. [More huge points for Hirata-san; Gojyo's voice now is so fierce and harsh you'd hardly recognize it.] Bakura orders him to raise his hands and come closer, if he cares what happens to this woman. She's supposed to be your woman, grates the hanyou. Then I'll do as I like with her, taunts Bakura, slashing at her clothes with his razor claws; there's enough red to show that he's drawn blood, and Gojyo charges. Kougyoku tries to shout a warning, but Bakura slaps her to the ground, and Gojyo runs straight into the trap--a covered-over stone well. The youkai gang gloats, saying he'll never get out of that, but of course he's out in an instant and kicking furious butt. As Bakura's flunkies drop like flies, Gojyo demands he stand up and fight, but he turns to run and falls right into the same pit. He clings to the edge, begging Kougyoku to save him. Gojyo asks her what she wants to do, and she sighs painfully. He's not a good person, she says, but he'll stay with me...I'm not strong enough to live on my own. Gojyo closes his eyes for a moment, then fires the shakujou blade down the well, and Bakura grabs the chain and is hauled to safety. As he gasps for breath, huddled in the grass, Gojyo heads off down the hill, and Bakura, grinning viciously, rears to his knees and fires his claws like throwing-knives (') at the hanyou's undefended back. Kougyoku, horrified, leaps up and throws herself into the blades' path. Gojyo turns too late, crying out her name. Dammit, bitch, you got in my way! yells Bakura, but that's his last word, as the enraged Gojyo comes flying back up the hill to knock him straight to the bottom of the well for good. Gojyo lifts the dying woman in his arms. Will he do her a favor, she asks, and bury her next to him? --Of course.--My life was worthless, she says; but it's something, at least, to die in the arms of a good man like you. == Stone-faced, he holds her as she draws her last breath. We see him sitting with a cigarette on one of the Buddha heads as the ikkou drives up the hill; Hakkai honks the horn (five beeps =) to tell him his ride is here. As they ride off, he casually apologizes for taking so long. Goku hopes his stomach feels better; Hakkai advises him to rest for awhile, and of course he says he'd get well in no time if he had a cute girl to nurse him...and of course, they let him say it.
The Cursed Dice Game ~inevitable game~
7. The Cursed Dice Game ~inevitable game~
May 13, 2004
As the ikkou checks into their evening's inn, the proprietor apologizes, saying that they're shorthanded and can't offer many amenities. Whatever, shrug the guys; it's still better than camping out. Track to outside view, where the moon appears an eerie shade of red and a flight of bats swooshes over the roof. Gee, could there maybe be something...strange...about this place? We get a nice look at Gojyo in the shower (rear view =), humming contentedly to himself, until the water quits running. He steps out drying his hair and griping to Hakkai. Hakkai says they can't really complain, as the room was so cheap. Room service knocks on the door and Goku charges to retrieve their food; there's no one there, and all that's on the serving cart is a tray with four pint cartons of milk and packaged sandwiches. Goku can't believe this is supposed to be dinner, but the hungry foursome eats it anyway. The shower's broken, grumbles Gojyo, and there's no TV or radio [huh? they never have TV or radio...even Hakuryu only had a radio in the OVA...], and to top it off, Sanzo's out of cigarettes. Are they really gonna stay in this dump? Hakkai diplomatically says they may as well just bear with it tonight and get an early start in the morning. Goku goes to check out the bleak lobby, hoping for a newsstand that might have cigarettes (and, with luck, snacks) but nope. Figured as much, he sighs. The innkeeper apologizes, and asks if he might be interested in this: a boxed board game. It's a lot of fun, he says, it might help with your boredom. Goku agrees the time might pass more quickly if they played, and the man gives him the game and box of playing pieces, saying there's no other game like this in the world. Goku brings the game to their room, where Hakkai asks if it's Parcheesi (as Goku did when he first saw it) and examines one of the playing pieces, which are all human figures roughly resembling Lego people. He comments that it looks odd, and it breaks into a big grin; Hakkai blinks in surprise, and the piece has returned to its original expression. Maybe I'm just tired, he says... --Well, they've got nothing else to do, so G&G decide to play and Hakkai goes along with them. Sanzo snorts that he doesn't play with kids' toys, but throws the dice at Goku's coaxing, and as soon as the throw is made (he rolls an 8) Sanzo's piece sets off all by itself. Gojyo tries to get Sanzo's attention, but he's returned to his newspaper, grumbling that they can play if they want to. At the 8th space the piece stops, the space lights up, the piece's eyes glow red, and it announces that as the game has started, they'll begin with a showy welcome. Streamers and confetti promptly come flying from nowhere. This really is fun! enthuses Goku, and encourages Hakkai to take his turn. Hakkai's dubious, but rolls the dice: his gamepiece likewise trots off on its own, and then announces 'a warm welcome for our guests', whereupon steam baskets loaded with manjuu drop from the ceiling! Hakkai warns that it might be better not to eat the stuff, but of course Goku has already dug in, and Sanzo has had enough: what's with this thing? It seems that what the pieces say becomes reality, comments Hakkai. Gojyo hopes it'll say "you discover an oil field in Arabia" or "you marry a Hollywood actress" in his turn, and starts shaking the dice; as soon as he rolls the steamed buns disappear, to Goku's dismay. (So each person's turn cancels out the previous one, Hakkai observes.) Gojyo's gamepiece (he chose a female one, of course =) invites them all to the exciting attraction Aqua World; torrents of water come pouring into the room, and not only are the windows and door somehow magically sealed, but the glass has even become bulletproof. The water level rises fast; Hakkai yells for Goku to roll the dice, but the board is already afloat. Sanzo takes a shot and capsizes it (and looks very pleased with himself!), but the flood continues until Goku dives to the floor and rolls his turn. *poof* the water drains away as inexplicably as it came. Minnasan, daijobu desu ka?--Everyone, are you all right?-- asks Hakkai as the ikkou gasp for breath; Gojyo notes that Sanzo's shot hit the board but it's not damaged at all. The as-yet unmoved fourth gamepiece sets off on its course, and announces that whoever rolled this turn must act as the Watchdog of Hell until the highest possible number is rolled. Didn't you ask the innkeeper anything about this game before bringing it here? demands Sanzo of Goku, but the saru's reply comes out "Wan!"--Japanese for "Woof!" Yup, Goku can now only bark like a dog. [Wouldn't you think being the Watchdog of Hell would be a little more dramatic than that?]==You're not a dog, you're a monkey, scoffs Gojyo, but Sanzo and Hakkai recall the game piece's sentence, and Sanzo gripes that stupid as this is, they can't stop playing now. He rolls his turn, but Goku can still only bark (and when he tries to write a note instead, all it says is "wan wan wan wan" =). They deduce that they have to roll two sixes to change Goku back; Sanzo rolls again, but the next playing piece suggests relaxing in the form of a forest spirit for awhile, and when Hakkai and Gojyo look up, Sanzo has turned into...a tree. A Sanzo-faced tree. Honest to Tenkai, that's what happens. (You've got to be kidding, mutters Gojyo. We wish.) ==Sanzo now can't talk or roll the dice, and Goku is still desperately yapping: Hakkai closes his eyes, concentrates...and rolls double sixes. Ta-da! Goku and Sanzo are both back to normal, and Goku hugs Hakkai in extravagant thanks. But...the next playing piece says "a giant dragon wants to play with everyone". Gojyo whispers that it might've been better to leave S&G that way a little longer; Sanzo takes a shot that just misses Gojyo--but what he's really shooting at is the huge purple dragon that's appeared behind the hanyou [aah, and I was hoping for a giant-sized Hakuryu...]. The ikkou attack; Sanzo drops the beastie with two shots, reloads and snaps for Gojyo to roll the dice--he wants to finish this damn game now! Gojyo grins and says 'what's next? everyone ready?' as he rolls (Hakkai dryly observes that he's enjoying this too much); we see the innkeeper downstairs, saying "I'm sure this time it will end well", and UH-oh, he has a base instead of feet--he's a giant gamepiece! Gojyo's roll causes the gamepiece to grin and announce that a shower of alcohol will fall, and they should all drink up and have fun. Finally, growls Sanzo [this episode would drive anyone to drink--in fact, excuse me a second...], and Gojyo chortles in glee. But Hakkai rolls his next turn before the prize can appear, saying they need to finish the game. (Gojyo's not pleased.) This one says 'others are there to help you, so lean on them', and we hear, but don't see, Sanzo demanding to know why Hakkai is climbing onto him. Hakkai stammers that he can't help it, his body is acting on its own. [oh man, the fanfic possibilities...] Sanzo shouts to Gojyo to roll another turn, but Gojyo is inclined to let them suffer a minute as reprisal for passing up the free booze, and it takes a bullet to motivate him. The innkeeper looks apprehensive... The next roll brings them into "the red zone", where a super-cute, grey tabby kitten (OK, Machida-san definitely has a thing about kitties) turns into a huge two-headed tiger-demon, but Sanzo's roll doesn't vanish it, and Hakkai guesses that in the "red zone" that condition no longer applies. Sanzo's penalty is to be sealed into the wall, while H, G&G are still fighting the tiger. Goku tosses the dice up to Hakkai, who rolls, but his piece walks to the final space and then leaves--and Hakkai on the tiger's back turns into a gamepiece himself! You have got to be kidding me, says Gojyo incredulously: unless you roll the exact number of spaces to end the game, you wind up like that? ==at the foot of the stairs, the innkeeper looks up and sighs, saying "it's no good this time, either..." Gojyo's roll causes the floor under him to turn into a bog, and he sinks in; Goku can't handle the tiger-demon alone (Lego-Hakkai clatters to the floor) and the wall is fast closing around Sanzo. Goku must roll a six despite having the tiger hot on his heels, or all is lost! he uses the nyoi-bo to sweep the dice into his hand, throws his roll and gets a seven--but Sanzo's shot clips one die and rolls it over from two to one. [love it; even in a silly adventure like this, the man always, always nails his shot. =) ] ==The brave warrior has broken the curse, says the final gamepiece; all will return to what should be. As the ikkou recover, the innkeeper hops into the room, yelling 'congratulations!' and the gamepieces all turn into normal people, including himself. Even the creepy red moon turns back to clear white. Game over, huh?--says Gojyo. The innkeeper explains that a strange magician left the gameboard here as payment for a night's stay at the inn, but everyone who played it was turned into a gamepiece until the SI came along. The village is saved!--whatever they want in return, they need only ask. ==Goku promptly requests a better dinner, Hakkai alcohol to go with it, Sanzo some cigarettes, and Gojyo asks, that cute girl who was my playing piece--where's she? His reply is a ringing slap. ...okay, it has a few laughs, but really now...
Awakening ~back~
6. Awakening ~back~
May 6, 2004
After the "last episode" flashback, we return to the KT and the SI-minus-9, faced off on top of the cliff. Kou raises his head: Genjyo Sanzo, he rasps, give me the Maten Scripture. Kotowaru, I refuse, snaps Sanzo. Then I'll take it, says the prince. Doku is alarmed, and tells him to stop, that his arm's broken [so, Goku was right-- Kou just ignored it] and this whole thing is insane. But Kougaiji struggles to his feet and tells him to shut up; get in my way, he adds (his voice is a flat snarl) and I'll kill you both. [Gojyo is astonished by this, but Hakkai smiles that it sounds quite familiar. =)] Let's go then, growls Sanzo, and Gojyo adds that 'this is to avenge that stupid monkey." (Hakkai does quietly point out that Goku's still alive--and we hear him snoring.) Doku is still inwardly agonizing about what to do if Kou doesn't return to normal. Gojyo summons the shakujou, warning his brother to be ready, as he's not going to hold back. Kougaiji calls up a fire attack; Hakkai blocks it with a ki shield, and the ikkou goes on the attack, Sanzo drawing first blood with a bullet graze to Kou's shoulder. But he somersaults away seemingly unhurt, and Gojyo wonders if he doesn't feel pain anymore, while Hakkai says it seems there's only one way to beat him.== When I first met him, Doku says to himself, all I could think of was how much he looked like my little brother. Those sharp eyes and red hair...the way he seemed to be be trying to look tough... little things like that. --He watches that same brother charge the prince... As Sanzo reloads, Hakkai notes that something's strange here; normally Kou uses not only his mist and fire powers, but his summoning technique as well. Sanzo gets it: summoning requires an agreement between the summoner and the demon, he says, but if the summoner becomes someone else... Then does that mean Kougaiji can't summon demons now? asks Hakkai.== Yaone likewise has a reflective moment: in all the time I've been at his side, she thinks, I've only known Kougaiji-sama to be proud and noble; persistent, and maybe naive, but always pure... and kinder than anyone else. And so lonely... ==Sanzo walks up to the two anxious youkai and snaps 'if you have doubts, get the hell out of the way'. They gasp, but he cocks his pistol and says, enough of this 'I'm doing this for whoever' crap; this is about what you want to do. He steps between them and strides decisively forward. Doku remembers the moment that they told Kou to follow whatever path he chose, saying he was their one true master and they'd stand with him regardless. ==Sanzo yells for Gojyo to move and takes his shot, but suddenly a cloud of smoke billows up spoiling his aim; and when it clears, there are Doku and Yaone standing between the ikkou and the prince, Yaone with another smoke bomb at the ready and Doku with his blade drawn. You two, mutters Gojyo, but Sanzo gazes at them calmly. [--heh, maybe he's done more thinking about unexpected loyalty than we know.]--Doku grins at the ikkou, and says sorry, but this is the side we're on; and Yaone agrees that she just doesn't feel right not standing at their lord's side, whether he wants them there or not. Doku adds frankly, to Kougaiji, that really they don't care about Lady GK's orders, or even about his mother; he's here, and that's all that matters. ==Kou is rocked back by this.== Doku and Yaone stare down the SI; Gojyo wisecracks that such a popular leader is the complete opposite of someone he knows, and that someone retorts that no one asked his opinion. =) Anyway, three on three sounds fine to me, says Gojyo, and Hakkai smiles that even that might not be the case, as Goku leaps up behind them to rejoin the battle. Everyone charges in; Goku and Doku cross weapons, then Dokugaku strikes at Gojyo's blade and chain, scoffing that they always attack in the same pattern-- and realizes too late that the shakujou was there to distract him from Goku, descending on him with nyoi-bo drawn back for a blow that will surely crush his skull. He has no time to fend it off; he closes his eyes-- and Kougaiji lunges between them, taking the full-force downstrike to save him. We see Lirin in her tank, Dr, Hwang observing her; then we hear Kou remembering, darkness, total darkness...then voices...--Doku and Yaone's voices, a moment ago, pledging unconditional loyalty to him. Whose voices? he can't remember... and then Doku says you're here and that's all that matters, and the prince's lilac eyes snap wide open with the sudden light of clarity--and he lunges to rescue Dokugaku. Everyone stares stunned as he falls [again, except Sanzo, who completely seems to have expected this]. Then Doku charges Goku, sword swinging, and the startled saru fights back, not having heard what Kou whispered as his loyal duo bent over him: 'buy me some time.' But Sanzo sees that Kou is chanting his summoning spell, and yells, move! it's a trap! ==Move where?! it's a friggin' cliff! yells back Gojyo, but too late, as Engokuki boils forth and forces all four back over the edge. And again they're in the river. ==Hakkai and Sanzo both come to the same conclusion: if he can use his summoning attack again, he must be returned to himself. Kou smiles, and tells Doku and Yaone he's once more in their debt, then calls down to the SI that next time the sutra will be his for sure. They yell back indignantly, Gojyo that he's stealing their lines and Sanzo that it's high time he died =), while Hakkai laughs and says no one shows them any respect. But Kou turns away from the cliff-edge and says let's go, we have something to do. 'Lord Kougaiji--' begins Yaone; Kou looks back and smiles, and it's his own smile, thank all gods, warm as June. What's wrong, he says; you two are following me, aren't you? Yaone's eyes fill with relieved tears and Doku gives his great, deep guffaw. Baka, he says, of course we are. Back in creepy Houtou Castle, Ni and 01 are again playing chess when a flunky reports that Lord Kougaiji has returned. Ni smirks. Okaeri, welcome home, he says. I hear you tracked down the Sanzo party; you had permission to kill them, you didn't have to show any mercy. Perhaps you require a bit more maintenance... Kou pushes over their chessboard; Hwang and 01 register shock while Ni and Kou trade narrow glares, and we hear guards yelling angrily as Doku and Yaone emerge from the tank room, Doku carrying Lirin in his arms. [--and man, look at their eyes. Only a damn fool would cross either of them.] ==well, well, grins Ni, tossing and catching his chess knight; for future reference, exactly how did you return to normal? Don't bother, because there won't be a next time, snaps Kou; I'll never be your puppet again. He levels a long, clawed finger. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not on Sanzo's side, he says; but I'll fight them with my own will, for my mother's and our sakes, not as a pawn in your stupid game!==Lirin, hearing his voice, opens her eyes. Brother, I knew you'd come for me, she says, and he smiles as he takes her hand, then shoots a last glare at Ni. You told me once not to let go of those precious to me, he says; no matter how I'm parted from them, they'll be here waiting for me. That's when I saw the light--but I'm sure you'd never understand that. --Ni is still tossing and catching the knight as the prince and his people sweep out of the room, but as the door closes he throws the thing, knocking some disks off the nearest keyboard. Hwang is startled, but Ni begins to laugh. Well, that was a complete failure, he chortles; I'm impressed, he's stronger than I thought. All of them, chasing the light like idiots... his voice darkens as the chess knight hits the floor. --Like goddamn bugs, he rasps... And we see the ikkou driving off in the light of sunset, giving Gojyo grief for sneezing--did he catch cold from being dunked in the river? But it seems Goku's been working hard, adds Hakkai, and Goku recalls Kon saying how cool he was, and how he plans to become a ferryman so he can protect everyone who crosses the river, just as Goku did. He grins in satisfaction, and gets teased by Gojyo for it...but Sanzo is lost in thought, remembering what Doku told him. There's a human in Houtou Castle, the only one there, Dokugaku said: a genius professor, an arrogant, manipulative bastard, and there's a lot we don't know about him...Ni Jienyi, thinks Sanzo... Hakkai remarks that it'll take three days to reach the next village, but Sanzo demands they press on, griping about the unnecessary delays, though it does seem the other side has just as many. ---And why was Kougaiji in such a bad mood? wonders Goku. Neither Hakkai nor Sanzo answers, but Gojyo, exhaling smoke, says thoughtfully that 'he probably just had a really bad dream.'
Struggle ~the opponent~
5. Struggle ~the opponent~
April 29, 2004
After a flashback to last ep, we see Sanzo asking Doku what he means about breaking through hypnosis, and cut to the throneroom of Houtou Castle. Yet another youkai flunky is polishing Lady GK's nails as she asks Dr. Ni about Kougaiji's progress. He should be back soon, he tells her. She hopes he's still showing the same good behavior, and Ni replies that Kou hasn't the strength to break through this hypnosis--he would have obtained the Maten Sutra long ago if he had. She chuckles, and says maybe she'll have him do her nails next. --Brainwashed? says Sanzo, and Doku bitterly confirms it, saying that right now, Kougaiji is nothing but a heartless killing machine. That [he says it as you might say 'that thing'] isn't Kou, he adds with great emotion. Gojyo rolls his eyes and says he's got to be exaggerating; and isn't he still your prince? Doku and Yaone look miserable, and Gojyo asks if that's why they advised the ikkou to just leave the sutra and run. Sanzo (looking much more irritated by his empty cigarette pack than by their news) growls "don't underestimate us", and Dokugaku actually--whoa!--grabs Sanzo by the front of his robe and hauls him up face-to-face. Don't misunderstand me, snaps the big youkai, I'm not worried about you guys--I just know Kou wouldn't want to win this way. Sanzo slaps his hand away and retorts that whatever, it's nothing to do with them. Straightening his robe =), he says that he kills anyone who gets in his way, and besides, he doubts their leader [he says taicho, "captain" =)] would want pity or surrender. Gojyo sighs and says, see, now our leader has always been a heartless killing machine. =)=) (And you're the one most in my way, mutters Sanzo.) Yaone sadly says that Sanzo-sama is right. Hakkai cautions that just dealing with the hypnosis may not be enough, as they may have actually tampered with Kou's brain. Doku resolutely says that they have to find a way to return Kou to normal; if they don't... And we see Lirin, naked, floating in some sort of nutrient tank, thinking in despair of her brother. As Dr. Hwang makes a note on her clipboard, Dr. Ni says he thinks they can progress to the second stage now. She's startled, but he heads out, handing her a note and saying "modify the chemical formula to this combination". Are you sure Lady Gyokumen Koushu said this was all right? Hwang asks, and Ni stops. Why are you even asking that? he says, and his lazy voice takes a sharp edge; if she's starting to feel guilty, he suggests, perhaps she'd like to go through the brainwashing herself... Goku struggles to his feet and faces the heartless killing machine (the redheaded one, not the blond one =), who begins to walk toward him.
Encounter ~fake~
4. Encounter ~fake~
April 22, 2004
As the youkai mob descends on the villagers, Goku goes into full asskicking mode and takes out half of them within seconds. Who the hell is this kid? they demand of each other, and then, 'better call the others!' Damn, there're more of them? says Goku; he orders Kon to get the villagers back into the cave, as far as they can go. You're gonna defend them all by yourself? the demons jeer, but Goku says he sure is, and then smashes the cliffside, sealing the villagers inside the cave. Now they're safe from you, he says, and grins at the demon army, saying he'll take them all on. The still shirtless H, G & S look around what seems to be an endless cavern full of bones and torches. Can it truly be an illusion? it looks so real...Sanzo draws and aims at the strange youkai, but he grins and says Sanzo can't do any harm with that melted gun. As soon as he says it, the shoreijuu seems to glow red-hot, and Sanzo drops it, staring at the half-puddle of metal on the cave floor. Do you see now? all three of you are in the palm of my hand, says Zakuro. They look at each other in alarm, and Zakuro adds that if they keep zoning out like this, they'll be paralyzed by snakebite. Right: at once snakes materialize from thin air, draped all over the ikkou-minus-9. Sanzo gets it: this is all psychological, he says, but mental and physical damage are linked here--so if they believe what's happening, it really does happen. He's using a hypnosis technique! Hakkai yells, don't listen to Zakuro! [heh, Hakkai --like us--must have read the manga, since the enemy youkai's name hasn't yet been given here.] --That's easier said than done, chokes Gojyo, sounding badly rattled. Zakuro grins, and announces that looking at the snakes more closely, he sees that they're actually human hands. And [eeew...] of course they are: a slithering mob of disembodied arms, crawling over the ikkou and grabbing up from the ground, hauling them down. Back up on the edge of the cliff, where they still are in reality, Doku and Yaone watch the ikkou struggle and fall under the invisible-to-them assault. What's happening? Doku asks Yaone, and she replies that this is Zakuro's power [OK, there's his name =)]--he can control what they imagine with his words, and in effect cause your own mind to harm you. His illusions are so real that they physically feel whatever they hear. --Doku stares in horror as Gojyo, gasping, tries to rise from under the wave of unreal attackers. He strides forward, grabs Zakuro's shoulder and says that it was Kougaiji's assignment to kill the Sanzo party--Zakuro was only supposed to obtain the sutra. Zakuro smirks, and says they're all too soft: that's why you were unable to protect your lord, he sneers, you're nothing but worthless trash. --You bastard, growls Doku, and Zakuro, still grinning, says, that reminds me--this guy is your brother, right? Doku glares, and Zakuro leans over him. Hey, Sha Gojyo--he says--look how well your arm burns. And Gojyo sees his arm burst into flames, and howls in agony. Goku has opened his second or third can of whupass on the youkai mob by now, but the damn things keep coming, and even the practically unbeatable saru is starting to get a bit winded. He's backed to the edge of the cliff. The demons taunt him, asking if he's ready to quit yet, and Goku worries that if he doesn't unseal the cave soon the villagers will suffocate. And the guys-- Then he gets an idea: he drops backward off the edge, bounces off a convenient branch to launch himself high into the air, and comes down with a huge byoi-bo strike to drop the whole cliff-edge, youkai and all, into the river below. That's that, Goku says to himself as he crawls wearily back up over the edge of the cliff. Now I have to hurry up and open this cave...and how far downstream did those guys get swept anyway?...and I'm so hungry... He sits down at the rubble-blocked mouth of the cave for a moment, wondering aloud why all this is happening to him, momentarily too tired to notice that someone has walked up to stand behind him: someone with long red hair and a bar-code tattoo. Uh-oh. Yaone and Doku's biggest worry of the day has come to pass. Zakuro chortles as Gojyo tries futilely to beat out the flames of his blazing arm. Hakkai yells desperately for Gojyo to ignore what he hears, but Zakuro insists that he can feel the heat and that the fire is spreading; your arm is going to fall off, he says. Don't listen! screams Hakkai, but Gojyo sees his arm sever at the elbow and fall to the ground; he drops to his knees, howling. Yaone runs to him, trying to tell him that there's no fire and it's only an illusion, but Doku says "they can't hear our voices now". It's hard to believe his suggestions are so powerful, says Hakkai. But Zakuro has zeroed in on his target: the only one, apparently, too suggestible to resist him. Why, Sha Gojyo, he needles, aren't you going to fight back? Why don't you use your shakujou? [the subtitle says 'scythe', but Zakuro clearly calls it by its right name.--well, technically it's really a yueyachan and not a shakujou, but n'mind.]. --Yaone gasps in dismay. In the illusion, Gojyo stands, glaring, and summons up the weapon. Sanzo yells for him to stop, that it's a trap, and Hakkai just cries his name, but no use: the blade flies, and Gojyo sees both Hakkai and Sanzo fall, blank-eyed and streaming blood. [In the manga--man, this is bad--the blade takes off both of their heads.] Zakuro laughs uproariously: your aim's terrible! he jeers. Look, idiot, you've killed your own friends!--The redhead drops the weapon and stares at his hands. No--I didn't--he says, voice shaking. Hakkai is literally screaming at him that they're both alive, but he can't hear it. There's no escape from my illusions, says Zakuro smugly, you can only go on suffering... Doku can't watch his brother be battered any longer, and stepping up to him, delivers a solid punch to his gut. [Rock it, big bro.]--Gojyo drops, out cold, and in the illusion world, Sanzo and Hakkai are astonished to see him vanish. Damn you, Dokugakuji, snarls Zakuro. Doku says that the only way out of these illusions must be to either die in them or to be knocked unconscious. --What good will that do you? Zakuro challenges, and Hakkai dryly observes that losing consciousness in front of an enemy isn't always the best idea. Sanzo growls that, unlike Gojyo, they aren't simple-minded; we won't fall for your tricks so easily, he says, and Hakkai smilingly agrees that "we're the intellectual type" =) But (after some punning on 'hippocampus' and 'hippopotamus' =) Zakuro says that he can reach directly into the brain and draw out memories, and that that's significantly easier with people of higher intelligence. He effortlessly draws out the memory of last night's meal to prove it, and then tells them that today--why, today they drowned in the river. --And just like that they're back in the brawl with the water youkai (last episode), only they're sinking helplessly to the bottom. There's no water! this is an illusion! cries Hakkai, and Zakuro smoothly points out that talking underwater only allows water into your lungs. You can't breathe; it's the end for you, Cho Hakkai, he says, and Hakkai vanishes. Sanzo, startled, calls his name and, likewise, seems to have inhaled water. It's your end too, Genjyo Sanzo, smirks Zakuro, but...water, Sanzo thinks, the sound of water...the river...darkness... Then he sees a vision of Koumyou, and remembers the hands that reached in to pull him from the river, the fingerless black gloves like his own; remembers that he heard a voice. =) And he gets to his feet in the cave of skulls, with a dry chuckle. Zakuro is rocked back, stares at him in disbelief. " 'Kouryuu, of the river's flow' " (kawa-nagare Kouryuu), says Sanzo [and you've never heard his voice more beautiful than this; it's pure silk] --"you chose the wrong image to use on me." --He picks up his banishing gun, perfectly whole and unharmed.-- "What I saw," he says--and, with him, we see Koumyou's calm, smiling face, haloed in a golden glow--"was light." --Zakuro backs off, badly shaken: I told you that gun melted! it's useless! It didn't melt, says Sanzo. The trigger's jammed! I'm telling you you can't shoot me! stammers the panicky youkai. But Sanzo cocks the trigger, absolutely sure of himself. I'm telling you that I can, he says, and the force of the shot hurls Zakuro over the edge of the cliff and into the river far below. Everything clears. Hakkai and Gojyo get to their feet, and Sanzo says with calm satisfaction, "Kore wa genjitsu da"--'this is reality'. =) [--Applause, please.]=== [The jerk's exit isn't so neat in the manga, but...well. =) ]== Gojyo thanks his brother for saving his life, but Doku's already walking off, wondering aloud if brainwashing--or hypnosis--can be that easy to break. Yaone knows what he's thinking... Kon is digging at the rockslide barehanded, worried that Goku is fighting for them all alone. The adults are still afraid of facing the youkai, but when Kon's little sister, Rin, joins him in digging, they all pitch in and soon have a clear passage. Kon scrambles out and is relieved to see Goku still standing--and then, before his startled eyes, the saru falls at Kougaiji's feet...
Swift Current ~against the stream~
3. Swift Current ~against the stream~
April 15, 2004
Goku and Gojyo are complaining about the heat, Goku saying how he'd love to cool off in a river somewhere. Hakkai checks the map: as it happens, they're just about to come to one. And so they do, but there's no bridge, nor boats available. A local kid tells them they won't be able to cross the river, but dashes off without saying why. Sanzo, fed up with saru/kappa squabbling, grazes them with a couple of shots and stalks off with Hakkai to seek a way across, snarling that those two should be tied to stones and tossed in to drown. At Houtou Castle: the old youkai 01, playing chess with Dr. Ni, is saying that rivers can't be underestimated; they may look calm on the surface but have powerful currents below, reminding humans how weak they are. And speaking of rivers, wasn't there a child named Kouryuu...? Dr. Hwang storms up, saying this is no time for Ni to be playing games: Lady GK is breathing down their necks about Kougaiji's progress and the need to acquire the sutras. Ni, moving his knight, casually says that something will surely happen soon. You're so sure of yourself, but you'll trip and fall flat on your face one day, she mutters. He thinks not. Nothing can trip me--I'm a ghost, he says. [--heh. Japanese ghosts have no feet, remember?] A local [judging by the piles of nets in his house, a fisherman] explains to the SI that a year ago youkai took over the river, and have destroyed any boat that tries to cross. But we're traveling west and have to get across, says Gojyo. Well, if they drive into the mountains, they'll probably find a suspension bridge...but it'll take them about two months to reach it. Well, that will never do. ==Ah, says Hakkai, so that's why that boy we met said it was impossible to get across. You met Kon?--says the man in surprise, and tells them that the kid is from the village on the other side. He came here on an errand for his parents, and has been trapped here by this village's refusal to send out a boat. His mother and little sister are waiting for him across the river...Really a shame, says the man, and he's so young. Goku finds Kon skipping rocks across the water, and remarks that he's never been on a boat; even though he's a strong swimmer, he says, he doubts he could get across a river this wide. I told you guys there's no way across, replies the kid, sad and angry; I've asked many times, but the reply is always the same. It's hard, says Goku sympathetically, to see something right in front of you and not be able to reach it. ===Sanzo says that he has no intention of wasting time crossing mountains, and Gojyo yells to Goku that they're getting a boat. Goku grins: you'll come with us, right? he asks Kon, who gulps in alarm. The ikkou buys the fisherman's boat; the man says uneasily that no one in the village will be their steersman, and the ikkou all look expectantly at Gojyo, who, it turns out, knows how. =) Soon enough they're headed downriver [with the cliffs so steep, they apparently have to go down aways to find a place on the far side to land], Goku excitedly enjoying himself and Kon thanking them for bringing him along, while Gojyo grumbles about doing all the work. (Hakuryu seems especially pleased to be a passenger for a change. =) The current is calm and Gojyo thinks they'll get there soon, but a whirlpool suddenly opens up under the boat--so they've come, says Sanzo grimly. Youkai lunge onto the boat, gleefully yelling 'food!' Kon slides overboard and is grabbed by Goku; they both go over. Goku manages to plant one end of the nyoi-bo in the bank and he and Kon hang on while the boat is swept downstream, Hakkai calling to him that they'll have to regroup later. The ikkou-minus-9 find their boat surrounded by dozens of angry water-youkai, but fight back in good style, capped off by Sanzo's summoning the sutra's powers (without pronouncing the usual chant) to throw them all clear of the raiders' grip. As they cling dazedly to various debris, unable to think of a way to leave the river (there's literally nothing but sheer rock walls on either bank), they're greeted by, of all parties, Doku and Yaone, calling down from the top of the cliff. Surprised to see their foes, they politely ask if the SI happen to have seen Kougaiji. While Sanzo fumes at being caught by their arch-enemies in such an embarrassing predicament, Hakkai just as politely replies that they have not; whereupon they apologize and depart (as Gojyo tries to find out what's happened to the prince, and Sanzo indignantly yells that they could have helped the ikkou out of the river first =). Goku, Kon and Hakuryu, however, have scaled the cliff and are at last on the other side of the river. Goku reassures the kid that the others are probably fine and will soon catch up if they can go and wait at his house. Kon runs eagerly ahead, saying his mother and sister will be very happy--this way, onii-chan! But the village they reach is a deserted ruin--windows broken, trees bare, things lying discarded in the street. Kon runs into a house, calling for his mother and sister, but there's nothing there but overturned furniture. What am I going to do? he desperately asks Goku. It looks like a demon attack, they must already be dead-- Goku calms him down, pointing out that while he's probably right about the attack, they're seeing no bodies or blood. The townsfolk must just be in hiding, so let's go find them, he reassures the kid. Doku and Yaone have charitably built a fire, and G, H & S are huddled around it bare-chested (fanservice w00t!=) while their clothes are drying. It's sad to see the almighty Sanzo party in such a state, says Doku, and his brother dryly agrees. Hakkai notes their sense of urgency and asks if anything's happened to the prince; Yaone fumbles a moment and admits they've been separated. Gojyo, drying the sutra by the fire as casually if it were a pillowcase (Sanzo snaps at him to be more careful) says 'he's after this, right? he'll probably show up soon enough.' If he does, says Doku soberly, just leave the scripture behind and run. Sanzo looks up keenly: what's going on? he asks, and Doku quickly changes the topic, asking where Goku is. We've also been separated from a friend, says Hakkai. The KT pair exchange worried looks: if Kou and Goku were to fight one-on-one right now...Gojyo, fed up, demands to know what those two are carrying on about. We're enemies and all, he says, so it'd be normal for them to fight; why are you so panicky? Hakkai picks it up: Exactly what has happened to Kougaiji, he asks carefully--or rather, to all of you? They pause uncomfortably. Well...begins Yaone; and then a voice interrupts: 'that's enough'. He walks into the impromptu camp, a lilac-haired youkai with green eyes, dressed in a ragged purple cloak. Do you plan on betraying us, Dokugakuji and Yaone? he asks. Kon heads for the cave where the villagers used to shelter from floods, and sure enough they're all there, including his mom and sister. Touching reunion ensues. The villagers confirm it was a youkai attack that drove them here, and say they're planning to go back soon; but a demon horde is already massing on the cliffs above, gloating over having flushed the villagers out of their hiding place. And while Hakkai notes that D&Y appear to know the newcomer, the cloaked youkai says "Lady Gyakomen never trusted you two in the first place," and announces that his objective here is the assassination of the Sanzo-ikkou. They stand up, ready to fight. Yaone cries out "Be careful! don't look into his eyes!" but it's too late for that, and they find themselves seemingly transported to a dark place lit by candles and heaped with skulls. I have you now--you can never escape from my world of illusions, laughs the youkai. [Yup; it's Zakuro.]
The Nightmare Unleashed ~rabbits~
2. The Nightmare Unleashed ~rabbits~
April 8, 2004
Remember when we left Dokugakuji and Yaone, back at the end of Reload #16? Well, the plot's finally gotten back to them. --in Houtou Castle: as they eat at a table together, Yaone sadly glances at an empty seat. It's been a month since Ni Jienyi took Lord Kougaiji in to treat his wounds, she says, and in all that time we haven't seen him even once; we aren't even allowed to visit him. I'm so worried... then Doctor Ni's voice comes over the intercom, bidding them both come to Rasetsunyo's room; "the little Rabbit Prince" (usagi no ouji-sama), he says, is waiting for them. They find Kougaiji standing gazing up, as he often did, at his trapped mother. In relief, they rush forward, calling his name and asking if he's well; but to their shock, he slaps Doku's hand off his shoulder, and stares through them, as if they aren't there. There's a barcode tattoo on his shoulder. ==Probably best not to touch him, he might kill you, says Ni over the speaker. What do you mean? demands Yaone, and Doku calls to Kou anxiously, but his face is blank. We see Team Sanzo climbing a mountain path. Gojyo complains that it's no fun hiking with guys. No choice, growls Sanzo, these woods are too dense for Hakuryu to get through. The little dragon agrees, and Gojyo grumbles that he ought to try changing into an airplane sometime. Hakkai urges them to hurry, as they don't want to be caught by nightfall, but Gojyo chooses to stop for a cigarette and the others go on ahead. He's just remarked on the pleasant peace and quiet when a sound makes him look up--at a huge bear looming over him. UH-oh. Kou kneels at Lady Gyokumen Kyoshu's feet, Doku and Yaone standing helplessly by. She's very pleased with the change in him, saying that he's always looked at her as if she were a roach, but now he'll surely do anything she asks. Ni assures her that's so, and she decides to test him by having him kill the servant who's combing her hair. The poor youkai begs for mercy, but Kou expressionlessly throttles him to death in a moment, before his friends' horrified eyes. Yaone buries her face in her hands. [You remember, I'm sure, that the first time we met Prince Kou, he refused to fight the Sanzo-ikkou in a village street because of the risk of harming innocent civilians. Human civilians, at that. gods.] Ni asks Lady GK how that was, and her only complaint is that he carelessly let blood splash onto her. She orders him to go after the SI and bring her the Maten Sutra, along with one or both of Sanzo's arms; but before that--she holds out the comb dropped by the luckless servant--"comb my hair for me." Gojyo, running like hell, overtakes the rest of the ikkou, and when they see the bear chasing him they take to their heels as well. Dokugakuji, furious, storms into Ni's chamber and demands that he return Kou to normal. Normal? asks the doctor, you mean, the weakling who couldn't defeat Son Goku alone? He wanted to be stronger, and the obstacle to that was his weak heart--you knew that yourself. --but what exactly is so important to you? he asks Doku. Your precious prince? or is this just your way of making up for the fact that you could never save your brother from your mother's anger, Sha Jien? [Whew.]==Doku is completely thrown by the realization that Doctor Ni knows this much of his past. [And this is considerably lighter than the manga version, in which Ni says that Kou wanted to kill, not just defeat Goku--AND makes clear that he knows about Doku/Jien's incestuous relationship with his mother...] As he stands stunned, Yaone comes running in with the news that Lady GK has sent Kou after the Sanzo Party, and they'd better go too. They run from the room as Ni chuckles. Back in the mountain forest, the SI are still being chased by that bear (...sigh. lame. badly animated, too. And makes one wonder when exactly Sanzo forgot how to talk to bears, a notable gift of his in childhood.). Sanzo takes some shots at it but succeeds only in panicking Goku. They flee into a cave and hit a dead end; Sanzo's shot ricochets around the cave causing further slapstick comedy, and Hakkai finally takes the bear out with a ki blast. Gojyo, however, found (1) a passage deeper into the cave and (2) more bears... As Yaone and Doku's riding-dragons take them in pursuit of the prince, Yaone remembers the day that Kou's mercy saved her from being fed to the Hundred-Eye Demon. It's my turn to save you, she thinks; please wait for me. ==Kougaiji walks into a village being raided by youkai and orders them out of his way; they take exception to his tone and surround him with jeering threats, but the expressionless prince just says "Move." Hakuryu finally finds the reason the bears are on the rampage--a wounded bear cub lying in the cave--and Hakkai carries the baby out, heals it with ki and gives it back to mama. Yay for cute. But Yaone looks down aghast at a massacre: dozens of youkai bodies strewn down the village street. She and Doku investigate, and Doku grimly says Kougaiji must have done it--"but this Kou is not the one we know". In his mind's eye Kou walks unconcernedly away from the slaughter, his claws dripping blood. We may be unable to do anything anymore, he tells Yaone. That rabbit bastard was right... He pours out his story to Yaone, saying that when he first met Kou he was so strongly reminded of his younger brother, Gojyo. I tried to repent for not being able to save my brother; I tried to hold onto something else, through Kou...I have no right to protect him, says Doku painfully. But Yaone fetches him a solid slap across the face and angrily calls him a coward, saying she can't forgive that; he and she are the only ones who can help Kougaiji-sama now. Doku, as always, is grounded by her intensity and loyalty, and holds her close, saying he's sorry. And--oh, for pete's sake--the Sanzo-ikkou is menaced by yet another bear...
Temple Where Evil Things Live ~nest~
1. Temple Where Evil Things Live ~nest~
April 1, 2004
Ahh, sakura petals falling, lotus blossoms floating...we must be in the Heavens. And yup, there's Jiroushin, wondering "how far have they gotten now?" Kanzeon assures him that for all their sidetracks, there's no doubt they've made progress. The SI come to a ruined village that seems to be inhabited only by crows. Gojyo suggests they just keep going, but if there's hope of getting a meal here Hakkai and Goku prefer to explore. Suddenly a little kid runs out and throws a stone at the jeep, yelling that "you damned monk!" and anyone else connected with the temple ought to leave right now. A girl runs after him, telling him to apologize, but the angry kid (his name's Taiga) glares, breaks loose and runs. The young lady bows and apologizes for her brother, and Gojyo promptly turns on the charm, assuring her there's no harm done and asking her name (in a purr that would melt granite =). It's Reika. --What a cute name, croons the kappa; but he doesn't even get through introducing himself before he's tackled by desperate Goku, demanding to know where they can find food. Gojyo resents the interruption, of course; as they squabble Hakkai laughs and apologizes for his companions. Reika says that if Sanzo really is a traveling monk, they probably want to go to the temple. The one that kid said was bad?--asks Goku. Reika tells them her brother is just rude: the temple is a fine place, and its head monk is a righteous man who has given shelter to many people left homeless by youkai attacks. When they arrive, they find a prosperous-looking shrine, thronged with people. A young monk hurries up to tell them they can't come in without making an offering, and if they want to stay the night the offering will have to be a large one. But the head monk nearly chokes when he sees who his underling is turning away ["Sono kyoumon!" ("--that sutra!")]--a Sanzo Priest, here? Sanzo asks to rest here awhile, and the roshi can't welcome them fast enough, saying they never expected a Sanzo to visit their humble temple. The others grin in satisfaction, and before you can say dot a yummy-looking feast has been prepared, complete with a vintage wine (with gourmet Hakkai's pleased approval). Gojyo proposes a toast to "our Master Sanzo", but can't help noticing--as he glances around the room in which they eat, full of fine art objects and good food--that the temple is nothing like the village. Hakkai, looking out the window, spots little Taiga sneaking onto the temple grounds. The kid eavesdrops under a window where the senior monk is talking with a shady-looking, purple-eyed character in violet robes. (This room contains even more fine Chinese objets d'art: porcelain platters, T'ang horses...) I understand that you want the Sanzo Party to leave as soon as possible, says the stranger [named Doushi], but you could be missing a great opportunity; surely you saw the sutra they carry? One of the Tenshi Kaigen, confirms the head monk, that are guarded by the Sanzo Priests.--Steal it from him, says Doushi; it should be easy for a fellow monk to get close to them. The roshi sweatdrops, but the other says he mustn't forget to whom he owes his extravagant lifestyle...and it's almost time for the next offering. The monk says that today many people came in from the neighboring village, and the stranger says that should be fine, as long as there are plenty of women and children; they particularly please the Master. Under the window, Taiga grits his teeth--and then he's spotted by Doushi... H G & G, walking back from the bathhouse, run into a disturbance: none other than pretty Reika, struggling with two of the monks for admission to the temple grounds. Gojyo sends them packing and sweetly asks if he can be of any assistance to Reika-chan =), who anxiously tells him her little brother is missing and she thinks he's here. Hakkai confirms spotting him earlier. She's very worried: he's probably-- Then suddenly all three guys go on the alert, and turn to see Doushi walking past. We and they all notice he's wearing a gold drop earring. Reika tells them he's a traveling priest, a trusted adviser to the master of this temple. ==Back in their room, the guys tell her Doushi is a youkai. She says Taiga had told her he saw the head monk talking to a demon, but she hadn't believed him, and now wishes she had. Reika tells the ikkou that six months ago people started to disappear from Kinrin Village, but this village was spared because of its temple. It soon became a sanctuary. but people who couldn't make an offering were turned away from its shelter. Our father came to make an offering, she adds, but he never returned... Hakkai guesses that's why her little brother is sniffing around the temple. H, G & G head out; Sanzo asks what they plan on doing, and Hakkai says they'll find Taiga and bring him here. What about you?--asks Gojyo. Well, it's pretty obvious where the kid is, says Sanzo, exhaling smoke; but he personally can't be bothered. =) As soon as they're gone the head monk pays Sanzo a visit, asking to study the Maten Scripture, but he, of course, curtly refuses. [exactly that: "Kotowaru."] (Oh, and where are his friends? He's got no idea, Sanzo retorts: they aren't his friends and he's not their guardian.) The roshi tries to coax him, but Sanzo draws his gun and says it'd be a waste of time to show him the sutra; he tracks the gun over a few feet and snaps for the other to show himself. Sure enough, Doushi is behind the monk, and smoothly asks Sanzo what seems to be the matter. He growls that he's had enough of this bad acting. Elsewhere in the temple complex, a group of youkai are guarding human prisoners, one of whom is Taiga. They taunt him that "she will wake soon"--and then Gojyo kicks the door down. Who are you? demand the youkai guards. The wandering ladies' man, grins the hanyou. Then I'm the wandering nursery school teacher, chimes in Hakkai, while the saru finds it enough to be "the wandering Son Goku." ==The demons charge, the trio kicks butt, and the head monk, hearing the commotion at gunpoint, stammers that it can't be. I already told you I'm not their guardian, says Sanzo. =)

The story of Saiyuki takes place in a time where both humans and demons lived in peace. Unfortunately, that time was short lived and the demons began to attack and plot against the humans by unleashed an ancient evil demon called Gyumao. A man named Genjo Sanzo, who is rogue priest is forced to work with three demons called Sha Gojyo, Son Hoku and Cho Hakkai and go on a journey to put an end to these evil demons plans while restoring peace between the humans and demons of this planet.

Saiyuki is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (103 episodes). The series first aired on April 4, 2000.

Where to Watch Saiyuki

Saiyuki is available for streaming on the Other website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Saiyuki on demand at Amazon Prime, Netflix and Apple TV.

  • Premiere Date
    April 4, 2000
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (224)