Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Episode 7
Whoa, Moonflower’s business went from 0 to 100 in just one episode, but I suppose it had to happen, especially having been given such a time crunch by the Chief Accountant. As I suspected, the reason why she was called in by Byakuya was because as the one responsible for the inn’s finances, he was getting fed up with how she was freely using the money to make the meals, without making any earnings back to repay it. This is why he told her, if she wants to continue what she’s doing, then she needs to marry the master immediately. It is not some evil manipulative tactic, because it is not her money to begin with! And the reason why she had been summoned and given such a warning so soon may have also had something to do with Byakuya’s lack of faith in her due to her grandfather’s reckless spendings (the debt she she now responsible for paying off). In his eyes, besides for economic purposes, he wanted to nip the bud before it becomes a bigger problem. In the matter of fact, just talking about Shiro was enough to tire him out.
Fortunately with a little bit of luck and a clever suggestion from O-Ryo, Aoi is able to tap into making important encounters worth-a-while. The first opportunity came when O-Ryo dropped in to request Aoi to make some bentos for a regular guest who is both an author and a columnist of Hakkabou’s Diary in the paper. However he has to tendency not neglect eating his meals when he doesn’t make a lot of progress, unintentionally putting the inn at risk of being liable should anything happen to him. This is where O-Ryo suggests perhaps he might eat Aoi’s bentos since her meals are tasty.
What was important from this particular opportunity was how much thought Aoi put into preparing his dishes. She took into consideration which hand he writes with, so she could encourage him to comfortably eat and write at the same time. Thanks to this experience, along with Hakkabou having gained undoubtedly incredible inspiration and ideas for his stories, he publicized Moonflower in his column, and it’s been hot ever since.
There was also another fateful meeting where a wealthy looking girl came into the shop after smelling azuki-beans. It turns out, she was a zashiki-warashi, who is known for responding to prayers for prosperous business. She gifted Aoi the Temari Ball as a token of her thanks for the treat, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaking out when Aoi looked as though she was losing herself, fortunately it looked more like she blessed the place.
Now Aoi’s business is beginning to flourish, and it is happening so quickly, that even she is struggling to keep up with the momentum! And on top of that, Byakuya (now being on better terms with her with her business doing better) asks of her to be responsible for preparing a meal for the royal family. That is one heck of an opportunity that will surely sky-rocket her reputation across the realm, at least it will likely be a more positive one compared to the rather unfavourable opinions of her grandfather.
Speaking of developments, Aoi and Oodanna made quite some headway during the first half of the episode. In fact, I must say it was a real treat to watch. It had be internally squealing and flailing the whole time because, goodness, sparks were flying! The two of them have such great chemistry. When the two were drying each other off, it was such a sweet and intimate scene. And the way he looked her— made my heart melt. But the scene that took the cake was when Oodanna briefly allowed himself be vulnerable in front of Aoi. It was a bittersweet moment because when he spoke, there was a sense of loneliness.
He confesses he was surprised how she made the initiative to go after him and even come along with him. He was going to say something else, but he trailed off and kept it to himself. I found he sounded a bit sad, even a bit broken-hearted when he said it. Taking into consideration with what he said, I get the sense he may feel a bit self-conscious of himself. And because of that, perhaps he feels like he isn’t attractive to her… as trivial as that may sound. After-all, she made a big fuss of how she absolutely does not want to marry an Ogre. That comment hurt him, I know it did. It is also why I feel the cold behaviour we saw in the first two episodes was all part of him recoiling from it. It is still difficult to identify whether or not, he got over it, or Matsuba played a part in making sure he treats her well. Regardless, after the time we have seen the two share together, it is obvious that Oodanna enjoys her company. And in order to be able to spend time together, there is probably a part of him that feels like the only way he can ever get her to hang out with him is if they are going out to eat. So being able to spend time alone with her when he least expects it, is something he cherishes.
Oodanna is no longer the cold and cruel Ogre we seen within the first two episodes. Ever since he got his attitude in check, he has been nothing but good to Aoi, and he is actually an endearing fellow.
Another thing I love about their relationship is how he doesn’t baby her, and she doesn’t complain about her problems. In fact, not once did Aoi bring up the ordeal of having less than a month to get her business moving or else she will be forced to close it down. It was Oodanna who opens up the conversation about how Moonflower is doing, but even then, while Aoi admits she is struggling and it is difficult, she leaves it at that. In turn, Oodanna he offers her a bit of hope and wisdom. This is a quality I like about Oodanna’s character. Even though Aoi started up the eatery in attempt to pay off the debt and get out of marriage, he is still supporting her. In fact, he even admires this side of her.
Seriously, these two had me grinning like an idiot the entire time.
But while their relationship is slowly, but surely progressing in a rather authentic pace, there is another contender we can’t ignore. That is of course Ginji. When Aoi spoke about how Oodanna gave her advice, he had this surprised look, even looked a bit down. I wonder if he is just surprised how Oodanna is supporting her, or may be feeling a bit sad that he isn’t the only one she is relying on for advice anymore, or it could be something else altogether.
And there’s more! Thanks to Hakkabou the Nyudo-bozu, we were able to get a critical clue of the Akayashi from Aoi’s past. The mask he carried looked very similar the one the mystery Akayashi had worn. We learned this mask comes from the Southern Lands. I am sure the first thing the crossed all of our minds when we heard this was Ginji, having been head-hunted from a rival inn, potentially from a different domain. There is also the matter how Ginji knew about Aoi’s favourite food, so there’s a lot of clues that point to him being the one. But at the same time, I am taking into consideration, the mask may have also be deliberately used as a substitute to not scare her, since it’s a relatively plain one compared to the likes of an Ogre or Fox mask. So if it were used for that purpose, it could go either way.
Hakkabou is quite a hilarious guy, especially when inspiration strikes. The moment she introduced herself, I could see the gears running in his head of exactly what he was going to write next. I found it hysterical how he used Shiro as a reference as his main villain, where as his protagonist/hero was inspired by Oodanna, and with her being his fiancé, I think we can all see where he is going with this.
Overall this was yet again a fantastic episode, albeit one with an unexpectedly resolving the lack of customers and publicity in one fell swoop. This isn’t particularly a bad thing since it allows the story to now expand on other more pressing conflicts, characters and developments. As always, I am eagerly looking forward to the next episode! Until then, I will gladly this all over again! :D