We have reached the end of the anime adaptation of quiet and beautiful mystery anime Holmes of Kyoto. The series adapted the first 4 volumes of the paperback novels and only reaches the beginning of Kiyotaka and Aoi’s relationship. Let’s look at episode 12.
Japanese title: 後継者の条件
‘The moon is very beautiful tonight, isn’t it?’
It’s almost a year since Aoi joined Kura, and Rikyu’s father is in town. It seems his father and 3 uncles have been asked to prepare an appraiser and make their way to the house of Rikyu’s grandfather. Kiyotaka is attending as the appraiser for Rikyu’s father and Aoi is, as usual, the ‘part-timer’. Rikyu and his father are part of the influential Saito family. Their grandfather had three children with 3 different women in order to produce 3 different kinds of heirs for his family. He wants the three to search for the most valuable item in the house, and they can get hints from the 3 experts: Kiyotaka, Keiko and… Ensho! After Keiko stirs the pot a bit, Aoi heads outside only to be confronted by a smug Ensho, who is determined to stir the pot some more! Kiyotaka overreacts in the worst way and flies in at Ensho with a kick to the head (that’s assault, boy!). Aoi ends up opening her heart to Kiyotaka and admits that she wasn’t ready to sleep with her boyfriend back in Saitama. The poor girl starts to think that she was doing something wrong, and Kiyotaka reacts with the right words in that it’s not her fault… but forcing a hug on a crying vulnerable teenage girl who was literally talking about how she DIDN’T want to touch a boy… not a great move in my eyes.
Well, after cheering up a bit we head back to the house and Rikyu’s father answers that THEY are the true treasures… only to be given a big fat no. How devastating. Kiyotaka comes up with the ‘correct answer’ (or the answer that grandad wanted to hear..) which was the sword that proved their connection to a Japanese warlord, blah blah. More importantly, Rikyu is finally nice to Aoi and names her as his successor with the cutest smile of the series by far!
Outside, Tanaka, I mean Ensho and Kiyotaka are talking about the ‘real’ treasure of the house which is a sliding panel. Kiyotaka uses this opportunity to deliver scathing burns to Ensho which in my opinion were punching pretty low. However, he finally admits (well out of Ensho’s earshot, of course) that he’s JEALOUS of Ensho. This somehow gives Aoi the courage to ask about Keiko’s shit-stirring, and Aoi realises she is relieved to hear that it was a completely innocent overnight stay. That’s it, she’s finally realised! She’s in love with Kiyotaka!
We then finish the series with best boy Akihito.
The bellflower crest on the sheath of the sword is associated with the Akechi clan. This means that the Saito clan was likely in some way associated with Akechi Mitsuhide by way of one of his retainers. Akechi Mitsuhide was a samurai of the warring states period and a general under Oda Nobunaga, however he famously rebelled against Oda and ordered his men to attack and burn down Honno-ji temple, the current site of which is funnily enough located right by where Kura is supposed to be. Akechi was also famously a (self-declared) shogun for just 13-days before being overthrown by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
This episode makes use of family crests, called ‘kamon’ in Japanese. The one on the fireplace is of a hanging wisteria. The ‘to’ in Saito as well as the ‘fuji’ in Fujiwara mean wisteria, which is why both families use the same crest. The bellflower crest was associated with multiple clans, including the Kato, Toki, Hida and of course Akechi clans amongst many more. After Akechi’s betrayal to Oda, it was known as the crest of betrayers, and let to other families changing their crest to something else at the time.
The moon is beautiful
After Aoi internally declares her love for Kiyotaka and reaches out to him, she stops as he says ‘the moon is very beautiful tonight’. This is almost certainly a hint as to Kiyotaka’s feelings for Aoi.
It is said that famed novelist and teacher Soseki Natsume once told his students that it would not be very Japanese to directly translate the English words ‘I love you’. Instead, declaring ‘the moon is beautiful’ while with your beloved on a moon-lit night would be more appropriate.
Places Which Appeared in Episode 12
Takagamine is high-class area in the northern part of the city and is known for its arts and crafts. It’s also where Genko-an (the temple with the square and round window) is situated.
Let’s Start the Appraisal
Firstly, can we start by talking about the fact that the grandfather had three children with three different women and made the mothers raise them? It’s pretty disgusting to be honest. Unfortunately, this is not unheard of when it comes to aristocratic families. Nevertheless, it’s a little unnerving how nobody really things anything of it. Plus, how does knowing the value of an item affect the ability to inherit an estate? It’s a different world.
At least Aoi was fantastic in this episode. When the grandfather quite understandably asked her to leave, she didn’t need to argue, she just showed of her skills. Of course she is humble and puts in down to Kiyotaka’s teachings, she is genuinely quite a gifted young appraiser. I’ve always thought Aoi was very cute, but I respect her talent and humility as well. As the last episode of the series, it may seem a little frustrating that it ended at the point where Aoi is truly coming to terms with her feelings for Kiyotaka, but as a reader of the books I hope you will trust my judgement when I say the book was probably best ending right here, at the very end of book 4.
In my weekly reviews I’ve put more of a focus on introducing you to some places if Kyoto and some trivia related to this series, but I’m very much looking forward to looking at the series as a whole in my upcoming series review! I’ll see you soon!
Episode 12 Preview
Holmes of Kyoto
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast