It’s time to experience Aoi’s namesake, the Aoi Festival! One of the stars of this ancient tradition is the Saio-dai, but the young lady who had been chosen to take on the position this year is experiencing some problems…
Welcome to the second episode of quiet and soothing mystery anime Holmes of Kyoto (Kyoto Teramachi Sanjo no Holmes)! This week we get a nice mystery that can be solved by the viewer. Don’t get too used to it though, as soon we’ll be meeting mysteries that heavily rely on Holmes’ impressive knowledge of antiques.
Japanese title: 葵の頃に
‘Be the most beautiful Saio-dai there is.’
We finally got to see the opening sequence in this episode and I am surprised by how CUTE it is, from Aoi searching places with a magnifying glass to the cute little moments with the other characters. The opening alone gives the anime a much lighter and more relaxed feel. The theme song is pretty interesting, as it has the catchy idolish sound of AOP yet there is a distinctly traditional Japanese taste to it. Does the opening get you interested in the characters that are yet to appear?
In this episode, we meet the Miyashita sisters and their mother. They are quite troubled as older sister Saori, who has been chosen as the Saio-dai for the upcoming Aoi festival, has received two letters trying to scare her out of the role. As far as the mystery goes, it isn’t too difficult to work out yourself, and interesting enough even if you didn’t. However, the point of the story wasn’t so much the mystery itself as the complicated feelings of the sisters behind them. While Kaori is thinking about the family as a whole, Saori just simply wants to get her friends back. However, it turns out the be Kaori, the girl who wrote the first threatening letter in the first place, who convinces Saori to take on the position with pride. Aoi also mustered up the courage to ask Kaori if she wants to hang out, meaning she has finally made a friend in Kyoto!
We also get to see the ending animation in this episode. It’s definitely worth checking out, as we get a good look at some of Kyoto’s most scenic spots such as Kiyomizudera and Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo. Hopefully, we will get to visit them later in the anime.
Also, notice that even outside of work, Kiyotaka’s fashion is impeccable.
In Japanese, there is the word 木漏れ日 (komorebi). It basically means the light that filters through the leaves of the trees. You can see this in full effect in the scene in Tadasu-no-mori. Although simple, it’s a wonderful aesthetic which had a very Japanese taste.
Saori and Kaori
You may have noticed that the Miyashita sisters’ first names resemble each other. The ‘ori’ in their names are actually both written with the kanji 織, which means ‘weave’. This is because they are both daughters of a traditional textile shop.
Saio-dai and Aoi Festival
Saori has been chosen as the Saio-dai at the Aoi Festival. The Aoi Festival is one of the three great festivals of Kyoto, with the other two being the Gion Festival (which will definitely be making a big appearance in a couple of episodes) and the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages). I have attended all three festivals but I have to say the Aoi Festival is my favorite. [If you have ever read The Tale of Genji, then you might be able to guess why…] Kiyotaka is so kind as to explain to us what the Saio-dai is, but I want to point out the beautiful outfit Kaori was wearing. The outfit is called a juunihitoe, which literally means ’12 layers’. As the name suggests, the outfit has 12 layers of kimono, and each of the colors is very carefully picked out. The outfit is usually only meant to be worn by members of the imperial family, but as we learn, the Saio-dai is a stand-in for the imperial family member. There is actually a festival held in Mie prefecture dedicated to Saio and the outfits they were. You can check out this PDF for more information.
Places Featured in Episode 2
Although the name isn’t actually mentioned in the episode, the hotel where the ikebana exhibition took place and the one with the nice cafe is Hotel Okura, which is situated near the Kyoto City Hall near Karasuma Oike train station on the Tozai and Karasuma subway line. Although they mention French toast in the anime, in the books it was actually anpan filled with whipped cream. Both sound equally delicious.
Shimogamo Shrine and Tadasu-no-Mori
As mentioned in the episode, Shimogamo Shrine is one of the key elements of the Aoi festival. Together with the Kamigamo Shrine they together form the Kamo shrines. Close by lies a forest called ‘Tadasu-no-mori’. The ‘tadasu’ in the name can mean ‘to enquire’ and ‘to make clear’, making it a very fitting place for the truth to be revealed. The forest is a UNESCO heritage site and is said to be part of a primeval forest which has not been burned down (a rare occurrence indeed).
It is a short walk from the Demachiyanagi Terminal on the Keihan and Eizan Railways.
Let’s Start the Appraisal
All-in-all I think the episode did quite well to squeeze the chapter into one episode. We missed out some scenes that showed off Grandpa Seiji’s personality, but there’s no helping it as one episode is only so long. The usage of komorebi in the scene in Tadasu-no-mori was such a wonderful idea and gave a huge boost to what was essentially just a scene with people talking.
It was nice to get a simple mystery that is possible to be solved by the reader. The feelings behind the letters were very relatable, especially Saori’s pure feelings of wanting to get her friends back. It was nice to see such a close relationship between the two sisters.
Next episode we will finally get to meet my personal favorite character of the series, the arrogant, flirty yet disastrously honest Akihito!
Don’t forget that MT will be here each week with a preview of the next episode. You can check the stills gallery from Episode 2 here.
Kyoto Teramachi Sanjo no Holmes (Holmes of Kyoto)
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast