Last time, we (or should I just say “I”?) were left with this:
Who is Natchi?? How does he know Aoi?? What does he want??? What about the Kagome Park ghost???!!
We start off with Himari and Hayato using an old map from Mr. Natchi to find where the Nanamori (Aoi’s family) home was. When they do find it, there’s nothing but an empty lot. As they turn to head back, Himari spots a figure that matches the ghost’s description. The next day at school Himari’s classmates decide to they should all go investigate!
At home, Aoi finds Himari’s research notebook she left behind (probably the result of an ayakashi prank). A piece of paper falls out that reads Kagome Park. Aoi reads it and goes quiet prompting Yukari to ask if he’s alright. Aoi says he’s fine and Yukari tells him that while originally believing Aoi’s slump to be thr result of guilty feelings over rejecting Himari, maybe it’s something more than that. Yukari asks if Aoi “has lost something precious to [him].”
At Kagome Park Himari and her classmates are looking around the old park when the Kagome Park ghost appears! He gives the students quite a scare until one of Himari’s friends, Rui lands a karate chop on the true culprit, Senoo. It turns out he put on the costume to scare people and get them to talk about any memories they had of the ghost.
Everyone’s relieved it was just a prank but when Himari asks where Senoo got the cape he replies that he doesn’t remember.
Hayato has some vague memories of seeing the Kagome Park ghost. He’s sure he saw him but if he did, and didn’t disappear as the story goes, then Hayato suggests that maybe the ghost isn’t a ghost. Maybe it was someone in disguise like Senoo.
Now that the ghost has been unmasked everyone goes home. Hayato offers to walk Himari home but she says she’s fine. Momochi House is hard to find but the path Himari takes goes there directly. She’s just outside the gate when the ghost appears behind Himari; he mentions a child that was invited into Momochi House. Aoi and the others arrive but Himari tells them not to attack; the ghost is possessing Senoo!
The Nue and Shikigami pull Himari and Senoo inside and Senoo is purified. The ghost lets him go and manifests a human form. It seems delighted that it was given entry into Momochi house and asks if Aoi had grown up. Then it suddenly disappears into a cloud of feathers.
Everyone’s on the lookout for the ghost as it disappeared on the property. Aoi is having trouble remembering his past, where before, he thought he was fine forgetting everything and eventually becoming an ayakashi. He asks Yukari what it felt like going from ayakashi to human. Yukari tells him he started feeling a distance from everything, even emotions like love. Has Aoi lost precious to him? And is he okay with losing it?
While standing on the porch, a shadow catches his eye but it’s only Himari who just put Tamamo back to sleep after a nightmare. Aoi playfully asks if she’ll put him back to bed too, flustering her. They talk about the ghost where Himari mentions how Hayato saw it and maybe Aoi did too. But he can’t remember and he never thought it would be so painful not to.
He suddenly asks Himari if he can kiss her. Ooh! Flustered, she asks him why to which he simply answers that he wants to. Himari reminds him that he doesn’t see her that way so no, he can’t kiss her. Aoi seems a little flustered himself, saying, “I know I said that but…” It’s obvious he likes her the same way.
The two are interrupted when one of the little ayakashi suddenly gets bigger and starts a rampage. Zushi comes up behind Aoi before he can turn into the Nue. He’s being possessed by the ghost and tells Aoi to remember. Aoi recognizes the voice speaking through Zushi and it tells him the more he remembers, the stronger their bond will become.
Yukari and Ise come to the rescue but suddenly they can’t move. Aoi realizes this is not the work of an ayakashi. The ghost started to take on a more human shape instead of just a shadow figure. As it stands before Aoi he says, “I know you” to which the ghost replies “You finally remembered me.” It’s Natchi’s face!!
Himari recognizes her teacher as the gates to Momochi house open and in walks Natchi.
Walking in like a boss
It turns out, Natchi used to come to Kagome park when Aoi was little. He saw spirits too and would talk to Aoi about them. No one believed Aoi when he said he saw spirits. Same with Nachi. When Nachi was a little boy he was taken to a temple of monks so he could be rid of evil thoughts. Standing under waterfalls and reciting sutras did nothing to keep him from seeing ayakashi. Not wanting to be controlled by these evil spirits Nachi sought to turn the tables. He sought power.
Soon he hears about Momochi house and the Omamori-sama and about a child who has seen the house. He goes to Kagome park looking for a child to send to Momochi house where he eventually encounters Aoi.
Aoi has had a rough time too, seeing ayakashi, and it’s implied he’s being abused when Nachi notices bruises. Of course, this doesn’t deter him from sending Aoi to Momochi house by telling him his family would be happier if he just disappeared.
He tells him of a house he could hide in and that he’ll come get Aoi after a while. He gives him a “spell” that will bind them together. So it was Nachi who was behind all those paper seals and cursing Ryujin.
So Nachi’s the one who sent Aoi to be trapped in Momochi house all those years ago. He’s come back now that Aoi’s powers have grown. Nachi has captured and bound other ayakashi to him to control as shikigami and they look like tengu (bird-like spirits). Now Nachi wants the power of Momochi house and Aoi’s as the Omamori-sama.
Nachi tells Aoi that they are same, both ostracized by the human realm for having spiritual powers. He manages to bind Aoi and tries to start the process to turn him into a shikigami. When Aoi resists, Nachi brings Himari over and uses kotodama (words that have spiritual power) to control her against her will.
Nachi tells Himari to blindfold Aoi as it symbolizes his control over his shikigami. Himari tries to resist but Nachi proves more powerful. Yukari realizes the kotodama as he can actually see the word spell and stabs his eardrum, breaking the spell that held him immobile. Ise manages to break free as well.
Yukari goes to help Aoi but he tells him to bring him something. He doesn’t say what it is as he’s cut off by one of the shikigami attacking. Nonetheless, Yukari must realize what it is because he races back inside the house to go get it. Meanwhile, Himari is still under Nachi’s control and draws closer with the blindfold!
For a brief second, Aoi seems to accept that he’ll lose himself to Himari. But when he sees her crying he decides to fight back. Himari is his light and he tells her he’s sorry right before he lifts his head and kisses her!
This definitely serves to snap her out of the kotodama spell as she yells at him “no kissing!!” Instead of steam coming out of her ears, it’s feathers!
Yukari comes back with the clothes Aoi had on when he first entered Momochi house. Aoi confronts Nachi with the seal he had been given that prevented Aoi from remembering his past. He tells Nachi that he was lonely just like Aoi was.
Even Aoi wanted to forget his troubles he realizes that he mustn’t run from his pain and tells Nachi that he won’t be bound by him and tears up the seal. He resolves to be stronger in order to truly protect Himari and transform into the Nue.
Nachi and the Nue battle it out but the Nue is far too strong for Nachi to try to control. He forces Nachi out of the gate and property. Zushi and the little ayakashi go back to normal and Himari goes to stand beside the Nue.
She can’t tell what he’s thinking and is trying to hold back her own tears. The Nue asks her if she’s angry about the kiss. Himari stutters out that it was just so he could snap her out of the kotodama spell, because he didn’t have a choice. He asks Himari what if it was because he just wanted to? Himari storms away, embarrassed.
Outside, Nachi can’t remember where he was or what he was doing. He stumbles his way through the forest, unable to call his shikigami crows as Kasha monologues from a distance.
Yukari comes towards the Nue with a robe telling him he should change back and rest while Himari says she’ll look away. The Nue announces that he can no longer change back!
Aoi’s past is slowly being delved into. What’s the reason for this inability to change back? Next time in volume 8! (What an announcer’s voice -__-;)