I…I don’t know what I expected, but it was most certainly NOT that. Now, I’ll never think about this episode without images of leather-clad girls popping up in my mind. Add sexual innuendos, a cougar seducing a confused teen, not enough Yuuko onscreen, and we’re in for a really weird episode.
Song of the Post: CICADA — Naughty Boy
Episode 6: 女郎蜘蛛 (The whore spider)
We pick up kind of where we left Watanuki: he realized the choice he wants to make which means that he doesn’t need Yuuko anymore. Lost in the woods, he can only see Yuuko’s sofa, unable to see the whole shop. He screams and wakes up. A dream? Oh, hell no! You just can’t give us such a meaningful cliffhanger only to take it from us the next day!
In Yuuko’s room, Maru and Moro stand still, waiting for their mistress. (Oh, I didn’t notice but the opening changed since Episode 5! Himawari now smiles! Ack, it’s dangerous!)
At school, Himawari doesn’t sport her signature ponytails and now ignores Watanuki. When he tries to give back her ribbons, she plainly tells him that she doesn’t want to see him. Oouch. The pain. It’s super effective! Hidden from them, Doumeki heard their exchange.
Watanuki returns home in a daze, but as he passes near Yuuko’s shop, he suffers from the same sharp headache he had in his dream. He notices a huge spider web, spread across the doorway, and of course he touches it. What a doofus.
He finds himself in a post-apocalyptic cave inhabited by bums. They jump on Watanuki, who is saved by the light beam reflected by a pocket mirror held by a tacky lady. My bad, she’s Jorōgumo, as the motif on her mirror indicates.
She calls out Watanuki’s full name, commenting that he’s quite famous in her world. She also knows that he got dumped recently and taunts him, as if trying to get a rise out of him. It works, as Watanuki barks at her to tell him who she is, but she giggles, offering to say it all if he comes to her shop.
So there they go, welcomed by an incredibly weird group of BDSM idols. They surround Watanuki and begin to strip him….Hold on, why do I feel like recapping a cheap porn? The BDSM girls push him to their queen. Jorōgumo pointedly tells Watanuki that he is fine as he is, which prompts another headache as he remembers Yuuko’s evanescence.
He pulls himself together and tries to escape, but now the girls are in a Michael Jackson’s Bad formation. Pfft, is that really supposed to be this hilarious?
Jorōgumo plays with his mind, wondering who could possibly wait for him or how nobody accepted him. That reminds Watanuki of Himawari’s wish of cutting ties with him, and he caves. Jorōgumo has him immobilized and forces him to drink something as she repeats that he’s fine as he is. This…is uncomfortable to watch.
Doumeki meets with Himawari to update her about his search for Watanuki. Ah, so apparently, Watanuki has been missing for ten days. Doumeki’s last shot was Yuuko’s shop, and of course he couldn’t find it. Himawari muses that it must be her fault but Doumeki doesn’t want her to think that way and promises he’ll find him. Still, Himawari blames herself and rejects Doumeki’s comforting hand.
Meanwhile, Watanuki is letting himself be entangled deeper in Jorōgumo’s web, now willingly drinking whatever she gives him. He’s clearly stoned, and Jorōgumo seems to prepare him to be her next meal (quite literally at that) as she seductively climbs on him, salivating over his tasty eyes. CREEPY.
She goes in for a kiss (Watanuki is sooo ready) but flinches, sensing a disruption. Watanuki takes out Himawari’s ribbon from his pocket and refuses to let go when Jorōgumo asks him to throw it. She turns her head, enjoining her cronies to lasciviously dance, which I suppose would convince him? IDK, IDK.
Doumeki wanders around Yuuko’s shop and unwittingly does the same things Watanuki did the first time he discovered the shop. He’s still unable to see it but wouldn’t you know, Yuuko appears right behind him. Yay!
She comments on Watanuki’s absence by saying that she had a lot more to do and when Doumeki wonders why he can’t find her shop, she explains that only those with a wish can. In other words, he doesn’t need her help.
Before parting, she gives him a last piece of wisdom: though this world is very small, it is very big to those who know it. And yet, this world isn’t there only for those who know it. Err. Sure.
Yuuko returns to her shop, where she’s warmly greeted by Maru and Moro. She brought a new mirror, more powerful than the one she has, in order to break “her” barrier.
Cut to Jorōgumo, drinking again while her groupies play with a wasted Watanuki before giving him the same drink. He brandishes Himawari’s ribbon and the BDSM girls disappear, leaving him alone with Jorōgumo. He drunkenly tells the story of “the owner of this ribbon”, the very one Himawari told during the ghost stories session.
Watanuki calls her a liar, since he knew from the start that it was Himawari who witnessed all these accidents. Before even meeting her, he saw her crying over her puppy’s death. At that time, he thought that they were both stray people and since then Himawari’s smile was everything to him.
And for that, I’ll sacrifice my life.
Interesting. Does that mean that he’s aware of Himawari’s condition? Jorōgumo scoffs. She hates these kinds of stories. In her shop, Yuuko identifies Jorōgumo, finding out that she set her trap right in front of her shop to catch Watanuki and take his soul. Many spirits crave Watanuki’s soul since such a tasty meal is rare in their world.
Bluntly, Jorōgumo reveals that Himawari has cursed blood and drags others into disasters. She points out that Watanuki experienced nothing but misfortune by sticking to her side. A series of flashbacks from previous episodes confirm that whenever Himawari was around, Watanuki was in danger.
Jorōgumo goes on and on about Himawari, adding that she can’t even touch her ribbon stained with her bad luck. Watanuki desperately tries to ignore what she says, though it looks as if he’s shutting his mind to her explanations. He convinces himself that it’s not Himawari’s fault, only making Jorōgumo revel more in his suffering.
Watanuki attemps to run away but is now ripe for Jorōgumo who catches him with her furry…spider legs (??). Outside, Doumeki opportunely notices the spider web and Watanuki’s glasses. He touches the web, entering Jorōgumo’s world. Really? That’s where you’re going, Show?
Jorōgumo is still busy manipulating Watanuki until she has had enough. Meal time! She produces a sting with which she pierces Watanuki’s chest and pokes it, making it go deeper. Clutching Himawari’s ribbon, Watanuki screams in pain, signaling his presence to Doumeki, who was lost in the cave.
Yuuko looks at them in her mirror, Moro crying out that Watanuki will die.
What the flippity fudge monkey did I just watch?
I was really looking forward to the Jorōgumo arc, and the result was kinda…underwhelming, to say the least. The way Watanuki fell in her trap seems too easy, even though they tied Watanuki’s actions to Himawari.
Really, I found the scenario here quite mediocre, but I was also disappointed by the direction. Unfortunately, and despite the cast’s efforts, there’s a cheapness in this episode that was never seen before. I couldn’t help but laugh at the most incongruous moments. I’ve enjoyed the drama version so far, so it was an unpleasant surprise to see that I couldn’t take the characters seriously this time. Like, really?
Part of this may have to do with the fact that I’ve read the manga, but I want to believe that I would have thought the same even if I didn’t. I’m sure there was another way to use the angst than play with a teenager’s raging hormones. Sure, Jorōgumo is all about seducing men and all (the name means “Whore Spider” after all), but why be this literal?
In this instance, I much prefer the manga, where one action caused the consequence of Watanuki being trapped in Jorōgumo’s web. Even though she also knew who was Watanuki, she didn’t try anything until someone destroyed the web of a fellow spider, leading her to avenge it. The whole encounter eventually served to teach Watanuki that he needs to value his own existence. You know, something more meaningful.
Wallpaper by Tama-Neko
And the inconsistency of the plot was disturbing too. One example: I hated how easily Doumeki found the web portal, and how Watanuki’s glasses were conveniently there to bait him, when Watanuki lost them inside the cave.
But hey, there’s a (real?) cliffangher here, and the preview looks good, so let’s see where it takes us. *breathes*