All in the family

Having been decisively turned to the shrine maiden side after finishing the Shrine of the Morning Mist anime, I decided to check out the manga to get more shrine maiden goodness.

The basic plot is the same: Tadahiro (Hiro) Amatsu has inherited the blood of the Saniwa and the magical red left eye that comes with it. The eye has the power to summon beings from the spirit world, although Hiro does not know this and cannot use this power, even accidentally, because it has not yet awakened. The sorcerer Michimune Ayatachi wants to capture Hiro and perform a ceremony that would awaken his power, then use him to summon something into the human world. In the past, they tried to do the same thing with Hiro’s grandfather, Tadaaki, but were unsuccessful.

In the anime, Michimune wants to summon the evil god Yagarena-no-Mikoto, and while the first volume hasn’t confirmed that this is the same for the manga, it should be pretty safe to assume it’s also Yagarena. How they plan to coerce Hiro into using his power for evil has still not been explained.

Three shrine maidens (and Tadahiro’s cousins) the Hieda sisters have taken it upon themselves to protect Hiro from Ayatachi and his minions. They do this through fighting magic with magic and also less conventional means.

The middle Hieda sister, Yuzu, is Hiro’s first-cousin and childhood friend, which makes it okay for them to live together because they’re family, and also okay for them to be romantically involved with each other because their blood relation isn’t that close. The combination of blood ties and romantic ties allows Yuzu to sense whenever Hiro is in danger, even if she’s far away, sort of how like Princess Leia was able to sense Luke Skywalker’s location at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.

Those who have only seen the anime may now be wondering, “Who is that third woman saying ‘IT’S LOVE!’ in that panel?” Well, it’s Yuzu’s mother Miyuki, who happens to be the sister of Hiro’s father, Tadatoshi. Yes, she was nowhere to be seen in the anime.

In the manga, Yuzu is at school when a demon attacks Hiro (who isn’t due to start school until the next term). She senses the danger and races home on her bike, but Miyuki has already taken care of the demon and saved Hiro when Yuzu arrives.

That brings us to the most interesting thing in the first volume: the Amatsu family tree. There are many things of interest in this tree.

While the anime does imply a romance between Koma (the cake-eating catgirl) and Tadaaki Amatsu (the grandfather of the male lead, Tadahiro Amatsu), the family tree shows what that romance led to: Koma is Tadaaki’s wife, and their daughter, Yumi, is Tadahiro’s mother.

Hiroki Ugawa, the author, actually has an earlier manga called Ayakashi no Yoru Ie that stars Koma, Tadaaki, and (I’m assuming) Yumi. Shrine of the Morning Mist is a spinoff of this, with the shrine maiden factor cranked up to 100.

Another item of interest are the characters that didn’t make an appearance in the anime: Yuzu’s mother Miyuki (detailed above) and Hiro’s father, Tadatoshi. Tadatoshi is an Onmyouji, a Shinto priest that is the male analog of the Miko, or shrine maiden. So you may be wondering why Hiro would be so out of touch with the supernatural (prior to meeting Michimune at the train station, he hadn’t had any encounters with demons) if he had a father like that. Well, Hiro thinks his father died when he was very young, but Miyuki knows better: her brother Tadatoshi is hiding from his son, serving the Empress Hiruko, ruler of Japan – yet another character omitted from the anime.

Tadatoshi fears what his son may be capable of should Hiro’s powers be awakened. Hiro has three bloodlines within him: the blood of the Saniwa, from his mother’s-side grandfather; the blood of the Hieda, from his father, and the blood of monsters, from his grandmother Koma. This makes Hiro a matter of national security, and Tadatoshi is caught between his duty as a father and his duty to the Empress. He thinks the best thing to do is to have the shrine maidens of the Morning Mist protect Hiro so that Michimune cannot awaken his power.

The family tree also shows that in Yumi’s generation, there was no one with the white hair and red eye of the Saniwa. For one generation, Michimune thought the bloodline had ended, only to recently discover its continuance in Hiro.

Speaking of family trees, do Japanese people take their family names from their fathers? Then that would mean Tadatoshi’s last name and Miyuki’s maiden name is Amatsu. If Tadaaki’s last name was Amatsu also, then does that mean both of Hiro’s parents had the same last name before marriage?

P.S. Koma still likes cake.

2 Responses to “All in the family”

  1. Author says:

    So inbred. Good thing it’s only an anime… right?!

  2. Author says:

    So, looks like Koma got the shortest stick in the end. Also, the shipping, it’s so blatant (like everything else, really). And the sacrifice, OMG.

Leave a Reply