Don’t you love how you have to cook a good meal for some big, whiny baby or else it’ll wreck an entire region full of people? And you better bring it an offering full of random junk it won’t even take home or else it’ll get really, really mad! Anyways…
— At the twin cranes’ behest, Aoi asks Ranmaru for permission once more to cook for the ceremony. The twins believe in her, Ginji believes in her, and most importantly, Princess Iso believes in her. So what more can ask for? Ranmaru predictably gives her the OK.
— Afterwards, Aoi tells the twins that she’s come to love this place even though she was forced to come here, and this is why she wants to help out with the ceremony. Well, I mean, there’s also the fact that a bunch of people will die if she doesn’t.
— Later that day, everyone gathers outside the inn, because the umi-bouzu is approaching. Welp, time to put up or shut up.
— Unfortunately, that dastardly Raiju has one more trick up his sleeve: free advertising! Yep, thanks to his word of mouth, the inn is insanely busy tonight. You’d think they’d put out a notice or something, y’now? Something like, “Hey folks, we kinda have a very important ceremony to conduct or we’ll all die, so would you guys mind not fucking this up for us?”
— Also, someone as sociopathic should be locked up, but these characters are just like, “OH THAT RAIJU!”
— Anyways, among all the boats is one really, really big boat from Tenjin-ya. Do you think Odanna might be compensating for something?
— The ogre shows up and plays dumb. He also pretends as though he wants Aoi to come back with him tonight. He’s obviously messing around, but the girl starts freaking out and everything. Aoi’s kinda slow in the head…
— After Ranmaru swallows his pride and requests for Aoi to stick around for just one more day, Odanna reveals what he’s truly here for: he kinda knew that Raiju would try to mess with the ceremony, so he’s here to lend Orio-ya some help. Y’know, one of these days, Aoi will stop doubting Odanna and finally realize that he’s got this shit under control. One of these days…
— When Aoi starts to leave for the ceremony, Odanna tosses her a pouch full of something. He says it’s a token of good luck, but I’m not certain what’s actually in it. I guess we’ll just have to wait till the final episode.
— Part of the ceremony apparently requires Ginji to become a trap. Nope, he’s not just cross-dressing. He literally shapeshifts into a female form, because the umi-bouzu requires a dumb dancing show. Said show will be carried out by Ranmaru and Ginji.
— As a sign that they’ve now become friends or whatever, Ranmaru gives Aoi her hairpin back. Honestly, I literally forgot that the dumb thing existed.
— Ginji then presents Aoi with a special new kimono. In fact, Odanna had arranged it for her, because he wanted Aoi to feel at home while she’s cooking for the umi-bouzu. Like I said, the ogre has this shit on lockdown. Meanwhile, Aoi continues to pine over some ayakashi from her childhood and whether or not this ayakashi might be Ginji. Tsk tsk.
— So like I said at the start of the episode, the umi-bouzu just wants all of this junk collected and presented to it. According to Ginji, the damn thing won’t take any of the items home. It’ll just drink the alcohol and eat the food. He even goes on to add, “No one really knows who the umi-bouzu is, or what this ceremony is for.” Why do we have to appease this bastard? Tradition, I guess. Why do we have to kill ourselves in an attempt to collect these items? Tradition, I guess. Why can’t we even look at it while it’s eating? Look, it’s just tradition and tradition is always important!
— But it gets really confusing because not all things must remain traditional. What do I mean? Well, you’ll see.
— So the guest of the night arrives, and it’s just this… thing. It’s literally an amorphous blob.
— It’s a big blob, though. It’s huge, which is why I find it perplexing that Aoi would serve it such tiny morsels of food.
— Nevertheless, the thing’s got a teensy-tiny arm. I’m reminded of No-Face from Spirited Away.
— So here’s where the tradition-breaking moment arrives: Aoi slips a menu to the umi-bouzu, thereby asking the ayakashi directly what it would like to eat. Imagine that. Imagine actually taking someone’s order! The crane twins start praising Aoi’s “ingenuity,” which cracks me up. Ranmaru and his legion of dorks have had hundreds of years to plan for this dumb ceremony and not once did someone ask, “Hey, why don’t we just ask the umi-bouzi what it wants to eat?!” But then why is this okay? Why is it that we can change this up, but we better go fetch a stupid tree branch or else! It’s just arbitrary as hell, and it’s not as if Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi will provide any satisfactory answer.
— So what does the damn thing want? It wants shrimp! Between yellowtail teriyaki and boring-ass beef garlic steak, I would’ve picked shrimp too.
— Unfortunately, Chibi tagged along for the trip, and when the damn kappa smells cucumber, it decides to hop out of Aoi’s sleeve and run into the umi-bouzu’s room.
— Everyone’s freaking out, but it sounds like Chibi is making a new friend. All of a sudden, however, the kappa cries out, which makes Aoi pull up the screen to see what’s happening. Again, we’re not supposed to look at the umi-bouzu during the ceremony. Also, I want to say how stupid it is that Aoi not only allows Chibi to come along, but also run away from her.
— But look, next week’s episode is the last episode, and there’s no way that Aoi’s story is going to end in tragedy. So y’know what? Who cares? Do whatever. I’m sure everything’s going to turn out perfectly anyways.