Last week, we saw best-boy Akira get reunited with his twin brother, Yui, at last. However, something was not quite right. Yui locks Akira in an ice castle and freezes his friends, the Kemonoists. This week, Episode 11 of Kemono Jihen continues Akira’s growth arc.
Since Akira and his (slightly older) brother were raised quite closely, further understanding Yui and how he thinks will help explain Akira’s tendencies and actions further on. So, this week, we will be taking a look at what new information was revealed about the upbringing of the icy twins.
As we discussed last week, Akira and Yui are yuki-onoko, rare male kemono, born into a female-dominated village. This week’s episode confirms what was hinted at last week: these boys are essential to the survival of the village.
Based on the information revealed in this episode, it seems that, typically, when the yuki-onoko is born every 100 years, he is kept locked up like an animal. He is then required to fulfill the desires of most, if not all, of the women in the village for the next 100 years. Eventually, he is used to give birth to the next yuki-onoko, and the cycle repeats.
Since Yui and Akira are twins, the women only focus on the older one, Yui. After he reaches “maturity” somewhere around the age of 13 or 14, Yui is given the title of Chief and is required to perform the same duties as the yuki-onoko before him.
When Yui learns the truth about his existence and his responsibilities, he tries to keep it to himself. He lies to Akira and convinces him that the Chief’s duties are something he must carry alone. At this point, we begin to see Yui distinguish between himself in his “corruption” and Akira with his “purity.”
Yui wants to keep Akira as far away from the sources of Corruption that he can. So, when he discovers that Akira also has the ability to perform the “duties” of the Chief, he gets worried. Dealing with the yuki-onna is no easy task, and if the women discover Akira can also be used for their desires, he will have to contend with their advances as well.
All his life, Yui has believed Akira is weaker than he is. The younger boy cries easily, can’t stand even the most mild of disturbances, and seems to be rather carefree. With this view, Yui believes it is his responsibility to protect Akira at whatever cost. That’s why he has done everything he has.
In a flashback in this episode, we see the real reason Akira was able to leave the village and why it took Yui so long to meet up with him. Yui was never actually planning on leaving. To save Akira from the fate of a Chief, Yui demanded that all the women of the village let Akira leave. Knowing that the younger boy would never be able to leave on his own, Yui tells Akira he will be right behind him as they both leave the village.
However, once Yui has safely sent Akira off to Tokyo, he discovers the yuki-onna are plotting against his wishes. They never intended to let Akira leave alive. When Yui confronts them about this, he is restrained and lectured. However, he escapes from that group and begins running around the village.
Based on what we know now, I think we can speculate about what Yui did next. It seems that he stole the Nullstone, bonded with it, and left the village behind to go find Akira. That means, he most likely killed almost everyone in the village so that he could escape.
Thus when Yui finally finds Akira, he wants to protect his innocence and purity still. That is why Yui keeps talking about the “corruption” around his brother. That is why he locks Akira in a castle with no way out. Yui, in the emotionally distant state brought on by the Nullstone, believes that this is how he can best protect Akira.
Now, it’s up to Akira to prove that he is not weak. That he can make his own choices and preserve his own purity without the forced isolation of his brother. If Akira can prove this, he might just get his brother back.
Episode 11 of Kemono Jihen has explained a lot about the icy twins and their history. It has also set the stage for Akira’s moment of change that will no doubt come next week.
Catch up on Kemono Jihen on Funimation before next Sunday’s episode!