Ichigou ｷﾀ━━━(ﾟ∀ﾟ)｡Ａ｡)━━━!! I’ve been waiting for this route since he’s the tsundere, so there must be a lot of cute scenes. His story is a lot more bittersweet than I expected though.
Seimei’s first shikigami. Ichigou doesn’t seem pleased to meet Sayuki and throws various kinds of complaints at her, but he actually cares about her as a senior. His element is fire and he can summon flames freely, which fits his personality in battle. Instead of thinking of strategies, Ichigou would rather burn everything that gets in his way. He’s really loyal and dedicated to Seimei as his shikigami, following every order he gives without exception.
As the token tsundere, Ichigou is rather cold towards Sayuki at first. He responds to her by saying things like “ふん” or “別に”, or even ignores her altogether. But whenever Nigou comes saying “you’re just embarrassed because Sangou is cute”, Ichigou would blush like mad and kicks the chicken away. Sayuki tells him the love poem he wrote is nice, and he says there must be something wrong her sense of beauty.. but then he blushes and says her love poem is “not bad”. ♡(｡￫ˇ艸￩) He keeps helping her out during their missions, even though he covers it up saying he just wants to finish their job quickly.
After meeting the spirit of the foreign man, Sayuki knows she’s different too since she’s a shikigami. She feels sad thinking someday people will reject her because she’s not a human like them, and Ichigou tells her don’t worry because she’s not alone. She’s got Seimei and him by her side.
What about Nigou? LOL. He hits her head lightly and makes fun of her “stupid face”, but Sayuki knows that he’s trying to comfort her.
The next day they play football with the spirit of a little boy, and Sayuki bumps into Ichigou as they chased the ball together. He falls on top of her and kisses her on the lips, then he gets up in a panic saying it’s an accident. ||萌||ョ´∀`。)萌えぇ～↑ Both of them were blushing like a tomato when Nigou comes saying “I saw it (。-∀-)ﾆﾋｯ”, which of course causes Ichigou to kick him away lol. Since Sayuki lost and Nigou is.. thrown into the sky, Ichigou keeps playing with the little boy until he’s satisfied and finally goes to heaven.
Everyone gets a day off after they retrieved Yata no Kagami, and Sayuki finds Ichigou on the porch gazing at their garden. She notices Ichigou looks lonely, so she invites him to go out and play with her. At first he refused, but eventually he comes along so Sayuki “won’t get lost” in the crowd. (*´∀`*) Since he hates crowded places, they go to Adashino (the place where Sayuki first fought against ayakashi) and he invites her to sit together on a big rock. As Sayuki looks up at the sky, Ichigou takes out his flute and plays a nostalgic melody.
Ichigou then tells Sayuki that Adashino reminds him of his hometown. He doesn’t remember anything about the place now, but he was always alone until he met Seimei.. that’s why he doesn’t know how to interact wth people without hurting them. For Sayuki it’s an easy thing to do, but Ichigou comes from a flame that burns everything it touches. It was Seimei who taught him how to touch people, so now he’s living for Seimei as his shikigami. Ichigou laughs when Sayuki’s stomach grumbles, and he gives her a lopsided onigiri before they head out to the castle at night. Of course Ichigou blushes and denies he made it for Sayuki, but she knows he’s just embarrassed lol.
That night they retrieved the sword of Kusanagi, and eventually won against the “demon king” with Suzaku’s help. Sayuki notices that both Ichigou and Nigou are missing after the battle, but they soon appear saying they were just hidden in the shadows. Seimei hands something to Izumi and goes back to his own mansion with everyone, but the next morning he suddenly goes missing. At the same time, the sacred treasures also disappears from the palace along with Raikou. When they heard a rumor that Seimei got captured by Satashuu, Izumi knows it’s a trap to split them apart, but that doesn’t stop Ichigou. In the end all three shikigamis set off to rescue their master, leaving the sacred treasure search to Izumi and Genshin.
They were walking down a big road when Ichigou suddenly feels a presence nearby. Toui, the old man from Satashuu, then shows himself with a familiar sweet scent of sake. He tells them Seimei is not here, but he’s willing to tell them Seimei’s location if they can capture him. Despite Nigou’s warning, Ichigou gets impatient and summons his flames to burn everything in sight. Ichigou never gets hurt in battle since his entire body is made out of flames, and nothing can hurt fire.. until Toui puts a pair of chained handcuffs on his wrists, sealing his immunity even against his own flames. He tried to chase Toui when the old man leaves, but Nigou stops him since he can’t fight with that body. Right now he’s just like a powerless, normal human.
As if Ichigou’s curse isn’t bad enough, they return to the castle only to find Shigo-ryou has been severely ruined. Luckily Izumi saw through Satashuu’s plan and managed to escape, hiding in Seimei’s mansion for now. Izumi says Ichigou should take a rest for now, but the latter clearly doesn’t have any intentions to do so. Eventually Izumi allows Ichigou to continue working with them, as long as he promises to always take Nigou and Sayuki wherever he goes. Now that they know Seimei isn’t really captured, they can continue searching for the sacred treasures.
The next day, the shikigamis meet Toui again on their way to the shrine. Ichigou insists than he can fight, ignoring Nigou and Sayuki as he starts attacking Toui with his fists. Eventually he gets pissed and forces himself to use the flames, even though he’s only injuring himself by doing so. Not to mention he’s starting to get tired since the fight continues until it gets dark. Toui also reveals that both his weapon and his body are poisonous, and it’s starting to affect Ichigou’s body that he can barely stand up anymore. When Toui takes out his weapon, Sayuki jumps in to protect Ichigou and gets shot in the arm. Knowing they have no choice, Nigou then creates a blinding light and all three shikigamis escaped.
Deep inside the forest, Ichigou gets angry at Sayuki for protecting him earlier. She knows the fight earlier hurts his heart more than anything else, so she tells him it’s okay. After resting for a while, they decide to go back to the mansion since both Ichigou and Sayuki are injured.. but Ichigou only says he’s useless now that he can’t control flames anymore. Nigout tries to cheer him up saying there must be something he can do, but he only tells them to leave him alone for now. Then he leaves them and walks deeper into the forest.
Nigou and Sayuki waited in the forest until it’s really late at night, but Ichigou doesn’t return. After a while Nigou tells Sayuki to go and pick him up, since Ichigou will be happier to see her. She follows the faint sound of his chains and finds him near the lake, smashing his bleeding hands into the rocks hoping he can destroy the handcuffs. Sayuki stops him from hurting himself any further, and he cries saying he won’t lose if he doesn’t have this curse. Ichigou feels guilty that Sayuki gets hurt because of him, asking her to blame him for her wound. He’s been thinking about what he can do right now, but he knows he’s useless without his power.
Sayuki then tells Ichigou humans are not tools. It’s true that they’re weak and get hurt easily, but that’s why they protect each other. Before Ichigou told her that she’s not alone, and now she’s returning those words back at him. There are times when she got pissed because of his attitude, but he’s an important person to her. What’s precious to her is Ichigou himself, not his power. As Sayuki hugs him, Ichigou admits he never really thought of anything other than burning enemies during battles. The fight with Toui earlier made him realize how it feels to fear death, but even more than that.. he’s scared of hurting everyone, including Sayuki. It bothers him so much he can’t fight properly, and so he thinks he’s just being a burden like this.
However, Sayuki still wants him to stay with them. His flames burns, but it can keep them warm as well. When Sayuki says she loves his flute and asks him to play, Ichigou tells her to sit down and plays his flute for her. (*´∀`*) It makes her feel warm inside, and she says she feels closer to him even more than before. Ichigou asks what she’s trying to say, so Sayuki tells him even though he lost his power, he’s still a precious person for her. As they walk back to Nigou’s place, Sayuki asks if there’s something Ichigou wants to do. He blushes and says “I want to stay with you and Seimei”, which makes her blush saying she wants to stay with him too.
Again, what about Nigou? LOL.
Ichigou grabs Sayuki before she walks away, and when she touches his lips.. he kisses her. ||萌||ョ´∀`。)萌えぇ～↑ Since he smashed his lips onto hers so suddenly, Sayuki goes “Ouch! It hurts, Ichigou-kun!” before realizing what he just did lol. Ichigou gets embarassed too and tells her to think about it by herself, before turning his back saying “ふんっ” as usual. (｡￫∀￩｡)ｷｬﾊ♡ They end up leaning against each other’s back for a while, until Nigou eventually comes to find them lol. He sees Ichigou and Sayuki holding hands, so he starts teasing them again and demands to know what happened between them. xD
Unfortunately this is no time for jokes, because they can feel the aura of a different world. Or the underworld, to be precise. Someone has opened the gate to the underworld, and most likely Seimei left them to do something about this. He might be having a hard time since that someone successfully opened the gate, so the shikigamis decided to go and help their master. Ichigou knows he might not be able to help much, but he still wants to fight along with them.
Soon after entering the cave leading to the underworld, they are greeted by the sweet scent of Toui’s poison. He provokes Ichigou by saying he’s a useless, powerless shikigami, but Ichigou still moves forward to fight him. Toui keeps throwing poisonous needles everyone like in their previous fight, but apparetly that’s not his only weapon. After a while he drinks his sake and spits it out into the air, creating a paralyzing mist. Toui doesn’t have any intentions to kill Ichigou though, he’s willing to let them go if Ichigou chooses to live as a normal human being. But even so, Ichigou refuses to give up unless Seimei throws him away. Even if he’s born a human, he will still choose the same path to protect the people he loves.
Sayuki knows she needs to act fast, so she drags herself to protect Ichigou saying she won’t let him die. The moment Toui drinks from his sake bottle, Sayuki swings her dance fabric and hits the old man on the face, knocking off the bottle and the poison inside. Of course Ichigou won’t just stand back and stay protected, so he stands up and tells Toui he can still fight.. because he’s not alone. When Nigou recovers and joins them, the shikigamis fight against Toui and eventually defeat him. Unfortunately, the handcuffs are still sealing Ichigou’s wrists even after Toui died — his last form of loyalty for his master.
By the time they reach the underworld’s gate, the moon is shining bright red in the sky. They finally find their master fighting against Douman near the gate. Seimei tells them to go away, but they refuse to leave until he finally gives up saying they can do whatever they want. A lot of vengeful spirits are climbing out for the resurrection ritual, which basically brings them back to life.. but also throws all living creatures to the underworld in return. Ichigou calls his flames to protect Sayuki and burns everything in front of them into ashes, even though it burns him as well. She cries and begs him to stop, but he tells her “I’m not fighting for you, so don’t worry.”
Since the vengeful spirits keep on coming, Ichigou knows they have no choice but to seal the gate. He tells Sayuki that his body is only a vessel to restrain his real power, so he can live among humans without hurting them. Both Nigou and him are actually two parts of a single, greater existence — Suzaku. Do you remember when they went missing after defeating the “demon king”? It’s because they transformed into Suzaku by the end of the battle. Now they need to do the same thing to seal the gate. Ichigou says he might not be able to transform back into a shikigami because of his curse, but he wants to protect the capital, Seimei and Sayuki with his own hands.. and he admits it’s because she’s always there by his side.
Nigou apologized to Sayuki for making her sad, but she knows she can’t stop them. They tell Sayuki they need her “power” too, asking her to pray for Ichigou’s curse to be lifted. As she starts praying in the back, a fire pillar surrounds Ichigou and Nigou, turning the latter into his human form. Sayuki’s body then starts shining and after a blinding light, Suzaku is soaring in the sky before burning the vengeful spirits into ashes. After the battle Sayuki opens her eyes to see that the gate to the underworld is now closed, and there’s no vengeful spirits in sight.
When she saw Suzaku standing beside her, Sayuki moves closer to hug the giant bird. It seems uncertain and steps back, but she says it’s okay. Both Ichigou and Nigou know how it feels to live among humans, and Suzaku’s flames won’t burn anyone since she can only feel comfortable warmth right now. However, Suzaku starts fading away along with the red moon, and it disappears after leaving a warm light around her. Seimei then gives Ichigou’s burnt handcuffs to Sayuki saying his curse has been lifted, and she cries knowing it’s the proof that Ichigou is really gone. Seimei tells her to keep believing and pray for his safety, because her prayers will surely be answered.
Later on Sayuki realized that the burnt handcuffs also means Ichigou’s curse is already lifted when they became Suzaku, because Suzaku won’t be there if his mortal body got burnt in the fire pillar. As she runs back to their mansion, Sayuki decides to wait for them to come back.
In the epilogue, Sayuki continues her daily job in Seimei’s mansion. She’s alone since it’s really peaceful in the capital, so Seimei left to tackle more vengeful spirits out there. Normally she would come along as his shikigami, but Seimei knows she’s still waiting for Ichigou and Nigou to come back. After spending the whole morning doing laundry and cleaning up the garden, Sayuki goes to take a nap on the porch. As soon as she closes her eyes, she hears a familiar voice asking if she’s going to sleep even though it’s still bright outside. She opens her eyes to find Ichigou looking at her, and she hugs him immediately.
Ichigou hugs her back and apologized to keep her waiting for so long. He tells her he lost his body back then, and Nigou switched their bodies so Ichigou can return to his human form. He gave his own body to Ichigou, and it took quite a while until it’s stable enough for Ichigou to use. When Sayuki starts crying, Ichigou tells her it’s okay. It’s going to take time, but Nigou will definitely return someday. Nigou must be watching them even until now, so she shouldn’t cry and welcome him back with a smile when he returns.
That evening, Ichigou blushes and tells Sayuki he wants to stay here with her forever. This is his home, and from now on they’re going to spend their lives together here in their mansion.. praying and waiting for Nigou to come back.
Gah this route is so bittersweet and I almost cried near the end of the route. The ending feels both happy and sad at the same time since Nigou is my favorite character. ｡･ﾟ･(ﾉД`)･ﾟ･｡ That aside, I really loved Ichigou as a character. He never really said the word “love”, but it clearly shows through the way he behaves around Sayuki. It’s really cute whenever he blushes and turns his back to hide it. ||萌||ョ´∀`。)萌えぇ～↑ The only thing that bothered me is Ichigou’s undying devotion towards Seimei. Whenever he said things like this, I keep thinking that he’s actually more in love with Seimei instead lol.