Ayakashi: Bakeneko is a three-episode arc that is the last installment of Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales. It tells a story about the Medicine Seller, a strange "medicine peddler" who is actually a powerful exorcist, who encounters a nearly bankrupt samurai household that is haunted by a malevolent cat spirit.
Full Synopsis[edit | edit source]
In the feudal Edo period, a ceremonial wedding is about to take place. In the rush to prepare for the big event, the main entrance to the household of the Sakai family is left completely unguarded, enabling the Medicine Seller to slip on by unnoticed.
In the kitchen, a young servant girl named Kayo is being scolded by her master Sato for working so slow. After Sato is gone, Kayo notices the Medicine Seller standing outside and assumes he is there for a delivery. She tries to get him to leave for she is very busy, but he guesses correctly that the servant is preparing for the wedding ceremony as he casually steps inside. Kayo explains that Lady Mao, the young daughter of the Sakai family, is going to get married to the head of the Shiono household. The Medicine Seller decides to show her a variety of marriage charms designed for use by the bride, which causes Kayo to blush and get excited. Yahei, an old servant, hears the commotion and sees the Medicine Seller, and yells at him to get out for intruding. Kayo gets angry and tells him to get water soon or his master would get angry at his tardiness. Hurt, Yahei does so and leaves. It seems that Kayo hates him because Yahei supposedly has nosy habits.
After that, the Medicine Seller shows Kayo the marriage charms as promised. In return, she reveals a few things about the Sakai household and the current situation: The current head of the Sakai household, Lord Yoshiaki, is financially incompetent and frequently subjected to the whims of his domineering wife Lady Mizue, while his older brother, Lord Yoshikani, is an lazy alcoholic who spends his days drinking sake. They are currently so much in debt that they are planning to sell their daughter's marriage to pay them off. Kayo notices that she hadn't done anything much now and tries to get back to work lest she be scolded when the sound of a rat frightens her, making her cling on to the Medicine Seller. The Medicine Seller notices several rat traps lying around and suggests getting a cat to make things easier. Kayo mentions that one of the people in the household hates cats, when Sato unexpectedly comes back and scolds her for neglecting her work. She orders her to go fetch more water, and Kayo leaves. The Medicine Seller looks at Sato and promises that he will leave, causing Sato to blush.
Back inside the main house, Mao bids goodbye to her family and relatives. Her mother Mizue glares at her drinking brother-in-law, clearly disliking his disgusting habits. In the kitchen, the Medicine Seller questions Sato about the absence of cats - this shocks her, but he decides to put it off for later. Mao is then escorted outside by her parents and three samurai bodyguards, where her carrier awaits for her to be transferred to the groom-to-be's household. On the way, they are frightened by rats, but are assured that they are a sign of good luck and multiple offspring. But just as Mao descends down the steps into the courtyard, she is suddenly struck dead by an invisible force, much to everyone's horror. The Medicine Seller senses this and goes to the scene of the death, explaining that Mao's death was not because of an assassin, but actually demonic forces at work. He puts two ofuda (paper protection charms) on the doorway and they activate. Yoshikani indifferently suggests that they should hire a monk instead of a doctor. Mizue flies into a rage and blames her brother-in-law for her daughter's death and has to be restrained while Yoshikani laughs at everyone's expense.
Because of his strange appearance and habits, the Medicine Seller is assumed to be behind Mao's death and he is promptly tied up by Odajima, a
In return, Kayo reveals a few things about her employers: One is that