Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Following our protagonist Izel, we have seen the trials and tribulations he has gone through from the death of his sister to begrudgingly becoming the champion of humanity.
In the latest episode, Izel must travel to Ox Te’Tuun, a Mayan city, to retrieve an artifact containing a map to the other gates. Along the way, we are given a glimpse into Izel’s past foreshadowing what is going to happen in the episode. As Yaotl and Izel travel to Ox Te’Tuun, they encounter monsters from the underworld. Yaotl explains to Izel, he has been cursed by the underworld and the longer he stays in one place the more he attracts monsters.
Reaching the city, Izel is warned to not get distracted. However, as Izel traverses the city he is reminded of the past. As we witness Izel’s past, we see a man who sold Izel and his sister. Coincidentally, Izel reaches his old house and encounters the man (Maak); whom we believe to be his father. Blaming him for the death of his sister, for if he did not sell them their lives would have been better. Izel encounters his half-brothers K'in and Yun. Angered and distraught at Maak’s new life with his sons, Izel leaves angrily telling him to leave him alone.
Having cracked the already shaky relationship K’in and Yun have with their father. The twins choose to run away in pursuit of becoming Ulama players. Bumping into Izel once again, they ask him why he came to Ox Te’Tuun. Izel informs K’in and Yun that he is in search of an ancient artifact. The twins take Izel to the temple and tell him the legend of the twin Ulama players who traveled the underworld using the ball artifact conquering monsters and Gods. Coincidentally, that is the exact artifact Izel needs. Upon learning that Izel needs the ball, the twins refuse to give it to him. The twins touch the ball, inevitably binding themselves to the ball and causing the temple to crumble.
In the chaos, the twins escape into the jungle leaving Izel unaware of were they went. In the jungle, K’in and Yun run into monsters. Having no way of defeating the monsters, they run. As the twins try to escape, Izel finds them and tries to take the artifact from them. However, the monsters are right on their tail. Cornered, Izel tries to call Yaotl but is unable to summon him. When Izel becomes injured and his blood touches the ground, Yaotl comes to the rescue. Rescuing the boys, Yaotl scolds Izel for not retrieving the artifact on his own. Izel asks the twins to join him the on his mission to close the gates to the underworld. Under some strong persuasion of Yaotl, the twins join Izel on the journey.
My Point of View
I would like to say that Onyx Equinox does a fantastic job weaving Mesoamerican mythology into this episode. From the location, to the myths and the encounters of the characters.
First off, the destination of out protagonist Izel is Ox Te’Tuun, a Mayan city meaning "Three Stones". Which is fitting as characters are being added to the show. By going to Ox Te’Tuun who worshipped the Gods Hunahpu (Life) and Xbalanque (Death), also known as the Hero Twins. Having established this link, we can see how K’in and Yun are fated to cross paths with Izel.
Furthermore, this episode revolves around the number 3. The number 3 is an auspicious number in many cultures. In some cultures, it signifies the stages of one’s life: birth, life and death. In some cases, the number 3 means that you receive the protection, guidance and help from divine forces. Coincidentally, our protagonist and his new companions are given a task by said divine forces, “guided and protected” by Yaotl.
Aside from the supernatural influences, the new addition of K’in and Yun as a set of energetic twins brings in a new atmosphere to the anime. Their pridefulness alongside their sarcastic remarks gives the show some needed comedic relief. Also, the introduction of the sport Ulama presents a well-known attribute of Mesoamerica but in a brighter light. Ulama is a game played to honor the gods descended from Tlachtli, which was played across the Olmecs, Aztecs, Maya, and other Mesoamerican cultures.
This anime does a great job in combining the mythology of Mesoamerica in a fun animated way. The use of color and Native music helps progress this show. I am excited to see what the rest of the anime has to bring.
“." U*X*L Encyclopedia of World Mythology…Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2020.” Encyclopedia.com, Encyclopedia.com, 14 Dec. 2020, www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hunahpu-and-xbalanque.
“'Magic' Numbers.” 'Magic' Numbers, July 2009, www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/you-contribute/magic-numbers.
“Maya Hero Twins.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Oct. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_Hero_Twins.
Ortiz, Genner Llanes. “The Maya: A 4,000-Year-Old Civilization in the Americas.” Brewminate, 28 Nov. 2018, brewminate.com/the-maya-a-4000-year-old-civilization-in-the-americas/.