1. Touta and Yuki’s trip, and the situation in Japan
Judging from the map on the first page, they started from Kyushu and are moving towards New Tokyo/Amanomihashira, which looks like it is sitting right on top of Tokyo. So, why is it ‘New’ Tokyo?
According to Touta, ‘most’ Japanese now live in (this part is a bit vague) either the city – as in the Capital – or in cities. So either Akamatsu is showing the logical conclusion of urbanisation, or implying that the majority of popularity is now concentrated in one metropolis. I doubt it’s the latter but the possibility is there.
Personally, the thing I find most odd is how Touta describes the countryside: full of ghost towns and inhabited only by people who choose to live off the land and provide for themselves. He makes it sound kind of like city-dwellers have even abandoned agriculture. What…?
2. on Kurou and Shinmei
So, another character of rather ambiguous gender… he looks masculine in one frame and feminine in the next, so it’s hard to tell, really. Like Shinobu, Kurou uses ‘boku’.
Interestingly, he says he is not allowed to set foot upon his homeland until he completes his task of hunting down Eva – except he says he comes from above the tower and isn’t familiar with Japan. He also seemed confused for a split-second when Touta excitedly asked if he is from ‘the sky’ (Touta’s way of referring to space). I can’t quite say what this and the above point all add up to but something does feel out of place.
Also, while Shinmei isn’t exactly closed to outsiders, everyone who has used it so far has either lived in Japan, or learned it from someone else whom lived there. Something else to consider.
Finally, Kurou mentions that he comes from a clan of exorcists. As I recall, Shinmei originated from the Aoyama family, which is also a demon-hunting family. So we could be looking at a relative or at least, someone from a subordinate family/clan.
(To be honest, I’m not too looking forward to Kurou turning undead. Seems like a lot of potential for wangst, much like Setsuna and her initial setup in Negima.)