But *why* need it be OOC? Ima's viewpoint is comic but it's only a viewpoint. One should be able to look at the same circumstances from a serious pov without losing the essence of the character.
What I think is at the heart of this, and what's not said clearly anywhere, is what making a contract with a shikigami does to either the shikigami or onmyouji involved. Sure, it looks like pure compulsion in most cases, but I think there's more involved in this particular one. We know from the first grandfather story that Aoarashi- a disembodied and formless spirit then, perhaps only a primitive intelligence- is drawn to Kagyuu. We know that humans who see youkai thereby attract the youkai's attention and interest: but with Aoarashi there's nothing to see at that point. Something about Kagyuu himself drew this amorphous spirit. The pot story suggests that there's some kind of basic and fundamental connection between spirit and onmyouji, so that when Aoarashi hears Kaggyuu's voice his reflex and unthinking response is to obey it. That looks like something much more visceral than slavery and servitude to me. And then there's the little Ritsu visits the youkai story, where the old lady youkai says that humans and youkai used to make contracts but the humans always broke their side of the bargain. 'And the youkai broke theirs' Ritsu retorts, and she agrees. What do we have here? A mutual and natural attraction that never works to either side's good: a kind of love (maybe closer to sexual attraction than emotional) that simply can't work.
The only problem being that I have no idea what might attract humans to youkai. (Youkai to humans is simple: they live on spirit strength. Humans have a certain kind and youkai want it.) The parallel to western fairies won't do, because the fairies in those tales are always beautiful, while the general run of youkai are merely bizarre. Kai's bald horned demons come to mind: who'd want that in their lives? What do youkai give humans? Power? But it always seems a pretty limited and unreliable power, one that usually has to be compelled in the first place and that carries great risks. Onmyouji are looking more and more like those incomprehensible males who need to risk their necks for the fun of... risking their necks, basically. Racers and mountain climbers and such-like. The notion that an onmyouji becomes an onmyouji from a bad case of testosterone poisoning is unpleasing. It's not aesthetic, and I want my onmyouji to be aesthetic. The sad truth is that maybe they aren't.