So after being up at a hideous hour to make a 7:30 appointment I spent the rest of the morning on the couch compiling a list, finally and for my own uses, of all the Akama stories, and then all the Kai ones. I read 100 Demons out of order- and the odd thing is that I have no memory at all of where I first heard about it or even when I started reading it, but I did start with vol 8 and vol 8 did come from Bookoff, so I suppose it was paleaswater's doing. Anyway, one thing I've always been confused about is Ritsu and the eyepatch and The Thing In His Eye. I now discover, definitively, that the story where he gets rid of TTIHE comes in volume 8 and the story where he acquires TTIHE in vol.9. Yes, Ima tells us how he got free of it before she tells us what it is: and does it in a story set ten years in the future, just for further confusion.
However I also discover that Kai comes back home once and once only, in that closet story in 13; and after that stays away or meets Ritsu in coffee shops near the house or whatever. This shouldn't matter except that the current story, which Kai narrates, is set in the house at a time when the family is out for the day. So it's either A/U or happens at some future point when Kai is once again dropping in on his old home without worrying about losing his little youkai to his father's lingering influence. This probably shouldn't matter to me as much as it does, but I'm a canon whore at heart.
And of course I have another crack at Kai-loses-a-little-demon, Saburo-carves-a-Jizou, Ritsu-breaks-a-mirror etc etc with much attention to the penji dialogue in hopes of making sense of this crux in the series. Have solved one problem- lux'd for those Not There Yet-it's not half the mirror that's missing, it's half of Aoarashi, though why half of Aoarashi is missing because one (or is it two?) little pieces of mirror get lost beats me, as also how the birds can tell half of him's gone when he's in his human body and very much intact there. But the rest is impenetrable as ever, including and especially the motivation.
OTOH rereading pays off as it always does, in a sudden suspicion that Kai's ill-fated omiai- which often go wrong from genuinely unavoidable circumstances, like that train stoppage- are ill-fated for a reason, and the reason has to do with someone (not Kai) being mirengamashii. (I'm also convinced there's further evidence for the Tsukasa / Ritsu pairing in the youkai tea party story, where Ritsu's grandfather says 'I'm sorry, this child's fiance has already been decided.' Ritsu says his grandfather was lying; I think Kagyuu was telling the truth. I take that in conjunction with the dream Ritsu has at the beginning of the shrine story, where his grandfather says (IIRC) You're both substitutes, which Ritsu first thinks refers to them being dragged along to that dating party, and then believes refers to them both becoming part of the shrine ceremony. I think there's more to it than that.)
Bk5- three Akama stories
Bk6- first Kagyuu story w. Akama, of course
Bk7- Akama in pond story and pot story
Bk9- playing go with Aoarashi at start of the sea story/ first Kai story
Bk10- Akama in the picture story/ second Kai story with the three boxes
Bk11- second Kagyuu story/ third Kai story with the omiai
Bk13- /essentially Kai's book: in all the stories
Bk14- third Kagyuu story/ Kai in the flute story
Bk15- two Kai stories
And now I have to track down the first appearances of the very confusing Kondo Akira who may be that younger boyfriend of Tsukasa's, may be Ritsu's classmate, and who appears in a story in 15 with another Kondo family who are evidently unrelated-- but why does Ima keep using that name over and over again?