|Birth Date||June 7|
|Age||23 (as of Vol. 5)|
|Height||169 cm (5'7")|
|First Appearance||Episode 1|
|Voice Actor||Masami Suzuki (Japanese) |
Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
"This is clearly the work of an earth spirit!"Ayako Matsuzaki is a Shinto priestess (in Japanese, miko) who performs exorcisms for SPR. However, her exorcisms often fail as her powers are reliant on a special connection to "live" trees. In Vol. 8, it is revealed that she is also a doctor at a hospital.
Ayako Matsuzaki is hired to exorcise the old building near Mai Taniyama's school. She is the first one to perform an exorcism, believing that a land spirit inhabits the building. But she ends up getting the principal and vice principal sent to the hospital. During the second case, Ayako is often left to protect and look over the family, although she gets nervous when she attempts to exorcise the spirits. In following cases, Ayako was often paired with Masako Hara, who would guide her to the location of spirits she could exorcise.
Very little about Ayako is revealed until Volumes 8 and 9. When Mai asks her about growing up in a temple, Ayako reveals that she is the child of two doctors at a general hospital, so she was spoiled and pampered when she was young. In her yard, there was a large cinnamon tree, tied with a sacred straw rope, which she was able to communicate with.
Ayako's power as a miko is tied to the spirits of the trees around her. In the city, the trees are "dead"; they have no souls, and are thus unable to help her. When the trees are healthy, their spirits assist her in her exorcisms. All spirits, no matter how strong, approach her to be cleansed. In Vol. 9, she successfully exorcises all of the spirits involved in the case, although she can not affect other entity such as the "god" involved in the cased.
In the final SPR case, Ayako takes on a very motherly persona, as she is the only one in the group who knows how to cook. She prepares the meals for the group and does the shopping. When they arrive at the school, Ayako is the second to disappear.
Ayako is a very "hot-blooded" person. She is often teased by the group, and responds with insults of her own (or, in Monk's case, physical retaliation). Over the course of the series, however, it is hinted that this may in part be a defense mechanism. Her confident attitude can be borderline haughtiness. Ayako tends to identify the cause of a case to be an earth-bound spirit as soon as she arrives on location. Her pride gets shot down constantly due to unsuccessful rituals and incorrect assumptions.
She is shown to be less short-tempered once the group begins to trust each other more, and is actually a very compassionate person. She often acts as a "mom" to the younger members of SPR in particular. Ayako's parents have a lot of money because they are both doctors and also own the hospital they work at. Mai once mentions that Ayako reminds her a lot of her late mother, except that her mom was a little quieter.
Ayako is high maintenance and can get irritated with things such as less than ideal boarding conditions for the night. She can be vain at times and hates doing manual work like digging and cleaning. This is probably due to her upper-class childhood.
"I humbly ask your aid.
Descend upon this unholy place and make it pure.
Exorcise this demon as you have so many before.
Listen both peacefully and calmly, and speak the Kannon's chant onto our wished place.
Our plane is a vast, violent tundra.
Gods from all places, gather here.
Even when she was only a child, Ayako was capable of communicating with the spirits of trees, and she learned much of her skills from the campor tree in her family's yard. In fact, through the spirit of that campor tree, Ayako was able to divine the time of death of the patients that came to her parents' hospital.
Hence, Ayako's powers are actually dependent on nature: in the presence of healthy trees, she is a very competent exorcist, being able to summon the spirits of trees and utilise their powers to purify spirits. This was demonstrated in Vol. 9, where she successfully exorcised every spirit in the area - possibly the largest number of spirits exorcised by a single person in Ghost Hunt.
Besides this, Ayako was shown to have a talent for warding charms. Even Naru does not doubt her power with them, and entrusts her to provide them to any clients who may be in danger from spirits. Ayako also appears to be an excellent cook.
However, Ayako's powers do have limitations: she can only purify spirits, not human beings or deities, and after she has utilised the tree spirits in her purification ceremony, she has to let the trees rest for about half-a-year.
Although they often tease each other, Mai and Ayako have a close relationship. Like Monk, Ayako often gives Mai advice and is very concerned about her safety.
Naru and Ayako have mutual respect for each other. Ayako respects him for his intelligence and looks and Naru respects Ayako for her spiritual power and knowledge. Ayako has been known to hit on Naru (mostly when they first met after their first case was solved) and finds Naru very attractive despite their age difference. She's implied that she wouldn't mind going out with him, but was rejected on account of him saying he was too into himself to go out with anyone else. Still, she's thought well on how he looks on more than one occasion.
Masako and Ayako have very different personalities, and for that reason are often at odds. Each of them appear to be skeptical of each other's abilities, as Ayako believes that Masako became popular for her looks, and Masako seems to believe that Ayako is jealous of her youth and superior ability. Despite this, they have a healthy working relationship and are often paired off together during investigations. Masako finds the spirits, and Ayako tries to exorcise them.
Monk and Ayako bicker often throughout the series. Like Ayako, Monk mostly teases her about her age and skills (or lack-thereof). Unlike with Mai, however, Ayako usually responds by hitting him.
John and Ayako don't really interact that much. In the case "Ghost Story in the Park!?" John and Ayako pretended to date in order to lure the spirit of the woman haunting it out. It worked when the two of them were soaked in water that appeared out of nowhere.