Nurarihyon no Mago 23

As Rikuo leads his Hyakki Yakou out of the Nura household Youkai both join up and leave to fulfill their roles in the upcoming battle with Tamazuki’s 88 Kiyakou.

Meanwhile Yura is staying with Kana so she asks about the person she was talking about before, with her feeling that he lacked that safe atmosphere that Rikuo’s nightform had. As part of the plan Gozumaru and Mezumaru have disguised themselves as Tanuki in order to scout for information, and though they’re able to find out about the Maou’s Hammer when they decide to stick around to steal it they’re faced with Tamazuki himself.

Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakou eventually makes it to the street where the battle will take place where Tamazuki also reveals his true form before moving to the front of his 88 Kiyakou, one of the Youkai under him runs up to take Rikuo’s head but with a single look from him he’s pushed back. The battle itself then begins with Rikuo simply walking forward with his Hyakki Yakou rushing forward as Inugami fires his head off. Some of the Youkai under Tamazuki try to go around to attack them from behind, however they find Shoei hiding in wait and are taken out by Kurotabou.

In the middle of the battle Keijourou faces off with Kagibari-Onna and Kappa with Gangi Kouzou while Yuki-Onna desperately searches for Rikuo as Aotabou stops Tearai-Oni from getting to her, all the while Inugami tears through as he searches for Rikuo. Tamazuki however has taken a seat at the back but is shocked when he sees Rikuo right ahead of him with no one paying any attention to him at all, because of this he realises that his must be his “fear” as he clashes blades with him. From this Inugami spots him but Kubinashi stops him from getting any closer as Yuki-Onna heads towards him.

Back at Kana’s house Yura senses the battle on the streets outside and tries to convince Kana that she shoudn’t get close to that man, however she wants to find out whether she should for herself. Elsewhere Kiyotsugu and the other Kiyo Cross members receive a sudden rush of reports about the battle. Rikuo pushes Tamazuki back however his subordinate, Yosuzume appears behind him and blinds him so he can only rely on his Meikyou Shisui technique to take out the surrounding Youkai. With everything completely dark to him, Tamazuki explains the balance of light and darkness and how they both apply to humans and Youkai. He then demands that he join his side and become complete in the darkness as he cuts him down, however Rikuo denies it reasoning that it’s the other that makes both light and dark stand out.

Because of this answer Tamazuki sees no use in him and decides to kill him however Yuki-Onna arrives just in time to save him, reminding him of when he was lost in the dark and a snow white hand reached out to him. He then tries to get her to go back but Yuki-Onna is determined to stay by his side, so Tamazuki kicks things off by sending Yosuzume to blind everyone. This reminds her of the same thing when she was worried that Rikuo had been attacked by a Yosuzume. Back in the alleyways where Shoei and Kurotabou were, they notice that the battle outside has fallen silent as Gozumaru and Mezumaru arrive back wounded.

Without her sight Yuki-Onna is easily beaten around by Yosuzume while Tamazuki prepares to get rid of Rikuo once and for all, however with a single look he invokes enough fear in him to start to disappear. But before he can do this Tamazuki slashes at him with the Maou’s Hammer, he’s then faced back to back with Yuki-Onna and though he still tells her to get away she uses the pledge of loyalty she made as for why she can’t do that. Rikuo then accepts this as she tells him that she will get rid of the darkness, revealing that she had covered her left eye in ice and freezes Yosuzume in place when she went in for the final blow. With Yosuzme’s spell broken Rikuo slashes at Tamazuki and prepares to face off with him once more.

Next Episode:

Thoughts:

With only two episodes left it was great to see it head into the final battle, and while a few things were changed regarding the setup of it and how it played out. It still did a good job at it and if anything I actually enjoyed it a bit more than what it was in the manga, which had focused more on Rikuo’s duel with Tamazuki while making everything else seeming like a pushover for Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakou.

The setup for this was also something a bit different as while it lacked that cool part of  the two groups just marching into the town to battle it out, it replaced this with various Youkai joining up with Rikuo and separating from his Hyakki Yakou on the way which seemed to show that there was going to be a bit more to the battle than just fighting it out on the streets. Because of this we were also able to see a bit of Gozumaru and Mezumaru’s Tanuki impersonating hijinks, where this time around they had proved their ability to deceive their enemies as they dressed up like Tanuki in order to get an idea of Tamazuki’s fighting strength and found out about the Maou’s Hammer. If anything I also thought that Rikuo not exactly having the immediate knowledge of something like that was also something that worked a little better.

The final battle was also something that seemed to benefit form this, as instead of just focusing on Rikuo fighting Tamazuki it went to show that there was a lot more going on. As before Rikuo had appeared in front of him we were able to see the various members of Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakou beginning to face off with the members of Tamazuki’s 88 Kiyakou, such as Keijourou and Kagibari-Onna, Kappa and Gangi-Kozu, and Aotabou with Tearai-Oni, while Yuki-Onna and the likes of Inugami were trying to find Rikuo. Because of this it was also great to see things like Kubinashi holding Inugami back and Kurotabou and Shoei protecting the clan’s flanks as well, though I hope that the latter two will join up with the main group in the next episode.

It was also good to see Yuki-Onna receive some development in this episode, serving to show both how long she had been by Rikuo’s side and just how determined she was to protect him no matter what. How the flashback itself that explained the former was also kind of nice in how it coincided with what was going through Rikuo’s mind as well. Most of all though, Yuki-Onna also got quite a bit of time to shine in this episode as stood by Rikuo’s side, faced off with Yosuzume, and was even the one to foil her spell which could have ultimately decided the battle. How she had covered her left eye may have been a bit obvious but it was also kind of a surprise.

Yosuzume also got a bit of time to shine as well with how she hadn’t really done much compared to the other Youkai affiliated with Tamazuki really adding to that surprise of what her abilities were. Which if anything came across as being kind of over powered, as even though they could simply be avoided by closing your eyes or even using other senses besides sight, both Rikuo and Yuki-Onna couldn’t really do anything once they lost their sight. With it even putting the main battle outside this on hold. It was also kind of nice to see her abilities first introduced through the flashback that Rikuo and Yuki-Onna had as well. Most of all it’s actually kind of surprising to see Ami Koshimizu voicing her as she hasn’t really said all that much.

It the middle of the battle it was also great to see Rikuo starting to develop some of the abilities that his grandfather had shown off when this arc was just beginning. As not only was he able to push back enemy grunts with a simple gaze (and even Tamazuki himself at one point), he was also starting to develop some of the primary characteristics of the Youkai he’s based on as well. Primarily how he was able to make it seem that he wasn’t even there with only Tamazuki being able to see him until he got close enough to attack, and even at one point he was about to use the same technique that his grandfather had used on Muchi on Tamazuki. It’s really a sign that he’s starting to come into his own as a Youkai and use the sort of techniques that they use, so it was something that was good to see amongst the final battle.

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