As the battle rages on Inugamigyoubu wonders whether he’ll make it in time and Kana and Yura have taken to the streets.
Shoei brings Gozumaru and Mezumaru to Zen to tend to their wounds, however they feel that the information they have needs to urgently be brought to Rikuo. After leading Gangi Kouzou on a chase around the city, Kappa leads him up to the water tower where he finishes him with a giant Mizuchi ball, and on the ground below Aotabou is having trouble with Tearai-Oni so he decides to go all out. Removing his skull rosary that limits his strength and sending him flying with a single punch, upon seeing this Kurotabou takes out the surrounding enemies with a whirlwind of slashes.
Inugami tries to escape yet Kubinashi tells him that it’s meaningless against Keijourou’s threads, elsewhere Keijourou is trying to convince Kagibari-Onna to give up however just like Inugami she’s convinced that Tamazuki will lead them to a new world. Seeing that the battle isn’t going his way anymore, Tamazuki draws the Maou’s Hammer and begins to slaughter his 88 Kiyakou, transforming the blade into something else entirely. Seeing this Inugami breaks away and Keijourou tries to stop him, only to be cut down as soon as she gets close enough and in her death she realises that she had only followed him out of fear for her life, asking Inugami if he feels the same. This disgusts Keijourou with Kubinashi needing to hold her back, and Gozumaru and Mezumaru’s information finally reaches Rikuo.
While the Kiyo Cross heads towards the battle, Yura is faced with a group of Youkai so she deploys all four of her Shikigami to protect the townspeople, however with Tamazuki just ahead they’re all end up being effortlessly cut down. As he draws closer it seems like the end for her, however Rikuo arrives just in time and manages to save her, breaking Tamazuki’s mask. He tells her to get back and protect the humans before preparing to fight Tamazuki. Still aboard the train Inugamigyoubu explains how he feels that his son must be trying to surpass him after his army had been wiped out in the past by the Maou’s Hammer. As he prepares to face Rikuo, Tamazuki feels that he his “fear” has surpassed Rikuo’s and just when Rikuo manages to restrain him with the members of his Hyakki Yakou at his back, Inugami spots Kana and grabs her.
He bids Tamazuki to kill them once and for all but Rikuo tells Kana to close her eyes if she’s afraid, bringing back the memories of how Rikuo had first awakened as a Youkai to save her and his friends from Gagoze. Where he had cut him down and first declared that he would lead all Youkai, and from remembering this she isn’t afraid. So Inugami throws her aside and tells Tamazuki how he’ll follow him to the new world he spoke of, however not liking his methods Tamazuki brings down his sword.
He tries to ask why he’d do this only for Tamazuki to stab him to complete the Maou’s Hammer. After seeing how he treats his underlings, Rikuo tells him that the “fear” that he’s acquired doesn’t emanate from him and that true “fear” is something else entirely, admiration. Tamazuki then accepts that they are complete opposites and awakens the Maou’s Hammer with Rikuo fight him head on.
To be honest I didn’t quite expect that there would be another episode for this making it a twenty-five episode series (disregarding the recap episode that was thrown in between the arcs), but I really liked how this episode played out. Beginning with a lot of fast paced switching between the other fights going on before it went on to the main fight at hand, looking into what exactly the sort of “fear” that a Youkai leader has is.
Being able to see the likes of Aotabou, Kappa, and even Kurotabou go all out in their fights was something that was great to see, with the former two continuing where they had left off with Gangi Kouzou and Tearai-Oni. And while Kappa’s fight may have not been as exciting due to how he was already dominating Gangi Kouzou when they first fought, Aotabou’s fight was quite the opposite. Where at first Tearai-Oni had almost defeated him before he decided to remove the rosary that had been limiting his strength, something that hadn’t really been seen at all in the series and managed to give a hint about just how strong he really was. It still may have been kind of short but it was still something that was fun to see, even accompanied by Kurotabou spinning his way around the battlefield making for something that was awesome as well.
After this it then proceeded to show just how loyal the likes of Inugami and Kagibari-Onna were to Tamazuki and how he had lured them in with the promise of taking them to a new world. Which actually made their deaths rather sad to see and I actually felt sorry for Kagibari-Onna when she was cut down, especially how she wondered how Inugami really felt about Tamazuki as she died. How Inugami had died was actually something I had expected, being used as the last step to power up the Maou’s hammer, and was actually something I had preferred over the manga. As Tamazuki had simply killed him because he didn’t like his methods and had failed, and while it didn’t quite carry over some of the feelings he had in the manga, by making him out to be someone who was absolutely loyal to him. It gave the impression that he really would have been the only one who truly “feared” him and would have actually followed him of his own accord. So all up, his death didn’t seem as meaningless and how Tamazuki had killed him at the drop of a hat simply made his actions a lot more shocking.
It goes without saying that these actions also went to show that Tamazuki was beyond the point of return as a villain. As while cutting down the members of his 88 Kiyakou may have been something that showed him as someone who only saw his underlings as something to be used, cutting down Kagibari-Onna and even his right hand man Inugami was definitely something that set him above that. Showing that even his most loyal followers who would have followed him to the end weren’t safe from him in this regard. His view of what “fear” really was, was also somewhat interesting for what he saw it as was literally terrifying those under him, as shown by Kagibari-Onna’s dying realisation.
How this “fear” that they were talking about was shown to actually be admiration was also something that was nicely shown, as Rikuo described it by simply talking about his grandfather like he had learned it just by watching and being around him when he was growing up. Aside from that how it also fitted in with Shoei realising what the “fear” that his father talked about truly was and how the members of Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakou had already acknowledged this was also something that was nice to see alongside it. But how it all worked together to make Rikuo and Tamazuki out to be complete opposites was also something that was great to see, and adding that little bit more to their final showdown.
Even though Inugamigyoubu had revealed that the army that had been wiped out in the past by the Maou’s Hammer was his own, it didn’t exactly seem necessary as there were already enough signs that pointed to it anyway. But still how it showed him just hoping that he would make it in time to save his son was something that I liked about it. The way in which Kana and Yura were used in this episode was also something that I liked, with Yura gaining that extra bit of involvement in the final battle being something that I had been anticipating. While Kana got a whole lot more through being used as a hostage at first before feeling complete trust in Rikuo, bringing up more of the stuff that had been cut out from the beginning. Showing not only where Kiyotsugu’s fascination with Youkai came from, but also the desire that Rikuo had to lead all Youkai originated from as well.