Having been saved once more by him, Yura reflects on how she’s met Rikuo’s night form in the past as he prepares to face Ryuuji who shows him another trick he has up his sleeve. Gyogen, which creates flowers of water that destroy anything they touch, however he reveals that he can only use this for three minutes.
Three episodes in and already we’re seeing signifigant developments.
But even with these three minutes up he still has the barrier he was working on which Rikuo only manages to evade at the cost of his jacket, and if it weren’t for Nenekimaru being unable to harm humans he would have cut him down. Despite this he still forgot Mamiru who proceeds to take him down, and only now does Yura recognise him as Ryuuji explains that he’s been taken in by the Keikan’s main house.
And just before it’s too late the rest of the Nura clan arrive and the Omnyouji find themselves surrounded, and while they can’t believe that Rikuo is their head, Yura is shocked to think that he’s the Nurarihyon’s grandson, meaning that the kind old man she met was noneother than the Nurarihyon himself. Aside from that, Yuki-Onna arrives late and still in her disguise, completely blowing her cover. Even against these numbers Mamiru intends to keep going but Ryuuji forces him to back down, then proceeding to tell Yura what he came here to tell her. That two of her brothers are dead and their nemesis has returned, Hagoromo-Gitsune and so she has to return. The name also appears to ring a bell with Rikuo as Ryuuji passes on a message to him, look after the sword and to tell his grandfather that they won’t feed him if he comes.
In the end he also reveals that he had a last ditch barrier that he could have used to defeat them but dispels it and leaves, refusing to even acknowledge Rikuo’s “grey” existance. Following this they all head back to the Nura household where Yuki-Onna is forced to tend to Yura’s injuries and when she finally gets away she manages to meet Rikuo again. Taking some relief that he’s still himself and that he isn’t evil, only to be kicked in the pond and change her stance as he tells her to hurry back to Kyoto. And while he looks forward to her pledge to destroy him, he also offers to tag along. With all of this Gyuuki also passes on what Ryuuki said to Rikuo’s grandfather, bringing his memories from four hundred years ago flying back.
A time where Youkai walked the streets of Kyoto at night completely without fear and were after things known as Ikigimo, the livers of women and babies, which they believed gave them strength when they ate them. However at this time the Nurarihyon and the Nura clan under him weren’t a group who believed it.
Only three episodes in and we’re already getting some pretty solid developments, not only has Rikuo’s cover towards Yura been blown but even now things are progressing towards the end confrontation with Hagoromo-Gitsune, or at least getting to Kyoto. And more prominately we’re getting another look at Rikuo’s grandfather in his younger days.
First off it was interesting to see Rikuo’s secret identity being exposed to Yura so early into the season, it’s the sort of thing that I had originally expected to remain a secret for most of the series, afterall he’s already spent an entire season covering it up and even in the manga this point sat at what must have been a year since it was serialised. Hardly that far for something that could have been saved for the long run. So in short it felt as if Shiibashi was getting straight to the point with it (or was being rushed), not only by having Yura learn about it swiftly but also hardly leaving her that much time to dwell on it. The latter part however could be seen as a flaw though, we still may have got some nice reactions from her as she started to believe that he really wasn’t all that bad and that the biggest Youkai in town had been right under her nose, but there was hardly enough to her reaction.
With that it was also great to see that things are already quickly heading to the action in this arc, that the seeds for it have been sown and that there won’t be time for any unnecessary messing around. As with Hagoromo-Gitsune back and already on the move, having killed two of Yura’s “brothers”, time really is of the essence. So with this sort of tense atmosphere, the focus feels as if it should be set on getting down the key base points before things kick off. Pretty much taking the time to introduce some necessary characters, whether they’re more members of the Keikan clan, some more allies for Rikuo, or Hagoromo-Gitsune herself, as well as making a few preparations needed before heading off. Especially as far as Rikuo is concerned, without his Deus-Ex-Machina to pull him out of trouble (undeniably the biggest flaw in the series), he isn’t really that strong, he has a few tricks but what currently he’s been relying on but it’s far from what he’ll need when he gets to Kyoto.
Finally it was also good to see that the story has temporarily shifted back to the past to begin this, giving us the chance to see Rikuo’s grandfather being badass in his younger days and telling the story of how he met Rikuo’s grandmother. And it goes without saying that it’s going to be related to what’s currently at hand, the origins of Nenekimaru, the Keikan clan’s current state, Hagoromo-Gitsune, and this story as well are all going to be connected no matter how you look at it. Last of all with this change in the time period the overall feeling has also changed. Shifting from a modern action orientated one where Youkai barely have much influence, to one set in Feudal Japan where under the protection of night they walk the streets as they please and haven’t really been backed into the shadows yet. In short to a classical horror of sorts. Overall it really just makes for a good change of pace, it’s fun following Rikuo and all but I personally find his grandfather’s exploits to be a lot more interesting.