Amezou, Awashima, and Itaku join the fight against Tsuchigumo but knowing that the only chance they have of defeating him is for him to once more wear the fear of one of his companions, Rikuo once more attempts the technique. But with Zen still recovering from the last attack, and Yuki-Onna humbly declining when she finds out that he first used this technique with Zen. It doesn’t exactly seem possible.
But among the options he has left are Awashima and Itaku, but without any knowledge of the former’s fear his only choice is the latter, so as Itaku is striking blows at Tsuchigumo he asks him to become his blade. Adding a wind swirl to his back and giving Nenekirimaru a longer scythe-like blade, which with a single strike cleaves through Tsuchigumo. Causing his blood to fall like rain, as he feels that it would have been a waste to dodge that attack.
Deep in the depths of Nijo Castle at this point Hagoromo-Gitsune prepares to give birth when a familiar face and voice appear before her, the Nurarihyon, however in his place is a withered old man. Despite his age however he still evades all of her tales and puts his blade to her throat, asking if she was the one who killed their clan’s second heir, his son. And having found his answer he prepares to leave the matter of defeating her to Rikuo and leave, but a burst of maleviolent fear from the Nue disrupts his own and as he tries to hide, Ibaraki-Douji cuts him down. With more and more of her retainers following up.
By this point though the other members of Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakou have finally caught up and he’s been able to somewhat fix things with Yuki-Onna, and while Tsuchigumo may still be alive this time he thanks him for giving him the best fight he’s had since the Nue. Explaining how he’d been waiting for the chance to fight him again and that the Nue was also partially human, not to mention an Omnyouji, laughing at Yura’s notion that he’d be working to help humans he stitches his face back together and takes his leave. In the depths of Nijo Castle however the Nurarihyon’s situation isn’t any brighter, as even as Karasu-Tengu sweeps in to save him at the last-minute, they find themselves blinded as Minagoroshi-Jizou impales him with the Maou’s Hammer. Commenting that it’s now tasted the blood of every Nura Clan head.
Yet even despite this, he still manages to grab Karasu-Tengu and plunge into the moat, having suspicions about Minagoroshi-Jizou and why he has that blade. But before he can go after him, Minagoroshi-Jizou is interrupted by and learns from Kidoumaru that Hagoromo-Gitsune is about to go into labour. Just as the Rikuo and his Hyakki Yakou are sighted in the distance as Rikuo marches on Nijo Castle, remembering how his father would do the same.
Another good episode, at this point I’m still wondering how everything can be concluded in this arc in only six episodes but it’s surprised me before in that aspect so I’m sure everything will turn out nicely. But anyway this was another good episode, a conclusion to the fight with Tsuchigumo, Yuki-Onna getting jealous, and more delicious Hagoromo–Gitsune as the Nurarihyon makes his move.
Which I have to admit stole the spotlight for me in this episode, even as Rikuo took down Tsuchigumo with his new technique and Itaku’s help, this confrontation was simply great. After four hundred years the bitter rivals meet once more, the Nurarihyon now being little more than a withered old man and he just wants to know one thing, was she the one who killed his son? And better yet as he arrived she saw the ghost of his past in his place, fitting in with that bitter sense of grieving nostalgia that this arc has just so much of. Not so long after that it even managed to pull off a nice sense of dread as well, everything at that point as Hagoromo-Gitsune’s followers took turns attacking him seemed to say that he was about to die, escaping would have been difficult enough to begin with but by making one small mistake it became near impossible, and just when it seemed he would get away Minagoroshi-Jizou was waiting for him.
Aside from that the conclusion to the fight with Tsuchigumo was pretty good as well, and through things like Yuki-Onna’s jealous yet humble decline when she found out that Rikuo had worn Zen’s fear first and could very well wear anyone’s fear it turned out to be pretty fun as well. That said the interesting part of it was how we got to see Rikuo use this technique with another one of his companions, in doing so temporarily gaining new abilities and another tattoo to his back as well, and while it may have been obvious that it was going to be Itaku. I must admit that I’m kind of sad at how it skipped over the chance to see him wear Awashima‘s fear, sure it was the same way in the manga but I’m still kind of disappointed something likethis was completely overlooked. But anyway, it was still fairly interesting either way and I must admit that I like how the effects can be so similar yet be able to give off a different feeling, where as it gave off a sharp sort of one instead this time.
Finally I guess I kind of liked how they’re kind of going into detail regarding the Nue now, personally I’ve never really liked the guy, his back story may have been nicely done at showing how he reached his current goal but when compared to the villain before him, the elegant Hagoromo-Gitsune. He simply pales in comparison. But anyway I liked how his coming is being foreshadowed, we see all of Hagoromo-Gitsune’s followers and Tsuchigumo going on about the Nue but we still don’t really have that much knowledge about him aside from that he’s supposed to be really powerful. So if anything to have some more details on him come up was rather welcome, and already how like Rikuo, he was part human is already coming across as another look at that theme of coexistance between humans and Youkai that this series has. Though you could say that he went down the opposite path.