Without so much as a flick from his hand, Seimei stops Tsuchigumo’s advance and casts him too down to the fiery pit that lies below. After which Minagoroshi-Jizou presents to him the Maou’s Hammer, and disgusted with Kyoto’s current state he uses it to burn the city. Referring to him as Sanmoto Gorozaemon.
A name that resonates with the Nura clan as a name belonging to someone who Rihan had defeated and destroyed in the past, the leader of the Hundred Tales clan of Edo. However Minagoroshi-Jizou reveals that he is but one piece of one hundred, so he shouldn’t refer to him as that, before setting about beating Yura. But before he can go any further Rikuo drives his blade through his back, and now completely pissed with Seimei intends to take him down.
But with only the tip of his finger Seimei blocks him and shatters Nenekirimaru, responding by activating the Maou’s Hammer and swinging it down. However Hagoromo’s host protects him from his first strike, and his grandfather from the second, pulling them away long enough to explain the details about Hagoromo’s host as the others finally catch up, explaining that she was known as Yamabuki-Otome, and in joint with her, that was Rihan’s wife back in the day, but while they got along well due to being unable to present an heir after so many years she left him, leaving behind a poem where she wrote of how the Yamabuki rose, while beautiful, bears no fruit. Blaming herself for being unable to conceive when in truth it was due to Hagoromo’s curse. After which just how everything came into place is explained, that having met in hell Seimei and Sanmoto Gorozaemon conspired to kill him as he was a hinderance to Seimei’s plan, crushing his mother each time she rose up. Deciding to use Seimei’s resurrection technique and Sanmoto Gorozaemon’s ability to manipulate memories to present Yamabuki Otome towards Rihan as the daughter he would have had with her. Using her to make him drop his guard before using the poem she left behind as a trigger for her to impale him with the Maou’s Hammer.
During all of this some of the veterans in the Nura clan the Great Tengu had also begun to take on Seimei only to be thrown back, with Gyuuki being knocked back just as he was about to get serious, and before he can go any further Rikuo steps up to take over. Confronting alongside his grandfather who declares that those that exemplify coexistence between humans and Youkai like his son and grandson are his pride and joy, but before they can take him on they find that they’re not alone. With Rikuo’s entire Hyakki Yakou making their way up to his side, and even with only the hilt of his blade left, Rikuo prepares to go up against Seimei.
In all an all right episode, with only two or so more episodes left things are approaching their conclusion quite nicely, and alongside it we were able to get some answers as well. However if anything some of those answers weren’t exactly what I would have preferred.
Namely the one to do with Hagoromo’s host and just how she was able to get close enough to kill Rihan. Being not that she was genuinely Rihan’s daughter but instead that she was the reincarnation of Rihan’s former wife posing as his daughter who left him because she couldn’t conceive instead. Yamabuki-Otome. And to be honest, ever since it came up in the manga it hasn’t been something I’ve been all that fond of, overall it just feels like something that was tacked on at the very last minute to meaninglessly complicate things and further villain-ise Minagoroshi-Jizou beyon his recently revealed status as the puppet master in all of it, heck he even beat Yura for the sake of beating her. Not to mention that her being Rihan’s daughter, a theory that seemed to make a lot more sense beforehand, still would have explained everything and then some, and better yet would have fitted in with Hagoromo’s spite by having her prop up in the Nura clan’s own bloodline to strike back at them.
Better yet, by some stretch she still could have been Rihan’s half-daughter by keeping in Yamabuki-Otome, who even despite mainly being the result of this tacked on explanation wasn’t really that bad. If anything it was quite nice to see that Rihan had another wife in between the four hundred or so years following his birth and raising after the Nurarihyon rode off into the sunset with Youhime, and the modern era that the current story takes place in, it just would have been stupid for him not to. And alongside it, it also gave a glimpse into the past that the series excels so well in. However if so it would have gone against the part of Hagoromo’s curse on the Nura bloodline being unable to conceive with other Youkai, something which aside from subtly pointing that there won’t be a Yuki-Onna end mainly only served to make Yamabuki-Otome’s plot a tragic one.
Aside from that it also wasn’t that bad to see the confrontation between Rikuo and Seimei extended from simply having him come at him, pissed after seeing what he did to Hagoromo as well as the part he had in his father’s death, with Nenekirimaru only to have it shatter without so much as a flick from Seimei’s finger. To an all out fight between the old badasses in the Nura clan, and later the newcomers ranging from the guys Rikuo has had by his side since the start to those he has right now, all making for a particularly awesome moment as they all rose up to take him on. Aside from that it also made the pause in the action quite plausible, Seimei was too busy with them allowing the Nurarihyon and Yamabuki to go into exposition mode. The downside however is that action scenes aren’t exactly Studio Deen’s specialty, as most of the time they simply look clunky or lack any tension what so ever. Aside from that I was also kind of pissed at how much they downplayed how strong Gyuuki is, he hasn’t really been given a chance to show it but from what some points have seemed to imply he should be fairly powerful, let alone he had just gotten serious. And then just right after that how the others seemed to have more luck against him, even keeping how they all teamed up against him in mind it just doesn’t seem plausible.