Direct continuity from 06 this week, as we literally pick up the moment that episode left off. Kana is still alone in the dark, the boys still passed out and mumbling, the girls cowering in the baths under Yura’s protection, and Rikuo still defending Yuki Onna from Gozumaru.
Last week was definitely no mirage – that was Day Rikuo taking a stance and challenging Gozu with the sword. I finally have what I was asking for, a bit of consciousness overlap between the two halves of Rikuo’s nature. As you can see from the pic above, this “human” Rikuo is nicely drawn – while he clearly hasn’t transformed into Night Rikuo he has a bit of an alien, feral look to him that I love. And while not the powerhouse that Night Rikuo is, little Day Rikuo isn’t half-bad with a sword – able to call forth something more than mere human power and surprising Gozumaru in the process. While it’s Night Rikuo who (somewhat disappointingly) shows up to settle things when Gozu shows his true form, it’s now clear that Day Rikuo is not totally out of touch with his demon side.
Another interesting element here was how the Supreme Commander, despite first-hand intelligence thanks to the Tengu Clan, decides to let Rikuo handle Gyuuki on his own. Clearly this is a test of both Rikuo’s power and dedication to the cause. While the others, like Lord Zen, would like to assist, Grandpa forbids it. And that’s where we more or less leave things here, with Night Rikuo about to face off with Gyuuki. But not before he has a very interesting encounter with Kana on the stone steps, emerging from the night with twin balls of foxfire escorting him in a great entrance. He has a brief conversation with her, then leaves my darling Yuki Onna in her care and heads off to settle matters with Gyuuki once and for all.
I’m consistently enjoying this series, though not quite loving it yet. Too many of the characters are still a bit 2D for my tastes, but the development of some of the others – Rikuo, Yuki Onna and Zen especially – has been interesting. With a long run of eps ahead of us I suspect this series is going to get darker and more complex and just generally better as we progress, and I can’t wait to see that. What I am already loving is the way the series uses striking visuals to really create a mood. The entire sequence with Night Rikuo and Kana on the steps, while relatively simply animated, was a masterpiece of lighting and imagery.