A couple of moments stood out for me this week. First, Nurarihyon’s “At this point in my life I cannot defeat Hagoromo-Gitsune. Maybe Rikuo can.” That’s the most frank admission yet from the old youkai that it isn’t just his appearance that’s been impacted by having his heart eaten by the nine-tailed fox, but his strength as well. Still, he was practicing with a shinai at the time he said it – which tells me that the elder statesman of the clan isn’t quite ready to be a pure bystander as things run their course.
Also striking was Hidemoto’s coming out party, where the 13th heir introduced himself to the Keikain and apparently the civic leaders of Kyoto as well. He’s a cheeky shikigami, this one – on the one hand taking great pains to set up Yura as the true leader of the resistance, on the other quite clearly taking charge of the strategizing himself. It’s he who knows where all the bodies are buried (literally) in this fight, and he counsels the Keikain to let Nine-tails and her minions destroy the final seal and take possession of Nijo Castle. His reasoning? The period of a few weeks while Nine-tails prepares to give birth inside the castle will be the last, best chance to defeat the Kyoto youkai. But they’d better not let her actually produce her offspring, are things will go from bad to worse quickly. Their weapons for the fight are Yura’s Hagun summoning and the demon-slaying blade Nenekirimaru, in the hands of the Nura Clan.
As Tsurara informs the Keikain when she emerges from hiding (much to Yura’s chagrin) the Nura Clan is already in Kyoto – though even she isn’t aware of just how many Nura have arrived. Hakuzozu refuses to join the Nura after all, but he does warn Rikuo that he should go immediately to Fushimi Inari Shrine, as that’s where the “spiral seal” is kept. How is this different from the seals Nine-tails and her flunkies are destroying? Not clear yet, nor is the reason that all of the Nura and Tono youkai are remaining in their nighttime form. However, it is clear that the two clans have buried the hatchet (and not between each other’s shoulder blades) and are united against the Kyoto youkai. At this point we’ve surely arrived at the point where all of the allied forces are about to come together, and the real battle begins.
I wonder – just how much of what’s happening is apparent to the human population of Kyoto? Do they notice the giant sentient airship that destroys lampposts and creates tidal waves as it crashes in the river? Are they aware of the giant tornados of miasma that dot the town? In any case, they’re certainly aware of it when youkai surround them looking for livers. Rikuo will have plenty to keep him busy if he wants to protect this population, but from the looks of the preview it looks as if he’ll have to do so in human form at least part of the time in the next episode.