No question about it, Tsuchigumo is a badass. Even Hidemoto admitted there’s no way he’d have defeated the big guy with the tobacco habit 400 years ago – he somehow managed to get him to accept being sealed, for reasons the anime didn’t do an especially good job clarifying. In any case, his strategy seems to have been to avoid taking on Tsuchigumo for as long as possible, but that’s in tatters as the giant youkai comes looking for opponents he can much un, and Rikuo and his Night Parade are the best looking dish at the buffet.
It seems pretty clear that Rikuo is no match for Tsuchigumo even with his Tomo skills worked in, but with his subordinates being attacked he has no choice but to take the battle to the opponent. Miraculously he’s able to land a blow and lop off one of Tsuchi’s fingertips, presumably because he wields the demon-slaying blade. Rikuo’s anger rises to a fever pitch when Tsurara is severely wounded by one of the giant’s attacks, but even as a youkai he seems powerless – so when the sun breaks through and he returns to chibi form, things look hopeless indeed. Again, the anime doesn’t do a great job of explaining why Rikuo has retained his youkai form even during the day since arriving in Kyoto, only to have it revert now – is it because the last of the seals has been broken?
Meanwhile, Hagoromo-Gitsune and her true believers are settling in below Nijo Castle. While Nine-tails is picking out furniture for the nursery her subordinates are squabbling, so she sends them out to collect 10,000 human livers – and presumably some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Where Tsuchigumo could care less for taking sides, caring only for entertainment and sustenance, Nine-tails clearly has a larger plan in mind involving the birth of her child. Looks like it’s going to be a rough time for Kyoto’s human populating – they were already having a bad day, and it’s about to get a lot worse.
The new wrinkle this week is the arrival of Gyuki (Nakata Jouji), sent by Nurarihyon to watch over his Grandson. It seems that someone is always coming along to remind Rikuo how week he is, and it’s Gyuki’s turn now. It’s not exactly clear what role he intends to take her, although he does declare himself Rikuo’s “new commander”. Given his checkered history will the others in RIkuo’s Night Parade – a different generation – follow Gyuki, even if he is such a confidante of the old man? Certainly, the Tono youkai have no allegiance to him whatsoever. The first battle of wills will apparently be over the rescue of Yuki-onna, held captive by Tsuchigumo at Sokokuji Temple. No matter what Gyuki says, I can’t imagine Rikuo leaving that mission to anyone else.