Things in Kyoto are making a lot more sense now that the Tengu’s role in all this has been clarified. But just when I thought I had Rikuo’s switching forms figured out, he’s training in human form even though it’s nighttime. What’s the deal with that – is he doing it on purpose, trying to fulfill Gyuki’s desire that he get in touch with his human side like dear old Dad? In any case, it’s always fun watching Rikuo interact with Zen, as their bromance is one of the cuter elements of this series. And it’s been sadly missing from most of this season.
The situation with the Great Tengu of Mount Kurama (Houki Katsuhisa) and Minagoroshi Jizo is certainly an interesting one, and it feels as if it could be the key plot element in this entire arc. The Tengu’s alliance with Gyuki makes perfect sense now – it’s a revenge thing. But just who the hell is Minagoroshi Jizo, and how did he manage to convince everyone in Hagoromo-Gitsune’s inner circle that he was one of them? Only Tsuchigumo, the guy who’s been sleeping under a seal for 400 years, knows the truth – and he doesn’t care enough to get involved. Despite GToMK’s confidence to the contrary, I’m not at all convinced that Nine-tails herself isn’t also being taken in.
I thought the scene between Yura and the 27th Heir was overplayed a bit, truth be told – sometimes with big emotional climaxes less is more, but Nurarihyon definitely went for the “more is more” approach here. Still, it was an important moment, the literal and symbolic passing of the torch and confirmation that Yura is the future of the clan. Not even Akifusa seemed inclined to argue, and who can blame him when you consider how much more luck she’s had against the enemy than he has. Admittedly it was the 13th Heir that was the brains of the operation, but it was Yura (should I call her “28th Heir” now?) was the one who summoned him. Perhaps Yura will learn from his pragmatic views on partnering with youkai, as one can only assume she’s going to be part of the grand mêlée for Rikuo’s chastity when this is all sorted out.
Speaking of which, looks like next week we finally loop back to the character I care most about, Tsurara, and Rikuo finally takes center-stage with the long-awaited rescue attempt. Whether the youkai attacking he and Zen are Tengu’s minions or Nine-tails’ I’m not sure, but I suspect in the act of defeating them he’ll take the final step in understanding his fear and how to use it to reach Tsuchigumo. Given Tsuchigumo’s nature, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him come over to Rikuo’s side once he’s defeated – he’s not the real enemy, after all, and seems to bear no loyalty to Hagoromo-Gitsune whatsoever. And for that matter, Hakuzozu has been MIA since he was defeated. Is he destined to come back into the picture, or has his role in the story been played out?