It’s almost as if Nurarihyon has been saving double entendres for two years, and did a massive download for the first five minutes of this episode. “He did it with Zen, too?!” Never mind the expression on Itaku’s face when he and Rikuo were “equipping” together. I’m sure Rikuo is just bi-curious when it comes to Fear, but that didn’t seem to make Tsurara feel any better. In all seriousness, this is obviously a pretty powerful technique if it can do that kind of HP damage to Tsuchigumo. But you just can’t beat Tsuchi-G – he blows the bloody snot out of his nose, sews his head back together and goes off to nap until Nue is born. As I’d hoped, looks like he and Rikuo will be allies for the final battle.
The big surprise for me is Grandpa Nurarihyon’s unexpected arrival on the scene. He’s been much more observer than participant in this series, and his eventual involvement in S1 was teased for weeks (I thought the Shinaknsen was supposed to be fast). I buy his reasoning that he only wanted to gather information, not fight – he does seem realistic to know what he can do and what he can’t – though it was pretty reckless of him to go right into Hagoromo-Gitsune’s lair to find out if she’d killed his son. While the old man still has some mojo, in truth he’s really no match for Nine-tails and her inner circle, and only escapes (barely) with the help of Karasu-Tengu.
But not before a run-in with Minagoroshi-Jizu. He remains at the heart of one of the two huge mysteries hanging over the series. Just who is he, who is he working for and what are his ultimate goals? He’s obviously not truly working with Nine-tails and her crew, and he possesses the Devil’s Blade sword which was used to kill Rikuo’s father. We’ve seen what that blade can do, and things don’t look good for Nurarihyon after being run through with it. I’m wondering if the old man will make his presence known to his Grandson or not – I don’t expect him to crawl away and die quietly, but if he knows he’s mortally wounded he’s not going to want to be a burden just when the climactic battle is about to begin.
The other big question – just what the hell is Nue? We know he’s a big fan of human livers and Tsuchi-G gives us some tantalizing clues, that he was a human and an onmyouji who lived a thousand years ago and rules over Kyoto’s darkness. Obviously Yura doesn’t want to hear that an onmyouji could be evil, never mind on the cusp of being reborn as None-tails child, but Hidemoto seems to recognize immediately just who Tsuchigumo is talking about. I can’t escape the feeling the Hagoromo-Gitsune is a giant red herring in all this, a tool in the hands of beings even more evil than she is.