I gather from the buzz on the interwebs that Nurarihyon has decided to go with a manga “ending” for the season, rather than come up with a more conclusive anime-original ending. Of course we still have another episode to go next week, but it looks as if DEEN has made the odd choice of finishing the season with another recap episode. I’ll hold my fire until after I’ve seen it, just in case there’s new material there, but at this point it looks as if what we saw is what we’re going to get. Of course that prompts the inevitable question of whether or not there’s going to be a third season, and while I haven’t heard anything conclusive I wouldn’t be shocked. I don’t think this show needs to hit the “Manabi Line” (somewhere around 3K BD/DVD sales) to break even the way most series do – as long as it comes close and drives manga sales, I think everyone is happy.
So with all that said, if you were hoping for a definitive ending (I was) you’ll be disappointed, though perhaps only partially. The battle with Nue was sort of anti-climactic after an entire season of buildup. He tried to use the same “destroy” attack on Rikuo that he used on Tsuchigumo and send the Night Parade to hell, but Rikuo was able to withstand the attack and extend his protective aura to his team. This obviously left Rikuo pretty spent and Seimei moved in for the death blow, but just at that moment his sword arm turned into natto and he fell to his knees. He explained helpfully that his body hadn’t adjusted to the living world yet, and returned to hell with his followers in tow – leaving Rikuo with a compliment on his growth and a promise to return to kick his ass in future. Problem solved – for now.
I’d certainly hoped for something more epic and more decisive, especially as there really hadn’t been any foreshadowing – nor was there any real explanation after the fact – for what happened to Seimei. But while that was a letdown, there were certain other elements to the ep that I rather liked. I thought it was very interesting that Rikuo elected to allow the Kyoto youkai (including Hakuzozou) who were purely loyal to Hagoromo-Gitsune to keep her body and leave, even after all they’d done and allowing that she was his stepmother (which the Keikain were none too happy about). I especially liked the way the symbolic transition of generations was portrayed, with Gyuki and the other old-timers standing by and watching as Rikuo and his new Night Parade took the battle to Nue.
We also got another performance by Fujiwara Keiji as the GAR father figure speaking to his son from beyond the grave, which has been a staple of this year in anime. Quite nice to see the three generations of Nura Clan leaders get together, even if only in Rikuo’s human dreams, and it certainly points to his confidence in basically demanding that his Grandfather make him the Third Heir immediately. That’s pretty much where things are left, after a brief reunion with the Kiyo Cross (remember them? I really wonder why they came to Kyoto at all, as they were never really used in the plot) – Rikuo is to lead the Nura Clan in their coming battle with Nue, which Hidemoto guesses will be in able a year. There’s your third season, I suppose, assuming you’re going to get one – otherwise, there’s always the manga.