Short Synopsis: Hokuto, Akasha and whatshisname (the bug guy) carry out their plan to destroy the Kougonshuu (that’s what it was called, right?)
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Great to see that even though the finale is near, this series has yet to show any signs of weakness. That’s what I like to see, and I really have to say that Shikabane Hime grew into one of the best shounen series out there. I’m still not sure who exactly was responsible for it: the director of Gilgamesh, Gainax or feel (although the latter seems unlikely, looking at its past record), or a combination of the three of them, but any fears I had over the second season were proven wrong, and it’s the definite proof that you can have a few overdone clichés here and there as long as the execution is right. Yes, you can put a bunch of teenagers in the middle of adult conflicts, but if you want to do that you really have to know what you’re doing. ^^;
What surprised me in this episode though was that there was no background on the final two members of the seven stars, and most of it was building up, meaning that their stories are saved for the final two episodes. I remember when Kekkaishi did this, it felt really out of place. It was like… “Muaha, the climax is about to begin… but first let me tell you about my past”. Still, Shikabane Hime might actually pull it off. Nearly all of the backgrounds of the seven stars have been huge revelations and juicy plot twists. I can see how they can be used to spice up these final two episodes, and I’m actually quite eager to find out about them.
I also liked how this finale has a deeper meaning than “all hell breaks loose so let’s just send a wave of zombies to make this even more apparent”. Because there now are so many shikabane out there, it was going to be pretty easy for all of the Shikabane Hime to gather their 108 kills needed in order to go to heaven. Since they think just like regular people, it adds an interesting dimension of staying versus saying goodbye while saving those around you and going to heaven in the process.
And I guess that even though the two remaining seven stars didn’t get their background, Akasha did. His final revelation is saved for the final two episodes (either that or I missed a very important part), but we now know that his Shikabane Hime managed to slay 108 Shikabane, and then something really bad happened. Is this the case for every single Shikabane Hime (in that case a lot of monks must have been screwed that way), or did something happen between the two of them involving the Kougonshuu?
And finally, Hokuto seemed more like a human than she ever did in this episode. Was this all because of her fight with Makina? Did she find her reason to continue to exist even though she lacks a grudge this way? I also like how the creators aren’t trying to make her into a sympathetic villain like most series out there. Sure, her past was fucked up, but she never tries to put herself into the victim’s seat.
And on a really final note: that background song rocked. Choirs FTW!