Short Synopsis: Akasha finally reveals why he’s doing the things he did.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Seriously, is there no end to this series’ awesomeness? While the second season started out with a bunch of really bad and questionable episodes, it picked itself up so well after that, and delivered one hit after the other. I really must thank this series for giving me back my faith in shounen fighting series. Ever since the Law of Ueki, I’ve found myself disappointed by these series so many times, but this series really has been everything a good shounen series should be. This is exactly what I was hoping for when I found out that the director of Gilgamesh was behind it. Love it or hate it, but it had lots of interesting and imaginative stuff, and Shikabane Hime is the same: it knows exactly how to deal with its viewers’ expectations, and go completely beyond that.
And really, to think that this series is a manga adaptation. I really wouldn’t have suspected this: Ever since episode seven of the first season, there hasn’t been any filler, there are no wasted episodes, there are no pacing issues, and it looks like everything is going to be solved in the next episode. It may be that the story of the manga fits the 25 episode format exactly, but what’s more like is that the creators tweaked the storyline a bit so that it would fit into this time-frame. Seriously, a lot of series should try to follow this show’s example.
And this episode yet again continued this show’s string of awesomeness. We were promised Akasha’s background, but we got so much more. From the BEGINNING, he was planning on betraying the seven stars and use the strange cube to take control over Hokuto. The reason why he looked like such a weakling for the past number of episodes was because he simply let himself get pushed around, since at the time he couldn’t risk it to go against the bug guy. His duty was to protect Hokuto, and since the previous episode pretty much distracted him from this task, he grabbed his chance.
His background also rocked beyond belief. And while it was the kind of “I lost my loved one so I want revenge!”, there is so much more added. He actually was the victim of something that happens to every monk who makes his Shikabane kill 108 corpses. When that happens, they simply turn back into an ordinary Shikabane, just as if their contractor was killed. His Shikabane Hime also was his former girlfriend, fully tying this into the theme of “Shikabane Hime aren’t people, they’re a bunch of dead bodies” that has been explored by both Ouri and Sougi in detail, and continues to build further upon it.
So yeah, right now you can pretty much consider me a fan of the director, Masahiko Murata. Both Shikabane Hime and Gilgamesh were simply awesome, and I’m getting more and more interested in his other works and see what he can do. This guy really has talent, and is not afraid to use it.
In any case, only one episode left, and it really is promising to be yet another action-packed one. The big difference is that the first season really was building up to that big climax of its, while most of the build-up at this point has already been used. Let’s see whether the creators can give us one final surprise with this series.