Posted by psgels on 19 March 2009 with categories: Shikabane Hime



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.

7 Responses

  1. Irie says:

    Without the subs, it was difficult to follow but really quite a nice plot twist. Wow. I wonder why this information regarding the completion of the 108 killings was never shared. You would think it would have leaked.

    Anyway, great reveal and nice change in expectations. What will Ouri do? Can’t wait to see how this ends.

  2. L.A says:

    two episodes left actually…

  3. L.A says:

    oops my mistake soory
    it IS only one episode left..

  4. aegd says:

    Corrections

    “When that happens, they simply turn back into an ordinary Shikabane, just as if their contractor was killed.”

    No, they turn into something much worse. They turn into a 破壊の屍 “a shikabane who brings destruction”. These shikabane can not be killed, and they will keep living until the end of days. That’s why they are locked deep down in the earth in those coffins. Judging from the battle with hazaman these shikabane are also very powerful, seing how she managed to kill several priests and shikabane in just a few seconds after she attained her 108 “killstreak” :D and became a 破壊の屍.

    All those coffins each holds a 破壊の屍. They were bound there by another shikabane, the founders of the orders daughter, who also was the first shikabane ever created. This is also the same reason why only young women who fulfill a certain criteria can become shikabane. The order can only create shikabane according to the formula the orders founder made way back.

    The reason why the link between the shikabane hime and their priests was cut was because hokutou killed the first shikabane hime. I figure she was the only one who could accomplish this, with the special power she has.

    In the end of the episode we also learn that the shikabane hime can form a link with just their contractor. They don’t need to be linked by the first shikbane hime that hokutou killed. Allthough it made them lose the connection to their contractor at the moment hokutou killed the first shikabane hime.

  5. aegd says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention. The “縁切り” severing of connection between the 屍 and 契約僧 is also performed before the 破壊の屍 is imprisoned underground at the 本山 “head temple”.

    just throwing around words here, mostly to help myself remember them :D

  6. Denizen says:

    Thanks for the explanation, aegd.

  7. Irie says:

    Much appreciated with the details! Really a very good series. Looking forward to the finale.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that event later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @bam, Muv Luv has the problem that most of its brillence lies in the third title. But in order for the third title to have the same effect you need to read the first two. Successful or not, I doubt theres animation studio willing to go all in and adapt the full trilogy. There’s also the issue of the first title being a really mediocre harem.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 12:48 PM)
    just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of reasons why y’all need a PS4 for the upcoming year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Hz8eXWHNY
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:09 AM)
    Why they didn’t adapt the original Muv Luv novel or Alternative is a mystery to me. Wasn’t the VN really successful? Whats with these offshoot shows instead of doing the real deal? They are avoiding it for some reason.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:06 AM)
    @Aidan: I have a suspicion that they got it from that 80’s song Total Eclipse of the Heart. Japanese authors are strangely enamored with the corny pop songs from that era.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 05:46 AM)
    And even then, those two muv-luv alternative episodes, schwartzmarken is still better than those.

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