Shikibane Hime: Kuro Episode 1: The Re-rebirth of Makina
TAAN: Oh, what’s this? Three in a row? Just two more and I shall have the front to myself! Is what I would have said, but this was supposed to be post two and I accidentally deleted it or something. Still, now I control three posts and only need two more to complete my conquest. But luckily for everyone else, I’m going to sleep after I finish this. Anyways, though this may be the first episode of the new Shikabane Hime, it hardly seems so as there’s barely any delay between the end of Aka and the beginning of Kuro both in air times and in plot. Even the intro is exactly the same, which I think is pretty cool because they made it in such a way that there are spoilers, but you’d only know what they were if you’ve watched all the episodes. This is the kind of intro I like.This episode starts off with the bishop talking to the Auditor, or the guys who were Ouri’s former employers. He tells them that Makina needs to be killed on contact. Sadahiro (the auditor) tells Akira (his Shikabane Hime) that the priest is the one who loved shikabane hime the most in all of the Kougon Cult. Too’oru sarcastically tells him in reply that he loves them so much that he wants to kill them. Regardless, they prepare to set out for their mission.
Meanwhile, at the Shichisei’s base, everyone is ganging up on Akasha. They vaguely talk about attacking the head temple of the Kouhonshuu division of the Kougon Cult, and meeting up with Makina, but Akasha is confused about their plans. They just kind of beat him up and tell him not to get in their way. Apparently, they made Makina into a Shikabane on purpose (they were the ones who killed her and her family), and so regard her as a little more special. Akasha collapses to the ground which reminds her of a similar event when Akasha was crying (or maybe he’s crying now. It’s hard to tell if it was a flashback or something else). She goes up to him and starts to lick his tears, butAkasha tries to gently push her away. As soon as his hand touches her, she breaks it and runs off completely distracted by the big guy’s bug arms. Another one of theShichisei’s members, Hizuchi then walks up to him and explains that to Hokuto everything is a “foreign substance” and that she died without committing any sins because she was born to die. This apparently means that anything that touches her is like a blade.
Later, Takamine is talking to Kamika, his shikabane hime, about shikabane hime that lose their contracted priests. Apparently it’s been half a year since that happened to Makina, and that’s why the bishop ordered her to be destroyed. He doesn’t approve of the order, though, and wants to have her live somehow. It’s then revealed that Makina was sealed in a room for that half a year because the curse of the shikabane hime hasn’t been lifted off her yet. She still is attached to Keisei and hasn’t accepted Ouri yet, so she’s still on the path to becoming a shikabane. At the entrance to her sealing chamber, Rika and her shikabane hime Saki are trying to get in to see Makina and possibly diagnose her. The priests on guard don’t let her in, but they force their way through anyways. Inside, Makina is remembering a conversation between herself and Keisei about heaven, in which they both agree that it’s not that glamorous.
Rika busts in at that point and finds Makina bound to a pillar and everyone is surprised to see spirits floating around Makina, eating some glowing patches of her skin. They decide to start helping Makina by getting rid of the spirits, but to get closer, they have to go through a lake of ink. The ink reduces the power of a shikabane hime dramatically, though, but Saki still overpowers them. They also begin to form what looks like a dark clone of Makina. The clone spits out a new wave of spirits that overwhelm Saki, but Kamika steps in and destroys them all before she gets hurt. Everyone then retreats outside and Takamine seals up the door.
He explains that the spirits were eating Makina’s Rune, or the power of her contracted priest in her body. Because she didn’t accept Ouri completely, she still has Keisei’s rune, and since Keisei is dead, the rune started “rotting” and the spirits were gaining power from eating it. Rika brings up the possibility of Ouri giving Makina his rune, but Takamine tells her that he probably hasn’t undergone enough training to handle it and that as long as Makina doesn’t accept it anyways, there’s no point. He concludes by saying that if things continue as they are, Makina’s rune will just be eaten and she’ll die. From the shadows, A certain girl has been eavesdropping and accidentally says out lout that that’s not good. The priests notice immediately and she runs away, but Takamine tells them not to follow her because she’s not an enemy.
It turns out the spy’s name is Fresh, and she’s not really a spy. She’s just another shikabane hime who wants to help out Makina. She’s also quite possibly one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen, for reasons I don’t want to explain. Basically, all you need to know is that she’s wearing a strange cross between a school outfit and a miko uniform, and a maid headdress with cat ears. And has an annoying habit of using poorly pronounced English phrases. And likes looking clueless. Wait, I just explained it. After running away for a little bit, she stops for no reason and poses a little just so that she can tell herself that she lost her disguise.
After all that mess, and also apparently after school, Kasuga and Inuhiko happen to meet at Ouri’s place which has been abandoned ever since Keisei died. Kasuga brought a lunch for Ouri and is teased by Inuhiko, but whatever. The important thing is that Ouri hasn’t been home in six months. In fact, as the next scene reveals, he’s been training off in a forest somewhere the entire time with several contracted priests. Apparently, his training includes being beat up by a rabbit, cause that’s exactly what’s happening to him now.
After jumping on his face, the rabbit runs away and Takamasa (the priest who was a doctor for a while) appears and talks to him. Another of the priests he’s training with, Mr. Umehara, told him to follow the bond between him and the rabbit to catch it, but so far, that hasn’t been happening. Takamasa reassures him that Umehara wouldn’t send him off on a wild goose chase with his teachings, “despite his looks.” Umehara then appears with the rabbit, slightly offended by the last remark. Takamasa tells him that it’s true and points at his outfit, revealing that he had two figurines tucked between his robes. I’m pretty sure this guy is going to be Keisei’s replacement, at least for his anime obsessedness.
He hastily hides them and says that he found them on the ground. Sure. Anyways, they get back to the training and Umehara tosses the rabbit onto Ouri. He tells him that though fate can be called a bond, not all bonds are fate. To illustrate, he takes Ouri’s hands and places them on the rabbit, saying that a bond has been made between them. All he has to do is look for the light of the bond and he’ll be able to catch it. After Ouri leaves, the two priests talk to each other saying that his progress has been much slower than it should have been, but it’s mainly due to the fact that his life was so nice that he “never needed the light.”
Ouri eventually follows the rabbit to a field of tall grass where he loses track of it. After sifting around for a bit, he notices something and jumps to grab it, thinking it’s the rabbit. Unfortunately for him, we hear a girl’s scream instead, and we all know what that means. It turns out he just happened to grab the oversized breasts of the cosplaying shikabane hime from before. She’s surprised, but mainly because she thought Japanese boys were all hikikomori and only interested in 2D stuff. Her reasoning? It’s because she’s a super-otaku and has a 2D complex herself. She shows off some doujinshi she just bought, but before Ouri can have a good look at them, he’s knocked aside by Umehara, who apparently wanted her to buy figurines instead of fan books. The shikabane hime replies that true fans go for the doujinshi and not the crappy marketing crap that’s made for corporate profit.
Umehara gets pissed and tries to “confiscate” them, but he just gets kicked in the face. See, his shikabane hime is someone who died in a plane crash on the way to Akihabra, and so is far from normal. Anyways, she threatens to tell someone named Touma about what’s going on if he doesn’t behave. Whoever Touma is, the threat seems to pacify Umehara enough so that he stops.
Back in the forest, Ouri asks about Takamasa about Touma, and finds out that Touma is Umehara’s shikabane hime who’s on break at the moment. That means he’s got two, which is kind of strange. Takamasa explains that anyone can have multiple shikabane hime, but that would mean giving out multiple runes, and that’s just not something most people can do. This talk of runes reminds Ouri of Makina, but Takamasa tells him not to worry because he would have felt something if anything happened to her. His shikabane hime, who was taking a bath in the river nearby overhears that conversation and is interested in the fact that Ouri was worried. Her contemplation is broken by a pipe moving through the water, which turns out to be Umehara. Needless to say, he gets punched flying. After he’s able to talk again, he reveals that there’s trouble with Makina and asks Ouri what he’s going to do.
That night at the shrine, the priests guarding Makina’s seal chamber are assaulted by intruders who turn out to be none other than the betrayer priest.
Akasa easily takes out the guards and proceeds to the sealed door and pulls out his Zadan. Before Akasa can open the door though, he is himself assaulted by Sadahiro and Akira, who have a sniper rifle. Akasa dodges the shot, but the shockwave knocks his Zadan out of his hand. he starts throwing knives at them, but they’re able to dodge and Sadahiro gets right up to him and places a blade to his neck. Before he kills him, he asks him why he sided with the Shichisei because Hazama of the Shichisei killed his shikabane hime. Akasha replies that the one who killed her was himself. Their conversation is interrupted by Akira’s screams, though, as one of the priests who died became a shikabane. Akasa uses this distraction and breaks free from Sadahiro and grabs his Zadan. He remarks that for Kougon priests to turn into corpses means that they aren’t very well trained, and then summons the Shichisei with the Zadan.
At this point, the corpse breaks through the door to Makina’s chamber and tries to kill her for being an impure shikabane hime. Before it can though, Ouri tackles it down into the ink pool. He asks it why a priest would become a corpse and it tells him that association with such an impure shikabane hime would make his enlightenment impossible to reach.
It shoves Ouri off itself and rushes back to Makina. Ouri pleads for her to accept his rune so that she won’t die. the spirits feeding off of her rune shoves the corpse away from her and instead surround Ouri. Unafraid, he walks towards her, though she tells him to stay back. he goes up to her and hugs her, telling her that if she’s impure then he is too, because they both had the same regrets. Upon hearing this, Makina smiles a little and Keisei’s runes fade off her. She immediately breaks her bindings and kills the corpse-priest. She then apologizes for not being able to protect Keisei and sheds some tears.
Ep 1: 8/10