Shikabane Hime: Aka 11


Saki

Episode 11 of Shikabane Hime: Aka, “One Night”, starts off with the boss Takamine and Rika talking about the Seven Stars, along with their shikabane hime Kamika and Saki. And as always, Saki is taking full advantage of being biologically dead by eating as many snacks as she wants without having to worry about the consequences. One of the things that comes up is that the Seven Stars seem to act strategically, something very uncharacteristic of the usually single-minded shikabane. Rika is sent to Keisei to deliver photographs of the Seven Stars taken by the security cameras from the last episode, while the boss heads to investigate the circumstances of the Seven Stars’ appearance.

Meanwhile, the Seven Stars and Akasha are talking to each other, where we learn a bit about a power struggle within the Kougonshuu. One faction wants to continue to use the shikabane hime to deal with shikabane, while the other faction wants to get rid of them, hoping to deal with shikabane by trying to make sure they don’t form in the first place. Akasha wants to strengthen the latter faction to weaken the former, which the Seven Stars think might not be such a bad idea, but they want to make sure that they can trust Akasha before working together. So Hokuto does some weird thing that fascinates Akasha, although Hazama has something against people touching her.

Back at the orphanage, Ouri is initially feeling abandoned by his friends at the orphanage but feels better after finding out they’re preparing a surprise party for his sixteenth birthday tomorrow. At the temple, Keisei is talking with Rika and Saki and asks Rika to take care of a special clothing reinforced with “relocated” holy scriptures that can be used for the sadanjyutsuhou, in case something happened to himself. But the real reason for the meeting is for Rika to deliver the photographs of the Seven Stars, which inflames Makina, who had arrived later.

full-sized-figure-as-present-to-ouri

Before Ouri heads back home, Keisei prepares a meal for him for old time’s sake. As he prepares the meal, Keisei talks about the past, about growing up in the Hoshimura home, seeing Makina and her sibling born, moving out to train and then moving into the temple he manages now, and ten years after leaving the Hoshimura home, hearing about the massacre of the Hoshimura family and becoming Makina’s contract monk to help her with her wish to destroy the Seven Stars. He didn’t want Makina to become a shikabane hime, but he had no choice as otherwise Makina would have become a mindless shikabane. Ouri also admits to having been angry at Keisei for hiding things, but after seeing the things he had, he’s now OK with Keisei as he realizes that the big brother he had these past years was real, not a facade.

As Ouri heads back home in the evening, he encounters a cheerful girl who accidentally threw a ball in his direction. But the girl is actually Ena, one of the Seven Stars, and she disappears after grabbing Ouri, who doesn’t quite realize what happened. That night, a shikabane is walking down the street emitting some sort of gas around the neighborhood, which turns out to be a gas that puts most normal people to sleep. And at Ouri’s apartment building, when the ethereal black cat appears and Ouri follows it outside, Ouri’s arm darkens and runs out of control, with Ena being responsible for it outside. I’m not sure if this is something the cat wants to happen or something it can’t do anything about, though.

brainwashed-ouri

At the temple next to the orphanage, after Keisei and Makina had prepared for an attack with preparations such as warding the sleeping area for the kids off, Akasha appears with Kowaku, another of the Seven Stars. Makina engages in battle against Kowaku, but Akasha heads off towards where the kids are sleeping, so Keisei chases after him to make sure the children are OK. Fortunately, the children are fine with Akasha nowhere in sight, but Ouri turns up. As Keisei wonders what Ouri is doing here and that he is still awake, Ena springs the trap, having gained control of Ouri’s body, and has the boy stab the unguarded Keisei in the gut.

If Keisei dies while Makina is fighting, how will it affect her? How will it affect Ouri once he’s free from Ena’s control? While I would like Keisei only hurt enough to be unable to fulfill his duties as a contract monk, since it’s almost a given that Ouri would have to become Makina’s new contract monk, presumably in the same sort of ritual that appears in the opening credits with Makina in the middle of a yin-yang symbol wearing only a cape, it doesn’t seem very likely he’s going to survive. Although I hope that Ouri turns out to be an unexpected wild card against the Seven Stars instead of the Trojan Horse he’s been set up to be. And what is the “truth” that Akasha mentions to Keisei? Why does Akasha have to follow the footsteps of all the other misguided and cheesy villains who looks down on others for not knowing the “truth”, but never actually says what said truth is?

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